The second book in the 'Song of Ice and Fire' series, and another really good read, not to mention another which took ages. I've deduced that these books are really good, you may have got that, and I've really enjoyed reading them, they're a lot of fun. However the problems with them are that they are just too long and try to cram way too much in.
I love the fact that there are so many Point of View Characters, it's really good, and they're well written. You could tell which Character was which after having read a few chapters without needing to use names, because they've all developed their own distinct personalities. However it can cause problems when you reach page 75 and you still havn't returned to any characters (I don't think this is accurate, but it's a little what it felt like), especially when they're all in different places socialising with different people, simply because you struggle to remember what each Character has going on in their life when you get back to them. It's a little like trying to read 8 books at once.
However, near the end, the last 200 pages or so there's a whole patch which is set in a really short space of time, and the author bats back and forwards between a select few characters, all in the same sort of area, but slight variances as to specifics. You really feel a sense of urgency and time flow, and you know what's happening, it's brilliant.
The ending for a few of the Characters in this book left me feeling the varying emotions of nervous, saddened and unsure... And then while reading it I'm always struggling with a who's-the-good-guy feeling, because I get the feeling that the Starks are supposed to be the 'good-guys' however you then meet people like Tyrion and Daenerys, who seem to want to see the demise of the Stark's but you want them to triumph even though they can't all. This makes it more realistic to read, but I think it also suffers as a novel, because by making it less cut and dried, he's almost taken away a sense of satisfaction and a 'cheer-factor'. You can't cheer for your favourite and egg them on for fear of offending all your other favourites.
I think that the author, although being ambiguous, is very talented to be able to evoke such a range of emotions for all of the different characters that are come across.
I loved this book, as I loved the first one, and because I have so many issues with certain aspects of it I can only assume that it is because this is storytelling at it's absolute very best.