Characters wandering about the landscape, sometimes in circles. Plotlines unresolved while new characters are created and new plotlines set off. In one of them (can't remember which one now) it ends with a strange postscript explaining that the reason that so many previously important characters did not figure is because he could not find space for them in this vast tome, er, sorry about that. I have never seen anything like that in a book series. So why keep creating unnecessary new characters? It looks to me like the series had at one point a cataclysmic ending in view - Ice and Fire, the White Walkers coming down from the North and the dragons coming from the East, no doubt to meet in some Westeros Ragnarok. The trouble is that that doesn't fit well with the idea of a Wars of the Roses type feuding families and shifting alliances and that he got more interested in that.
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.
Holy amazeballs! This is easily my favorite so far. This one takes off running and never slows down. It was very hard at times to pace myself and not just tear through it because I wanted - needed - to know what was going to happen next. Martin is a master storyteller and the various narratives he's crafted in the first two books continues to build here until it reaches max capacity - and then just keeps going. And that ending
Catelyn's resurrection and paling around with the Robin Hood gang
- wow. I couldn't believe it when I heard that was left out of the show, because I can't wait to see what Martin's going to do with that.
And how about that kill count, eh?
Joffrey, hand's down. Tywin's a close second.
Most upsetting death:
Prince Oberyn Martell, my prince of salty goodness. You were too precious for this world.
Also, Lysa Arryn. I absolutely hated her character, but what a miserable, loveless and lonely life she led. And then betrayed at the last second.
Most predictable death:
ROBB YOU IDIOT!
Death worthiest of a Darwin award:
Hope you had a nice fall, Balon Greyjoy. May you make it to that pearly ship in the sky, or whatever.
Just die already:
Gregor, Littlefinger, and Roose Bolton and his little Bastard too, and all the Freys.