So, at the end of this book, what are my thoughts?
1) THE CHAPTERS: I enjoyed Jon's chapters massively (.. except for ONE MASSIVE DOWNER). I thought his continued struggle concerning his code of honour as the Lord Commander and his desire to help his family was really well portrayed. And there really was a lot of exciting stuff going on at the wall besides. I really liked Tormund - his exchanges with Jon were brilliant to read. And Val was fantastic too, for that matter :).
I wasn't too keen on Tyrion's chapters in the beginning, to be honest. They were very slow and Tyrion was in a really depressed and "fuck the world" kind of mood - understandably so, of course, but that doesn't make it any more fun to read. Towards the end his chapters really picked up pace, however, and I really loved the addition of Penny as his sidekick. She's a really sweet girl and it's interesting to find out how other "dwarves" actually live their lives in this world.
The real kickass chapters were Reek's/Theon's though. I won't lie, they ARE difficult to read and you shouldn't spend too much time picturing Ramsay's torture methods ... but, again, Theon's struggle between his old and new identity was beautiful to read - especially once Jeyne Poole arrived and he was clearly torn between his fear of Ramsay and his desire to help the poor girl. I'm really curious to find out what'll happen to him in the next book, now that he's arrived in Stannis' camp. Assuming that Stannis is alive ...
2) LENGTH: I have to admit, even though I enjoyed this book a lot ... it did feel a bit stretched out, sometimes. Dany's chapters, for instance - sometimes there didn't seem to be much going on at all. And I wasn't a big fan of Victarion's or Quentyn's chapters - even though especially the latter was a lovely contrast to Dany's storyline with the dragons, I suppose. I don't know, I think I just feel like this whole upcoming battle in Slaver's Bay is one battle too many? I think that Dany should really be making for Westeros already, if she's ever going to arrive there - she's been staying in Essos for too long. And especially now that there seems to be another contender for the Iron Throne of Targaryen blood ... (By the way, even though I enjoyed reading the Young Griff chapters ... on another level, his appearance bugs me. It feels a bit deus ex machina to me. But who knows - given that things never turn out as one thinks they will, I wouldn't bet too much money on Aegon actually sitting the Iron Throne ... but that's just my opinion.)
All in all I enjoyed this book massively, however, and I'm glad that I only read it now, when it seems like the publication of Winds of Winter isn't too far off ... fingers crossed ;)!