Oh, book, I wish I could quit you. :P
This is the shortest book so far in the series. I originally thought I'd have it finished by early April. Yes, real life stuff got in the way and I had to go some weeks without reading even a single chapter, but I wasn't exactly pining to get back to Westeros like I was in ASOS, and I think the main reason for that was the POV switches.
There was too much time spent with horrible, awful characters (all of the Ironmen, Cersei) and not enough of the characters I wanted to spend time with (virtually everyone else). It was cool to see Dorne, but without a single focal point for those chapters it felt just as hodgepodge as the Ironborn ones did. As for Cersei, I had hopes for her POV when her chapters started, but good lord y'all. She is Trump in a dress. No thank you. The ending was sweet but not worth the journey to get there.
However, I loved getting to see Brienne's POV, though it was often depressing, because she's such an amazing character and easily my favorite of the favorites (sorry Samwell). Hell, I enjoyed being in Jaime's head. Somewhere along the way I started rooting for that turdmeister and he didn't disappoint. Watching him snark at everyone was a real treat too. I wanted to see a lot more of Arya and Samwell. Not so much Sansa, but that's mostly because of Littlefinger and not Sansa herself.
And what the hell was that prologue about? It set up absolutely nothing else that happened in the book until the final chapter from what I could tell. Weird.
I had such high hopes for a Brienne-Catelyn action duo too. :(
So lots of awful, which is par for the course, but not enough of the good guys to balance out the bad.
The top five Worst Evers for this book:
Euron Crow Eye
I read this as part of the Another Place in Time anthology that was released a few years back. Here's what I said about it then:
This was fun. Yes, this all happens in a day and usually that annoys me, but it doesn't here. I didn't see it as insta-love, not even really insta-like, since Winterbourne and Freeman had to get over their preconceptions of each other before they could start getting along. It was fun seeing them realize they're not so different after all.
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.