I enjoyed this book, not like an oenophile enjoys a nice glass of wine, but the way a crackhead enjoys a shiny new vial of poison. If you’ve been reading the Song of Ice and Fire, you know that a series based on plot twists, cliffhanger endings, likeable villians and flawed heroes makes for compulsive reading.
If you finished FEAST FOR CROWS and swore you were done with GRRM, but a little part of you desperately wants to know what happened with Dany and Jon and the others, you should pick this book up because it does continue the storylines of the characters who were left hanging at the end of the third book. Not only does it take care of the characters who weren’t touched in book four, but it also continues the storylines of some of the characters who were depicted in book four.
The plot moves much faster in this than in the previous book. There’s still a bit of the “I’m in an untenable situation so I’ll just stay here until someone rains destruction on my life” but there’s less of the “Let’s wander around for five hundred pages searching for something we’ll never find.” This book seemed to have slightly less rape and torture, oh wait, I forgot about that guy. And that other scene. Scratch that. It’s just as dark.
If you’ve read the other novels, you’ll know it’s not much of a spoiler to say that the book ends with cliffhangers. One character has just met someone who might be an enemy or might be a friend. Another character appeared out of nowhere to throw a wrench in one of the great house’s plans. Another main character has been stabbed, and most likely killed (though you never can tell). You’re not going to be able to finish this book and then say, “well, I’m satisfied with that ending. I don’t need to read any more.”
Or maybe you are. Maybe you’re made of stronger stuff than me. As for me, this book made me forgive GRRM for FEAST FOR CROWS, and I’ll be reading the next book, whenever it comes out.