So again, George R.R. Martin is unable to write a book that can be safely published as a single volume paperback. Perhaps somebody should explain to him that slightly smaller novels, published more regularly, might keep the haters at bay - heck it might even make it less of a chore for him to write. As with the split of A Storm of Swords
the second book was the better part of the novel. Although less markedly so this time I thought.
The first third of the book continues pretty much where A Dance With Dragons: Dreams and Dust
stopped. The chapters concentrate on Theon, Daenerys, Jon, Arya and Tyrion to complete the catch-up with the parallel stories in A Feast for Crows
. Only the second two-thirds really start to progress the story at all. Even then though the progress seems more limited that I'd hoped. Some of the characters almost seem to be stagnating. Martin seems to be holding some characters back from fulfilling their story-potential, in a way that starts to feel artificial. Like he doesn't want to start the next phases of their stories until the next book, but he feels he has to have them doing something to fill the chapters.
All that said, the book is still enjoyable. Martin writes these characters well. The book builds up to a good, trademark-Martin, twist. Where another character previously thought to be 'safe' suddenly gets brutally murdered completely out of the blue. Although, obviously it's supposed to be a cliffhanger, so you're not going to be totally sure until the next book. Bloody typical.