At this point, how do you review one book in A Song of Ice and Fire? I think the only way I can is by saying upfront that nobody should start here, and nobody should stop here with the impression that it's over. I've seen a lot of complaining about this entry in the series, and I don't understand it. Does it have huge explosions that will totally traumatize people who haven't read the books when HBO gets around to filming it? No. But things are developing and the plot is still moving forward.
Tyrion, Daenerys, and Jon Snow were much missed in A Feast for Crows. And each of the characters GRRM saved for Dance with Dragons has a significant journey in this book, even if we have reached a stage in the series where one book isn't really self contained. But that's ok. It's very much a middle book, but it still captured me and made me not want to put it down. And although I don't want to say too much about it, GRRM has also demonstrated once again how much sympathy he can wring from his readers for not-very-sympathetic people.
The only thing that irritates me about this book is how GRRM frequently gives an alias for the POV character as the heading of the chapter, often a different one each time that character appears, and then you have to figure out who you're with this time. There are enough POVs to keep track of, I don't need to spend the first page of a chapter figuring out which one I'm in because he didn't use their given name.
Also, now I have to wait until Winds of Winter to figure out to what extent one of my favorite characters might be dead. It would be an easily mitigated death, but it's GRRM, and I don't trust him not to kill people. See also this:
GRRM has done serious damage to my faith that the good guys in completely different series by other authors will live. Pretty much any series that deals with multiple narrators, I'm thinking that they don't all have to make it to the end. (As a consequence, I have become the easiest person to fake out in those situations where you're supposed to think that a character is dead but he isn't. Unless that character is Sherlock Holmes, because that cat has been out of the bag forever.) And I think the fact that he has changed something about how I read fiction speaks for itself.
Overall Grade: A