Got it, read it, finished it. Pooped and pissed and ate but did little else in between the time I got it and when I finished it.
Rather short... a little less than 700 pages, Storm of Swords was 1500, and the others were all over 1000. A bit disappointing, even with his explaination that this volume was only half of what he was going to publish originally. Last I saw on his website, GRRM was on page 1500 of his original Feast. That leaves 800 pages already for the forthcoming Dance of Dragons, but he claims it's only half finished. I have disappointments not only on the length front, but also with the contents.
Alright, for those of you who have read it, what was up with the Brienne chapters? A whole bunch of goose-chasing with no point, that's whats up. All she accomplished was getting ahold of Podrick and being re-united with Catelyne, only to be hanged. Although it remains to be seen what will become of her. I never liked her character too much and it seems GRRM used a lot of pages describing an empty hunt. We got some back-story on her, but its the same "ooh I'm ugly and I have to distrust everyone" story we've all heard before. Jesus Christ on a stick we get it already.
WTF with the Arya chapters. She's a fan favorite, and more importantly my favorite, but I think I counted 3 or 4, with Brienne getting 5-6 chapters?? Damnit I had better see some more Arya in the next book with some tits and mad faceless skills, kicking some ass!!
Sansa. I never liked Sansa too much but she seems to have improved as her Alayne incarnation. Her chapters don't treat her like an idiot now and she's starting to think like an adult, finally.
Cercei. Always enjoyed reading about Cercei and her attempts at ruling. Really enjoyed her last chapter, when she's at the beginning stages of her demise. Yaay.
Jaime, another favorite. His distancing from Cercei along with the other capable members of court was interesting to read. Suprisingly little incest in this book, although we have a lesbian tyrst between Cercei and Taena. Yaay.
When I read the prologue and Sam's beginning chapters, I thought we'd get some more insight into these prophesies that Melisandre and Aemon and the other characters have all alluded to, not to mention their connection with the dragons. But no: instead we get some hot sticky sex with the Daddy for a Husband girl, switched babies, long seavoyage, some rather forced props to "The Hedge Knight." Just at the end we finally get some where with Maester Marwyn going off to see Daernys and Sam finally getting to Oldtown.
The happenings in the Iron Islands were interesting. To be honest I had no idea where all the plot in the Iron Islands was going, but now we finally have some results. Euron is King and he has a plan to take over Westeros with dragons and Daernys as his bride. Yaay for plot developement.
The happenings in Dorn, in my opinion, were the most interesting, especially at the end of Arianne's last chapter where we finally hear a little bit of Prince Doran's plot... ohho ho ho ho!
All in all, some disappointing perspectives (Brienne sucks) and short in length (less than half the pages of Storm of Swords) and not enough Arya! Arya Arya Arya Arya!! But we see some new and very interesting developements in the Iron Isles, Dorne, and the prophecy.
So what's going to happen in Dance of Dragons? Apparently the other characters we haven't seen in this are going to make an appearance, and I suspect that we'll see a little more of Arya (PLEASE!!!), Victarion, Prince Doran, and perhaps Sam. Arya because I say so, Victarion because his brother asked him to fetch Daernys, Doran because he had some kind of plot with Viserys, and Sam because his plot seems to be entwined with the whole prophesy thing.
Or maybe not. I'm hopefull that this is what we'll have, and not just a clear cut half these characters, half those characters split between Crows and Dragons. There is no indication on his website that any characters from crows will be making an appearance to further the plot in Dragons.