If the first book was all set up, this book was for kicking back in your comfy chair, putting your feet up and settling in for the long haul. There were a lot of repeating motifs and themes throughout this book and the various storylines, but Martin never uses them in quite the same way. It makes it a little predictable but then also allows for speculation, you know, just in case Martin is lulling the reader into a false sense of ... not security, because that'll never happen, but a false sense of knowing what's coming next.
Some might find these books slow and too long, but I love well-written stories that I can sink my teeth into. The world-building is top notch, the characters are all complex and way too real. Yes, it can be dire and I just want things to go well for the good guys for once, but our good guys are even better for the struggles they are constantly overcoming. It took me a long time to understand or like Sansa, but she's one of my favorites now and she shines in every chapter she's in here. Jon and Sam also remain my favorites and I will stare daggers at anyone who tries to hurt them. Hell, I even like Tyrion now.
Theon though needs to die so many horrible deaths. Actually, there are several people I'd love to see die horribly. So like I did with the previous book, here are my top five Worst Ever characters for this book. And the spoilers are seriously spoilery - I'm talking ALL the plot twists and big reveals. I am not holding anything back. Do NOT click on the spoilers if you don't want to know things. This is your final warning.
Honorable Mention: Allar Deem(show spoiler)
Fifth Place: King Joffrey Baratheon - Hey look at that, he made the list again, but he's moved down from first place, because he's just not quite as horrible as the rest.(show spoiler)
Fourth Place: Ser Gregor Clegane - Also making his second appearance on this list. Go figure.(show spoiler)
Third Place: Craster over the Wall(show spoiler)
Second Place: Roose Bolton(show spoiler)
First Place: Theon Greyjoy and Reke - It's a tie!(show spoiler)
So that's my list. Who's on yours?