Having loved every book in the series so far I was expecting this one to be the same, but to say it was a disappointment was an understatement. Firstly, there's a whole load of new characters/perspectives, and I found myself unable to care about these particular characters, and throughout the book not a great deal seems to happen to them anyway. Secondly, the book only focusses on a few characters from the previous books, and not a lot seems to happen to them either. Of the characters we know from previous books, most time is given to Cersei and Jaime, and Cersei in particuar seems to have suffered as a character - going from maniuplative to just plain infantile. Plus of all the cliffhangers from the last book, only one of them is really addressed, and only at 700 pages in and all the tension the series has built up so far has disappeared completely. It was just such a chore to read in the end. The author does make note of the fact several characters are missing, saying it would have ended up as an impossibly large book to include everyone, but it just felt like the new characters should be left out and in their place the characters we actually care about should be included. Not an enjoyable experience.