This book was fairly awesome.
It definitely wasn't as good as the first couple of books, in my opinion, but it was still miles above Feast for Crows (again, imo). I didn't start reading the series until this year, so I went through them fairly quickly, and I was fortunate to finish Feast just a week or two before this book came out. This book is a partner book with Feast, so it was nice to get the two time lines moving together, and even see two sides of the same conversation.
I feel like the last couple of books have been a bit of a slog, though, and I know GRRM had problems figuring his way out of the "Meereenese knot" that he had created. I'm not sure I can appreciate what he was trying to work through since I don't know the whole story in his head, but it feels like 6 years was a really long time for this particular novel.
The pacing and history and density of information and action that started early in the series is beginning to wane, but even at his worst (which this isn't) GRRM's writing is still miles above many, many other authors.
I really enjoyed some of the new characters, and new points of view (Melisandre, Connington, Selmy - I'm looking at you guys). I did get really bored at some points of the novel (looking at you, Dany), but there were plenty of "AHA!" moments and a couple of times where I gasped with joy or surprise. Unfortunately I was spoiled on a major plot point I wish I hadn't been, and that moment lost a lot of it's punch.
Still, all in all an excellent, book. Neil Gaiman is completely correct when he says that GRRM is not my bitch
, but it doesn't mean I won't keep hoping for good news on a forward progress and not another 6 year gap between books.