Fourth book in the series.
After the events of A Storm of Swords, Cersei Lannister is struggling to rule the kingdom through her young son, Tommen. Brienne of Tarth is on a mission to find Sansa Stark to fulfill an oath to the murdered Catelyn Stark. Sansa is at the Vale, home of her now-deceased aunt, where she is pretending to be Petyr Baelish’s daughter, Alayne, and fending off his advances. The Greyjoy brothers are fighting over who should take the throne after Balon and Theon’s deaths which leaves Asha angry. Young Myrcella Lannister, the princess, is in Dorne where some of the Martells, angered after the death of Oberyn, are starting to revolt. Arya Stark is learning to be an assassin at the House of Black and White and finally Samwell Tarly, member of the Night’s Watch, was sent by new Commander Jon Snow to learn to become a Maester and protect a Wildling priest.
Phew. Lots of different storylines. And lots of new perspectives. I liked this book. It was a little bit slower paced and had less action but Martin is building up to some crazy shit. I know he split the original novel in two but I still felt that this book was good as a standalone, again probably because it focused on new characters. I loved learning more about Dorne. I also am realizing just how much power he has given all the female characters. Really impressive. I am now half-prepared for the new season of Game of Thrones. Should be interesting.