My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Thoroughly enjoyed this second book from the "Song of Fire and Ice" series as much as the first one. Actually I probably enjoyed it even more since I read the first one right after watching the HBO series "Game of Thrones", which I thought was extremely well made (and very close to the book).
The story-telling is suspenseful, the characters are dimensional and show both depth and change, the world created for these books is so dense and large it almost becomes real - as real as a world in our history books.
The best part about the books is how the stories taking place at numerous locations are told from different characters' perspectives. You really feel at times that you are reading not just one, but many books. This can also get a little unnerving when one chapter ends with a cliffhanger, yet the next chapter deals with a completely different character living through an unrelated experience on another continent. But it keeps you reading and reading and reading...
... by now I'm a little ways into the third book, which is just as hard to put down.