I read widely and in most genres but romance and westerns. Here you'll find my reviews since 2007, with a few reviews of previously read books as well.
In 2012, I completed an "authors of the world" challenge, reading a book for every country (and a few other entities) by someone who'd lived there for at least two years. I expect to tag these books by challenge and country in the near future. I'm still refining my list by adding books that better meet my challenge criteria.
We knew going into this that it wasn't likely to advance the storyline much, since it covered much of the same time as the fourth book. However, it does complicate the plot nicely and fill in a lot of the simultaneous action. I'd argue also that, as does the long "camping" scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the drawn-out nature of the narrative here conveys to the reader the enormous stretches of time it takes for non-fictional action to occur (such as moving an army across a country through the snow). With enough contract negotiation to make Fifty Shades of Grey look speedy and impulsive, A Dance with Dragons reinforces the importance of alliances and agreements, and adds several factors other than strength of arms or strategic leadership that influence the outcomes of a conflict. One is bankruptcy, and its collateral implication that if your enemy outbids you or can pay the bills, s/he can buy your army (or your bank). Since Westeros has no Jews to slaughter, I'll be interested to see whether House Lannister declares war on the Iron Bank of Braavos to obliterate its debt. Another strategy, revealed at the end of this installment, is catapulting disease-ridden corpses over the enemy's parapets. Also, letting your dragons torch your own city doesn't do wonders for your popularity.I continue to enjoy Tyrion and Arya most. I find Daenerys increasingly annoying. Identity and loyalty to ideals are key themes, strongly stressed.
Let's get to winter already.