I give the book 4.5 only because I found parts of the story plot to plod along at a slow pace, if not for that I would have rated higher.
First let me say that I had already read the first four books but as it had been a while I decided to dive in a start over from book 1. I’m glad I did as it allowed me to be fresh regarding the myriad characters Martin has in his story lines.
I liked the book, even though he does have an annoying habit of killing main characters. We learn more of the turmoil north of the wall as well as the fight to control Winterfell. The fifth book only deals with Arya and Bran as far as the Stark children go, but we get a better idea of why Bran is being drawing by the three-eyed crow.
There are new characters, one quite interesting due to his ancestry – enough said since I hate spoilers.
Plus we get to follow more of Daenerys on her quest to retake her realm; and of course the dragons.
I just hope Martin can finish the series in the final two books as he claims, and soon.
The books are not for the young as they tend to be graphic and explicit sexually.