This is my favourite book in the series so far. It was very gripping and I finished it in like a week. There are certain events that occur about 200 pages in that nearly made me want to stop reading, but I guess I'm to immersed in the series now to stop. George Martin himself said "The (don't want to spoil it) sequence in the third book... when I reached that chapter, I just couldn't make myself write it. So it was emotionally wrenching for me as a writer just as it is I hope for readers.".
Daenerys remains my favourite, with Tyrion a close second - and the out-of-nowhere surprise at the end of the book was fantastic. I just like the way George Martin does things. All his twists and cliffhangers seem to come from nowhere, but there was always foreshadowing and I kick myself a little for not being able to predict or join the dots.
Jaime is a useless member of the Kingsguard without his sword hand. Jon holds the Wall from the wildlings only to be called a turncloak, but ends up being voted Lord Commander. Catelyn is 'killed' at the Red Wedding but turns up alive. Robb is killed for real. Tyrion is blamed for Joffrey's death and is found guilty only to be freed by Jaime. Sansa manages to escape with the promise of home, but Littlefinger whisks her away to the Vale. Arya makes it to the Red Wedding and nearly sees her mother before the Hound stops her, he is then injured badly and Arya leaves him for dead. Bran is helped by the mysterious Coldhands and ventures into the haunted forest with Jojen and Meera. Samwell convinces the Night's watch to have Jon as Lord Commander. Davos convinces Stannis to help the Night's Watch in their war against the wildlings. Daenerys learns Jorah has been informing Varys of her doings and tells him to leave, she also decides to stop raiding and rule Mereen instead.