I loved the first three books in the series "A Song of Ice and Fire." I hated this one. With the first three books, the balance between showing and telling was perfect, and in a cast of thousands, you have to keep that balance to a fine point, or the story won't work. The first three books also focused on four great Houses and the people they associated with: Starks, Baratheons, Lannisters, and Targaryans. This book decided we needed to see absolutely everything that was going on, and introduced three more great Houses and their associates: Tyrells, Martells, and Greyjoys, which bloated an already full cast of characters. Everything that happened in Dorne shows how badly this book needed editing. I simply didn't care. The events were introduced through a character we met once, then switched to an incredibly obnoxious character that I couldn't care less about. The sad thing is that I could see how the events could be interesting, if they had been told from a different point-of-view character, particularly one that I already knew and was invested in, i.e. Myrcella Baratheon. The Greyjoys were just as bad. I am not interested in them at all, and would like it if a kraken swallowed the lot, with the exception of Theon and his sister.
The book wasn't a total loss. I liked getting the story from Cersei's point of view. It made her that much more unlikable for me, but she is a character I am invested in, so I'm more forgiving of it. I do want to read the last book in the series, but this one was a chore to read rather than a joy.