Warning! Here be spoilers!
This is the third book in the Song of Ice and Fire series, which the Game of Thrones TV series is based on. It picks up pretty much where the last book ended. Arya is still out in the wilds, as is her brother Bran, Jon Snow is on the other side of the Wall with a band of wildlings, Sansa is a hostage of the Lannisters, Catelyn and her son Robb are at Riverrun, and Daenarys is recruiting soldiers for her army. It's definitely not a standalone book, you need to have read the others because those two are basically setting up all the action in this one. I really liked that this one jumped straight into the story, although it's been a little while since I read A Clash of Kings so there were a couple of story lines I was confused about at first but I quickly picked up the threads.
I think that so far this has been my favourite book. I was reading the ebook version and I was very tempted to go straight onto the next volume (though I controlled myself). Whereas the last two have taken me around a week to get through, this one took me about five days. I just didn't want to put it down.
I've found myself changing opinion of some of the characters. Tyrion is still one of my favourites and I'm really coming to like Sansa now as well. The female characters are really well written and there's a fairly even balance between male characters and the women.
I ended up staying up far too late reading on a couple of occasions (a book that gives you bags under your eyes is usually a very good read). When I was 3/4 of the way through I really wanted to finish it, but by around 11:30 I had to give up and refused to get out of bed the next morning until I'd finished it. It also managed to send my heart into my throat a couple of times, especially when it looked like Dany was going to sell Drogon to buy her army.
Obviously there were a few characters I was less interested in, though whenever you're at one of those bits you know you'll soon be moving on to someone else. It's a little annoying that there's no chapter numbers, but I've found a website which lists all the chapter titles and their numbers (and it's hardly an issue on the ebook version since it remembers where I left off). My version is a set of all of five first books and the page number function doesn't actually work past the first book, lucky the website with the chapter numbers works for that as well.
"Prince Oberyn had a chuckle. "You've grown more amusing since last we met."
"Yes, but I meant to grow taller.""