Before reading this book I was worried about the lack of POVs from two of my three favorite characters, but once I started it, I got so into the story I didn't mind the absences. Not that I didn't miss Tyrion, Dany, Jon and Bran, but the characters we got didn't disappoint. I would have preferred more POVs by Asha instead of her uncles, but I understand they were necessary to tell certain events. I really dislike the Iron Islands, but I like Asha. For someone who was raised with all that crap, she's not that bad. And she has to fight for respect and face more crap because of her sex, which makes her more likable. I would like to read her POV while on a raid, it would say a lot about her character.
Brienne is almost as naive as Sansa, but I love her (though I can't say the same about Sansa; she grew on me, that's true, but I can't get past merely liking her). I suffered a lot with her last chapters!
And I don't want to admit it, but I'm starting to like Jaime. I hate myself for this, because I can't forgive what he did to poor little Bran, but Martin is writing him too likable for me to resist. And I like his relationship with Brienne, and how he's opening his eyes and starting to see the real Cersei. I guess he lost a hand but gained human qualities in return
I loved Arianne Martell and her unsuccessful conspiracy, but I'm very sorry for Myrcella. Poor thing, I hope destroying her pretty face has actually something to do with the plot at some point. And poor Arys, I didn't want him to die so soon!
The addition of Cersei's POVs was brilliant. We got to see other sides of her character and, while I still hate her (really really hate her), now I support Robert's murder. She may be a horrible human being, but Robert was abusive and violent. She did right in getting rid of him.
Speaking of brilliant, Arya is the best thing ever! Hers is my favorite storyline, and I love how she's got so far by herself. The House of Black and White is one of my favorite mysteries, I hope we keep learning more about it and the kindly man. That cliffhanger at the end of her last chapter... (Thanks I read this way after A Dance with dragons was published).
And Samwell and Aemon's trip was more interesting than I expected. I loved how Sam met Arya, it's a pity he never knew her real identity. I used to think Gilly only wanted Sam because she felt she owned him something, or because she needed to depend on a man, but now I think she actually loves him. I like them. And I was expecting maester Aemon to die soon, but that didn't prevent me from being sad. He was a very interesting character.
I want to learn more about the Summer islands and their culture, they seem very interesting, and more advanced than Westeros in certain aspects...
The end of Sam's last chapter was amazing, and I loved how it connected with the prologue, and it leaves you with so many questions...
Of the four books, this was the one that left me with the strongest need to go and read the following book.