But in AFFC George has got us going on a sight-seeing trip all over the goshdanged place, from one "exotic" locale to another. We're reading stories about characters we've only just met and don't give a fig about, and the whole thing has gone from the tale of a family -- the Starks -- and their feud with another family -- the Lannisters -- to a tale about a whole bunch of randoms from exotic, fantastical realms, and isn't the whole thing just so *epic* now and soon there will be a world battle and dragons and magic and typical epic fantasy crap and blech! It's like, now we get exotic, strange, foreign DORNE! And weird, unpredictable, barbaric GREYJOYS! And crazy-ass, mumbo-jumbo death cult religion, and exotic, foreign city that is WHEREVER THE HELL ARYA ENDS UP! I can't even remember the name of the place, that's how much I care... the Free Cities? I. Don't. Care.
I find the Greyjoy characters boring and Dorne is only OK and bordering on uninteresting to me. I think a little more familiarity--especially to open the book--may have been a better way to go. Of course, Martin acknowledges some problems with the 4th/5th books. Basically, both will cover about the same time period. The original 4th book was getting too big, so he stripped chapters out, put them in the 5th and got it done. It looks like most of the chapters stripped were of familiar characters, though. Anyway, we all have opinions, though. I'll see if my mind changes as I go and, perhaps, it will all make sense once I read 4/5 back to back.