I'm so happy to be finally reading this! I finished the third book in the series about a year and a half ago, but I've been putting off this one because 1. It's huge (I have a larger edition; I think other sized copies are 1,000+ pages), 2. Everyone says this is the weakest book in the series, 3. I was hoping to marathon books 4, 5, and 6, but it looks like the sixth book is still gonna be a while, and 4. I'M SCARED. I don't know how many more favorite character deaths I can handle in this series. Arya Stark is literally my favorite fictional character of all time, and if he kills her off I would probably be so upset I'd have to take a day off work to cry. Seriously. I'm so scared.
Anyway, this is good so far, but there are already so many new characters! Hopefully I can keep track of everyone. I seriously have a hard time keeping track of characters in "regular" books, and I believe Martin has confirmed that there are over 1,000 named characters in this series, soooooo yeah. =/