George R.R Martin has taken the fantasy genre with it's roughly established rules and ripped them asunder. This continuation of the game of thrones delves into the gutter politics of Kings Landing, the betrayals and intrigue.
He continues with the perspective based chapters and touches upon a number of the characters from previous books. But, as he admits in the appendixes, he did not have enough pages in this volume to deal with more than a few of them. If you are expecting to see detail on John Snow, Arya or even Tyrion, you will be disappointed, but what happens to the other characters more than makes up for this delay.
It is a gripping book that keeps the pages turning and it opens the stage for book 5 in this series with some fantastic ground work. And on the plus side, you can actually pre-order book 5 from Mighty Ape now as well and hopefully have it somewhere in October or November 2009.