Marvelous fantasy fiction, although sometimes too dirty for my er... gentle tastes. It was sometimes almost unbearable to accept the way the women in the book are portrayed. If they weren't highborn, they were just pieces of flesh on disposal for... well, everybody. That's the world of G.R.R.Martin - values and honor are mostly just the words and religion has only ornamental function. Well, he depicts that world perfectly and I definitely intend to read the sequels. I still deem Tolkien's Middle-Earth a better place for living, but the Seven Kingdoms and beyond are more realistic. The characters are really interesting and fully developed. I highly enjoyed the descriptions from their points of view, especially Arya's and Jon's. That's the thing I like in SoIaF's narrative -- for an example... I know that rain falls. It's easy to say only that. I want to know what the character feels when it falls and what he/she thinks how that will affect his/her prospects. That's what Martin manages to pull. To make us a part of his story.