Finished this a month or two ago, but I'm running behind on my book posts.
Doing a full reread is pretty nice, since there's so damned much to keep track of. But let's focus on ADwD for the moment.
On the one hand, hooray, the story continued! Dropping backwards in time felt a little jarring, especially in the places where Jon's and Sam's viewpoints overlapped, and there were a few other places where AFfC contained reactions to things that happened in ADwD. I'm still not happy with the decision to split these books up, but I suppose I understand the decision.
I suppose the "Meereenese Knot" that GRRM's been complaining about for the past two years was the question of how to get Danaerys' plot moving again after she got bogged down in Meereen. Anyone know the specifics of what it was about that plot that he was having trouble with? I heard he solved it with the introduction of a new viewpoint; I'm guessing that it was Barristan, but it's hard to be sure.
In general, this felt very much like the middle chunk of a large plot. I suppose that, from a plot point of view, the beginning of the book was still only about the halfway mark, so the introduction of entirely new players in the struggle to rule Westeros isn't entirely unwarranted, but it still felt a little weird to have Prince Aegon show up basically out of nowhere.
And of course there were basically no resolutions, except for a big pile of deaths (and possibly a not-quite-death) to close out the book. I honestly have no idea whether Jon's actually dead. On the one hand, getting stabbed in the stomach (among other places) is nearly impossible to survive with medieval-level medicine. On the other hand, I believe Melisandre's still at the Wall, and she's not the only source of possible magical intervention. And this just feels like a really weird place for Jon to die, plotwise. But then, GRRM's not generally one to feel bound by narrative convention.
Bran's plot was just kind of weird, but it'll be interesting to see where it goes from there.
And I'm really enjoying the hell out of Arya's plot. I'd been quite certain that the blindness was just part of her training, possibly as punishment for her unsanctioned killing of Dareon. But her cleverness in figuring out how to assassinate her target in this book was fun to watch. I am left with the question, though: how will this tie back into the rest of the plot? I'm looking forward to finding out.
Finally, I'm really hoping that Cersei will just go away, now that she's been shamed before the city. (The whole shaming sequence left a really bad taste in my mouth - as I suspect it was meant to - but I really can't muster up any sympathy for her.) I doubt it, though. I figure she'll try plotting from further behind the scenes, but I'm guessing she'll end up getting betrayed one final time - possibly fatally - by Qyburn or possibly Taena. We shall see. Eventually.
Spoilers permitted in comments as well. Thoughts?