A Clash of Kings - George R.R. Martin

There is excellent writing, plot, and characterization here. This second book in the series continues the structure using character point-of-view by chapters to relay the story, adding three new characters to follow. I love the overall story, but feel that at the massive size and scope of things, this story became a little ungainly at times. We're losing a true sense of connectedness between the separate stories that really drives the energy forward. One small example: the final battle sequence at the end of the book, which should feel like a culmination, falls a bit flat because we have only three of the eight points of view directly engaged in the action. The plot hinges on an attack from the rear that gets described in brief to the reader, but not experienced directly. In other words, lacking an author's omniscient narration, we are missing key moments.