I've finished the fourth and final (as yet published) book in the series, A Song of Ice and Fire, and somewhere along the way I came to the conclusion that it sucked.
The third and fourth plodded along without an end. The characters I actually liked (Arya and Jon) were given less and less facetime, and practically buried in misery and betrayal. The characters I liked second best were brutally murdered. The characters I liked least took over the story for no foreseeable purpose.
The date of release for the next installment, Dance with Dragons, keeps being pushed back. George R.R. Martin claims he spends years writing each book, which is noticeable in the reading of them, and my belief is even he lost interest in the world. Thousands of pages with few redeemable or enjoyable moments can dry up even the most creative mind.
I can only hope the HBO show gets canceled before its' fourth season. And chances are Martin will die with the series unfinished, which would not be the greatest tragedy.
I'll probably read the next one, whenever it comes out, merely to find out what happens to those characters I actually care about, but I won't enjoy it. Perhaps I'll simply wait for the wikipedia entry to be posted.
Now I need to find a truly good book, perhaps a superior fantasy, to flush the bad taste out of my mouth. In case you're from Rio Linda or Port St. Lucie, I don't recommend this series.