Pros: Political intrigue, fantastical mysteries that are hinted at, potentially interesting characters
Cons: Poor character development, vague hints at a past that is actually somewhat important, reads like a dry history book for most of it
I can see why people would like this book, I really can. But there are so many flaws to it that I cannot overlook: by the end of it, I still don't understand the motivations and thoughts of any of the main characters, I still don't understand basic aspects of the world George R.R. Martin has built, I still haven't achieved an understanding of a past that seems relatively important to understanding the allies, enemies, and mistrust of the current world (and talking to people who have read all of the books, the past is never really explained in full and the reader must rely on extensive forums to supplement the knowledge), and I still haven't worked out in my head who a lot of people are. It's a shame really, it's an interesting premise, a good story, but executed poorly. I hope the Game of Thrones turns out well for the less than handful of characters I managed to somewhat like in the first book, I just don't care enough about all of them as a whole to continue with the series.