As it is sort of indicated by the title, this book is chock full of guys wanting to be kings and kick other kings butts. The two people who probably have the most legitimate claims are Daenerys and Stannis, but I’d definitely just go ahead and give the North to Robb. They’re never going to settle down up there now unless they’re burned out by dragon fire (possible now since Dany has dragons), but it would be easier to just Robb have his own kingdom and deal with the White Walkers and wildlings on his own. Also, Robb is all kingly and stuff…let him have a kingdom! One without backstabbing, twofaced, nasty Theon in it. Darn you, Theon. You made me sad-face so much!
There are multiple storylines that thread through the main plot of who-gets-to-be-king-now, and I thought that Daenerys, Davos and Arya had particularly interesting threads. I didn’t expect to like Davos as much as I did, but he was really fascinating once you knew his backstory and got to watch him deal with suddenly-crazy Stannis. There are battles and alliances and betrayals and bargains and dinners and journeys galore in this book. It is definitely an epic story with a massive cast of characters.
Deciding which character is my favorite is too hard. Tyrion was FANTASTIC. He's so incredibly clever and awesome, and I love how he got to kick some serious butt in this book, both mentally and physically. However, I really think Arya is just the best. She’s so feisty and indomitable, you just know that she’s eventually going to come out on top. Or at least she should, but Martin’s evil and likes to kill off totally wicked characters... I also really wish that we could have gotten to see more of Robb in this book. I like him bunches, but we don't spend much time at all directly with him, though he's talked about a lot during the book. I have a feeling he gets more attention in the next book, but from the rumors I’ve heard and the little alluding-tos in this book, it might not be a good kind of attention.
Oh, and I am a member of the Punch-Joffery-In-The-Face Club. That boy should be tied to a post and smacked by every other character in the book, from Dany down to Hot Pie. Seriously, I'm not kidding, that would probably be the best scene ever. I wonder if HBO would go for that…
This book is super good but I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to younger teens or preteens. There are a lot of mature themes in this book that they might not enjoy as much until they are older. However, older teens and young adults who enjoy fantasy and adventure will probably love this book to pieces.