Having bet with a friend, that I will not make it to finish the first 4 books by the end of this year, I am doing my best now to fulfill my part of the bet :-).
The second book of "A song of ice and fire" begins, where part one ended.
With the death of Robert Baratheon, his son Joffrey is now rightful king of the seven kingdoms of Westeros. But several others claim the Iron Throne - Renly and Stannis Baratheon, Robb Stark and Balon Greyjoy.
Therefore a good deal of war is fought in Westeros. Catelyn Stark, wanting to support her son, joins a meeting of Renly and Stannis, in order to discuss a possible alliance between the Starks and the Baratheons. Not surprisingly, the meeting fails, and after a mysterious shadow enters the tent, there is one king less.
Balons son Theon, former ward of the Starks, conquers Winterfell, and takes the two remaining Starks Bran and Rickon as captives.
Tyrion is sent to King's Landing to act as the King's Hand as long as his father has to deal with other things. The imp tries to improve the defenses of the city in order to prepare the capital for the civil war which is coming nearer and nearer...
Arya, having fled King's Landing, is travelling north under false name with a group of new recruits for the Night Watch. The group is getting caught and taken to Harrenhal, which is held by the Lannisters.
On the Wall things get stressfull as well, as Mance Rayder, the King-beyond-the-Wall unites the so called wildlings, a unsually quite anarchic people, in order to take the wall. Jon Snow has to pretend to be an oathbreaker to the Night's Watch to infiltrate the wildlings.
Daenerys makes it together with her few loyal followers and her 3 dragons to the city of Qarth. Everyone is fascinated, not only of Dani but mostly of her newly hatched dragons. Being treated quite well in the beginning, the city (especially one merchant) turns against her, because she wont give away one of her dragons.
Well, I am struggeling to sum up a book of nearly 900 pages, which is told by 9 POV-characters, which twists and turns more than any other book I read so far, so please excuse the mess!
I think, the second book is not as good as the first, the plot is sometimes a little confusing, with this happening and that, and all of that at the same time, and always through someone different's eyes... all the same, I still enjoy being a part of Westeros, and started already with the third one, so I award 7 out of 10.