I think I've said this before, but it's really hard to write a good sequel when the first book is amazing. That being said, this is one of very few that there wasn't that problem.
While it did drag in a few places (while I like Jon Snow as a character, some of his chapters were really slow, and I didn't attach to Davos, so I didn't like his chapters), most of the book was pretty fast paced. I've said this about Martin before, but he writes tomes the way most authors write novels.
I can't wait to start A Storm of Swords; it promises to continue this great trend of writing on Martin's part.