Speed reading the last half of A Dance with Dragons made it a much more break-neck experience. Not that the book’s pace is ever that quick, mind. Just that the book’s latter half is mostly scheming and plotting and set-up for the last 100 or so pages. And what a last 100!
Up until Quentyn tries to tame a dragon, the book was getting kind of dull, and everyone seemed way too safe for a Martin book. After that, and after the sequel of that scene, it became clear once more that no one – no one – was truly safe. And the epilogue’s revelation of what Varys means by his “for the good of the realm” was a great thing to end with.
It’s quite a bit better than the freeing of the slaves of Yunkai in the HBO show.