On my first read through I found parts of Dany's ADWD arc a little slow, and I still think that some of her material could be cut, but it is undoubtedly one of those arcs that improves significantly on rereads. I think that much of the negativity stems from the fact that there is so much build up to a huge battle that never occurs, and once TWOW is out and the books are able to be read back to back the slavers bay story will feel much more complete and satisfying.
As for the argument that the characters in slavers bay are rather one dimensional and uninteresting, particularly the villains, I largely agree with this point. However I do feel that at least one character - the Shavepate - can stand up to his Westeri counterparts. If you subscribe to the theories from the Meereenese Blot then the Shavepate becomes much more interesting. Likewise if you have read the analysis of BryndenBFish then it appears that the Shavepate may play a significant and traitorous role in the battle of fire that will add further intrigue to his character and will at least provide us with a smart Essosi villain.
I love both. The show knocked it out of the park in my opinion. I don't understand the argument that it felt "hollow" and lacked the build-up and dread of the books.... I thought the build up of tension was masterfully handled with the brilliant music (not just the rains of castamere but the more jolly songs before it as well), Catelyn's slow realisation that something is amiss, intercutting with Arya and Grey Wind, and of course the brilliant performances of David Bradley and Michael McElhatton (the look on Roose's face when Catelyn sees the chainmail is genius).
Also loved the earlier scenes at the Twins, particularly the actual wedding scene where the happiness of Edmure after seeing Roslin really hit me in the gut the first time I watched it, knowing what was coming next. All in all, one of the most well executed set piece in the show so far, along with Dracarys.
Got mine today - not sure if this was ever noticed or revealed before release but it turns out that the dragon shadow is actually part of a clear plastic sleeve which you can remove, leaving just the cream case with the three swords symbol. The effect is pretty cool, and makes me appreciate the cover much more than I did before. However it's a bit of a shame that the outer plastic sleeve is held together just by glue, and seems like it could easily come apart. Still, a nice unexpected suprise before I even open the case!
Well you've got me sold, nice theory! It would be pure GRRM to have one of the young Sand Snakes who no one pays mind to prove so pivotal to the Dorne plot. I can definitely at least see the Elia-sends-the-raven part happen, beyond that who knows.