I really enjoyed the first 3 books I read, A game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, a Storm of Swords... But A feast for Crows.. I stopped at every chapter with so many questions, What Robb's Dead!? Catelyn too!, so I turned to Wikipedia to explain why it missed so much story, there was a suggestion of keep going all will become clear so I did, after finishing the book I realise I had only read the first part of A storm of swords! I have missed Part 2: Blood & Gold, is it normal to chop books up into parts, then run a couple in parrallel? not a big book reader and I question my intelligence as I cant seem to keep up with the order of these books.
Don't give up on the storyline it really is superb. it is a bad habit some publishers have developed in recent times to split a 1 vol hardback into two paperbacks. I don't think they chopped any of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time novels though [different publisher?]. i think the practice originated in the states [short attention spans over there?]. You may find things a bit different in Feast for Crows as the story has become so huge that George Martin decided rather than stop the storyline mid-plot [too long a story to fill one hardback] and to then carry on with it in the next novel that it would be better to complete this section of the storyline with half the characters, the next novel would then parrallel this with the other half of the characters in A Dance with Dragons!! i'm sure it will pan out fine as each group of characters are well distanced and in scenarios of there own anyway [if memory serves]. I have yet to read book 5 A Dance with Dragons [or is it 6 or 7 in the chopped editions?] but I am sure it will all pan out.
A STORM OF SWORDS and A DANCE WITH DRAGONS were both published as single, big books in hardcover and trade paperback. However, when Voyager released them in paperback it decided to split them in two each. They claimed that they couldn't afford to publish them as mass-market paperbacks as one books, despite themselves publishing THE LORD OF THE RINGS (a longer book) as one volume and many, many other publishers publishing many, many longer novels in one volume as well.
So the paperback order in the UK is:
1: A Game of Thrones 2: A Clash of Kings 3: A Storm of Swords, Part 1 - Steel and Snow 4: A Storm of Swords, Part 2 - Blood and Gold 5: A Feast for Crows 6: A Dance with Dragons, Part 1 - Dreams and Dust 7: A Dance with Dragons, Part 2 - After the Feast
If you buy the series in hardcover, tradeback or as ebooks, however, you can get them in as five volumes as they should have been all along.
I agree that the way this saga is divided up is confusing, there does not really seem to be a story line. The books are marked in a way that if not careful one buys the same content under different titles.