I gobbled this up as fast as I could. Not because I loved it, though. I *liked* it quite a bit, but I had a similar reaction reading to "The Pillars of the Earth." Basically, the story and its characters are super-compelling: you HAVE to find out what happens.
But when you find out what happens, it's almost always bad. Just when you start to like a character, he is beheaded, she's raped, a dog is dead, a baby is dead, etc.
The world of the book is fantastic, though. That's the first part of writing great fantasy: having a complex, believable world. The detail in this world, all of its history, is wonderful.
The sheer size of this book meant that the tension ("what's going to happen?!") and the constant bad things ("oh, he's dead now") made it totally exhausting to read.
I might want to read the next book in the series, but I can't do it yet. I have to recover first.