Now this is just a wild stab in the dark here, but I think George R.R. Martin might have a thing for women with big dark nipples.
As well as this shift of focus this is a particularly female-led instalment, with only two main male point-of-view characters (Jaime and Samwell) and the women really starting to take power for themselves - Cersei doing so increasingly dementedly, which is always fun. And there's a lot of Brienne of Tarth, so I was always going to like this one.
As I understand it the next season of the TV show will mix this book and the following one, but as that's another two-volume mammoth (as well as being the last of the books so far published) I'm going to take another break for something a bit different before tackling A Dance With Dragons.