I never know to say in these things. I guess that says something about me. I read a lot, write stories, and like books. I like a good debate. Nothing else is to say. :-)
I am always surprised that this series does not get anymore attention, because it deserves more. I picked up the first book, The Briar King, on a whim. I was looking for something to read to pass the time and just picked it up at the bookstore because it sounded interesting. I am always looking for books that are good fantasy, but not predictable repetitive like some other fantasy books. You know, the usual young boy finds out he is special in some way; goes on epic journey, fights bad guy, and win...it can be a bit much. So this book sounded like a change and I was glad I picked it up once I got going.
The first thing that stood out to me was the fact that the main protagonist is a female, and a good character at that. Once complaint I always have about fantasy books are that the females in it are always flat and one dimensional. They either are there to serve as love interest for the male character, who sit about and annoy me with their uselessness and weak personalities. Little pure princesses, that don't actually exist in real life. Or they are the evil witch who must be defeated. That whole Madonna, whore thing...but then Fantasy is mostly written by men. So I was happy to see that this series has a strong female lead character that is useful and central. Yeah in the first book she makes mistakes that make you want to smack here, but because they character is well thought out...the mistakes are understandable, and you can see growth. She learns and changes from her mistakes.
Another aspect of this series I enjoy is the action. There are plenty of fighting scenes complete with blood and guts and sword fighting for those that enjoy that sort of thing. But it not only has physical action, but literary action..the book never stalls and has a great pace..that almost makes you feel like you are one this frantic journey with these people. But the series is not also without lots of plot driven action as well. The plot is complicated and thick.
Which gets to the final thing I liked...the mystery of what is exactly going on. There are plots within plots, and just when you think you know what is going on, and who is behind it...another layer is peeled of and you realize that there is more going on than meets the eye. As you answer on question, two more pop up..and all evidence seems to point to this not just being a wild goose chance with no satisfying pay off at the end. It seems the writer knows where he is going and what is going to happen...that this story line will be wrapped up.
But with a plot so dense, there can be time when there is confusion. There is a large group of characters and sometimes more are introduced. It is definitely a series that requires re-read before a new installment to make sure that the players and events are fresh in your mind.
So, having finished the third book, The Blood Knight, I can say that this series is very good and worth the read. I have the final book, The Born Queen, and look forward to finishing this underrated series.