This series has been on my radar for many years but for some reason I never got round to starting it.................oh, you foolish, foolish person! Turns out I've been missing a real treat.
Although the story is fairly standard fantasy stuff there are two things that really stand out;
1) The magic system, whereby people can be empowered by taking enhancements from people - making the person recieving the the enhancement more powerful but leaving the donor a wreck. At times this can be quite horrific or saddenning, depending on the situation, whether the enhancement is taken by force or freely given and as a plot device it is really well used.
2) The description of the world. Right from the very first page this land jumps off the page. It feels real and alive. For me, this makes a story all the more enjoyable.
All in all, quality storytelling and characterisation, set in a believable land - It took me a while to start this series but I'm really glad I did.