I've read some bad, achingly dull fantasy in the past, that is bereft of any charm or characterization, but as I continue this series, I find that I am rewarded for my tenacity with this genre. The entire series is like a parabola, expanding outwards, gaining speed and a real feeling of authenticity while feeling majestic and astounding enough, in its land and the characters who populate it, so that it is truly worthy of the label of not being Fantasy, exactly, but something better - anti-Fantasy.
Sure, it drags a bit in places where I would rather I find out what's happening with my favorite characters (and, I am not kidding here, about 80% of the characters could arguably be said to be my "favorites", in the right context - an astounding feat, in a series whose characters fill up a list in the back of each book that is 70+ pages in length!) but things are uncomplicated, in terms of whose POV I am in, which each chapter generally stating whose POV the chapter will be in (THANK YOU MARTIN FOR THIS CONSIDERATION!) and you are never certain whose story will come next.
Reading this series feels like an active experience, exciting, touching, shocking and unbelievable all at the same time.