I can't believe I overlooked this series for so long. Big mistake. This was everything you need in a book (or a series) - a great adventure sprinkled generously with fantastical elements and romance served as a side dish (Couldn't think of a better analogy but this works too because, you know, everyone understands food).
Oh and it gets better and better with every moment and not just every book. Every bit is full of twists and turns, medieval fighting, emotional upheaval and humour. It was one of those page turners which you read and savour and not just read on furiously, desperate to gobble it all up in one go. This will leave you utterly stupefied and breathless. There is a marvel to Marchetta's books, an enchantment to them which drifts through each sentence of each page. It's not simply a finely made written work, but also a living, pulsating heart and a lovely, however, broken soul.
The character development was one of the best points of this book. Marchetta gives each of her characters just the right amount of intrigue, depth and individuality. They feel so real that you can understand and predict (not the cliche-type prediction) what their reaction is going to be...and that just makes you go on for more. I can't adequately express it but her characters were a novelty.
There's so much more I want to say about this series but I think I'll just fall short. And I would pretty much recommend it to everyone. You won't regret it. Because Marchetta has the ability to blow your mind with her epic-ness.