** spoiler alert ** This has some spoilers, so if you really want to read through the series, don’t read this review.So everyone seems to like these books because they turn the fantasy world upside down. There’s the usual tropes, the quest, with the prince, the barbarian, the warrior princess, and the mage, off to find some mysterious artifact that will stop some dark lord. Fairly familiar, except that everyone is a jerk and they never find the dumb artifact. Theres also a crippled torturer who is supposed to gain sympathy. So there are some interesting twists, and if I were to judge this on the first book alone, without having read the others, I might have given this a higher score. It was intriguing, and you want to find out what’s next. Are things going to get better? No. That’s the problem. Maybe I judge books too much on their ending, but if they don’t end satisfactorially for my, then I’m not happy, even if it was good up till then. The noble is a self righteous jerk. The warrior girl is blind to everything but her own revenge, which she never gets. The mage looks at everyone else as inferiors and tools. The barbarian is the most sympathetic, but he’s pretty much just along for the ride. The torturer is just that: he tortures people. Just because we get to see his point of view doesn’t make him good or sympathetic. He does some bad things. And the ending is a total let down. It feels like someone played a prank on me. I read three books just for this? So back to the first point. It turns the fantasy genre upside down. I think the genre needs to look at itself now and then and not just follow blindly what others, like Tolkien, have done. But making the whole thing pointless? That turned me off. If you like gritty, you might like this, I know there are many who do, but if not, don’t bother.