Complex politics, well thought out magic system, clash between religious and secular powers, an ineluctable catastrophe looming, long lost creatures walking the lands once again, GREAT characterization. What more can you ask for in a fantasy saga. Plot? Good enough to taste. My only complaint is that the series, which clocks in at 7 books long, is several books too long. Still, the series is one of the better epic fantasy sagas out there and well worth the read.
Edit: The series completely disappoints by the end. Its ambitious and the first couple books in the series hint at great things, but Elliot gets lost in her world and things just dont end up moving along. Whats 7 books should have been 3. By the end of things, I didnt much care about the characters or plot, I was so bored.