I'll admit that I was first interested in this book by Facebook advertising. I'm a little embarrassed by that, but it got me. So be it. I read the first chapter and I was hooked.
Absolutely rich, very dark, story-driven, could-not-put-it-down because I HAD TO KNOW what happened next..... True, not the most rich character design or world building I've ever seen, but absolutely story-driven with an epic grandeur that I truly enjoyed. And the author did a magnificent job, if not with the original character design, but with the growth of the characters themselves, which a lot of authors fall flat with.
I'm reminded a lot of Robin Hobb (if the reviewer below will forgive me, but I see the comparisons), Sara Douglass or Carol Berg. Give it a shot, either way. My only complaint is that I hate cliffhangers, and I'm starting to get to the point, as a reader, where I'd rather wait for the series to be out in its entirety before dealing with the wait for the next bit of an incomplete story. ;)