The first book clearly starts out as a YA, but by the end of book 6 we've partially left YA territory. Young (not so magical) boy mage flees his family and wanders the outlands, accompanied by an drawling Argosi, a squirrel cat, and hunted by all.
But boy, are these good! All 6 of 'm.
In one of his interviews Sebastien de Castell talks about his inspirations, and one of those inspirations has been Roger Zelazny. It figures. Even before reading the interview I discussed these books with my youngest daughter, and told her they reminded me of Zelazny's Amber. A little in tone, setting and characterization, but mostly in the vibrant characters (I have no other way to put it). Oh, and his relations with his relatives are... somewhat strained 😉
Absolutely worth it!
Kellen, son of a master mage, never has been the most talented when it comes to magic. But on his sixteenth birthday his life takes a turn for the worse: it turns out he has been infected with the Shadowblack. Which is kind of annoying, as it effectively means you'll end up as a demon murdering everyone around you. Which certainly hampers cordial family relations 😁
So, Kellen becomes an outcast, traveling with Ferius Parfax, a Squirrel Cat, and his whits. Think mage slash sharpshooter on the run, with little magic, little hope, and endless amounts of stubbornness. (Greetings from Corwin!)
The covers deserve a little extra attention.
First 10k paperbacks
The first 10k paperbacks featured a 'painted' page scheme, ie. the sides would have the same color as the fronts and backs of the book. So you might have ended up with paperbacks with white sides if you were't fast enough on the draw (pun intended, but only for those who've read the books).
Some people took it up on themselves to manually paint the sides themselves. Well, if you'd like to have a matching set, why not?
Now some images on the internet suggest book 6 has a yellow cover, not a black one... Perhaps this is a variant cover?
Book 6, Crownbreaker, has a lovely cover in gold print. The paperback features a black cover. Hmmm. One would be tempted to buy all six books in hardcover, just for that sleeve! Unfortunately book 3 appears to be out of print. More hmmm...
Again, some images on the internet suggest book 6 has a yellow cover, not a gold one... I hope not! It looks way better in gold...
US and Canada
Poor bastards, they get the worst of all the covers...