From here out, there will be spoilers. Skip to the final paragraph for my unspoilerish rating.
Even though the character development is predictable, two characters rise above the others. I enjoyed reading about Logen Ninefinger’s endeavor to unite his hostile party on the epic journey to find the seed (which ended up turning out to be not so epic). Ferro is a second interesting character. Her toughness, aloofness, and wounds make her compelling. Her interest in Ninefingers also proves entertaining. But even here, with these two characters, reality come crashing in and stops them from developing beyond the beginnings of greatness. The material for great characters is there, it just never blossoms.
Aside from these problems, there are also minor issues. The major battle in the second book reminds me too much of Tolkein’s Helms Deep. The early discussion of magic in The Sword Itself seems similar to Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea magic. The journey in the second book which unites the characters reads like a cheap plot technique, leaving the reader unfulfilled at its end. Ferro’s purpose in the books appears at the end but is weak. Ninefinger’s ability to speak to spirits is underdeveloped. Finally, the reader gets to the end and hopes there will be an exciting climax, drawing the strings together in some unknown way, showing the author knew what he was doing all along, but there is only a puttering out, a slow, soft whimper across the final pages.
I give this series a Read this or not - it doesn't matter. I think that rating encapsulates this series perfectly. If you love dark, grim, reality fantasy, then you will enjoy these books. If you are just a connoisseur of fantasy novels, read other works first and come back to these when you have run out of options.