I don't think the first book was absolutely amazing, but it was enough to get me into the series. I liked the characters and the general story, but there was just something about the pacing that made reading the book a challenge for me. This would normally be a turn off for me in continuing a book series, but I still wanted to know where things were going by the end of the book. It took me a grand total of three months to read the first book, between a brutal summer semester at college and just not being totally engrossed, I found it hard to read more than a page or so a day.
But! Like I said, I enjoyed the story and the characters and still wanted to know where the story was going, so I picked up The Magician. I've only read the first three books at the moment, but I would say that The Magician is my absolute favorite of the three. I managed to finish reading it in a little over a week. I loved the pacing, it went at a much smoother rate and I was enamored with the extending cast of characters. Germain and Machiavelli were my favorites among the lot. Whereas I think Dee is kind of boring, Machiavelli just has this smooth charm that puts him above slithery bad guy and into the realm of charismatic mastermind.