I want to start by saying I'm reviewing the series as a whole, not just Balancer. I plan to copy paste (with a few changes) to Jaunten as well.
I'd like to start with the good things. The world building was excellent and the pacing was solid enough, until the end.
That said, I ended up not feeling very positive about the story or characters as a whole.
The bad guys were pure evil (not to mention incredibly stupid), and the good guys were saints. There was no real conflict, as Garth (and the other protagonists) were completely and utterly more powerful than their foes. It was four books of "hide and go seek" where there were only a couple of scenes of minor drama. The political leaders were so impossibly nice that was almost sickening. Two kings of neighboring countries were practically best friends and completely selfless, without even the tiniest concern for their own personal power. In fact, every "good" character had no negative qualities. Even Kartal (the "obnoxious one") was perfectly fine, and only seemed even moderately negative in contrast to the sugary goodness of everyone else. The nauseating protagonists, the nameless, yet unrelatably evil, antagonists, and the completely overpowering strength of the protagonists that made any attempt by the antagonists to foil them seem pitiful removed any potential drama or connection to the characters. There was no climax in the entire series, just one easy victory after the other.
Finally, the entire last 30% of the book is taken over by wedding plans. Seriously, that's the epic conclusion? Picking out colors and seating assignments?
I really wanted to like this series, which is probably why the disappointment was that much more palpable after I completed it.
I'm not sure who wrote all the 5 star reviews, and if they read the same series I did, but as a work of fiction I was incredibly disappointed by the plot, characters, and conclusion. It is clear that the writer has a talent for world building and pacing, but shows a lack of ability to create a dramatic plot that engages the reader and develop characters in such a way that they are relatable. I hope in the writer's next attempt that her style matures, as I want to see more of the world of the Advent Mage Cycle, just with real characters and an actual plot.