I finished up The Shards, Gary's third GemQuest novel yesterday. Over the course of the three books, Gary's skills as a writer are catching up to his skills as a storyteller. While on the surface the saga is your typical "good guys rally to thwart the destructive plans of the evil overlord," there is more to it than that, and Gary's skills as a storyteller proves it. Part of the fun of that trope is seeing how many ways it can be spun, and in Gary's case, I like what he is doing.
Colton, the evil overlord, while not seen very much, is handled very well both in the scenes he is featured, as well as the scenes when other characters try to understand the nature of his "evil." There were a couple of instances where a copyedit would have helped, but on the whole, I like where the series is going, that is to say, there are a few different directions it could go. I also liked some of the new creatures and monsters introduced and fleshed out in The Shards, I'm seeing hints of a couple of different myths here. Suffice it to say, I'm looking forward to where Gary takes the story in the next volume, Revenge of the Elves.