The book is written in first person and follows Vladimir Taltos, an assassin and otherwise shady character. He is given an unprecedented assignment at the start of the book and follow him as he tries to resolve the resulting mess.
The most prominent thing that stood out to me is that Vlad is an established character. Not just with his background, but his status and relations with others in the city as well. There is no 'rise to prominence' part here, which surprised me for a first book of a series centered on a single person.
The author manages to weave this extensive history in smoothly as the plot advances, which is a plus. It also skimps on lengthy descriptions; my personal preference. You get the bare minimum and work from there with the bits and pieces handed to you as the plot develops.
After I finished I was surprised to see that it was written in 1983. I have a hard time with most fantasy that old due to the different writing styles prominent then. Everything is concise and appropriately paced, leading to a relatively short book (only 87K words), which is a good thing.
I was further surprised to see that the series isn't finished yet. Thirteen books exist of nineteen planned, which means that I won't begin a series binge as I only do that for completed series.
At the core, this book is a detective novel set in a fantasy world, a common sort of fantasy book that isn't an adventure novel, or an epic fantasy that spans multiple books. I suppose there could be a book spanning story thread coming, but in this book I found no hints of it. Well worth the read and I will certainly read the following books at some point.