I took a chance with this when a friend, whose opinion I trust, recommended the series to me. I recall reading the first few chapters in Shonen Jump while working at a Blockbuster and passed the series as shit. Years later, after said friend passed Claymore my way again, I got into it.
By the third volume the manga really picks up. From then on I don't think I hit a single stale moment. The only drawback is that now chapters are being released once a month. Currently, the US translated volumes are at 10, with 11 on the far horizon.
tl;dr ART GETS BETTER, FIGHTS GET SUPERB, NO ONE IS SAFE