I found it highly amusing that they stocked more copies of FE8 (Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones) at my local game store than FE7 (Fire Emblem). Very ironic, since FE7 was a magnificent game. SS is too, there's no denying it. However, because IS decided to add several new interesting features to an already awesome game, it ended up falling short.
I personally enjoy Sacred Stones more than FE7, as the difficulty of FE7 often got me frustrated XD Many fans however, see this as a problem and a major flaw in the gameplay. Many of the characters have high stats, which makes the levels easier to complete. However, don't mistake this as me saying the game is easy, because it is still reasonably hard. It is just shorter and less challenging than the previous ones
The class system introduced in SS allows players to choose which class their leveled characters can promote to. I personally like this feature, but some argue it makes the game unbalanced.
Overall, Sacred Stones is pretty damn good. If you're new to the series, I recommend it, then Fire Emblem (FE7), since the difficulty levels work well that way XD