Megan Whalen Turner, the Thief of Eddis
Fantasy with no magic (only the occasional intervention from the gods), inspired by Greek myths rather than Arthurian tales. The Thief (#1) is a pretty standard action-adventure; from there they get deeply plot-twisty (yay!) with some first-rate character development (yay!) and pretty good worldbuilding. The end of #2 (The Queen of Attolia) flails around a lot; other than that I've no real complaints. Thus far The King of Attolia (#3) is my favorite, but that's only after a reread. The fourth (A Conspiracy of Kings, featuring the POV of a character from #1) may yet grow on me.
I'm nearly regretting buying these in paperback; the binding and paper are bad enough to detract from the reading experience.
Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear, the Iskryne
A Companion to Wolves is a Norse-analogue critique of Pern with lots of gay sex (as one gets when one critiques Pern
) and some fairly cool elves. It's also a book complete in itself. The sequel, The Tempering of Men, is almost a perfectly fine book: there's less gay sex but lots more angst, and more cool elves, and the Pern-critique is in transition to become a Valdemar-critique. If it weren't half a story I'd be really really happy with it. I expect I'll be happier once the third (An Apprentice to Elves) arrives.
Walter Jon Williams, Metropolitan
Urban fantasy, if the term "urban fantasy" hadn't already been appropriated to mean "in the style of Borderland and late-eighties Charles de Lint." Imagine if your local power company supplied refined geomancy on tap, instead of electricity, and you'll have some idea of what's involved. The main character's a low-level functionary at the power company who stumbles on a huge untapped reservoir of plasm (power), and in the process of figuring out what the heck to do with it touches off a major civil war. It's really first-rate stuff. I read it before the move, expecting to get fifty pages in and consign it to the go-away pile, and instead I wound up ordering the sequel. (And then didn't get time to read it. And having since learned that WJW wanted and planned to write a third but
the publisher went out of business
his editor got fired and all his books cancelled, I'm not sure I want to...)