The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
I really loved this book. And if, like me, you don't read any fantasy except for the horribly obvious titles, this is not a half bad place to start, especially if you're on the lookout for Harry Potter methadone.
Despite not reading much fantasy I had certain, not entirely unfounded ideas about it -- books thick enough to stop bullets, populated with humorless muscle-bound D&D characters and serving wenches in leather bikinis wielding elven blades. Gag.
But not only can Scott Lynch pull together an ass-kicking and eminently charming Ocean's Eleven-esque plot, the man also appears to be a card-carrying feminist.*
Can anyone recommend more titles like this? Low magic fantasy with strong female characters, and more focus on the brains than the brawn? I'd be ever so grateful for your assistance in facilitating my transformation to Queen of the Geeks.
* Check out his post on the new Bond movie, reminding critics that before they get all misty-eyed about the franchise's return to Ian Fleming's Bond, they would do well to remember that Ian Fleming's Bond is a misogynist rat.