Oh, yeah. The review thingy. Right. I wanted to write a bit about the Nightrunner series by Lynn Flewelling - three books so far, but emphatically not a trilogy according to the third book's preface (and according to the bits of info I've seen on the web that have the next book planned for 2008, despite the third one coming out back in 1999, so it looks like I timed my getting into the series pretty well). The titles, for those that might be interested, are Luck in the Shadows, Stalking Darkness, and Traitor's Moon.
In a way, these books remind me of Melusine (with an accent thingy somewhere in there) and The Virtu by Sarah Monette. Both are mostly split between two male main characters in the narration, at least one of whom does thiefly stuff. Both involve magical worlds of some type, although showing up somewhat limitedly on-screen. Both involve some interesting worldbuilding, not Generic Fantasy World #43 & 72 but also not a version of our real world (present or past) with magic slapped in, either. And, of course, both involve at least one openly not-totally-straight main character, which is still unfortunately a bit of an oddity in the fantasy I've read.
There are of course differences as well - the Monette books are in first person, while these are in limited omniscient third, and also occasionally veer off to the viewpoint of other characters. The main characters here aren't nearly as, ah, loosely moral shall we say as Mildmay in the Monette novels. The worldbuilding in each is obviously different, and the sex in the Nightrunner books isn't as explicit (and is more bisexual) than what you find in Melusine and The Virtu.
Plus the Nightrunner series seems lighter to me for some reason thus far, maybe because it feels a bit more like a typical fantasy adventure (flitting from city to city rather than deeply exploring one city and the worldbuilding) and the magic is a bit closer to what you'd consider "normal" for a fantasy book. Maybe because the language isn't as explicit, or because the third-person narrative feels more "standard." Maybe because it's got at least some version of elves (Aurenfaie, or "'faie"), although they don't have pointy ears and aren't exactly what you usually get when someone says "elf."
But at any rate, different or not, this series is still good. In fact, I might like it a little better because I don't have the struggles with the negatives like I had in the Monette books, where the pacing felt off and some of the worldbuilding terms were dropped in and left us in the dark as to what exactly they MEANT, for example. (Go read my review of those if you want a full list, go on, shoo!)
The books feel lighter, sure, but they still don't give me the guilty feeling for reading them like, say, some of Lackey. (Which I enjoy, often, but feel inexplicably like I SHOULDN'T, ya know?) As I said, the books have the all-important elves, but not in huge prominence overall (okay, except in the third book), and with enough of a twist that I don't even feel guilty for being happy about it (so nyah). The world and magic are refreshing, and the characters are fun and you really get attached. The bad guys aren't overdone, the good guys aren't squeaky clean, and all in all it's a fun romp through a fun world with fun people.
I suppose long story short, I'm wondering why the hell no one told me about these books before, and why it took me so long to find them. Though like I said, it's pretty good timing, since the next one will be out before TOO extremely long.
Now to find something else to read to pass the time...