Speaking of novel characters, which I did briefly in my last post, I wanted to bring up the subject of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.
Go. Go now. Read it. Honestly, you've got nothing better to do with your time, guaranteed.
From a novelist's perspective, I weep at my own inadequacy in comparison to Rothfuss's ability to seemingly effortlessly craft phenomenally epic characters. Granted, the best I can come up with for a plot would be, "A couple of guys sit around in a bar and the bartender tells the story of his life." Sounds pretty boring? Not with Rothfuss's characters. They could be painting a dining room and the story would still have that Tolkein-esque, high fantasty epic quality to it.
But at the same time, I wouldn't consider it a book of high fantasy, despite the faeries, magic, alchemy, and medieval politics. I mean, those are pretty much what defines high fantasy, but here you have a novel with a totally different, very modern-feeling narrator, in this fantastical milieu.
The Name of the Wind is followed by The Wise Man's Fear, sometime to be followed by the conclusion of the trilogy. I'll say that Fear is not as engaging as Wind. But again, from a writer's perspective, there were lots of tears and screams of impotent rage, wishing that I could write that well.