One of my favorite books that I read last year was Valente's In the Night Garden. I just finished In the Cities of Coin and Spice yesterday, and the conclusion of the two-book series is an excellent and fitting follow-up. You like lyrical writing? It's got it. Couldn't care less about the prose, but want strange and wonderful magic? It's all there, sprouting out from every corner of the book. More into interesting world-building, into fascinating and diverse cities and the societies that grow up in and around them? Oh yeah, lots of that here integrated in the stories. Like experimental approaches to storytelling? It's there too, but not in a way that should put off most who wouldn't usually go for experimentation either--nested stories within stories that circle back and connect with the other stories throughout the two books in surprising and satisfying ways.
This is a book I wish I'd thought of writing, one I can definitely recommend to most any reader of fantasy. Honestly, though, I don't know that I'd have been able to have the kind of mental organization and perseverance to pull off the way all these different stories end up falling together. It's an impressive feat...and sometimes impressive doesn't translate into enjoyable as well, but in this case it certainly does.
In other things, Jeremy Tolbert, fellow Fort Collinsian... Fort Collinsite... What's the word the local press uses to refer to us? Fortian, that's it (huh, ironic there, since Jeremy's the former editor of Fortean Bureau--funny confluence of sounds). Anyway, he has a story up at Fantasy Magazine: "The Yeti Behind You." It's a good story of the fantastic entering the everyday life of its characters.
Also, I received my copy of critique partner Michael Ehart's Servant of the Manthycore yesterday--I hadn't wanted to order it before our time up in Dillon, unsure if the delivery would get through. I'm still very impressed that he was able to get such a glowing intro from Michael Moorcock, and the book looks nice. It'll be a little while before I get a chance to read it since books I'd requested at various times from other libraries all seemed to arrive about the same time and created a massive pile of books (with a due-date deadline!). But I'm looking forward to it regardless.