The First Law: Book One. The Blade Itself
by Joe Abercrombie
This is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. I've read it once before, but this time I was able to really delve into the rich world Abercrombie created. For you YA Fantasy geeks, think of it as a mix between an adult Tortall series for the world and Redwall for the switching back and forth between multiple characters.
Speaking of the characters: this is the definitive book if you want to examine a single writer exploring different voices. Of the 6 characters who get POV chapters, each voice is so distinct that you know exactly who is thinking as soon as the chapter starts. And if you are of the "show me, don't tell me" school of characterization, you are going to revel in this book. One character is introduced through the way he goes down stairs.
I shouldn't tell you much, though. because the discoveries and surprises of this book are so enjoyable, I don't want to ruin it! I will say one thing, though: Be patient with the book. As it is the first book, you are introduced each main character living out their separate story. You know that eventually the author will bring them together, but it is not until the end. Use the rest of the book to relish the details of each of their lives, and the world the author has created. It will all be important later. Don't rush.