The Collapsing Empire
by John Scalzi
I'm a big fan of transparent prose, which is the notion that the author's voice on the page shouldn't distract from the story. John Scalzi is not a transparent prose writer. But that's okay. It only took me a chapter to become thoroughly engrossed in the world, and you know what? The voice worked. It worked beautifully. His smart-ass names for ships left me grinning as my eyes skimmed over them.
The Collapsing Empire is a distant future sci-fi where humans have discovered faster-than-light travel by jumping into giant interstellar rivers collectively known as The Flow. We've got an empress (emperox!), greedy nobles, lucky-and-humble minor nobility, and a particularly foul-mouthed guild representative. We've got humor, sci-fi, lots of [non-graphic] sex, and enough twists on sci-fi cliches to leave you panting for more.
This is the first in a series, part of Scalzi's new multi-year book deal, and I, for one, can't wait for the next one.