Beka Cooper by Tamora Pierce
While this book was well written, I believe I read it a bit late. It was more suited for younger girls (12-15ish). I read it when I was 19 and when I got so the end of its 500+ pages I felt a bit let down. It does a good job of capturing the colloquialisms of Tortall (which I interpreted as old London) and developing the main character. In many ways character development was a bit transparent and obvious, but it was there nonetheless. I also think that it was more of a mystery novel before a fantasy novel in that the "fantasy characteristics" (i.e. magic, mythical creatures etc) were secondary to its "mystery features" (villains were human, characters were mostly human etc). Fantasy novels tend to have villains that are somehow super human and embody supernatural evil, the villains in this book were bakers motivated by greed. For all the above reasons, I gave the book a 3.