Finished reading Midwinter by Matthew Sturges. As I've mentioned already, I came to this book familiar with Sturges' work as a comics writer, but this is his first prose novel. I thought it was great. He sets up an interesting world that's more complex than it initially appears, and populates it with characters who are interesting to spend time with. The story is a fairly straightforward quest tale (and pretty much lives up to the high-concept description "The Dirty Dozen with elves") but it's told well.
I have a lot of trouble with this sort of otherworldly fantasy, and probably wouldn't have read this if I wasn't already a fan of the author. It's really hard for me to get a picture of a place in my head, or to keep characters straight if they've got weird names. Sturges makes his setting and characters distinct enough that I never had any trouble. He also connects his world to our own in some interesting, unexpected ways, which I thought were pretty cool.
While Sturges' next book--due next year--is set in the same world, it doesn't seem to be a direct sequel to this one. Similarly, this book does drop hints for what the future may hold, but it's complete in its own right. That's great; I read enough stuff as it is. If I read a new book, I want to know I'll be completely satisfied when I get to the end. That's the case here, but I'm so completely satisfied that, paradoxically, I can't wait for the next one.