A- for "Elantris"by Brandon Sanderson
If you can read the opening line of this novel and not keep reading, then you are something special. This book is populated with interesting characters and relatable problems. Although it might not have the same level of hard realism of some of the darker fantasists out there, his innovative magic system and plot twists help make this book a favourite of mine.
I believe the use of plausible-sounding names of places in the story (Fjordell, Jindo, etc) help make the novel even stronger. Sure Fjordell sounds Norwegian or Finnish or some such, but it gives me some sort of idea of what the country might be like, which is helpful. Better than the fantasy cliche of just stringing together an incoherent bunch of letters that don't give any idea of what the country might be like.
In any case, a highly recommended novel.
(Note that if you are looking for a darker and more harshly realistic story there may be other better choices out there, so check my reviews. Sanderson's books have tend to have less swearing, sex, and throat-slitting as some of the grittier fantasy works, so they reach a broader audience. Highly recommended as more accessible fiction.)