These were my votes:
- The Blade Itself - Joe Abercrombie
- Winter's Heart, Crossroads of Twilight, Knife of Dreams - Robert Jordan
- Deadhouse Gates, The Bonehunters, Reaper's Gale, Toll the Hounds, (especially) Dust of Dreams - Steven Erikson
- A Storm of Swords - George R. R. Martin
- Lord of Emperors - Guy Gavriel Kay
- Diplomatic Immunity - Lois McMaster Bujold
- The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents - Terry Pratchet
- The Years of Rice and Salt - Kim Stanley Robinson
My first instinct was to go there and vote for "The Wheel of Time" and "Malazan Book of the Fallen", as dutiful fan. But then I stopped, thought about it a bit and decided to be more objective. So I went over the list of my rated books on Amazon, and then sifted this list. Here are the reason for my votes:
"The Blade Itself" was first book in Joe Abercrombie's "The First Law" trilogy. Book has a nice plot and well (but nothing exceptional) imagined world. What outshine it are the characters: its collection of gray, eccentric and witty characters is almost matched only by George R.R. Martin's. Later books in series and one stand-alone novel were very good, but not good as the original.
WoT had some great additions in last two years and I first wanted to note TGS and ToM as my candidates. But, after few minutes, I realized that, even the books were great, part of that greatness was caused by hyping them (Jordan's death, uncertain future, Sanderson's appearance). Golden times of WoT were the nineties. Even though TGS and ToM are in no perspective bad books and I enjoyed reading them, that enjoyment was greater with WH, CoT and KoD. Thus my vote.
Similar for MBoF. Whole series has great books, but I noted only those I enjoyed best. Objectively speaking, this is the best written series I have ever read.
"Storm of Sword" is a part of one of my three best series. Two books before it would also be on the list if they were published after 2000. Fourth book, "A Feast for Crows" is good, but not good as those, so I omitted it from the votes.
All novels from "Vorkosigan Saga" would be on the list, but unfortunately most of them were written before 2000, and I still haven't read "Cryoburn". Even though not hard SF, they are nevertheless one of funniest and exciting books ever.
I like Terry Pratchet's books, but "The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents" is the only of his later books I have read. I read his first 8-9 books, but they were all written long ago. His books are extremely imaginative, funny and true. This book looks like children-book at first glance, but it's very serious and dark book.
"The Years of Rice and Salt" by Kim Stanley Robinson is a very interesting book about alternate-history Earth. I recommend it to all, not just SFF readers.
While writing this, I also realized that I haven't read much SF after 2000. I would like not it to be so, but currently I barely have time for reading fantasy. Read other people's votes, I also realized that there are many more books to read!