Okay, after a generous dollop of Caroline Stevermer's excellent A College of Magics, I allow that maybe I was just a teeny bit harsh to poor Kristen Britain earlier. She is only the product of decades of epic fantasy crap being written, published, and read. I suppose she fills some sort of niche, and I'm sure her more recent books are better.
On the other hand, her editor should never, ever have let this phrase stand: "It blinked, extinguishing its moon eyes, and twisted its head away, as owls do." Not a bad turn of phrase--except that she is talking about an owl. It is actually an owl. So she has told us that an owl is doing what owls do. And that's only on page three.
But let me quit belaboring the book as if I cared that much. I'm enjoying A College of Magics hugely, and after that I may just go reread a few favorites. I seem to be in a reading mood right now, not a writing mood, and I'm just going to go with it. NaNoWriMo's coming up, I'm finding steamships unexpectedly tedious, and I'm worried that my 3-day novel entry never arrived (no confirmation email). And I have three novels now under consideration at various small presses and one under consideration by a prestigious agent. I'll just read other people's books for a while and try and chill.