I wish I were as well-read and out of sync as you!
Anyway, my favourite fantasies if asked these days might be:
Arc d'X by Steve Erickson. A convoluted, complex fever dream of a novel.
... And, I would say, the second sentence has to be good too, and the third. They all must be good. Even the last sentence has to be good, more than
Tavore Paran and Tehol in The Malazan Book of the Fallen
Locke Lamora in The Gentlemen Bastard series
Three of my favorite genius
Unfortunately, I had to return a half-read book (McKillip's Bards of Bone Plain) to the library yesterday. Maybe I'll be able to check it back out yet