In the traditional sort of fantasy novel, the reader is shown a world where magic and blades rule the day. Science and technology are not a major part of the world. But as in the fairy tales and mythology from which fantasy borrows with heavy hand, as technology is discovered, magic and magical creatures are usually driven to the verge. (Although according to the urban fantasy subgenre, by the time the modern day rolls around magic has adapted just fine!). I just finished The Oversight by Charlie Fletcher which is an excellent example of this type of fantasy with an early modern time setting.
Once upon a time, The Oversight numbered in the hundreds and guarded the world from magic - the sort of magic that leaves the survivors wailing bewildered over their dead. Now there are only five left to guard against the dark things better unseen. A girl is brought to them by a disreputable sort who wants to sell her. Prone to screaming fits, she is thought mad but she also might be the start of rebuilding the Oversight. Or perhaps not. This is a very fast-paced tale and obviously the start of a trilogy at a minimum. The world shown is gritty and grim. You can all but smell the stink of the gutters in the city and see the wild spaces in the countryside shrink as they are fettered by iron rails and canals that also bind the fey things and drive them to madness. I couldn't put this book down and set aside everything else I had started to finish it. I'm going to snatch up book two the moment it's available.
P.S. Rachel really called it on Ancillary Justice being a wonderful novel in her earlier blog entry. I liked book two even better!