Just finished The Goblin Emperor. The 2015 Hugo novel category is going to be just fine. There’s at least one novel with likable and sympathetic characters, good plot, and good world building. The punctilious steampunk elves with gaslight and pocket watches are definitely not Tolkein, but language notes at the back would have totally warmed the cockles of Tolkein's heart, with a detailed discussion of elvish forms of address explicitly noting gender, marital status and social rank.
You will probably find it helpful to read that part first.
The author succeeded in making me care about the protagonist and his allies and friends. Also, elvish airships are cool. And the Elvish government is an interesting and novel piece of word building.