The Night Angel trilogy
This is a trilogy by some dude named Brent Weeks. A friend kept pestering me to read them, so I gave in and bought the set. The first thought I had was how much it reminded me of the Wheel of Time books. Then I read an interview with the author where he says the first thing he ever wrote was basically a Wheel of Time ripoff. Huh. So he's still stuck in Robert Jordan mode, apparently.
But the books are different in enough ways to not nauseate me. First of all, instead of (literally) being about a red-headed step child, it's about Bean, from Ender's Shadow, growing up in the ghetto. Except instead of Germany or whatever, it's some place in a world like the WoT books, with a bunch of soverign nations close by with vastly different customs. And his name isn't Bean. And instead of being a genius, he's a ninja. A magical ninja. The story is about him learning to be a "wetboy", which is basically a badass super ninja assassin with magical powers (called "Talent"), and his adventures saving the world and stuff.
It's got a dangerous magical sword, topless seafaring women, a white tower/city-state where only women are taught magic, the Shadow... a lot of it is WoT renamed, with less emo, 12 less books, and ninjas. But the most important difference imo is that the women aren't all insufferable bitches. As bad as I just made it sound, I rather enjoyed it, and recommend it for anyone who likes WoT or ninjas.