When I first started writing, I visited the Queensland Writers Centre and spoke to Angela Slatter, who worked there, about my stories. She recommended I read White Cat as an example of a strong speculative fiction that used 1st person in present tense.
When I read it, I feel in love with Holly Black's writing. There was so many more lessons to be learnt by reading it. So here's what I found.
Male POV: I struggled in the beginning to write from a guy's perspective. But with Black's writing you can take out the names and you would still know the MC was a guy. It's in the subtle details, the language, the MC's actions, the way he interacts with his friends.
World Building: The premise of curse workers roaming around the world, being monitored, controlled and used by mobsters and the government was just so believable because of all the little details Black put in. The use of gloves to illustrate the fear from both sides (curse workers and non0curse workers), the retelling of history to add context and substance (I loved that Australia was founded by curse workers in the world Black created) and the detail on slight of hand techniques all contributed to the world building.
1st Person, Present Tense: I was writing 1st person past tense until I read this book. Then I tried it and found that's where my words fit best. It feels more active and my sentences flow smoother.
As a writer, it's definitely good to read and learn from other writer's storytelling. I can highly recommend you read White Cat if you're looking for examples on what I've discussed in this post.