Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (YA)
Alina Starkov is a scrawny, plain-looking cartographer who has never been anything even close to special. Fear and war dominate her world, split by a sea of darkness called the Shadow Fold.
While her regiment attempts crossing the dangerous Fold, they are attacked by the monstrous volcra and a dormant power reveals itself to Alina, allowing her to save her best friend Mal's life. Her power is of great interest to the Darkling, the leader of the magical Grisha: those gifted with amazing powers -- everything from fashioning clothing and hair to creating weapons. What's more, it seems Alina's power is quite rare, and may be the key to destroying the Fold itself.
At court, Alina is trained to control her newfound power as one of the Grisha. While the Darkling's seductive interest in her may go beyond Alina's ability to summon light, the luxuries of the palace and her beautiful new friends blind her to the truth -- she is just a pawn in a greater game, one that could destroy her country instead of saving it.
The country of Ravka, and the vernacular Bardugo uses to bring this world to life, has a wonderfully Russian feel that evokes the intrigue of a thriller despite the fantastical setting. Bardugo's thoroughly modern voice combined with old world charm creates a unique page-turner readers 13 and up will devour. Romance, action, magic and monsters. All the ingredients of what promises to be a fantastic series. Book 2, SEIGE AND STORM came out a few weeks ago.