“A Spell in the Country” by Morgan Smith
A young soldier from a small town thrown into the heart of battle against supernatural evil threatening her country. Which incidentally puts her in close company with top scholars, nobility and of course the gorgeous prince :)
The story generally flows quickly across a landscape with detailed history. There’s a slow part in the middle where I was wondering if there was going to be any more action, but rest assured, the ending delivered some real tension.
Sometimes a contentious point in medieval fantasy settings, but gender equality is handled well and consistently. The author has obviously put some thought into how traditional concepts of chastity, purity and objectification would map out in a society with full equality (Shades of old-school Mercedes Lackey).
I found the hints of backstory about attitudes toward magic intriguing. How the state religion is split over it’s handling, and it’s viewed with significant suspicion by most citizens. I would have liked a few more details but the viewpoint is an eminently practical soldier. As much as magic drives the plot, we’re only seeing the surface. I expect this will be fleshed out more as the series goes on.