Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Set in fifteenth century Europe, Grave Mercy is the first in a new historical fantasy trilogy. At fourteen, Ismae escapes her abusive father and the marriage he had arranged for her and enters the convent of St. Mortain, the God of Death. At the convent, she trains to become a handmaiden of death, learning about poisons and weapons, along with the womanly art of seduction.
At seventeen, with her training almost complete, she is sent to the high court of Brittany with the mission of protecting the duchess from possible traitors There she becomes embroiled in political intrigue -- and, of course, romance -- with Duval, half-brother to the duchess and perhaps one of the aforementioned "possible traitors"
Full of historical detail, this debut novel brings readers into a fascinating world of political double-crossing and mystery. In Ismae, she has created a young heroine who must find her own strength as she figures out her place in all of the political machinations.
Ismae's story will appeal to teen (and adult) readers who enjoy strong female characters in a fantasy setting -- especially those who loved Kristin Cashore's Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue. And although the setting is very different, fans of Katniss should definitely check this one out too.