There are several books that have inspired me so much they have been relegated to my "Forever Faves" booklist. These are the books that I can read over and over and over again. Today, I'd like to share one of those books with you.
Crown Duel (The Crown and Court Duet) by Sherwood Smith
(originally published separately as two books -- Crown Duel and Court Duel)
Battle on and off the field, with sword and fan, with might and manners...
It begins in a cold and shabby tower room, where young Countess Meliara swears to her dying father that she and her brother will defend their people from the growing greed of the king. That promise leads them into a war for which they are ill-prepared, a war that threatens the homes and lives of the very people they are trying to protect.
But war is simple compared to what follows, when the bloody fighting is done and fragile peace is at hand. Although she wants to turn her back on politics and the crown, Meliara is summoned to the royal palace. There, she soon discovers, friends and enemies look alike, and intrigue fill the dance halls and the drawing rooms. If she is to survive, Meliara must learn a whole new way of fighting -- with wit and words and secret alliances. In war, at least, she knew whom she could trust. Now she can trust no one....
When I was a teen, this is the book that single-handedly launched me into the compelling world of fantasy. And I've never turned back. If you haven't read this book already, what are you waiting for? Go read it now. Seriously. :)