StarCrossed, by Elizabeth C. Bunce
I picked up Elizabeth C. Bunce's first book, A Curse Dark as Gold, partly because of the cool cover, and partly because she's a fellow Kansas City girl. I like to support the home team, if you will. I wasn't wowed by Curse, but enjoyed it enough to want to give Bunce's second book a chance. I'm certainly glad I did! StarCrossed is the story of a thief who disguises herself as a ladies' maid to escape punishment and certain death in her home city. She then finds herself caught up in political intrigue, forced to spy on people who she finds herself growing to care about -- people with whom she is forming attachments, despite her best efforts to remain emotionally distant. I really enjoyed watching Digger's character progress through the book, and hope that in the sequel some of the secondary characters develop as much as hers did.
Although the fantasy world that Digger lives in is the fairly typical medieval-Europe-but-with-magic type of world, that didn't bother me. The story and characters are what this world is really about, and that kept me invested and interested and entertained. And Bunce does a great job of throwing you right into the middle of a mess of secrets, then slowly unraveling the knot.
All in all, a fun adventure. I'm looking forward to the next book!