I really enjoyed The Queen of the Tearling. It has a heavy basis in fairy tale—the young princess hidden deep in the woods, the evil queen, the magical jewel—but it is fairy tale in a Snow White and the Huntsman meets The Hunger Games kind of way. The adventure rolled along from page one, and I had trouble putting it down.
Amidst revolution and political strife, Princess Kelsea is hidden away in the woods until she reaches the age of nineteen, when she is to ascend the throne as Queen of the Tearling. But first she has to reach the castle alive, then overthrow her nasty uncle, the prince regent. On her nineteenth birthday, the Queen’s guard, formerly sworn to protect Kelsea’s mother, arrives to escort her to the land of the Tearling. Kelsea endures the guards’ disrespect, treacherous travel conditions, and the constant threat of ambush and assassination to reach the castle and face her uncle, the fawning puppet of the powerful and nasty Red Queen of neighboring Mortmense. With the help of some allies (and the aforementioned magic jewel), but mostly by her own wits and courage, Kelsea comes into her own.