Joining a proud history of fantasy novels whose covers feel like they don't quite suit them is The Impostor Queen! (It technically suits the book... but it doesn't quite capture the feel for me?)
This was kind of a twist on the chosen one trope- girl raised to be the most powerful magic-user in history discovers that she's not exactly the chosen one.
Initially, this book felt very similar to a lot of YA fantasy, but rapidly deviates when Elli can't access the magic she was meant to wield. The world changes veers rather quickly away from what I was expecting, especially in terms of the priests have a great deal of power over the country- and the Valtia. It was refreshing to have a book go in a direction that was that different from my expectations. It got pretty dark and a bit creepy and quite interesting.
The storytelling took a little while to find it's footing... things really only pick up once Elli gets to the outlands, and she meets the outcasts living there. Watching her learn more about herself and form relationships with others. While Oskar didn't stun me as a love interest, I definitely didn't hate him either, and he definitely had his admirable qualities... it just took a while for his character to grow on me, I suppose. (Except his name. For some reason I didn't like his name. I just didn't work for me and I was weird and judgmental about it.) It nice to watch Elli grow from a person being groomed to be a leader in name, but without all that much practical power, into someone who could and would take on a real leadership role on the ground.
The magic of the world was interesting too. It did seem to have an awful lot of arbitrary-feeling rules, but once I got used to the system it worked for me. This did very much feel like the first book in a series and, while a lot of light has been shed on the magic since the beginning, I'm really hoping that it will be built on in the next book. While this one didn't end on a huge cliff-hanger, it was definitely a tense ending and I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens next!