Half the World by Joe Abercrombie
Thorn dreams of becoming a warrior but despite her fighting prowess she is ostracized by her fellow trainees and given impossible challenges to prevent her from succeeding by her instructors.  After a deadly accident during a training session Thorn is sentenced to death.  Only one person, Brand a fellow young warrior, pleads her case before the minister Father Yarvi.  Thorn is spared from death but she is forced to go on a treacherous journey with Father Yarvi in return for her life.  Brand is not allowed to complete his warrior training because of his betrayal in informing the minister about the injustice against Thorn so he too joins the group journeying south to find allies in the upcoming fight against the High King.  War is on the horizon and our heroes must journey half the world away for support. 
This is completely a girl power book.  Thorn is going against all gender norms; she feels comfortable as a warrior but is totally lost when she starts to develop feelings for her fellow man at arms Brand.  Brand on the other hand is a good warrior, but he just doesn’t like it.  Thorn was kissed by Mother War and Brand by Father Peace; will these two be able to make allies in the south?  Will they be able to create a life together?
Fans of Game of Thrones and other epic fantasy will enjoy this take on a world preparing for war.  There is action and a lot of world building, but it just doesn’t seem as detailed as other fantasy books.  I have to admit it is refreshing to enjoy a great fantasy story in less than four hundred pages.  Teens will enjoy this book as well since the characters are older teens trying to fit in and find their places in this new and changing world.
This is the sequel to Half a King, but it isn’t really a sequel, it’s just set in the same world.  Yes, you will know more about the world and some of the characters if you read Half a King but you don’t need to in order to completely enjoy this book.  I am eagerly awaiting the final book in the trilogy!