She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan (The Radiant Emperor #1)

She Who Became the Sun offers a dazzling and exciting re-imagination of Chinese-Mongolian history, yet it stays true to its dark, blood-soaked roots. Parker-Chan deftly blurs the boundary between sweeping fantasy epic, historical fantasy, and literary fiction as she pushes the limits of said genres.

The Unbroken by C.L. Clark (Magic of the Lost #1)

The Unbroken is a slow-burn military fantasy unlike typical entries in the genre; but it overcompensates (in a good way) for its lack of big set-piece action with a deep and emotionally engaging exploration of the personal marks colonisation leaves through the lens of a flawed protagonist, and an equally compelling character-driven romance. This is a debut quite unlike any other with devastating effect.