Hope and Red by Jon Skovron
"Hope, the lone survivor when her village is massacred by the emperor's forces is secretly trained by a master Vinchen warrior as an instrument of vengeance.
Red, an orphan adopted by a notorious matriarch of the criminal underworld, learns to be an expert thief and con artist.
TOGETHER THEY WILL TAKE DOWN AN EMPIRE."- summary from Amazon
Holy crap, Skovron's adult fantasy debut is fantastic, compelling, and utterly fascinating. The book was a great read from the beginning but it just kept getting better and better the further I made it into the book, and I am dying to get the second book in my hands. Red and Hope are such wonderfully fully realized characters and I loved the dynamic between them once they meet and the characters and friends they meet along the way.
FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.