Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan
"Raisa was just a child when she was sold into slavery in the kingdom of Qilara. Before she was taken away, her father had been adamant that she learn to read and write. But where she now lives, literacy is a capital offense for all but the nobility. The written language is closely protected, and only the King, Prince, Tutor, and Tutor-in-training are allowed to learn its very highest form. So when she is plucked from her menial labor and selected to replace the last Tutor-in-training who was executed, Raisa knows that betraying any hint of her past could mean death.
Keeping her secret guarded is hard enough, but the romance that's been blossoming between her and Prince Mati isn't helping matters. Then Raisa is approached by the Resistance--an underground rebel army--to help liberate the city's slaves. She wants to free her people, but that would mean aiding a war against Mati. As Raisa struggles with what to do, she discovers a secret that the Qilarites have been hiding for centuries--one that, if uncovered, could bring the kingdom to its knees."- summary from Amazon
This was a fantastic fantasy novel and while it's the start of a series, it definitely reads like a stand-alone (the follow-up will actually be from someone else's perspective, set shortly after the events of this book). I absolutely LOVED this book; it was so hard to put it down sometimes! Raisa's journey is compelling, intriguing, and the romance between her and Mati was a lot of fun to read. MacMillan's world-building in this is done so well and I'm excited to spend more time in this world once the sequel is released. Highly recommended!
FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.