Here are my all-time favorite books: The Wish List, by Eoin Colfer, Storm Thief, by Chris Wooding, The Oran Trilogy, by Midori Snyder, Legacy, by Cayla Kluver, The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, and The King of Attolia, all by Megan Whalen Turner, and Graceling, by Kristin Cashore. Out of this list, the one that best fits what you're looking for is Graceling. Seriously, give it a try. I was blown away.
My self-proclaimed fantasy expertise!