Blackbringer by Laini Taylor
Magpie is a teen faerie who is busy ridding the world of evil while the rest of her race descends into frivolity and decadence. She is funny and irreverent and hangs out with cigar-chomping crows with hearts of gold. The pace really picks up halfway through as she begins to realize she has a destiny to fulfill. You'll be on the edge of your seat by the time you reach the very satisfying end.
The real fun, however, would be getting readers to think about the moral issues raised, but not addressed, in the book. Magpie is tough, and defies even the creator. Is she just a little too sure of herself? She despises the way humans are constantly killing each other, but is her quest to single-handedly imprison (in inhumane conditions) and eradicate an entire race of “snags in the tapestry of the universe” any nobler? She feels humans are brutal and shortsighted to destroy all the noble dragons, but giant spiders are just bags of venom that, were it not for their useful silk, would have no place in the world. And although she solves the mystery of the Blackbringer, she seems to feel no concern about the original betrayals that created it. These issues are all relevant in today’s political climate. I love the thought that you can purely enjoy a rousing, escapist fantasy and then when it’s all over you say, “Wait, what just happened here?”