I've just started on The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. It looks so promising (and I almost never love a book right off), I decided on an early recommendation: gracious prose, a compelling main character, and great world building. I've been hungry for a book like this one for a long time.
From the author website:
She was born with her eyes closed and a word on her tongue, a word she could not taste. Her name was Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, and she spent the first years of her life listening to her aunt’s stories and learning the language of the birds, especially the swans. And when she was older, she watched as a colt was born, and she heard the first word on his tongue, his name, Falada.
From the Grimm’s fairy tale of the princess who became a goose girl before she could become queen, Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original, and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can lead the people she has made her own.