Now, this isn't undying literature--but it's hardly shoddy either. But I admit, for personal reasons, this is my crack. Partly this is because of one character in the book that so strongly reminds me of a favorite character in a certain famous fantasy series. I won't name him, since a great deal of my first shock of pleasure was in recognizing him.
I loved Novik's Temeraire books--dragons in an alt-universe Napoleonic Wars. I loved this one even more. Not just the characters, but I loved the world Novik plunged me into from the first twist on the dragon and the sacrificial maiden tales. There's a heroine to identify with and root for--and she isn't a beauty with purple eyes. There's friendship; there are villains who turn out to be heroes, and seeming heroes who even as villains you feel some sympathy for. There's a dark, well-imagined fairy-tale world--but not the Disney kind--more like the original Grimm tales. And I loved the ending on several levels. This was a delightful and consuming read. A gift from a friend, and a greatly appreciated one--she knew just what would brighten my days :-)