First, if you haven't seen this list yet, go check it out: Recommendations of Non-European Fantasy by Women
One of the books on this list is Eon by Alison Goodman. Eon (along with its sequel Eona) was one of my recent impulse picks at the library. The promise of dragons and swords and deception drew me in, and I was quite happy to find that the plot did not disappoint.
Summary: Eon is has been studying for years in the hope of becoming the next Apprentice Dragoneye—chosen to forge a union with one of the eleven remaining energy dragons who protect the land and its people. Of the twelve boys competing for the title, only Eon can see all of the dragons, but then... only Eon has difficulty completing the drills necessary for training. Worse, Eon is secretly Eona—a girl, and therefore one who is forbidden from using dragon magic. But when the ambitions of another Dragoneye threaten to topple the Empire, a girl may be just what is needed in order to save it.
What I liked: Alison Goodman has done some beautiful world-building for these books. The dragon magic is particularly exciting and fun to read about. Magic in this world has appropriate consequences, and those are explored in interesting ways. The setting provides a rich environment for the plot, which is carried out through complex characters. Each character has individual goals and secrets which make for some great tension and intrigue.
Bottom line: Eon is a strong, rich fantasy, and its sequel (Eona) is even better.