By Robin McKinley.
I enjoyed this book a great deal more than I expected to, having left it on my shelf for three weeks. It's not as bad as the cover makes it look, although I'm sure there are numerous forward references to The Blue Sword that I missed, not having read it.
It's hard to explain what makes this book so good. It's not exactly a literary classic, but it's a very pleasant read in the line of McKinley's other works. Aerin is the king's daughter and, we may assume, the hero of the title, but she spends most of her life hiding from the people who hate her on the basis of her birth. Instead of riding out with trumpets and fanfares, she ends up sneaking away to slay her dragons quietly (literally). Her father, at least, loves her, even if he doesn't know what to do with her.
I'd recommend this as another nice book for a rainy day. It's a pretty pleasant read.