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It's a series of books, I believe written by a British author, about a young woman searching for her identity. It starts with her working as a shunned maid in a tower where they train flying horses (or wyverns) for battle. The woods surrounding the tower are dangerous, filled with malevolent creatures (heavily inspired by Celtic / Scottish mythology). She escapes on one flying creatures, goes on various adventures throughout the series, ends up getting her face restored, marrying the king. King turns out to have been the elf king, forgotten by humans when the rest of his race went into another universe. She turns out to have been one of the humans chosen to go with the elves to the other universe. The series ends with him going back and her staying here. A bittersweet ending, the entire series is a bit a dark note, but very well-written and original (despite the use of elves).

I've tried for quite some time, but I am unable to recall the name of the author or the name of the book. In fact I can't remember the name of kany characters either. It's been a long time.

  • @Martha and AKennedy: a similar question has "an Elf King and the girl that falls in love with him". The girl is "blondish, in feathered armor on the cover". If that helps... – Jenayah Feb 16 at 21:39
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This is almost certainly The Bitterbynde trilogy by Cecilia Dart-Thornton: The Ill-Made Mute, The Lady of the Sorrows, and The Battle of Evernight.

"From the 2000s" -- published 2002, 2003, 2004.

"I believe written by a British author" -- Cecilia Dart-Thornton is actually Australian, but close enough :)

"about a young woman searching for her identity. It starts with her working as a shunned maid in a tower where they train flying horses (or wyverns) for battle." and "She escapes on one flying creatures":

The Stormriders land their splendid winged stallions on the battlements of Isse Tower, while the scullions who dwell in the fortress's lower depths rarely even see the sun. Yet it is the least of the lowly--a mute, scarred foundling youth--who dares to climb the Tower, stow away aboard a Windship, and dive from the sky into a wilderness of endless danger.

"The woods surrounding the tower are dangerous, filled with malevolent creatures (heavily inspired by Celtic / Scottish mythology).":

For goblins, peskies, knocks, and all the eldrich wights of the Unseelie haunt every tree, every pool, every turn in the road, tormenting or killing unwary travelers.

"ends up getting her face restored":

Returning to the magical Bitterbynde world, the maiden Rohain is no longer deformed or mute.

"King turns out to have been the elf king, forgotten by humans when the rest of his race went into another universe.":

With her memory slowly returning, the protagonist [...] vows to find the Bitterbynde Gate, the only remaining passage into the world of Faeran. By finding the elusive gate, Tahquil can stop the impending war between feuding immortal Faeran brothers trapped in Erith: Angavar, the High King of the Fair Realm, and his younger twin brother, Morragan, the Raven Prince. The battle between Angavar and his followers and Morragan and his unseelie legions will likely take hundreds of thousands of lives, but if Tahquil can find the gate in time, all the immortals stranded in Erith will surely end their conflict and return posthaste to the Fair Realm.

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    Note to anyone who's thinking about reading these: I recommend stopping at the first one. The world-building is awesome, and the first book has a pretty coherent plot. Book two starts getting into romance-novel land, and book three is just bad. It's like she purposely set out to write the absolute worst possible conclusion to the story. – Martha Feb 16 at 23:30
  • "but close enough" This is hilarious when you consider that Australia is literally on the other side of the world. – jpmc26 Feb 16 at 23:42
  • @jpmc26, hence the smiley face. :) – Martha Feb 17 at 6:03
  • Yes!!! Thank you, thank you! This website and project is amazing, so glad to have discovered it! – A. Kennedy Feb 17 at 6:52

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