I recently finished The Thorn by Daron Fraley. This book was very thought provoking for me and made me realize a whole new angle to fantasy.
Now, I don't know if Daron would consider it fantasy or not. This book is a little tricky to classify. "Speculative fiction" may work the best. I view it as a fantasy with a "magic" system based on spirituality and faith. What made it so intriguing to me is that, as a spiritual person myself, I believe in that form of "magic" in the real world. For instance, instead of a character trying to get direction from a crystal ball or consulting with a mystical oracle, they would get down on their knees and pray. To me, that's a real world power that all of us can access. I thought it super cool to read about people with powers that we can use in our real daily lives.
In a lot of ways, The Thorn seemed like an Old Testament story expanded into a narrative. Even though the story takes place on a planet named Gan, the culture felt like it came right out of the time of Moses. This is also a nice break from a lot of fantasy that puts the setting in a medieval European feel.
There are a couple of cool "magic" items: a crystal sword (found from a vision) and a thorn encased in glass. The Thorn was reminiscent of some of the relic stories from after the New Testament times. It could also be analogous to the Arc of the Covenant from the Old Testament.
The story itself involves a young man from an enemy tribe who is befriended by two of his "enemies". They build a strong friendship of brotherhood and faith as they seek to find a way to stop a war between the tribes.
There are a few places where the tension lets up a bit. The tension does return, so don't give up on it. You'll be pleased. There were plenty of good action scenes and battle scenes for the combat junkie like me.
I guess, so that I can sleep at night, I'll make my own classification for this book: a spiritual fantasy. I enjoyed this book a lot and highly recommend it.