Back in 2017 I read a Doctor Who novella by Louise Cooper, who I had not previously heard of, and was really impressed. Her best known work is the Time Master trilogy, which I picked up pretty cheaply at Eastercon, and The Initiate is the first volume. The second paragraph of the third chapter is:
Taunan pointed towards a familiar dark patch in the sward ahead, and carefully the two riders guided their horses over it, making sure that not one hoof strayed beyond its boundaries. And as they crossed it, the change began.
I enjoyed it. The protagonist undergoes a fairly standard fantasy narrative arc, exiled from his home after an unfortunate magical accident to get trained at wizard school; but he is a deeply flawed individual, and the effect of the dark side of his personality on his colleagues and friends is well depicted. A rounded off novel in itself which still leaves us well set up for the next book. You can get it here.
This was my top unread sf book; next on that pile is Empire of Sand, by Tasha Suri.