Crown of Stars is a historical fantasy series by Kate Elliot. The books chronicle the adventures of three people in a Europe clone. The three main characters are:
Alain, a well-meaning young man who became heir to a count. He has incredible skill with animals and is chosen by a goddess of war.
Sanglant, the first and illegitimate son of the king. He leads the elite cavalry of the king, he's a half-elf with incredible healing powers.
Liath, a wizard who can't control her magic. She is a member of the king's elite messengers.
The books also have a mess of secondary characters, but they all have bizarre relations to each other. Oh, and All Myths Are True. Also, all the main characters are bastards (not those, but these).The books in the series are:
Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The setting in general strongly resembles medieval Europe, except for women having much stronger and/or more visible roles, including a female-dominated version of the Catholic Church.
Fate Worse than Death: Hugh loses his hold over his dream girl, fails at revenge, loses is powers, his hand, his eyesight, and has to spend the rest of his life knowing he's been beaten and will never, ever get a rematch, makes you feel sorry for the super cool man he was.
Face-Heel Turn While more of a faint saunter over to the evil side Ekkehard counts.
So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Baldwin enters the church to a escape marrying a woman in her 50s. At one point Ivar observes that it's not Baldwin's fault that he's been "cursed" with a face so beautiful that it becomes a mirror for everyone else's ambitions.
Took a Level in Badass While most characters in the book took a level here or again, Liath is by far the biggest example, going from a raped and abused legally bought slave belonging to Hugh to one of the king's best messengers to a mother to joining and then escaping from her mother's cult group to ascending the mythical Crown of Stars to a pure elemental plane of fire and discovering her true birthright as an offspring of said plane's inhabitants to growing firey wings to finally confronting Hugh at the end of the book, displaying her wings, overpowering his magic, and BURNING HIS EYES OUT FROM THE INSIDE.