100 recommended fantasy books / series: #91 - #100
The Fantasy Book Review list of 100 recommended fantasy books / series. Listing entries 91 - 100
- The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolf
Severian is a torturer, born to the guild and with an exceptionally promising career ahead of him... until he falls in love with one of his victims, a beautiful young noblewoman. Her excruciations are delayed for some months and, out of love, Severian helps her commit suicide and escape her fate. For a torturer, there is no more unforgivable act. In punishment he is exiled from the guild and his home city to the distant metropolis of Thrax with little more than Terminus Est, a fabled sword, to his name. Along the way he has to learn to survive in a wider world without the guild - a world in which he has already made both allies and enemies. And a strange gem is about to fall into his possession, which will only make his enemies pursue him with ever-more determination...
"Shadow of the Torturer and the subsequent series are not for beginners in the science fiction or fantasy genre. Wolfe’s prose is lyrical, dense, and filled with double and triple meanings. He is by no means an easy author to read. While he does not invent words for his world, he does use old, archaic language to fill in the gaps, which would force a reader to consult a dictionary (or in this day and age Google) in order to understand the deeper meanings in the prose. I would recommend this book only to seasoned fans of the genre and it will probably require multiple readings to fully grasp what is hiding beneath the surface." Nicholas King, Fantasy Book Review
- Blood Song by Anthony Ryan
Vaelin Al Sorna's life changes for ever the day his father abandons him at the gates of the Sixth Order, a secretive military arm of the Faith. Together with his fellow initiates, Vaelin undertakes a brutal training regime - where the price of failure is often death. Under the tutelage of the Order's masters, he learns how to forge a blade, survive the wilds and kill a man quickly and quietly. Now his new skills will be put to the test. War is coming. Vaelin is the Sixth Order's deadliest weapon and the Realm's only hope. He must draw upon the very essence of his strength and cunning if he is to survive the coming conflict. Yet as the world teeters on the edge of chaos, Vaelin will learn that the truth can cut deeper than any sword.
"Beautifully written, wonderfully cast and populated, Anthony Ryan does indeed seem to be placing himself as one of the next master storytellers. Book two in his series, ‘Tower Lord’ comes out in the first half of 2014, and given how much I’ve enjoyed Blood Song, immediately steps into the category of ‘Most Anticipated’." Joshua S Hill, Fantasy Book Review
- A Novel of the Malazan Empire by Ian C Esslemont
The empire is named for the tiny island and city of Malaz, now a sleepy, seedy backwater port. Tonight however, a once-in-a-generation Shadow Moon brings demon hounds and darker beings. Also, a prophecy promises the return of long missing Emperor Kellanved to the contended imperial throne. This night will determine the fate of the world.
"With characters we have come to love, and new ones to love, returning to the Malazan world is as joyous as I could ever have hoped."
- Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne by Brian Staveley
The emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life path on which their father set them, their destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods. Kaden, the heir to the Unhewn Throne, has spent eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, learning the enigmatic discipline of monks devoted to the Blank God. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power he must master before it's too late. An ocean away, Valyn endures the brutal training of the Kettral, elite soldiers who fly into battle on gigantic black hawks. But before he can set out to save Kaden, Valyn must survive one horrific final test. At the heart of the empire, Minister Adare, elevated to her station by one of the emperor's final acts, is determined to prove herself to her people. But Adare also believes she knows who murdered her father, and she will stop at nothing - and risk everything - to see that justice is meted out.
"For anyone who maybe read the first book and didn’t think much of it, or for those who simply haven’t gotten around to The Last Mortal Bond yet, I recommend you drop whatever you are doing and pick it up. Brian Staveley writes a story that is inescapable in its tragedy and beauty, covering peaks and valleys both literal and literary, and leaving you intriguingly haunted by what we have witnessed."
- The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington
It has been twenty years since the god-like Augurs were overthrown and killed. Now, those who once served them - the Gifted - are spared only because they have accepted the rebellion's Four Tenets, vastly limiting their own powers. As a young Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war lost before he was even born. He and his friends are despised beyond their school walls for the magical power they wield: a power that Davian, despite his best efforts, cannot seem to control. Worse, with his final test approaching and the consequences of failure severe, time to overcome his struggles is fast running out. But when Davian discovers he wields the forbidden power of the Augurs, he unwittingly sets in motion a chain of events that will change his life - and shake the entire world.
"The Shadow of What Was Lost is emotionally engaging and the characters are great to follow, support, fret over, and care about. Now that I've finished this review I can start reading An Echo of Things to Come... this series is that addictive that I just need to know what happens next."
- Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs
'I didn't realize he was a werewolf at first. My nose isn't at its best when surrounded by axle grease and burnt oil ...' Mercedes Thompson runs a garage in the Tri-Cities. She's a mechanic, and a damn good one, who spends her spare time karate training and tinkering with a VW bus that happens to belong to a vampire. Her next-door neighbour is an alpha werewolf - literally, the leader of the pack. And Mercy herself is a shapeshifter, sister to coyotes. As such, she's tolerated by the 'wolves but definitely down the pecking order. As long as she keeps her eyes down and remembers her place, the pack will leave her in peace. Hardly a normal situation, but then, Mercy Thompson is not exactly normal herself...and her connection to the world of things that go bump in the night is about to get her into a whole lot of trouble.
"Moon Called is such a fun and fast introduction to the life of Mercy Thompson. A full time auto mechanic and part time coyote the reader chases Mercy throughout the book at lightening speed. Never is there a dull moment as you learn about pack structure, why the fae came out publicly proclaiming their existence, or Mercy herself. Patricia Briggs is brilliant in this book as she delves into a section of fantasy – the werewolf and its culture – that hasn’t been as widely explored. Kudos to Patricia Briggs for bringing werewolves into a new light, for offering up a believable and relatable female author, and for an over all quite interesting story that had me guessing till the very end. Bravo." Fantasy Book Review
- The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso
In the Raverran Empire, magic is scarce and those born with power are strictly controlled - taken as children and conscripted into the Falcon Army. Zaira has lived her life on the streets to avoid this fate, hiding her mage-mark and thieving to survive. But hers is a rare and dangerous magic, one that could threaten the entire empire. Lady Amalia Cornaro was never meant to be a Falconer. Heiress and scholar, she was born into a treacherous world of political machinations. But fate has bound the heir and the mage. And as war looms on the horizon, a single spark could turn their city into a pyre.
"The ending is stunning. This is a deep story that needs attention. I just hope YA fans don't think it's too complex and that adult fantasy fans don't think it's too YA. Personally, I thought this was a beautifully written political fantasy drama full of courtly intrigue, powerful enemies, and phenomenal magic potential. I raced through this exquisite debut it 3 days and adored it."
- Paternus: Rise of Gods by Dyrk Ashton
Even myths have legends. And not all legends are myth. When a local hospital is attacked by strange and frightening men, Fiona Patterson and Zeke Prisco save a catatonic old man named Peter--and find themselves running for their lives with creatures beyond imagination hounding their every step.
With nowhere else to turn, they seek out Fi's enigmatic Uncle Edgar. But the more their questions are answered, the more they discover that nothing is what it seems--not Peter, not Edgar, perhaps not even themselves.
The gods and monsters, heroes and villains of lore--they're real. And now they've come out of hiding to hunt their own. In order to survive, Fi and Zeke must join up with powerful allies against an ancient evil that's been known by many names and feared by all. The final battle of the world's oldest war has begun.
"It's really tough to summarise but if I had to it would be something along the lines of: A mixture of the Iliad (for the myths), Dante's Inferno (for the beasts), The Dark Tower (for the alternative world switching), and The Hunger Games (for young love in crazy circumstances). That description doesn't do the depth of this tale justice but I'm happy with it. Paternus is a dark urban fantasy gem and if you can get past the first 20% then you are in for a treat. Highly recommended - it didn't achieve 5-stars due to the slow start- that's all."
- Jade City by Fonda Lee
Jade is the lifeblood of the city of Janloon - a stone that enhances a warrior's natural strength and speed. Jade is mined, traded, stolen and killed for, controlled by the ruthless No Peak and Mountain families. When a modern drug emerges that allows anyone - even foreigners - to wield jade, simmering tension between the two families erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all in the families, from their grandest patriarch to even the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets.
"This is the first entry in The Green Bone Saga and I honestly can't wait to see what happens next. I didn't care about anything else whilst I was reading this and I just wanted to see what would become the characters. There are some emotionally shocking moments, some intricate and otherworldly fight scenes, and lots of loyalty, honour and tradition. Jade City is an epic, unique and often unforgiving gangster fantasy narrative intertwined with glimpses of hope and goodness. The haunting nature of the world is also mixed with betrayals and a huge death toll. Recommended."
- Limited Wish by Mark Lawrence