Below you will find a list of the fantasy books published in 2012 that we enjoyed most.
by Mark Lawrence
To reach greatness you must step on bodies, and many brothers lie trodden in my wake. I’ve walked from pawn to player and I’ll win this game of ours, though the cost of it may drown the world in blood... The land burns with the fires of a hundred battles as lords and petty kings fight for the Broken Empire. The long road to avenge the slaughter of his mother and brother has shown Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath the hidden hands behind this endless war. He saw the game and vowed to sweep the board. First though he must gather his own pieces, learn the rules of play, and discover how to break them. A six nation army, twenty thousand strong, marches toward Jorg's gates, led by a champion beloved of the people. Every decent man prays this shining hero will unite the empire and heal its wounds. Every omen says he will. Every good king knows to bend the knee in the face of overwhelming odds, if only to save their people and their lands. But King Jorg is not a good king. Faced by an enemy many times his strength Jorg knows that he cannot win a fair fight. But playing fair was never part of Jorg’s game plan.
"Sometimes it is hard for a sequel to meet its expectations. ‘King of Thorns’ met mine and convinced me again of Lawrence’s brilliance. Not by doing more of the same stuff, which I would have loved anyway, but by evolving the story into something with even more depth."
Series: Broken Empire: Book 2
by Larry Correia
Spellbound is a book of high stakes and high consequence. The entertainment value is second to none, so don’t go into this book expecting a gentle introduction to plot, setting and character. Correia hurls the reader from event to event, rarely allowing you to catch your breath, and somehow manages to do this while progressing a complex plot and building depth into his characters. You should definitely pick up this book, if for no other reason than to read one of the most epic finales I have ever seen in a book.
Series: The Grimnoir Chronicles: Book 2
by Jasper Fforde
The Woman Who Died a Lot was first published in July 2012, number one best-selling author Jasper Fforde's seventh book in his Thursday Next series. A blend of alternate history and comic fantasy it is grand reading material, combining excellent writing and great inventiveness with more great jokes and groan-worthy puns than you could shake a stick at.
Series: Thursday Next: Book 7
by Laini Taylor
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living - one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers' arms to take their turn in the killing and dying. Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon's secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel - a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness. This was not that world.
"I have only praise for this series and for Days as well. It is written masterfully and filled with poetic lyricism that tricks you into believing you are reading a classic. The book is melancholy and the pain of the characters is etched into the pages that after you put the book down you find yourself hovering in dark corners, muttering to yourself about the cruelty of the world. But don’t let that put you off from reading what will become a classic in literature in the decades to come, for sure. I am eagerly awaiting book three. Mrs Taylor! Bring it on!"
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy #2
by Terry Pratchett
This Guide is simply a must-have for any Discworld fan. You don’t even need to be a fan of the previously published reference-style editions (such as the Companion’s and Almanak’s) as you’ll spend hours scouring the map for hidden gems, reading up on Dibbler and his competition, and understanding the mechanics behind the city’s Guilds.
by Stephen King
Today, to my horror, I realised that I had yet to write up a review for Stephen King's The Wind Through The Keyhole, a book that was one of - if not - the best books I read in 2012. Not all that is eagerly awaited meets the expectations but when this book arrived in April (pre-ordered, that's how keen I was) I read it in only a handful of days. It was magnificent and as I write this review I am tempted to say that it is the best book in the series… But I think I should defer that accolade for a later date.
Series: The Dark Tower series: Book 4.5
by Gareth L Powell
In 1944, as waves of German ninjas parachute into Kent, Britain’s best hopes for victory lie with a Spitfire pilot codenamed ‘Ack-Ack Macaque’. The trouble is, Ack-Ack Macaque is a cynical, one-eyed, cigar-chomping monkey, and he’s starting to doubt everything, including his own existence. A century later, in a world where France and Great Britain merged in the late 1950s and nuclear-powered Zeppelins encircle the globe, ex-journalist Victoria Valois finds herself drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the man who butchered her husband and stole her electronic soul. Meanwhile, in Paris, after taking part in an illegal break-in at a research laboratory, the heir to the British throne goes on the run. And all the while, the doomsday clock ticks towards Armageddon.
"Ack-Ack Macaque shows just what is possible by combining new idea and creating a unique world and a set of characters, a monkey, who would have guessed! Gareth L. Powell will be an author to look out for." Jasper de Joode, Fantasy Book Review
by Tanya Huff
The Empire has declared war on the small, were-ruled kingdom of Aydori, capturing five women of the Mage-Pack, including the wife of the were Pack-leader. With the Pack off defending the border, it falls to Mirian Maylin and Tomas Hagen - she a low-level mage, he younger brother to the Pack-leader-to save them.
"I really enjoyed the time I spent with the characters and even though the narrative can be quite grim and dark in places the characters still shine so that you hope that there will a glimmer of a happy ending for them. It is also good that although the main characters are Mirian and Tomas we are shown many other characters' perspectives, such as the captured Mages and what they are going through and their will to survive and Emperor Leopold, who is forever trying to expand his Empire by whatever means necessary. Each character has a distinct personality, from the lowliest of townspeople to the mightiest of men." Michelle Herbert, Fantasy Book Review
by Myke Cole
Army Officer. Fugitive. Sorcerer. Across the country and in every nation, people are waking up with magical talents. Untrained and panicked, they summon storms, raise the dead, and set everything they touch ablaze. Army officer Oscar Britton sees the worst of it. A lieutenant attached to the military's Supernatural Operations Corps, his mission is to bring order to a world gone mad. Then he abruptly manifests a rare and prohibited magical power, transforming him overnight from government agent to public enemy number one. The SOC knows how to handle this kind of situation: hunt him down–and take him out. Driven into an underground shadow world, Britton is about to learn that magic has changed all the rules he's ever known, and that his life isn't the only thing he's fighting for.
"As a military officer myself, I feel like I can really relate with Cole and the book he has written. It is a book that accurately portrays military life on a military base, while enhancing it using the fantasy elements I love to read about. Whether you are a military buff or not, this is an entertaining book packed full of intense action sequences - a modern interpretation of the fantasy genre that you should have no hesitations in reading." Fantasy Book Review
Series: Shadow Ops series: Book 1
by Margo Lanagan
Rollrock island is a lonely rock of gulls and waves, blunt fishermen and their homely wives. Life is hard for the families who must wring a poor living from the stormy seas. But Rollrock is also a place of magic - the scary, salty-real sort of magic that changes lives forever. Down on the windswept beach, where the seals lie in herds, the outcast sea witch Misskaella casts her spells - and brings forth girls from the sea - girls with long, pale limbs and faces of haunting innocence and loveliness - the most enchantingly lovely girls the fishermen of Rollrock have ever seen. But magic always has its price. A fisherman may have and hold a sea bride, and tell himself that he is her master. But from his first look into those wide, questioning, liquid eyes, he will be just as transformed as she is. He will be equally ensnared. And in the end the witch will always have her payment.
"The Brides of Rollrock Island is a dark, brooding and windswept tale of longing and despair in which Lanagan' s writing is as beautiful is ever. Indeed, the best compliment I can give it is that had I have stumbled upon it and knew nothing of its publication date I would have guessed it to have been decades if not centuries old, such is its timeless nature. It reads like a classic. It is a wonderful book and it is unlikely that many better will be published in the genre this year. Existing fans of Lanagan should rejoice and I strongly suggest that those who have not already read her work, do so." Fantasy Book Review
by NK Jemisin
In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers - the keepers of this peace. Priests of the dream-goddess, their duty is to harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal, soothe… and kill those judged corrupt. But when a conspiracy blooms within Gujaareh’s great temple, Ehiru - the most famous of the city’s Gatherers - must question everything he knows. Someone, or something, is stalking its prey both in Gujaareh’s alleys and the realm of dreams. Ehiru must now protect the woman he was sent to kill - or watch the city be devoured by war and forbidden magic.
"In the first of her Dreamblood duology, N K Jemisin presents a vivid world of dreams and reality, sanity and insanity, and the stories of the people caught up within it. It’s a compelling tale of corruption and justice and the lengths people will go to in pursuit of both."
Series: Dreamblood duology: Book 1
by Terry Pratchett
Come one come all to greatest city in the world. In London, all men are free, the streets are lined with gold and the naughty ladies are friendly to all. In London there are geezers on ever street corner and every urchin and tosher is an angel with a dirty face. Home to Her Majesty, Fleet Street, the Square Mile and Dodger – known to all, Dodger is crafty, nimble and some what flexible object of lost and found. Its not really stealing if it could have fallen out of a pocket any way, It’s a service really. So, you saw nothing, you heard nothing and Dodger wasn’t even there. Dodger rises from the gutter as the hero of London; rescuing damsels in distress and defeating the villains with a smile and a quick wit, but lets not forgot wit gets you only so far so brass knuckles and a crowbar do help.
"If you love Terry Pratchett novels you will love this, if you haven't read any off Terry's works before and want to start, you can't go wrong here." Fantasy Book Review
by Stephen Zimmer
Ultimately, this is the strongest entry in the series so far and if Zimmer can learn to trust his audiences to fill in the gaps and use their imaginations more often, he will produce much tauter, sharper and streamlined adventures. This is another highly engaging and entertaining epic and you can see the upward trajectory of the series in terms of quality. The only sad thing is I have a twelve month wait for the fourth one!
Series: Fires in Eden: Book 3
by NK Jemisin
Gujaareh, the city of dreams, suffers under the imperial rule of the Kisuati Protectorate. A city where the only law was peace now knows violence and oppression. And nightmares: a mysterious and deadly plague haunts the citizens of Gujaareh, dooming the infected to die screaming in their sleep. Trapped between dark dreams and cruel overlords, the people yearn to rise up - but Gujaareh has known peace for too long.
"Ultimately, The Shadowed Sun is a more personal tale than The Killing Moon. There is so much to love about it. But I found a few plot threads a little too easy to predict. I loved the characters and identified with each. The story grew organically and weaved together beautifully. And while, as I mentioned above, there is a significant emotional and moral discourse happening here - more so than the first book - for some reason I found myself LIKING the first book just a smidge more. Having said that, read them both. They are two of the best books I heave read all year."
Series: Dreamblood duology: Book 2
by Alison Goodman
The Necklace of the Gods is well-written, well-structured and steadily paced, with Goodman deftly balancing the intimate character scenes with the heavier, action-laden ones. The final battle is brilliantly depicted and well worth the (admittedly short) wait. A superbly gripping, emotional tale of love and loss, The Necklace of the Gods is the type of book that will make you seriously anti-social and not give a damn. Vivid, brutal, terrifying and absolutely fantastic, this is a few hours reading you’ll not quickly forget.
Series: Eona series: Book 2
by Jeremy de Quidt
In a German town, long ago, lives a tooth-puller’s boy called Klaus. It isn’t Klaus’s fault that he sees his master steal a diamond from the mouth of a dead man in Frau Drecht’s lodging house, or that Frau Drecht and her murderous son want it for themselves. He has nothing to do with the Jesuit priest and his Aztec companion who turn up out of the blue looking for it, or the Professor of Anatomy who takes such a strange interest in it. No, Klaus doesn’t want any trouble. But when he finds himself with the diamond in his pocket, things really can’t get much worse – that is, until the feathered man appears. Then they become a matter of life… and death.
"The story is both terrifying and tender, it looks and the very best and worst of human nature and shows another plane of reality that is so frightening. There is so much plot crammed into this book and yet is flows so wonderfully that you don’t at anytime feel overloaded or like you’re being left behind, it just all works so beautifully. As for the characters, well there just isn’t a weak one amongst them. You look at the book in your hand, not a tome by any stretch of the imagination, just a nice hand sized book and think “how on earth does all that fit in there?” but it does and perfectly so." Fantasy Book Review
by Paul Kearney
Death comes easily in a Kearney book. Nobody is excused the end of a spear or blade, except maybe Rictus who – having read all three books now – stands up as the one character who Kearney maybe set apart to survive. Characters that you immediately fall in love with or root-for are left rotting on the ground with very little preamble or memory. The Kings of Morning may not be the greatest in this series of books, but it is an able conclusion to a wonderful story of a nations rise from barbarism.
Series: The Macht: Book 3
by Brent Weeks
I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a fantasy novel quite as much as Week’s second in his “Lightbringer” series. The reason is that his form taps neatly into the great fantasy series of the ‘80s and ‘90s very well. Essentially the reader follows the waxing fortunes of a young child who goes through character building trials and tribulations on their way to great power, kingship, nobility and generally saving whatever world they are on. It’s a formula used brilliantly by the likes of Feist, Eddings, Weis and Hickman, Wurts, Douglass, Canavan – to name a few. Weeks has reined back in his Night Angel exuberance where the fight scenes got more and more over the top (it was almost a fantasy version of Matthew Reilly’s ‘Scarecrow’) and produced a series with the necessary pace to enthral the reader. Namely… a slow build up.
Series: The Lightbringer Trilogy: Book 2
by Brandon Sanderson
Shai is a Forger, a foreigner who can flawlessly copy and re-create any item by rewriting its history with skilful magic. Condemned to death after trying to steal the emperor's sceptre, she is given one opportunity to save herself. Though her skill as a Forger is considered an abomination by her captors, Shai will attempt to create a new soul for the emperor, who is almost dead.
"The Emperor's Soul is a fantastic addition to Sanderson's already bulging bibliography. At 175 pages, it is on the short side, but unlike his previous attempts you really feel like you get a full story in these 175 pages. For those big Sanderson fans, there are a number of neat little Cosmere Easter eggs scattered throughout this story, but you don't need any knowledge of prior Sanderson works to fully appreciate this novel. This is an easy recommendation to every fantasy reader out there." Ryan Lawler, Fantasy Book Review
by Chuck Wendig
Miriam Black knows when you will die. Still in her early twenties, she's foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, suicides, and slow deaths by cancer. But when Miriam hitches a ride with truck driver Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be gruesomely murdered while he calls her name. Miriam has given up trying to save people; that only makes their deaths happen. But Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim. No matter what she does she can't save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she'll have to try.
"Blackbirds is rough, it’s coarse, its full of some quite confronting scenes and is definitely not the book for people who are looking for a light hearted romp through a magical fairy land. In fact, if you have any sort of morals in your body, this book will find a way to offend at least one of them. And I really like that. Blackbirds dares you to get down and dirty, dares you to like this miscreant from the wrong side of the tracks, and by the end you will either love her or you will hate her. Blackbirds is a unique experience, you should really give it a try."
by Curtis Jobling
Everything great about this series is still here; great action, proper adventure, genuinely interesting characters, shades of grey and heart wrenching twists and turns.
Series: Wereworld: Book 3
by Michael J Sullivan
Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles--until they are hired to pilfer a famed sword. What appears to be just a simple job finds them framed for the murder of the king and trapped in a conspiracy that uncovers a plot far greater than the mere overthrow of a tiny kingdom. Can a self-serving thief and an idealistic swordsman survive long enough to unravel the first part of an ancient mystery that has toppled kings and destroyed empires in order to keep a secret too terrible for the world to know?
"Theft of Swords is a fun fantasy full of wonderful characters, deadly conspiracies, and intricate action sequences. There isn't a great deal of original material, and you can easily describe this series as Scott Lynch meets J.R.R. Tolkien, but the way Sullivan puts all the material together and the way that he gets his characters to interact with that material makes this book feel fresh despite the familiarity. If you are a looking to start a new series that has already been completed, look no further than Theft of Swords and The Riyria Revelations." Fantasy Book Review
Series: The Riyria Revelations #1
by Tom Pollock
Imaginative, innovative and bursting with creativity, this is a wonderfully confident debut that will have even the most critical fantasy fans clamouring for more.
Series: The Skyscraper Throne #1
by Alastair Reynolds
The ending just leaves you wanting more. The story itself is complete, but you just want to turn the page and find out what happens next in this Universe, I’ve already pre-ordered the next novel. The day I finished it I went online and purchased a second copy, because I knew that my first copy was going to be a bit battered soon given the amount of times I’m going to be re-reading this and pouring over the meanings of the book. China Mieville is lauded for his literary SFF novels, well I’d say he should be looking over his shoulder as this is just fantastic. It’s a sci-fi book that anyone can read. Buy it, read it, then tell me below if you agree or not - I might think your mad if you disagree.
Series: Poseidons Children: Book 1
by Tim Marquitz
I said that Echoes of the Past is a book of revelations, but as I write this review I am realising this is more a book of transition. There are significant shifts in plot, character, and setting, and I am very exciting in the new directions Marquitz is taking the series. But in saying that, at the very core this is very much a Demon Squad book with all the charm, humour, and sex that you come to expect from this series. This is not quite my favourite Demon Squad book, but with so many awesome revelations and a big cliff-hanger at the end, my anticipation for the next Demon Squad book could not be any higher.
Series: Demon Squad: Book 4
by Jackie Gamber
Peace was fleeting. Vorham Riddess, Venur of Esra Province, covets the crystal ore buried deep in Leland's mountains. His latest device to obtain it: land by marriage to a Leland maiden. But that's not all. Among Dragonkind, old threats haunt Mount Gore, and shadows loom in the thoughts of the Red who restored life to land and love. A dragon hunter, scarred from countless battles, discovers he can yet suffer more wounds. In the midst of it all, Sela Redheart is lost, driven from her home with only her old uncle to watch over her. As the dragon-born child of Kallon, the leader of Leland's Dragon Council, she is trapped in human form with no understanding of how she transformed, or how to turn back. Wanderers seek a home, schemes begin to unfurl, and all is at risk as magic and murder, marriage and mystery strangle the heart of Esra. A struggle for power far older and deeper than anyone realizes will leave no human or dragon unaffected. In a world where magic is born of feeling, where the love between a girl and a dragon was once transformative, what power dwells in the heart of young Sela?
"Once again Gamber has constructed a novel with care and executed it with precision. With themes as far ranging as deception, prejudice, misunderstanding, redemption and forgiveness this is certain to appeal to children and adults of all ages. Magic!" Daniel Cann, Fantasy Book Review
Series: Leland Dragon Series: Book 2
by Will Macmillan Jones
Ultimately this book works because it is a good story and great fun. It respects the genre in which it is set and targets its humour at a range of topics. I look forward to the third in the series, and to a soundtrack if one ever gets made.
Series: The Banned Underground: Book 2
by Charlaine Harris
A lot of questions which can only be found by reading the book, I have loved this series from the start and can’t wait to find out what will happen in the future, can you?
Series: Southern Vampire Series: Book 13
by James Barclay
Rise of the TaiGethen is a perfect example of why Barclay is one of the best in the business. Without the historical nuance that Erikson writes, Barclay delivers a book that is nevertheless heart wrenching, expertly crafted and immensely enjoyable to read over and over and over again. The Elves trilogy is most definitely worth your time; go pick it up now!
Series: Elves Trilogy: Book 2
by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
I'm a little late getting to reading and reviewing the second book in the trilogy (it was released seven months ago) but am very glad to have at last found the time. Stewart & Riddell are two very talented gentleman, every book of theirs that I have read has been skilfully and professionally put together with the complete understanding of what the reader wants... and that is a damn fine story. They (as Riddell is a major part in the writing process, not just the man behind the beautiful illustrations) know when to put in tension, they know when to calm it down and they know how to portray believable relationships. I am an unashamed fan of their work and when I think excitedly of what new books are coming out each year, the Wyrmweald series is, along with William Horwood's Hyddenworld series, the ones I look out for most.
Series: Wyrmeweald: Book 2
by Curtis Jobling
The fourth in the Wereworld saga continues to deliver action and adventure in abundance. There are twists and turns and some pleasant surprises. Jobling has found his stride, and we feel like we're slowly drawing towards the endgame.
Series: Wereworld: Book 4
by G Willow Wilson
He calls himself Alif - few people know his real name - a young man born in a Middle Eastern city that straddles the ancient and modern worlds. When Alif meets the aristocratic Intisar, he believes he has found love. But their relationship has no future - Intisar is promised to another man and her family's honour must be satisfied. As a remembrance, Intisar sends the heartbroken Alif a mysterious book. Entitled The Thousand and One Days, Alif discovers that this parting gift is a door to another world - a world from a very different time, when old magic was in the ascendant and the djinn walked amongst us. With the book in his hands, Alif finds himself drawing attention - far too much attention - from both men and djinn. Thus begins an adventure that takes him through the crumbling streets of a once-beautiful city, to uncover the long-forgotten mysteries of the Unseen. Alif is about to become a fugitive in both the corporeal and incorporeal worlds. And he is about to unleash a destructive power that will change everything and everyone - starting with Alif himself.
"I would highly recommend this book to anybody who like a ripping yarn, whether they are into fantasy or not because this is more of a thriller with echoes of the computer acrobatics seen in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, which I find really interesting, but set against an exotic landscape that really comes to life. You can feel and smell the duststorm as it sweeps over the houses, seeping its way in through the cracks, the panic as The Hand, an unbending, alien force, closes in, and the awkwardness of a young American scholar who tries to help Alif but is so clearly out of place. Overall, a sumptuous, colourful and many-layered novel." Fantasy Book Review
by Daniel Polansky
Tomorrow the Killing is a great addition to the Low Town series, and I was more than pleased to see the past of Warden and that is pretty gruesome and dark. The continuation of the dark and gritty scene was greatly put together and creating again a very unique story. Although there were already a few revelations of the Warden’s past in Tomorrow the Killing I hope that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Showing that the Warden was part of a Special Operations and made right-hand in the first year but in his third year he had his “fall from grace”? I want to know what happened in between those! I was hoping for just this sequel.
Series: Low Town: Book 2
by Terry Pratchett
A Blink of the Screen charts the course of Pratchett's long writing career: from his schooldays through to his first writing job on the Bucks Free Press,; to the origins of his debut novel, The Carpet People; and on again to the dizzy mastery of the phenomenally successful Discworld series. Here are characters both familiar and yet to be discovered; abandoned worlds and others still expanding; adventure, chickens, death, disco and, actually, some quite disturbing ideas about Christmas,all of it shot through with his inimitable brand of humour.
"Final Reward is easily my favourite non-Discworld story from this anthology, but my favourite Discworld story is most definitely ‘The Sea and Little Fishes’. Previously published in the ‘Legend’ anthology back in the late 90s, this story takes us to the Witch Trials of Lancre and what happens when Granny Weatherwax is insulted. It’s a real gem of a story and leaves you wanting nothing more for your life than to go back and read ‘Carpe Jugulem’. For any fan of good writing or short stories, this book is a real gem, and a must-have for any fan of Terry Pratchett."
by Terry Pratchett
Whether you have an adventuresome young boy (or girl) or a love of anything Pratchett then you will most definitely relish this book.
by Matt Bone
After an inexplicable catastrophe on Earth, John Bridgeman is left to scrap out a solitary existence, surrounded by bodies and haunted by the girlfriend he cannot allow to die. His headaches are increasingly debilitating. Even his senses are turning against him: amongst the desolate streets is a light which moves as if alive. The onset of insanity, he assumes, and yet... why does he feel like he is being hunted? John's fate is entwined with that of Crescent: a world teeming with life both human and supernatural, where Spirit storms rack the skies and rumours of a terrible army in the North have the great nations in unrest. Crescent is John's only chance to rediscover the bonds of life and love, but this perilous yet extraordinary world could also lead him to lose everything all over again.
"As you will no doubt have already ascertained from the above sentence in bold, I enjoyed Matt Bone's Endless a great deal. I found it to be a skilful and ambitious merging of the epic fantasy and dystopian fiction genres by an author whose writing talents matched their impressive imagination." Fantasy Book Review
Series: Crescent: Book 1
by Matthew Sturges
Volume 7 is called Conception, Fig who we have been following through the House of Mystery, seeing how all these stories have been weaving together is now on her own and having to face her fears, what is her connection to the Conception and who are they in relation to her? As well as finding out what the male members of her family’s mission is. The volume leaves you wondering what is to come and what is happening with all the other cast of characters we have been following?
by Andrez Bergen
This book is by turns educational, inspiring, traumatic and humorous. It is also one of the best books I have read this year. So, if you are looking for an extremely alternate take on a Christmas Carol this festive period, then Andrea Bergen's One Hundred Years of Vicissitude is an absolute must.
by Brandon Sanderson
Leeds is a genius; his mind contains too much information. And to cope it has split his skills off into individual personalities. They crowd his head, and he lives with them in a vast, empty mansion. While he can call on any one of them to solve a problem, he also walks a line across an all-consuming madness.
"Legion: Skin Deep is an absolutely fantastic read, and while I'd like more and more of it, I think I understand why Brandon Sanderson has kept this to be a series of novellas. Maybe, in time, it will be expanded to full-length status (though that would require a lull in the author's absurdly busy schedule of books to write), but in the meantime, I'm content to read these gems whenever they make an appearance."
Series: Legion series #2
by Lucinda Hare
Anyone who has read the first two books will be glad to know that time is still divided up into amazingly named segments (such as ‘at the hour of the dozy hedgehog’) and that characters still shout, ‘Newt and Toad!’ when surprised. This time round, though, the story is darker and there’s a moment or two (I won’t tell you which ones!) that’ll bring a tear to your eye. I can tell you no more except strap yourself in when riding Stormcracker and keep Two Gulps Too Many away from those honey tablets…
Series: The Dragonsdome Chronicles: Book 3
by James Lovegrove
Redlaw: Redeye is a good book but compared to the first book, there was just a bit less magic to it. Though the action, the battle and the persona of John are still great as well as the introduction of Tina to the story was very cool and gave on certain scenes a light-hearted and laugh aloud moments. It did fall to notice that the book was not as carefully constructed as the first book. Showing a bit more rash and a bit unexplained moments, that could have used with some more elaboration. But I do think that the goal is achieved with delivering another sensational action-filled volume to the Redlaw series. The Redlaw series for me is just in your face door kicking down good!
Series: Redlaw series #2
by Ben H Winters
What's the point in solving murders if we're all going to die soon, anyway? Detective Hank Palace has faced this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. There's no chance left. No hope. Just six precious months until impact. The economy spirals downward while crops rot in the fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job - but not Hank Palace. He's investigating a death by hanging in a city that sees a dozen suicides every week - except this one feels suspicious, and Palace is the only cop who cares. What's the point in solving murders if we're all going to die soon, anyway?
"The Last Policeman makes for compelling reading, there is a pleasant feel of detective noir infused into proceedings and I struggle to remember many investigators sporting moustaches in the times between Magnum PI and Hank Palace. Winters instils his book with a grand sense of melancholy and his characters display the sadness and defeatism one would expect under the circumstances. I felt richer for reading this intriguing mix of murder mystery and dystopia and highly recommend The Last Policeman to fans of either genre." Floresiensis, Fantasy Book Review
Series: The Last Policeman Trilogy #1
by Max Gladstone
A god has died, and it's up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart. Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis's steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot. Tara's job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who's having an understandable crisis of faith. When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb's courts - and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb's slim hope of survival. Set in a phenomenally built world in which justice is a collective force bestowed on a few, craftsmen fly on lightning bolts, and gargoyles can rule cities, Three Parts Dead introduces readers to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs.
"Three Parts Dead offers a unique experience to traditional fantasy and urban fantasy enthusiasts alike. Gladstone has mixed elements from a variety of different genres to create expansive and complex world, and then allows the reader to explore a single part of this world in detail through a tightly bounded story. I haven't even touched on the gargoyles, the supernatural police force, the extra-dimensional libraries, or the court-room battle arenas. I want to read more Craft books. I need to know more about this world."
by Brian McGreevy
The body of a young girl is found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey Steel mill. A manhunt ensues - though the authorities aren't sure if it's a man they should be looking for. Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a foreboding biotech facility owned by the Godfrey family - their personal fortune and the local economy having moved on from Pittsburgh steel - where some suspect that biological experiments of the most unethical kind take place. Others turn to Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy trailer-trash kid who has told impressionable high school classmates that he's a werewolf. Or perhaps it's Roman, the son of the late J. R. Godfrey, who rules the adolescent social scene with the casual arrogance of a cold-blooded aristocrat, his superior status unquestioned despite his decidedly freakish sister, Shelley, whose monstrous medical conditions belie a sweet intelligence, and his otherworldly, sexy control freak of a mother, Olivia. As the crime goes unsolved and the police seem more and more willing to believe any outlandish rumour, Peter and Roman decide the only way to save their own skins is to find the killer themselves. Along the way they uncover local secrets and designs that are much bigger than some small-town murder.
"This is for those who want their horror laced with sex, violence and things better left unexplained." Cat Fitzpatrick, Fantasy Book Review
by Veronica Roth
Veronica Roth's bestselling Divergent seemed to take the world by surprise, an unexpected book that happened to be released at just the right time to resonate with audiences and critics alike. Telling the story of a dystopian world in which humanity is separated into five factions (Abnegation, Candour, Amity, Erudite, and Dauntless), it follows the experience of a girl named Beatrice who chooses to abandon her selfless Abnegation family in favour of the fearless and brave Dauntless. As it happens, Beatrice is also counted among those who do not perfectly fit in any single faction, a group feared and hated by their society, known only as the Divergent.
Series: Divergent Trilogy #2
by Kelly McCullough
Aral was an assassin and sorcerer in the service of Namara, one of her Blades of Justice. Then his goddess was murdered, her temple destroyed and her followers slain or driven into hiding. For six years Aral's been living as a jack of the shadow trades, picking up odd jobs on the wrong side of the law and trying to stay out of sight. Now Aral's one time fiancee and fellow Blade, Jax needs his help. The forces that destroyed Namara are on the move again and she needs Aral's help to stop them. Before he knows it, Aral's been sucked back into a deadly assassin's war...
"Crossed Blades picks up a great story, and returns to the polished and fast-flowing writing style of the first book in the series. Kelly McCullough is definitely positioning himself alongside Michael J. Sullivan as a writer to be watched, writing compelling and fast-paced character-driven fantasy with a flair for the magical."
Series: A Fallen Blade Novel #3
by William Horwood
It is August, time of the first harvest, traditional time of plenty. But at the farthest reaches of the Hyddenworld, in sea-bound Englalond, disaster looms. A blight in the land is growing, marked by quakes and increasingly unnatural blizzards. Judith is tasked with healing the land, but this burden is almost unbearable. Lonely and lovelorn, she threatens to reap a terrible harvest of her own. Yet a trio of hydden travellers hold out hope – for both the land and the war threatening the hydden people. For Jack and Katherine, Judith’s parents, the shadow of the hydden Empire’s army looms large. They must muster allies or it will mean disaster for the city of Brum. And only Bedwyn Stort, Brum’s famed scrivener, has the courage to unravel a secret that could heal their world. The lost gem of Autumn must be found and Stort must risk death to seek it. Only his love for Judith will give him the will to endure – and bring her the gem she needs to tame the wild earth.
"I love this series and the first and biggest compliment I can give is that this reading is my third - not many series compel me to re-read on this scale. There is even a more than fair chance that there will be a fourth, fifth, even sixth re-read before I am sated. The reason? I love the way William Horwood writes, he makes me love the country of my birth, and I simply love the stories he tells. This series isn’t perfect but it is very, very good."
Series: Hyddenworld: Book 3
by Rowena Cory Daniells
Sorne, the estranged son of a King on the verge of madness, is being raised as a weapon to wield against the mystical Wyrds. Half a continent away, his father is planning to lay siege to the Celestial City, the home of the T’En, whose wyrd blood the mundane population have come to despise. Within the City, Imoshen, the only mystic to be raised by men, is desperately trying to hold her people together. A generations long feud between the men of the Brotherhoods and the women of the sacred Sisterhoods is about to come to a head.
"Besieged is a great showcase of both intricate character relations on a small scale like between Imoshen and Vittoryxe as well as showing struggles of a hated and despised people on a greater scale with the True-men against T’en, this greater scale is also shown between the sisterhood and brotherhood. Similarly as The King’s Bastard the writing style is great and neat and reads away easily. All the events that occur in Besieged lead up to a nice ending with a good link to the second book. A solid plot, both betrayal on small and large scale, great likeable characters make Besieged a great starter." Jasper de Joode, Fantasy Book Review
Series: Outcast Chronicles: Book 1
by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
Similarly to Phoenix Rising, the steampunk element is not to be missed, from lococycles to automatons, ornithopters and cyborgs with firearms hidden in prosthetics. I did feel the shift from focusing on the character more towards the vivid world in which the story took place, this might have been due to the build-up of the characters in the first book which allowed both authors to explore the world more to its rights. The ending is again a bit closed, all well ends well ending but Dr. Sounds does have a new task which I hope will prove again a jolly ride for our daring heroes. The Janus Affair is truly a most shocking and electrifying ride through Victorian London.
Series: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #2
by Scott Spear
What if angels not only walked among us - but were our celebrities? What if they saved people for money? That's the reality in Angel City, where hot young Jackson Godspeed is the angel everyone's dying to date. Everyone except for Madison Montgomery, that is. She's too busy studying and waitressing to pay attention to the gossip blogs. Then Jackson tumbles into the diner where she works, and they forge an instant, unforgettable connection. But as Maddy is reluctantly drawn into Jackson's glamorous world, Jackson fears he's exposing her to more than just the paparazzi. A serial killer is murdering one angel at a time. Not only could Jackson be next - but it seems the killer's got sights set on Maddy...
"Scott starts out creating a Hollywood style drama where everyone admires the angels, then something happens that moves the story into a fast paced mystery where Jackson and Maddy are on the run from the real criminals. At times it is tongue-in-cheek, others serious with powerful dialogue."