Below you will find a list of the fantasy books published in 2014 that we enjoyed most.
by Patrick Rothfuss
The University, a renowned bastion of knowledge, attracts the brightest minds to unravel the mysteries of enlightened sciences like artificing and alchemy. Yet deep below its bustling halls lies a complex and cavernous maze of abandoned rooms and ancient passageways - and in the heart of it all lives Auri. Formerly a student at the University, now Auri spends her days tending the world around her. She has learned that some mysteries are best left settled and safe. No longer fooled by the sharp rationality so treasured by the University, Auri sees beyond the surface of things, into subtle dangers and hidden names.
"The Slow Regard of Silent Things is joyous offering of literary excellence and a heart-breaking delving of loss, loneliness and the mysteries that are Auri."
Series: The Kingkiller Chronicle
by Robin Hobb
Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably in the manor house at Withywoods with his beloved wife Molly these many years, the estate a reward to his family for loyal service to the crown. But behind the facade of respectable middle-age lies a turbulent and violent past. For Tom Badgerlock is actually FitzChivalry Farseer, bastard scion of the Farseer line, convicted user of Beast-magic, and assassin. A man who has risked much for his king and lost more... On a shelf in his den sits a triptych carved in memory stone of a man, a wolf and a fool. Once, these three were inseparable friends: Fitz, Nighteyes and the Fool. But one is long dead, and one long-missing. Then one Winterfest night a messenger arrives to seek out Fitz, but mysteriously disappears, leaving nothing but a blood-trail. What was the message? Who was the sender? And what has happened to the messenger? Suddenly Fitz's violent old life erupts into the peace of his new world, and nothing and no one is safe.
"Fool’s Assassin is, quite simply, one of the best books I have read in years. Brandon Sanderson might have all the attention at the moment, but there is something to be said for the quiet simplicity of a FitzChivalry Farseer story and the world around it. Robin Hobb has dealt a serious blow to all those contending for best book of 2014, and I believe is set to return herself to the centre of attention with this new series. If you haven’t ever read Robin Hobb before, now is the time to jump on – but beware, if you like this book, I can guarantee that you’ll be hankering for more. Thankfully, there’s 13 books in the same universe that will keep you sated until the second in this new series comes out."
Series: Fitz and the Fool #1
by Brandon Sanderson
Return to a planet swept by apocalyptic storms, a world tipping into war as aristocratic families move to control the shard blades and shard plates, ancient artifacts from a past civilisation that can win wars. As the world tips into a war for control of the mythical artifacts of power made from Shard, characters are swept up into new dangers which will threaten their integrity and their lives.
"With Words of Radiance, Sanderson clearly stamps his authority as the master of the "Hollywood" style of epic fantasy. It is hard to comprehend just how much stuff is going on this book, not to mention how this book impacts the wider Cosmere (the universe that ties all of Sanderson's books together). Big action set pieces of extraordinary people doing extraordinary things is exactly what I want from my epic fantasy, and Sanderson delivered beyond what I could have hoped for. I'm tired, I can barely keep my eyes open, but I can't stop smiling. That's my endorsement for this book."
Series: The Stormlight Archive: Book 2
by Charlie Fletcher
Only five still guard the borders between the worlds. Only five hold back what waits on the other side. Once the Oversight, the secret society that polices the lines between the mundane and the magic, counted hundreds of brave souls among its members. Now their number can be tallied on a single hand. When a drunkard brings a screaming girl to the Oversight's London headquarters, it seems their hopes for a new recruit will be fulfilled - but the girl is a trap, her appearance a puzzle the five remaining guardians must solve or lose each other, and their society, for good. As the borders between the natural and the supernatural begin to break down, brutal murders erupt across the city, the Oversight are torn viciously apart, and their enemies close in for the final blow.
"The story is not about good versus evil as there are many shades of grey which give the novel depth and room for characters to grow and be surprised, not only by their discoveries but what they are unable to admit to each other. If you live in a world of secrets and magic it must be hard to trust what is right in front of you. I really loved the way The Oversight ended if there is a sequel to this then I shall be first in line to read it." Michelle Herbert, Fantasy Book Review
Series: Oversight Trilogy #1
by Robert Cargill
Two boys, spirited away into a dark world of myth and folklore that has lived, grown and changed alongside our world, have grown into men and now make their way. But faerie has not forgotten them, it never could, they wield too much power, too much hinges on them, so it reaches out again. And a trip to Australia becomes a terrifying adventure amongst new gods, new spirits, new embodiments of an ancient land and power.
"The Queen of The Dark Things as a book focuses on destiny: is it important, can it be broken and are other people’s destinies actually just complicit in your own? I found this a very interesting concept that compelled me to think of my own life and actions. When it comes to decisions do you do what is best for you or the best for the world around you? I cannot recommend this series enough and hope that we don’t have too long to wait for another book by C. Robert Cargill."
by Mark Lawrence
The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire fear her as they fear no other. Her grandson Jalan Kendeth is a coward, a cheat and a womaniser; and tenth in line to the throne. While his grandmother shapes the destiny of millions, Prince Jalan pursues his debauched pleasures. Until he gets entangled with Snorri ver Snagason, a huge Norse axe man, and dragged against his will to the icy north. In a journey across half the Broken Empire, Jalan flees minions of the Dead King, agrees to duel an upstart prince named Jorg Ancrath, and meets the ice witch, Skilfar, all the time seeking a way to part company with Snorri before the Norseman’s quest leads them to face his enemies in the black fort on the edge of the Bitter Ice.
"Just go ahead and read Prince of Fools. It is a fantastic book that does so many things right, and that I have really struggled to find fault with. The Liar's Key cannot come fast enough." Ryan Lawler
Series: Red Queen's War #1
by Robert Cargill
In the debut novel Dreams and Shadows, screenwriter and noted film critic C. Robert Cargill takes us beyond the veil, through the lives of Ewan and Colby, young men whose spirits have been enmeshed with the otherworld from a young age. This brilliantly crafted narrative - part Neil Gaiman, part Guillermo Del Torro, part William Burroughs - follows the boys from their star-crossed adolescences to their haunted adulthoods. Cargill's tour-de-force takes us inside the Limestone Kingdom, a parallel universe where whisky-swilling genies and foul-mouthed wizards argue over the state of the metaphysical realm. Having left the spirit world and returned to the human world, Ewan and Colby discover that the creatures from this previous life have not forgotten them, and that fate can never be sidestepped. With sensitivity and hopeful examination, Cargill illuminates a supernatural culture that all too eerily resembles our own. Set in a richly imagined and constructed world, complete with its own richly detailed history and mythology, Dreams and Shadows is a deeply engaging story about two extraordinary boys becoming men.
"This novel begins with a perfect love story and yet this isn’t about the love story, there are no happy endings here, instead this is a dark tale where bad things happen to the characters involved. Sometimes this can simply be because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Have you ever read older versions of fairy tales? The ones where bad things happen to people who don’t know the rules and fairies aren’t all sweetness and light? If you have and you loved them, then this is the story for you... if you haven’t read those tales then you should read Dreams and Shadows anyway as you might just be surprised." Michelle Herbert, Fantasy Book Review
by Tim Marquitz
Actions have consequences. For Frank “Triggaltheron” Trigg, those consequences involve prison. Specifically, an extraterrestrial prison where he and pretty much everyone he cares about are now trapped. Bereft of weapons, magic, or a good lawyer, Frank plots a break out but the indigenous convicts and draconian guardians stand in the way. With time running out on Earth, Scarlett battling to control the mess left behind, Frank must find a way home before he ends up serving a life sentence.
"Exit Wounds is a welcome return to form for the Demon Squad series, ranking right up there as one of my favourite in the series. Marquitz managed to take some really out there ideas and mesh them with some tight plotting and a solid resolution. We were given a tiny cliff-hanger at the end of the story, but I loved it because it presents a sign of things to come for Frank rather than cutting us off halfway through a story. I'm really happy that we got so much resolution in this book, and I'm excited to see what happens next."
Series: Demon Squad: Book 7
by Stephen Hunt
Jacob Carnehan has settled down. He's living a comfortable, quiet life, obeying the law and minding his own business while raising his son Carter ... on those occasions when he isn't having to bail him out of one scrape or another. His days of adventure are - thankfully - long behind him. Carter Carnehan is going out of his mind with boredom. He's bored by his humdrum life, frustrated that his father won't live a little, and longs for the bright lights and excitement of anywhere-but-here. He's longing for an opportunity to escape, and test himself against whatever the world has to offer. Carter is going to get his opportunity. He's caught up in a village fight, kidnapped by slavers and, before he knows it, is swept to another land. A lowly slave, surrounded by technology he doesn't understand, his wish has come true: it's him vs. the world. He can try to escape, he can try to lead his fellow slaves, or he can accept the inevitable and try to make the most of the short, brutal existence remaining to him... unless Jacob gets to him first and, no matter the odds, he intends to. No one kidnaps his son and gets away with it - and if it come to it, he'll force Kings to help him on his way, he'll fight, steal, blackmail and betray his friends in the name of bringing Carter home. Wars will be started. Empires will fall. And the Carnehan family will be reunited, one way or another...
"Stephen Hunt has produced a well plotted and paced adventure that captures the imagination and entertains throughout. Despite its length, In Dark Service never sags or slows down. Told from many different perspectives, it avoids large info dumps and ciphers. There is a real immediacy and heightened sense of drama that sweeps the reader up." Daniel Cann, Fantasy Book Review
Series: The Far-Called Sequence #1
by Robert Jackson Bennett
You've got to be careful when you're chasing a murderer through Bulikov, for the world is not as it should be in that city. When the gods were destroyed and all worship of them banned by the Polis, reality folded; now stairs lead to nowhere, alleyways have become portals to the past, and criminals disappear into thin air. The murder of Dr Efrem Pangyui, the Polis diplomat researching the Continent's past, has begun something and now whispers of an uprising flutter out from invisible corners. Only one woman may be willing to pursue the truth - but it is likely to cost her everything.
"City of Stairs definitely makes my list of favourite fantasy novels, and I would definitely read a sequel, as well as more of Bennett's work. Excellent and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it." Kat Berwick
by Jonathan Stroud
Life is never exactly peaceful for Lockwood & Co. Lucy and George are trying to solve the mystery of the talking skull trapped in their ghost jar, while Lockwood is desperate for an exciting new case. Things seem to be looking up when the team is called to Kensal Green Cemetery to investigate the grave of a sinister Victorian doctor. Strange apparitions have been seen there, and the site must be made safe. As usual, Lockwood is confident; as usual, everything goes wrong - a terrible phantom is unleashed, and a dangerous object is stolen from the coffin. Lockwood & Co must recover the relic before its power is unleashed, but it's a race against time. Their obnoxious rivals from the Fittes agency are also on the hunt. And if that's not bad enough, the skull in the ghost-jar is stirring again...
"Jonathan Stroud writes skillfully, creating a gripping narrative that moves seamlessly from the comfort of home to the thrills and chills of graveyards and haunted houses. I find that the best authors really show their expertise in the tricky second book of a trilogy - a book which in lesser hands only seems to serve as a bridge to the third and concluding installment, but The Whispering Skull can both stand as an enjoyable stand-alone book and also a one that further fleshes out its characters and the world in which it is set."
Series: Lockwood & Co #2
by Joseph Delaney
The Wardstone Chronicles now consists of eight main series books and four companion pieces and the challenge for any author writing a series of this length is to keep the quality of the individual book's high, maintain the interest of the reader and continually develop the characters. And all this Joseph Delaney has done very, very well. In my last review, for The Spook's Destiny, I mentioned that Spook's books are either good, very good or excellent. I found the first five books in the Wardstone Chronicles to be excellent while the three that followed, although still good, didn't quite reach the same heights. I must admit that I had begun to wonder if the series was running out of steam and so it came as a wonderful surprise to find that I Am Grimalkin finds Joseph Delaney back on top form once again.
Series: The Wardstone Chronicles
by James A Moore
The Empire of Fellein is in mourning. The Emperor is dead, and the armies of the empire have grown soft. Merros Dulver, their newly-appointed - and somewhat reluctant - commander, has been tasked with preparing them to fight the most savage enemy the world has yet seen. Meanwhile, a perpetual storm ravages the Blasted Lands, and a new threat is about to arise - the Broken are coming, and with them only Death.
"The Blasted Lands builds on the high standards set by Seven Forges, with Moore continuing to develop his intriguing world and tell his story through some epic action set pieces. Even though I enjoyed this book immensely, it fell victim to the same issue I had with the first book in that all of the plot threads are still open, and the cataclysmic event at the end doesn't resolve anything and only starts up even more plot threads. Both books are missing that satisfying ending because they don't actually end anything, but I can see they are building towards something huge so I will happily continue on this journey to find out what happens next."
Series: Seven Forges series #2
by Tim Marquitz
I really enjoyed Those Poor, Poor Bastards. Marquitz, Martin and Soward have put something together that I think really harmonizes and enhances each of their unique qualities. The problem is - how long do I have to wait before I get my next fill of Dead West?!
by Simon Ings
Two friends are working at the cutting edge of this technology and when they are offered backing to take the idea and make it into the next global entertainment they realise that wolves hunt in this imagined world. And the wolves might be them.
"Wolves is about how each of the characters perceives the world and as Michel invites Conrad back into his life, and his mother’s possible murder once again rises to the surface, it become clear that reality is far more complex than we might first think. If you are looking for something a bit different, definitely give this book a go." Cat Fitzpatrick, Fantasy Book Review
by Mercedes M Yardley
Yardley has shown that with Nameless, she has the ability to really make waves with longer form novels. This book is not as focused as Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu, and I don't think it is going to be to everyone's tastes, but it is definitely to my taste, and I can’t wait to see what Yardley writes next.
Series: The Bone Angel Trilogy #1
by Will Elliott
Inside Out is the story of Denton, a down-and-out no-hoper who lives with his mother and hits rock bottom one day during a road-rage incident. What should be the lowest moment of his life turns into a moment of revelation when he is rescued by members of the Sect of Bliss. Denton is quickly drawn into their world, mostly thanks to the attractive qualities of Sister Sarah and the persuasive power of the Sect's leader, Daniel Mason. Mason and his sidekick Coolan are initially less than impressed with their new recruit, until they discover Denton has just inherited an enormous amount of money, and doesn't even know about it yet... They have no qualms about getting the money, even if it means getting rid of Denton permanently. But Inside Out is also the story of another group of characters - the people in charge of Denton's mind. Mr Scott, the brisk and orderly man who runs the logic department; DM, the calm enigma creating Denton's dreams; Len, who enjoys inventing nightmares; and Wetpatch, who runs amok with Denton's libido. While the outside Denton is being lured into the cult, those inside Denton are well-aware that something is very wrong ... and they will do whatever it takes to save him.
"Inside Out by Will Elliott is stand-alone novel where a man's brain provides the canvas for a trippy adventure through the world of cults and brainwashing. It is similar in style to his previous release Nightfall, and while it may not have the same emotional impact, the story is more comedic and, in my opinion, far more accessible." Ryan Lawler
by Den Patrick
Lucien de Fontein has grown up different. One of the mysterious and misshapen Orfano who appear around the Kingdom of Landfall, he is a talented fighter yet constantly lonely, tormented by his deformity, and well aware that he is a mere pawn in a political game. Ruled by an insane King and the venomous Majordomo, it is a world where corruption and decay are deeply rooted - but to a degree Lucien never dreams possible when he first discovers the plight of the 'insane' women kept in the haunting Sanatoria.
"The Boy with the Porcelain Blade is an intriguing novel that opens like a flower to reveal all to those who choose to read it. I felt compelled to keep reading, even if I occasionally had to put the book down as the chapters would end on a cliff hanger and the anticipation to know how bad the characters situations had become or if they would survive the next couple of pages. If Den Patrick can keep this up with future novels I would be happy to see where this leads." Michelle Herbert, Fantasy Book Review
Series: The Erebus Sequence #1
by Charlaine Harris
So welcome to Midnight where nothing is what it seems and not knowing everything about your neighbours may end up getting you killed. I enjoy this kind of story, a mystery/crime/thriller/urban fantasy novel, there is something for everyone here and enough loose ends to keep you intrigued to find out what could happen next. If you have read anything by Charlaine Harris I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed. If you haven’t read anything by Charlaine Harris, then Midnight Crossroad might be the book to get you started.
Series: Midnight Texas #1
by Peter Higgins
Investigator Lom returns to Mirgorod and finds the city in the throes of a crisis. The war against the Archipelago is not going well. Enemy divisions are massing outside the city, air raids are a daily occurrence and the citizens are being conscripted into the desperate defence of the city. But Lom has other concerns. The police are after him, the mystery of the otherworldly Pollandore remains and the vast Angel is moving, turning all of nature against the city. But will the horrors of war overtake all their plans?
"What makes Truth and Fear such a triumph is that it can be read as thriller and fantasy. I cannot delve too deeply into the storyline without revealing too much, so all I can say is this is a rare thing: a sequel that surpasses its original."
Series: The Wolfhound Century #2
by Sally Nicholls
A poignant story about foster care children with a supernatural twist, from the award-winning author of Ways to Live Forever. Clare knows she's at least partly to blame for her problems at school, but she's learned that it hurts to make friends when you're a foster kid and you'll just be moved on again. It's a relief to meet Maddy, who knows exactly what it's like to be in the system. But then Maddy disappears. Clare has opened her heart at last, and she can't let it go - will she find her friend? Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+
"Shadow Girl, rather than being about a girl who finds a new foster mother and friend has a very interesting twist you don't expect. When Clare discovers more about her friend, Maddy, she wonders if she is from another time as she likes bands from the 1980s while Clare is more interested in more modern bands. She wants to know who Maddy really is and where she is from, but when she does, it might shock her. From the author of Ways to Live Forever and Close Your Pretty Eyes comes another gem from Barrington Stoke." Sandra Scholes, Fantasy Book Review
by Anthony Ryan
Vaelin Al Sorna is tired of war. He's fought countless battles in service to the Realm and Faith. His reward was the loss of his love, the death of his friends and a betrayal by his king. After five years in an Alpiran dungeon, he just wants to go home. Reva intends to welcome Vaelin back with a knife between the ribs. He destroyed her family and ruined her life. Nothing will stop her from exacting bloody vengeance - not even the threat of invasion from the greatest enemy the Realm has ever faced. Yet as the fires of war spread, foes become friends and truths turn to lies. To save the Realm, Reva must embrace a future she does not want - and Vaelin must revisit a past he'd rather leave buried.
"Tower Lord by Anthony Ryan finally begins to realise the imagination and coherency of Tolkien, while remaining true to the heart and soul of the author. The ‘Raven’s Shadow’ series is one of the best new series out there, challenging all the existing big-names to sit up and take notice, or be left behind."
Series: Raven's Shadow #2
by Chris Bradford
Taka's desperate to prove that he has what it takes to become a ninja. He has failed the Grandmaster's test twice already. But when the clan's scrolls are stolen by an enemy samurai he has a chance to prove himself.
"Bradford knows how to construct a novel and completely surprising ending."
Series: Ninja Trilogy #3
by Kevin Lucia
Welcome to Clifton Heights, an average Adirondack town. It's nice enough, really. Except after dark. Or on cold winter days when you're all alone... Sophan. An ancient game of chance and Fate. One boy's smoldering hate, another boy's need to make things right, and a father's ghosts of Vietnam past. The Man in Yellow. Tahawus is a small, isolated Adirondack town just north of Clifton Heights. A quiet place filled with simple people of an ardent faith, nothing much ever happens there... until the man in yellow comes calling. He knows your worst nightmares, and he can offer your fondest wish. All you need is faith... and a mouth from which to scream.
"Devourer of Souls by Kevin Lucia is supernatural horror very much in the vein of Stephen King. It is made up of two novella length stories set in the same town, with a frame story that loosely connects the two novellas. While I don't think the horror in this book will make you wet your pants, it does establish an atmosphere that I think will make you feel uncomfortable and, for a horror story, that is a very good thing." Ryan Lawler, Fantasy Book Review
Series: The Clifton Heights Saga #3
by Ian C Esslemont
Tens of thousands of years of ice is melting, and the land of Assail, long a byword for menace and inaccessibility, is at last yielding its secrets. Tales of gold discovered in the region’s north circulate in every waterfront dive and sailor’s tavern and now adventurers and fortune-seekers have set sail in search of riches. And all they have to guide them are legends and garbled tales of the dangers that lie in wait - hostile coasts, fields of ice, impassable barriers and strange, terrifying creatures. But all accounts concur that the people of the north meet all trespassers with the sword - and should you make it, beyond are rumoured to lurk Elder monsters out of history’s very beginnings. Into this turmoil ventures the mercenary company, the Crimson Guard. Not drawn by contract, but by the promise of answers: answers that Shimmer, second in command, feels should not be sought. Also heading north, as part of an uneasy alliance of Malazan fortune-hunters and Letherii soldiery, comes the bard Fisher kel Tath. With him is a Tiste Andii who was found washed ashore and cannot remember his past and yet commands far more power than he really should. It is also rumoured that a warrior, bearer of a sword that slays gods and who once fought for the Malazans, is also journeying that way. But far to the south, a woman patiently guards the shore. She awaits both allies and enemies. She is Silverfox, newly incarnate Summoner of the undying army of the T’lan Imass, and she will do anything to stop the renewal of an ages-old crusade that could lay waste to the entire continent and beyond.
"Assail by Ian C Esslemont probably ranks as one of my favourite books of the year – albeit also one of the most anticipated. 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."
Series: A Novel of the Malazan Empire: Book 6
by Lauren Beukes
Detective Gabi Versado has hunted down many monsters during her eight years in Homicide. She’s seen stupidity, corruption and just plain badness. But she’s never seen anything like this. Clayton Broom is a failed artist, and a broken man. Life destroyed his plans, so he’s found new dreams – of flesh and bone made disturbingly, beautifully real. Detroit is the decaying corpse of the American Dream. Motor-city. Murder-city. And home to a killer opening doors into the dark heart of humanity. A killer who wants to make you whole again…
"If you’re a stickler for a novel to only be written in one genre, then this isn’t the book for you, for everyone else welcome to a truly intelligent story. Lauren Beukes goes from strength to strength with each book she writes." Michelle Herbert
by Jim Butcher
Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day. As Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it's something awful. This time, it's worse than that. Mab's involved Harry in a smash-and-grab heist run by one of his most despised enemies, to recover the literal Holy Grail from the vaults of the greatest treasure horde in the world - which belongs to the one and only Hades, Lord of the Underworld. Dresden's always been tricky, but he's going to have to up his backstabbing game to survive this mess - assuming his own allies don't end up killing him before his enemies get the chance...
"Skin Game is a celebration of the originals of Dresden novels, that time in his past when he only had to juggle a couple of near impossible challenges and survive. We now have a seasoned thinker and fighter able to handle whatever is thrown at him, and yes he still gets the proverbial handed to him most of the time. Stacking up the last three books, this has definitely been my favourite, this is Dresden through and through." Fergus McCartan
Series: The Dresden Files: Book 15
by Lucinda Hare
'The SDS must change if we are to survive. We have to become one people again, as we once were, who live and train and fight together. You have both demonstrated your ability to do this, young though you both are. You come from different peoples; one noble born, the other the son of a scout. One desiring to fly dragons when tradition allows only men to do so; the other proving in the best tradition of his people that you do not need to wield a sword in your hand to protect those you love.'
"But what truly separates Hare’s novels from other books is the deeper message they convey - and this continues with SDS. Hare offers us a world where the underdog can triumph, where you can be who you want to be, where girls can fly dragons, but also dress how they want. Quenelda is still very much a girl in a boys' world and this is what makes a story about old folklore so modern. We see Quenelda battle through, (literally, at times!) as she tries to deal with life as a young girl and her growing dragon magic. Once you've reached the last page, sit back and hope for a film adaptation and a line of frying pans as merchandise." Liz Wride
Series: The Dragonsdome Chronicles: Book 4
by Django Wexler
Late one night Alice Creighton hears her father having an argument with a fairy – a snarling, bald beast with warts and needle-like teeth. The next day her father disappears, never to return. And Alice is sent to live with Master Geryon, an uncle she never even knew existed. Geryon has a dark, mysterious library which is strictly off-limits to Alice. But after meeting a talking cat who is willing to sneak her in, Alice opens a book and suddenly finds herself inside it – and the only way out is by conquering the dangerous creatures within...
"There’s a small cast of well-defined and interesting characters; many readers will love the talking cat, Ashes, in particular. Despite being over three hundred pages, it gallops along nicely through 29 brisk chapters. There are secrets, subterfuges and spells galore amongst plenty of action and some humour." KM Lockwood
by Django Wexler
The King of Vordan is dying, and his daughter, Raesinia, is destined to become the first Queen in centuries. But politics knows no loyalties, especially for Duke Orlanko, Minister of Information and spymaster of the empire. The most feared man in the Vordan will bow his knee to no Queen, unless she is firmly under his influence. Freshly returned from their recent victories in the colonies, Colonel Janus, Marcus and Winter must play a new and far deadlier game than the open warfare of the front, using all their talents, earthly or supernatural.
"Truly, Django Wexler is writing a masterpiece of flintlock fantasy that is exceedingly close to transcending its genre-identification and becoming an epic piece of fantasy. To so richly capture the lives of fictional creations, and to make me care about them making “morally right” decisions is proof of Wexler’s mastery of this art form – add to that my increasing love of magic and muskets, and The Shadow Throne is easily one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in years."
Series: The Shadow Campaigns #2
by Chuck Wendig
Cael McAvoy is on the run. He’s heading toward the Empyrean to rescue his sister, Merelda, and to find Gwennie before she’s lost to Cael forever. With his pals, Lane and Rigo, Cael journeys across the Heartland to catch a ride into the sky. But with Boyland and others after them, Cael and his friends won’t make it through unchanged. Gwennie’s living the life of a Lottery winner, but it’s not what she expected. Separated from her family, Gwennie makes a bold move - one that catches the attention of the Empyrean and changes the course of an Empyrean man’s life. The crew from Boxelder aren’t the only folks willing to sacrifice everything to see the Empyrean fall. The question is: Can the others be trusted? They’d all better hurry. Because the Empyrean has plans that could ensure that the Heartland never fights back again.
"I really enjoyed Blightborn, much much more than Under The Empyrean Sky, and it's because Wendig improved on everything I liked about the first book while addressing some of the issues. He increased the complexity of the world and underpinned it with a rich and fascinating history. He introduced a far more compelling overarching plot that I want to see through to its final resolution. He made the characters far more sympathetic and relatable, with a more diverse range of motivations driving these characters in interesting directions. He made me want to drop everything and read the third book, and for me, that is the most important part of all."
Series: The Heartland Trilogy #2
by Katherine Addison
The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an "accident," he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir. Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment. Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favour with the naive new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the spectre of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend... and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne - or his life.
"Though undoubtedly not action orientated, at the same time the book manages to hold your attention and go from the quietly sad story of a lonely young man out of his depth, to the equally quietly triumphant story of a hero who has accepted himself, learned to cope and promises to do a great deal of good for others, indeed, to say it is a story with magic, airships and elves set around a very ritualistic royal court, in some ways The Goblin Emperor is one of the most grittily hopeful books I’ve read for quite a significant while, and one I’d definitely agree deserves its accolade."
by John Gwynne
The Banished Lands are torn by war as the army of High King Nathair sweeps the realm challenging all who oppose his holy crusade. Allied with the manipulative Queen Rhin of Cambren, there are few who can stand against him. But Rhin is playing her own games and has her eyes on a far greater prize... Left for dead – her kin have fled and her country is overrun with enemies – Cywen fights to survive. But any chance of escape is futile once Nathair and his disquieting advisor Calidus realize who she is. They have no intention of letting such a prize slip from their grasp. For she may be their one chance at killing the biggest threat to their power. Meanwhile, the young warrior Corban flees from his conquered homeland with his exiled companions, heading for the only place that may offer them sanctuary. But to get there they must travel through Cambren, avoiding warbands, giants and the vicious wolven of the mountains. And all the while Corban struggles to become the man that everyone believes him to be – the Bright Star and saviour of the Banished Lands. Embroiled in struggles for power and survival, the mortal world is unaware of the greatest threat of all. In the Otherworld, dark forces scheme to bring a host of the Fallen into the world of flesh to end the war with the Faithful, once and for all.
Series: The Faithful and The Fallen #2
by Lev Grossman
Quentin Coldwater has lost everything. He has been cast out of the secret magical land of Fillory and now, friendless and broke, he returns to where his story began: Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. But Quentin’s past soon catches up with him...
Meanwhile, Fillory’s magical barriers are failing, and barbarians from the north have invaded. To save their beloved world from extinction, Eliot and Janet, High King and Queen of Fillory, must embark on a final, dangerous quest.
Quentin’s adventure takes him from Antarctica to the enchanted Neitherlands, where he finds old friends. But all roads lead back to Fillory, where Quentin must put things right, or die trying.
Series: The Magicians series: Book 3
by MR Carey
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite. But they don't laugh. Melanie is a very special girl.