Best Fantasy Books of 2015

Below you will find a list of the fantasy books published in 2015 that we enjoyed most. Click on a book title to read the full review.

The Sorcerer's Glen by Lucinda Hare (The Dragonsdome Chronicles: Book 5)

The Grand Master sat back in his chair with his blue eyes closed and sent a small prayer earthwards. The White Sorcerer had returned a little after the hour of the sabre-toothed rabbit, having encountered difficulties no greater than an ageing broom; but the news he brought was the worst possible; their fears justified; the WarLock known as the Black Raven for his totem had indeed returned to his ancient lair in the realm of men.

"In short, this is a book for everyone. Want to enter Hare’s world - pick up this book. You don’t have to have read the Dragonsdome Chronicles to understand this (but they are brilliant - so you really should read them!). The final difference with this book was Hare’s fantastic illustrations - saved only for the front cover of the previous novels, The Sorcerer’s Glen is filled with them - the work of both Hare and local primary school children. Overall: This book gets 5 toffee-wands (out of five!)."

Published: 2015

The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud (Lockwood & Co #3)

Lockwood & Co. might be the smallest (some might say shambolic) Psychic Detection Agency in London. But its three agents - Lockwood, Lucy and George - are exceptional Talents. And they get results. When an outbreak of ghostly phenomena grows to terrifying levels in Chelsea, Scotland Yard is left baffled. Even more baffling is that Lockwood & Co appear to have been excluded from the huge team of Agents investigating the Chelsea Outbreak. Surely this is the perfect chance for them to show once and for all that they're actually the best in town? Well, that's if they can put aside their personal differences for long enough to march into action with their rapiers, salt and iron...

"My advice to you, dear reader, is to read the Lockwood & Co books then read everything else Stroud has written. He’s the bee’s knees in my opinion and his work is enormous fun to read."

Published: 2015

The Thief by Claire North (Gamehouse #2)

The Gameshouse is an unusual institution. Many know it as the place where fortunes can be made and lost through games of Chess, Backgammon - every game under the sun. But a select few, who are picked to compete in the higher league, know that some games are played for higher stakes - those of politics and empires, of economics and kings... In 1930s Bangkok, one higher league player has just been challenged to a game of hide and seek. The board is all of Thailand - and the seeker will use any means possible to hunt down his quarry - be it police, government, strangers or even spies...

"The Thief is storytelling at its finest, full of emotion, tension, failures, triumphs, mysteries and conspiracies, all while enriching an established world, and all contributing towards a final showdown in the third novella. The Thief is a must-read story."

Published: 2015

Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (Imperial Radch #3)

For a moment, things seemed to be under control for Breq, the soldier who used to be a warship. Then a search of Athoek Station's slums turns up someone who shouldn't exist and a messenger from the mysterious Presger empire arrives, as does Breq's old enemy, the divided, heavily armed, and possibly insane Anaander Mianaai - ruler of an empire at war with itself. Breq could flee with her ship and crew, but that would leave the people of Athoek in terrible danger. Breq has a desperate plan. The odds aren't good, but that's never stopped her before.

"In the end, despite the fact there is obviously more that could be said, I was left entirely satisfied. I want to read more about Breq – as well as Seivarden, Ekalu, and Tisarwat – but what I have read was ultimately enough if that is all I ever get, and what I got was captivating, beautiful, exhilarating, and tremendously well-crafted. With a new Ann Leckie book already on my coffee table, I know that it will be good."

Published: 2015

Half the World by Joe Abercrombie (Shattered Sea #2)

Sometimes a girl is touched by mother war. Thorn is such a girl. Desperate to avenge her dead father, she lives to fight. But she has been named murderer by the very man who trained her to kill. Sometimes a woman becomes a warrior. Fate traps her in the schemes - and on the ship - of the deep-cunning minister Father Yarvi. Crossing half the world to find allies against the ruthless High King, she learns harsh lessons of blood and deceit. Sometimes a warrior becomes a weapon. Beside her on her gruelling journey is Brand, a young warrior who hates to kill. A failure in his eyes and hers, he has one chance at redemption. And weapons are made for one purpose. Will Thorn forever be a tool in the hands of the powerful or can she carve her own path? Is there a place beyond legend for a woman with a blade?

"Half the World is a fantastic book that clearly demonstrates Abercrombie's proficiency in the fantasy genre. Half a War cannot come soon enough."

Published: 2015

Collateral Damage by Tim Marquitz (Demon Squad: Book 8)

Escaped from prison and back in his own body, life has taken a turn toward the domestic for Frank “Triggaltheron” Trigg. His days are filled with diapers, formula, and baby farts, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. Of course it couldn’t last. A raid on Frank’s home threatens his family and throws his life into chaos. He scrambles to survive, his enemies growing more numerous at every turn. Pushed into a corner, Frank must find a way to fight back before his world is razed to the ground, taking everyone he knows with it. And it’s only Monday.

"Collateral Damage is a big step forward, one that addresses the criticism of recent books while also paving a clear path forward. The story had a tight plot from start to finish, cool enemies for Frank to fight, it made me laugh, it made me emotional, it was still a lot of fun, and it left me wanting more Demon Squad right now."

Published: 2015

Ruin by John Gwynne (The Faithful and The Fallen #3)

The Banished Lands are engulfed in war and chaos. The cunning Queen Rhin has conquered the west and High King Nathair has the cauldron, most powerful of the seven treasures. At his back stands the scheming Calidus and a warband of the Kadoshim, dread demons of the Otherworld. They plan to bring Asroth and his host of the Fallen into the world of flesh, but to do so they need the seven treasures. Nathair has been deceived but now he knows the truth. He has choices to make; choices that will determine the fate of the Banished Lands. Elsewhere the flame of resistance is growing - Queen Edana finds allies in the swamps of Ardan. Maquin is loose in Tenebral, hunted by Lykos and his corsairs. Here he will witness the birth of a rebellion in Nathair's own realm. Corban has been swept along by the tide of war. He has suffered, lost loved ones, sought only safety from the darkness. But he will run no more. He has seen the face of evil and he has set his will to fight it. The question is, how? With a disparate band gathered about him - his family, friends, giants, fanatical warriors, an angel and a talking crow - he begins the journey to Drassil, the fabled fortress hidden deep in the heart of Forn Forest. For in Drassil lies the spear of Skald, one of the seven treasures, and here it is prophesied that the Bright Star will stand against the Black Sun.

"This is one of the top 15 books I have ever read. It did everything that an author should aspire to present to a reader. Mythical, magical, intense, brutal, poignant. If you are reading this and have not started The Faithful and the Fallen, stop being silly."

Published: 2015

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows: Book 1)

Six of Crows is a fantastic book, one of the best fantasy heist books going around. It is funny, tragic, witty, silly, murderous, thoughtful and more all in one package. If there is a criticism, it might be that Bardugo tries to cram too much into a single story, but it's not much of a criticism given how adeptly she pulled this story off. YA readers probably had this book on their radar long ago and have probably re-read it a couple of times, so for those people who steer clear of YA for whatever reason, I would highly encourage you to put your prejudices aside and give this book a shot.

Published: 2015

Queen of Fire by Anthony Ryan (Raven's Shadow: Book 3)

Queen Lyrna has survived the bloody siege of Alltor. Now she must rally her troops and take back the capital from the Volarian invaders. But driving her hated enemy out of the Realm will not satisfy her lust for vengeance - she wants to pursue them across the ocean and burn their empire to ashes. To do so, she must place her faith in the Seventh Order: men and women who wield terrible powers, born of the Dark itself. Vaelin Al Sorna would sacrifice his life for his queen - and may yet have to. Only by unmasking the Volarians' mysterious Ally can the tide of war be turned. To this end, Vaelin must travel deep into the icebound north, in search of a man who cannot die - and he must do it without the aid of his blood song, which has fallen ominously silent...

"Queen of Fire is a perfect conclusion to a masterful trilogy. The characters are second-to-none, and though the author requires a bit too much retained knowledge on the part of the reader, it is made up for by relegating such revelations to secondary status behind the lives and outcomes of these characters we have grown to love, admire, and hate."

Published: 2015

City of Wonders by James A Moore (Seven Forges series #3)

Old Canhoon, the City of Wonders, is facing a population explosion as refugees from Tyrne and Roathes alike try to escape the Sa’ba Taalor. All along the border between the Blasted Lands and the Fellein Empire, armies clash and the most powerful empire in the world is pushed back toward the old Capital. From the far east, the Pilgrim gathers an army of the faithful, heading for Old Canhoon. In Old Canhoon itself, the imperial family struggles against enemies old and new, as the agents of their enemies begin removing threats to the gods of the Seven Forges and prepare the way for the invading armies of the Seven Kings. In the distant Taalor valley, Andover Lashk continues his quest and must make a final decision, while at the Mounds, something inhuman is awakened and set free. War is here. Blood will flow and bodies will burn.

"City of Wonders by James A. Moore is the third book in the Seven Forges series, an epic fantasy interpretation of David and Goliath. Moore did not start out as an epic fantasy author, his roots are firmly planted in the horror realm, and those roots show through here as Moore gives us some truly imaginative and chilling moments. You should really be reading this series."

Published: 2015

The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School by Kim Newman

When her mother finds her sleeping on the ceiling, Amy Thomsett is sent to Drearcliff Grange School in Somerset. Although it looks like a regular 1920s boarding school, Amy learns that Drearcliff girls are special, the daughters of criminal masterminds, outlaw scientists and master magicians. When one of the girls in her dormitory is abducted, Amy and her friends must form a secret, superpowered society called the Moth Club to rescue her.

"The book has a good tone within a self-contained world that has its own rhythm and rules. Kim Newman has written a fast paced story that is full of action and intrigue that makes the book hard to  put down. The characters are engaging as they continue to get into situations that they may not be able to handle when it is not just student versus student, but also children versus adults. This is not a book about sunshine and rainbows, this is a book that at times is very dark, which also has chilling moments throughout. At the same time, this is a really enjoyable read that has given me a new descriptive word of "Crumpets!" for when you need to exclaim. I can see myself re-reading this book time and again."

Published: 2015

The Serpent by Claire North (Gamehouse #1)

In seventeenth century Venice exists a mysterious establishment known only as the Gameshouse. There, fortunes are made and fortunes are broken over games of chess, backgammon and every other game under the sun. But those whom fortune favours may be invited to compete in the higher league... a league where the games played are of politics and empires, of economics and kings. It is a league where Capture the Castle involves real castles, where hide and seek takes place on a scale as big as the British Isles. Not everyone proves worthy of competing in the higher league. But one woman who is about to play may just exceed everyone's expectations. Though she must always remember: the higher the stakes, the more deadly the rules...

"The Serpent is a short but wonderful story, full of twists I saw coming, and turns I never saw coming. The concept is intriguing, the execution is almost faultless, and all I want is more Gamehouse novellas."

Published: 2015

The Liar's Key by Mark Lawrence (Red Queen's War #2)

The Red Queen has set her players on the board… Winter is keeping Prince Jalan Kendeth far from the luxuries of his southern palace. And although the North may be home to his companion, the warrior Snorri ver Snagason, he is just as eager to leave. For the Viking is ready to challenge all of Hel to bring his wife and children back into the living world. He has Loki’s key - now all he needs is to find the door. As all wait for the ice to unlock its jaws, the Dead King plots to claim what was so nearly his - the key into the world - so that the dead can rise and rule.

"The Liar's Key does everything a good sequel should do - it moves the story forward whilst improving on every facet of the previous book. Lawrence is getting better with every book, and I can't wait to see how he concludes this story with The Wheel of Osheim."

Published: 2015

Twelve Kings by Bradley Beaulieu (The Song of the Shattered Sands #1)

In the cramped west end of Sharakhai, the Amber Jewel of the Desert, Çeda fights in the pits to scrape a living. She, like so many in the city, pray for the downfall of the cruel, immortal Kings of Sharakhai, but she's never been able to do anything about it. This all changes when she goes out on the night of Beht Zha'ir, the holy night when all are forbidden from walking the streets. It's the night that the asirim, the powerful yet wretched creatures that protect the Kings from all who would stand against them, wander the city and take tribute. It is then that one of the asirim, a pitiful creature who wears a golden crown, stops Çeda and whispers long forgotten words into her ear. Çeda has heard those words before, in a book left to her by her mother, and it is through that one peculiar link that she begins to find hidden riddles left by her mother. As Çeda begins to unlock the mysteries of that fateful night, she realizes that the very origin of the asirim and the dark bargain the Kings made with the gods of the desert to secure them may be the very key she needs to throw off the iron grip the Kings have had over Sharakhai. And yet the Kings are no fools - they've ruled the Shangazi for four hundred years for good reason, and they have not been idle. As Çeda digs into their past, and the Kings come closer and closer to unmasking her, Çeda must decide if she's ready to face them once and for all.

"Bradley Beaulieu has written a beautiful novel that is intricately detailed without ever feeling overly complicated. The characters, of which there are many, are well written and their lives feel whole, even the characters who may only be seen in a chapter or two. Each character is given a role that will further Çeda and Emre's story. There is a rich mythology flowing through the story and I really enjoyed the history of the Twelve Kings and how, even they are not as harmonious as you would imagine. This is a story that shows how important the narrative you tell will affect your own standing in the world."

Published: 2015

The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin (The Broken Earth: Book 1)

Reading the Broken Earth trilogy can be a brutal, painful experience. There is much tragedy, despair and the characters’ futures often look nothing but bleak. But these ambitious, heartbreaking books mark a new stage in the evolution of the fantasy genre and their complexity, world-building and themes break new ground.

Published: 2015

Hunt for Valamon by DK Mok

When Crown Prince Valamon is impossibly taken from the heart of Algaris Castle, the only clue as to motive or culprit is the use of unknown sorcery. Reclusive cleric Seris is happily tending to his book-infested temple until he finds himself drafted--for political reasons--to the rescue mission. His sole companion on the journey is Elhan, a cheerfully disturbed vagrant girl with terrifying combat skills and her own enigmatic reasons for seeking the prince. Venturing into the wild, unconquered lands, Seris has no fighting prowess, no survival skills, and no charisma, as Elhan keeps pointing out. Armed only with a stubborn streak and creative diplomacy, he must find a way to survive outlaw towns and incendiary masquerades, all without breaking his vow to do no harm. Chasing rumours of rebel camps and rising warlords, dangerous curses and the return of the vanished sorcerers, Seris and Elhan soon discover a web of treachery and long-buried secrets that go far beyond a kidnapped prince.

"There was no love story, save for one of friendship and familial love, and the hero was a girl cursed with destruction. I can safely say that this is one of my favourite stand alone fantasy novels, and that I definitely recommend it to everyone who enjoys fantasy. "

Published: 2015

Day Boy by Trent Jamieson

Mark is a Day Boy. In a post-traumatic future the Masters - formerly human, now practically immortal - rule a world that bends to their will and a human population upon which they feed. Invincible by night, all but helpless by day, each relies on his Day Boy to serve and protect him. Mark has been lucky in his Master: Dain has treated him well. But as he grows to manhood and his time as a Day Boy draws to a close, there are choices to be made. Will Mark undergo the Change and become, himself, a Master - or throw in his lot with his fellow humans? As the tensions in his conflicted world reach crisis point, Mark's decision may be crucial.

"Day Boy is a coming of age story set in a world of harsh truths, blood, death and survival. It is a poetic story of humanity, of monsters living in the Shadow of the Mountain, bitter cold and open to the burning of the clear night sky."

Published: 2015

From Hell by Tim Marquitz (Demon Squad: A Novella)

The Demon Squad series has a lot in common with The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, and the Sandman Slim series by Richard Kadrey. If you have never read a Demon Squad book before, From Hell is a cheap and quick way to see if these are your types of books. If you love the Demon Squad series then this will provide a great fix while we wait for book six.

Published: 2015

The Death House by Sarah Pinborough

Toby's life was perfectly normal... until it was unravelled by something as simple as a blood test. Taken from his family, Toby now lives in the Death House; an out-of-time existence far from the modern world, where he, and the others who live there, are studied by Matron and her team of nurses. They're looking for any sign of sickness. Any sign of their wards changing. Any sign that it's time to take them to the sanatorium. No one returns from the sanatorium. Withdrawn from his house-mates and living in his memories of the past, Toby spends his days fighting his fear. But then a new arrival in the house shatters the fragile peace, and everything changes. Because everybody dies. It's how you choose to live that counts.

"The Death House is a hard hitting story about growing up and having to deal with loss; loss of your family and sometimes yourself. The characters cling to a reality that they cannot go back to and constantly have to deal with seeing what happens to the people around them as well as living with the fact that it could be one of them next. All of the characters deal with this differently. I found myself caring about what happened to the characters as they are all portrayed brilliantly. Sarah Pinborough has managed to write one of the saddest love stories I have read in a while, reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet by being tragic and yet also triumphant. This story leaves you like some of the best books I have read with a lot of questions that do not detract from the overall story."

Published: 2015

Firefight by Brandon Sanderson (A Reckoners Novel #2)

Babylon Restored, formerly Manhattan, may give David answers. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David's willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David's heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic—Firefight. And he's willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.

"Despite how fast I read Brandon Sanderson novels – especially Reckoners and ‘Mistborn’ novels – there is nothing simple about his writing. The stories are complex, fascinating, and filled to the brim with three-dimensional characters – sometimes, though, those characters get only passing moments to shine, or none at all."

Published: 2015

The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan (The Powder Mage Trilogy: Book 3)

Field Marshal Tamas has finally returned to Adopest, only to find the capital in the hands of a foreign power. With his son Taniel presumed dead, Tamas must gather his beleaguered forces and formulate a plan to defeat the Kez - no easy task when you're outnumbered and can't tell friend from foe. The army is divided... With their enemy bearing down on them, the Adran command is in disarray. Someone, it seems, is selling secrets to the Kez. Inspector Adamat is determined to flush out the traitor, but as the conspiracy unravels, he will learn a horrifying truth. And all hope rests with one man... Taniel Two-Shot, the powder mage who shot a god in the eye, is on the run. He possesses the sole means of defeating the Kez, but to do so he must evade treachery at every turn. If he fails, Adro will fall.

"Make sure you check out the Powder Mage Trilogy, if you haven’t already, as it’s one of the top 10 books to come out this decade."

Published: 2015

The Boy Who Wept Blood by Den Patrick (The Erebus Sequence #2)

Ten years have passed since the disappearance of Lucien and his protégé, the young swordsman Dino, is struggling to live up to Lucien's legacy. Sworn to protect the silent queen Anea as she struggles to bring a new democracy to Demesne, Dino finds himself drawn into a deadly game of political intrigue as the aristocratic families of Landfall conspire to protect their privilege. Always ready to prove himself as a swordsman Dino is anguished to discover that in order to fulfil his vow he must become both spy and assassin. And all the while the dark secret at the heart of Demesne is growing towards fulfilment.

"The Boy Who Wept Blood takes us further into the world of Demesne and has many interesting twists and turns which keeps you interested in Dino’s dilemmas. It is utterly fascinating how this world has come together and I really enjoyed the fact that although this is a sequel, it has jumped ten years into the future with a completely different protagonist. This could be seen as risky, but in fact gives us a wider understanding of Landfall. I cannot wait to see what happens to Landfall in the following book in this sequence. Whether the next book will be a direct continuance or something completely new, only Den Patrick knows at this time."

Published: 2015

Steeple by Jon Wallace (Kenstibec #2)

Kenstibec is a Ficial - a genetically engineered artificial life form; tough, skilled, hard to kill. Or at least he was. He's lost the nanotech that constantly repaired him. Life just got real. Just like it is for the few remaining humans in this blighted world - the Reals; locked in a fight over a ruined world with the Ficials they created to make Utopia. And now Kenstibec must take a trip to the pinnicle of our failed civilisation. The Steeple is a one thousand storey tower that looms over the wreckage of London. It is worshipped, feared and haunted by attack droids and cannibals. And the location of a secret that just might save Kenstibec's life.The only way is up.

"Steeple exceeds the first volume of its trilogy in terms of character and plot. It is fast paced with a lot of interesting action set pieces, but it also gives us the time to find out a lot more information about the word before the events in Barricade. Steeple is focused on a smaller geographical area than Barricade and this gives us a better understanding of what is left of the human population and the everyday world that they have to live in. Steeple has really left me wondering what chaos Kenstibec will bring to the third book and Jon Wallace’s imagination has shown me that if the sky’s the limit, Kenstibec will find a way to bust through it."

Published: 2015

Veiled by Benedict Jacka (Alex Verus series: Book 6)

Alex Verus is a mage who can see the future, but even he didn't see this day coming. He's agreed to join the Keepers, the magical police force, to protect his friends from his old master, the Dark Mage Richard Drakh. Going legit was always going to be difficult for an outcast like Alex, and there are some Keepers who aren't keen to see an ex-Dark mage succeed. Especially when Dark mages are making a play for a seat on the council, for the first time in history. Alex finally has the law on his side - but trapped between Light and Dark politics, investigating a seedy underworld with ties to the highest of powers, will a badge be enough to save him?

"In the end, I ploughed through this book, oblivious to all external stimuli. There is nothing better in urban fantasy at the moment than Alex Verus, and no one better at writing it than Benedict Jacka."

Published: 2015

The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

Paris in the aftermath of the Great Magicians War. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black, thick with ashes and rubble. Yet life continues among the wreckage. The citizens retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France's once grand capital. House Silverspires, previously the leader of those power games, now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls. Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen, an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, and a resentful young man wielding spells from the Far East. They may be Silverspires' salvation; or the architects of its last, irreversible fall...

"This book is wreathed in mythology, magic and mysticism and it is such a compelling read that maybe the book itself is magic. The twist on angels being power hungry was also really interesting, especially as the book never goes into why they have Fallen. I liked how the different kinds of magic were not complementary or even understood by the different practitioners. The House of Shattered Wings is a fantastic book full of sacrifice, vengeance and justice."

Published: 2015

The Rebirths of Tao by Wesley Chu (Tao #3)

The centuries-long schism between the Genjix and the Prophus threatens to plunge the whole planet into a new World War. Roen is the only person who can protect a turned Genjix scientist who holds the key to ending the war.

"Apart from the Enzo chapters, I loved every other part of this book. The relationships forged between characters felt meaningful, there was a lot of laugh-out-loud humour, the action set pieces were fantastic, the way in which the actions of the characters contributed overall to the war were observable and tangible, and it was just a lot of fun. I've read that Chu is writing a new trilogy set in this universe, so I am very much looking forward to that."

Published: 2015

Fool's Quest by Robin Hobb (Fitz and the Fool #2)

Happy endings never last... Years ago, they freed a dragon from the glaciers on Aslevjal. Then they parted ways, the Fool returning to far-off Clerres, while Fitz finally claimed a wife, a family, and a home of his own. Now, betrayed by his own people and broken by torment, the Fool has made his way back to the Six Duchies. But as Fitz attempts to heal his old friend in Buckkeep Castle, his young daughter Bee is abducted from Withywoods by pale and mysterious raiders who leave ruin and confusion in their wake. Fitz must find a way to rescue his beloved Bee. At the same time it is the Fool's fiercest wish to return to Clerres with the best assassin he has ever known, to gain vengeance and justice. Can Fitz bear to take up the tools of his old trade again, even to avenge his dearest friend and save his child?

Published: 2015

The Price of Valour by Django Wexler (The Shadow Campaigns #3)

In the wake of the King's death, war has come to Vordan. The new queen, Raesinia, is nearly powerless as the government tightens its grip and assassins threaten her life. Together with Marcus D'Ivoire, she sets out to turn the tide of history. But as all the powers of the continent rise against Vordan, Janus bet Vhalnich and Winter Ihernglass face a bloody battle against enemies not just armed with muskets and cannon, but dark priests of an ancient order, wielding forbidden magic.

"The Price of Valour may be my favourite yet, in terms of sheer enjoyment. There was very little that could extricate me from the pages of this book and the struggles of the characters therein. Marcus and Raesinia's adventures in the capital were wonderfully fun - as were the unanswered and barely hinted-at relationships blossoming within that group of insurrectionists."

Published: 2015

The Silence by Tim Lebbon

In the darkness of an underground cave system, blind creatures hunt by sound. Then there is light, there are voices, and they feed... Swarming from their prison, the creatures thrive and destroy. To scream, even to whisper, is to summon death. As the hordes lay waste to Europe, a girl watches to see if they will cross the sea. Deaf for many years, she knows how to live in silence; now, it is her family's only chance of survival: To leave their home, to shun others, to find a remote haven where they can sit out the plague. But will it ever end? And what kind of world will be left?

"The Silence is a dark, foreboding tale of what can happen when curiosity gets the better of us. It takes some real guts to read this novel all the way through as Ally and her family might not reach their destination."

Published: 2015

The Cathedral of Known Things by Edward Cox (Relic Guild Trilogy #2)

Divided, hunted and short on resources, the surviving members of the Relic Guild are in real trouble. Their old enemy, the Genii, and their resurrected master have infiltrated Labrys Town and taken over the police force. So the Relic Guild must flee their home, and set off on a dangerous journey across the worlds of the Aelfir. One that will lead them to a weapon which might destroy the Genii. Or the whole universe... And forty years before all this, the war which led to the fall of the Genii continues. And what happens to the Relic Guild during that conflict will change the course of their desperate flight.

"The Cathedral of Known Things unveils itself slowly like petals opening towards the shining sun, even if the events of the book become more disturbing. With a shock ending that I wasn’t prepared for Edward Cox has written an engagingly detailed novel that I recommend to everyone who likes mystery and magic. The third part of this trilogy should be out next year and it is definitely one of the books I am looking forward to reading in 2016."

Published: 2015

A Few Words for the Dead by Guy Adams (The Clown Service #3)

Section 37 is under attack. Toby Greene, a Clown Service agent, is on the hunt. But catching someone whose bodyguard is the relentless Rain-Soaked Bride can be a deadly game. Section Chief August Shining has problems of his own. Under investigation by MI6 and at the mercy of a mysterious entity, has his past has finally caught up with him?

"A Few Words for the Dead was a magical read. The action grips you and pulls you in, the fascinating characters you encounter on the way keep you turning the pages as you share in their adventures and the sheer fun the author had in penning the story. If you want a novel that is an ingenious mix of classical Bond spy atmosphere with a goodly measure of Sapphire and Steel thrown in, look no further than A Few Words for the Dead."

Published: 2015

Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn: Book 5)

Waxillium Ladrian has returned to the capital city of Elendel from the far flung roughs. Elendel is crisscrossed by canals and railways and towers reach for the sky but this is still a city of dangers and of magic; Allomancy and Feruchemy can still change the world. Wax faces many more adventures.

"In Shadows of Self you can feel the world, it's mists and people. You can smell the horse leather and the coal in the air and you just want more. "

Published: 2015

The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher (The Cinder Spires #1)

Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses have ruled for generations, developing scientific marvels, fostering trade alliances, and building fleets of airships to keep the peace. Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy's shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion - to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory. And even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity's ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake.

"Up, up, the winds and mists call the Grimm and wildcats. Duty, freedom and protection of family, new and old calls, as War blazes and the few and dedicated will be required to preserve the many. Another great series for a master of the genre."

Published: 2015

The Death of Dulgath by Michael J Sullivan (The Ryria Chronicles #3)

Three times they tried to kill her. Then a professional was hired. So was Riyria. When the last member of the oldest noble family in Avryn is targeted for assassination, Riyria is hired to foil the plot. Three years have passed since the war-weary mercenary Hadrian and the cynical ex-assassin Royce joined forces to start life as rogues-for-hire. Things have gone well enough until they're asked to help prevent a murder. Now they must venture into an ancient corner of the world to save a mysterious woman who knows more about Royce than is safe and cares less about herself than is sane.

"I’m tempted to jump straight back into The Riyria Revelations – I just want more Royce and Hadrian. Being back in their world is at once wonderful, and fraught with agony as I know I’ll soon have to leave. The Death of Dulgath was not only a fine addition to Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria world, but a great book all on its own. This would serve as a great starting point for anyone wanting to find out about Riyria, and will open the door to other great books."

Published: 2015

The Master by Claire North (Gamehouse #3)

The Gamehouse is an unusual institution. Many know it as the place where fortunes can be made and lost through games of Chess, Backgammon - every game under the sun. But a select few, who are picked to compete in the higher league, know that some games are played for higher stakes - those of politics and empires, of economics and kings... And now, the ultimate player is about to step forward.

"The Master concludes what is one of the best trilogies I have read. Just as she has done with The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August and with Touch, Claire North continues to demonstrate that there are many original stories left to tell, and that fantasy stories can actually be entertaining and literary at the same time (they are far from being mutually exclusive)."

Published: 2015

Touch by Claire North

Kepler is like you, but not like you. With a simple touch, Kepler can move into any body, live any life - for a moment, a day or for years. And your life could be next. SOME PEOPLE TOUCH LIVES. OTHERS TAKE THEM. I DO BOTH.

"Touch is yet another triumph for North, and while Kepler may not be as likeable as some of the other North characters, Kepler's story is just as powerful as the stories from North's other characters, with some very deep explorations about life, immortality and the nature of humanity. North is clearly setting the benchmark for the literary style of speculative fiction, and I'm totally on board with anything she writes under any of the pen names she chooses."

Published: 2015

When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord

A small, quiet Midwestern town, unremarkable save for one fact: when the local teenagers reach a certain age, they run wild. When Lumen Fowler looks back on her childhood, she is surprised that she became a kind suburban wife, a devoted mother. In fact, she never thought she would escape her home town. When We Were Animals is Lumen's confessional: as a teenager, she fell beneath the sway of her community's darkest, strangest secret. For one year, beginning at puberty, every resident breaches during the full moon. On these nights, adolescents run wild, destroying everything in their path. For as long as she can, Lumen resists. Promising her father she will never breach, she investigates the mystery of her community's traditions and the stories erased from the town record. But the more we learn about the town's past, the more we realize that Lumen's memories are harbouring secrets of their own.

"The writing is beautiful: poetic and vivid and this includes the dialogue. This is a book you just need to sit down and read, allow the words to wash over you and experience Lumen’s extraordinarily eventful life. It will stay with you long after the last page is finished."

Published: 2015

Those Above by Daniel Polansky (The Empty Throne #1)

They enslaved humanity three thousand years ago. Tall, strong, perfect, superhuman and near immortal they rule from their glittering palaces in the eternal city in the centre of the world. They are called Those Above by their subjects. They enforce their will with fire and sword. Twenty five years ago mankind mustered an army and rose up against them, only to be slaughtered in a terrible battle. Hope died that day, but hatred survived. Whispers of another revolt are beginning to stir in the hearts of the oppressed: a woman, widowed in the war, who has dedicated her life to revenge; the general, the only man to ever defeat one of Those Above in single combat, summoned forth to raise a new legion; and a boy killer who rises from the gutter to lead an uprising in the capital.

"Those Above is an intricately woven story that never feels overwrought but brings us deeper into a rich world with a myriad of characters that feel like individuals rather than background filler. This allows us to focus on the motivations of the four characters as their chapters entwine and gain insight into the world they live in which is full of wonders and misery. "

Published: 2015

Daughter of Blood by Helen Lowe (Wall of Night: Book 3)

Malian and Kalan are coming home, but already it may be too late. The Wall of Night, dangerously weakened by civil war among the Derai families that garrison it, is on the verge of failing. Everywhere their ancient enemy, the Darksworn, is on the move as the threads of an old pattern begin to tighten about Kalan, and Malian searches for answers in the fabled Shield of Heaven, which every account agrees was broken beyond repair. In Grayharbor and in the Red Keep, a child and a young woman are caught in conflict's maw, as whispers gather around Dread Pass and a Darksworn prophecy points to Malian herself being the stake the ancient enemy will drive into the heart of the Derai Alliance.

"Helen Lowe need not be stereotypically compared to George R. R. Martin, for she has as much of the talent with her own way of writing that she should be a household name for fantasy readers the world over. The Wall of Night is shaping up to be a modern classic of fantasy storytelling, and needs to be on your to-read list."

Published: 2015

Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft (The Books of Babel #2)

I am absolutely besotted with this wondrous story. It is utterly enchanting and I cannot recommend this series higher! It has become one of my all-time favorites!

Published: 2015

Beyond Redemption by Michael R Fletcher (Manifest Delusions #1)

If you’re looking for the epitome of grimdark fantasy, look no further. Fletcher is a brilliant writer and this book blew me away. Layer by layer, page by page, this story will crawl under your skin and redefine your views on sanity and communication. There can be beauty in darkness, and elegance in horror. Fletcher delivers these on all fronts. 

Published: 2015

The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French (The Lot Lands #1)

Jonathan French's The Grey Bastards is an emotional, exciting, and unique story told from the viewpoint of half-orcs, living in the badlands with their fellow 'hoof' members, defending their desecrated colony by riding their war pigs into crossbow-and-javelin battles. The "biker gang" analogy is smartly developed, as half-orcs ride literal hogs while roving into enemy territories. This novel was the winner of the 2017 Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off contest and for good reason. The environmental descriptions and deeply flawed, yet empathetic characters breathe life into this richly detailed story that pulled me in from the get-go and didn't let go until the final page. 

Published: 2015

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

A missing God. A library with the secrets to the universe. A woman too busy to notice her heart slipping away.

Carolyn's not so different from the other people around her. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. Clothes are a bit tricky, but everyone says nice things about her outfit with the Christmas sweater over the gold bicycle shorts.

After all, she was a normal American herself once. That was a long time ago, of course. Before her parents died. Before she and the others were taken in by the man they called Father.

In the years since then, Carolyn hasn't had a chance to get out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father's ancient customs. They've studied the books in his Library and learned some of the secrets of his power. And sometimes, they've wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.

Now, Father is missing perhaps even dead and the Library that holds his secrets stands unguarded. And with it, control over all of creation.

As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her, all of them with powers that far exceed her own.

But Carolyn has accounted for this. And Carolyn has a plan. The only trouble is that in the war to make a new God, she's forgotten to protect the things that make her human.

"There’s no doubt Hawkins has created something truly exceptional here. A book that incorporates so much and yet still just dips the surface of a fantastic world with horror, surrealism and gallows humour and even a few moments of pathos, and is there for one I’d most heartily recommend."

Published: 2015