Below you will find a list of the fantasy books published in 2019 that we enjoyed most.
A 10/10 book. We don't get many of those. The second Kay book on the list for the reason our reviewer Adam gives: 'A Brightness Long Ago is a masterpiece; perhaps the finest work of one of the world’s greatest living storytellers'. Here, here.
Another 10/10 book and the most recently published book to appear on this list, published as it was in 2019. Ann Leckie first came to our attention with her highly-regarded science fiction books. When she turned her hand to fantasy she produced, in the words of the book's reviewer, Joshua: A magisterial tour de force of subverted narrative expectations that wrestles with what it means to find identity as a human, and as a god. Unlike anything being written, Ann Leckie will likely be remembered as a literary pioneer, and not as similar to someone else. A masterpiece of storytelling that leaves a willing reader humbled, The Raven Tower is quite simply the best book of the year – mighty, subtle, captivating, unputdownable.
It is a rare thing to relate to a book’s character in such a way that similar situations evoke empathy across your lives. Enough parallels can be drawn to feel almost as if the book is catered specifically toward you in some existential way. I have not read much portal fantasy, but I have always felt a feeling of smothered repression through my youth that has tamped down my will to explore. Instead, my portals to elsewhere revealed themselves in books and stories at an early age, and they’ve been with me ever since. Alix Harrow captures this feeling of finding oneself through the stories we share in her stunning and unforgettable debut novel The 10,000 Doors of January. It is a beautifully written and lovingly crafted adventure about the strength of love, the importance of stories, and the timeless power of words.
The Emperor needs necromancers.
The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.
Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead nonsense.
Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as arcane revenants. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.
Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.
Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.
Of course, some things are better left dead.
Series: The Locked Tomb Trilogy: Book 1
The “feminist successor to The Lord of the Rings” - Laura Eve. The Priory of the Orange Tree is a story told with grace and infused with rich history and lore in its gloriously huge scope: it is magnificent in every regard. It’s all about the girl power here! I recommend this to readers who enjoy female driven fantasy that is also carefully paced like the works of Robin Hobb, Tad Williams and Chris Wooding.
Alternate timelines, manifestations, Hands of Glory, alchemy, Doctrine of Ethos and immortality and and and GODDAMN. McGuire provides a clinic in storytelling with Middlegame. This is her magnum opus (so far!) It’s magical... truly magical. I could not love it more!!!
Sometimes you find that perfect book, the one that hits you at the exact right moment. Everything aligns. The writing, the characters & the world-building just makes your soul sing. A Little Hatred is that for me. It's beautifully, authentically First Law. Joe Abercrombie has done it again. Goddamn.
Series: The Age of Madness: Book 1
Beneath the Twisted Trees is rich in detail, which allows us to follow this large cast of characters and how their actions interweave with each other. The size of the book can be a bit overwhelming but the stories move quickly between one chapter and the next. There are lots of mini cliffhangers that leave you wanting to catch up with what happens to various characters. Although this does also mean that some characters' stories do move faster than others.
Series: The Song of the Shattered Sands #4
There are so many emotional scenes, amazing set-pieces, and charming intricacies that fill The Hod King to the brim. Bancroft is a world-class literary author and I can't think of another writer who is better or more consistent right now. I can't wait to see how this all concludes in the series finale.
Series: The Books of Babel #3
Mark Lawrence always slays, page after glorious page. He could write a grocery list and I would be like YES! OMFG THIS IS GENIUS! THE WAY HE OUTLINES THE FOOD REQUIRED IS UTTER PERFECTION! WE ARE TRULY IN THE MIDST OF A MASTERMIND! Holy Sister was such a powerful ending to an inspiring series, which is, without a doubt, Lawrence's magnum opus.
Series: Book of the Ancestor #3
I can’t remember the last time I wanted to step into a book so much, be part of a world so desperately. Even with all the danger, with the pain and darkness and death, it’s a place that feels like possibility…
Easily one of the best fantasy trilogies in recent times. I might be sounding like a broken record by now, but Jen Williams’ writing has won me over, time and time again. She writes with a distinctive, fresh voice, giving us exciting new tales teeming with love, hope, diversity, friendship, family - things that are always worth fighting for in the face of adversity. Every time I think I cannot love it more, she surprises me. What more can I say? I’m all about fantasy. I adore it. I
Series: The Winnowing Flame Trilogy #3
Among humans, none have power like mages. And among mages, none have will like Sal the Cacophony. Once revered, now vagrant, she walks a wasteland scarred by generations of magical warfare.
The Scar, a land torn between powerful empires, is where rogue mages go to disappear, disgraced soldiers go to die and Sal went with a blade, a gun and a list of names she intended to use both on.
But vengeance is a flame swift extinguished. Betrayed by those she trusted most, her magic torn from her and awaiting execution, Sal the Cacophony has one last tale to tell before they take her head.
All she has left is her name, her story and the weapon she used to carved both.
Vengeance is its own reward.
"At almost 700 pages, I can't help but admire the sheer skill and cleverness of the plot that unfolds throughout this wrist-breaker. It never felt bogged down or excessively long. Sal's blood-soaked backstory was handled brilliantly by Sykes and added some truly gut-punchy moments. His timing is just utter perfection! Complex characters, great dialogue, intense action, a compellingly bonkers magic system, intricate worldbuilding, brutal violence, humor, romance, A FUCKING GIANT RIDING BIRD NAMED CONGENIALITY. I just adored this book so completely!"
Series: The Grave of Empires: Book 1
A secret affair. A disfiguring punishment. A burning need for revenge.
Kyrra d’Aliente has a bad reputation and an arm made of metal.
Cast out of the safe and luxurious world of silk to which she was born, played as a pawn in a game of feuding Houses, Kyrra navigates a dangerous world of mercenaries, spies, and smugglers while disguising herself as a man.
War destroyed her family and the man she loved.
Vengeance is within her grasp.
But is she willing to pay its price?
"Boord has given us a rare novel that combines crisp, cadenced prose with wonderful, deep, complex characters and a twisting plot that keeps you guessing all set in a brilliantly realized fantasy world. It will appeal especially to fans of Robin Hobb, with prose every bit as evocative and characters every bit as authentic as that master storyteller. Fortune’s Fool should be on the top of your TBR pile. This is a rare piece of storytelling that is beautiful, compelling, and demands to be read. I can’t wait for the sequel and to see what gems Boord shares with us next."
Series: Eterean Empire: Book 1
This is definitely the best book of the series... with just one more to go. I can't imagine at this point how it can be bettered, but I trust in Hailey Edwards to keep surprising me.
Series: The Foundling Series #4
Follow the long, bloody journey of Ruka, son of Beyla through the islands of Pyu and the frozen wastes of the Ascom; see the return home of Ratama Kale Alaku, the 'Sorcerer-Prince', and the terrifying rise of his 'miracles'. Before the end, a shocking history will unravel, ancient connections unfold, and all will learn the cost of unleashing the Kings of Ash...
"Nell is one of fantasy’s most underrated (for now) talents, and I find it difficult to fathom how good this series is coming from an author so early in his career. I can only imagine what heights the future has in store for Nell, but I selfishly hope it consists solely of writing Kings of Heaven for now. In Kings of Ash, Nell has crafted a rare and unforgettable sequel that exceeds its predecessor. It will surprise and haunt you, while playing your emotions like an unfinished symphony. I give this series my highest recommendation. "
Series: Ash and Sand #2
This is a story of self-worth and determination, of finding value in life when your strengths are stripped away. It shines a light on some of the worst aspects of humanity which are sadly still reflective of our current society. It is a story of tragedy and loss, of anger and hypocrisy, of perseverance and triumph. Kuang excels at wreaking emotional havoc while delivering a powerful meditation on war and survival.
Series: The Poppy War #2
Hail Him. Behold Him.
Man-killer, life-stealer, death-bringer, life’s thief.
All are bound to Him,
His word is law.
The night coming, the sudden light that makes the eyes blind,
Golden one, shining, glorious.
Life’s judgement, life’s pleasure, hope’s grave.
Marith Altrersyr has won. He cut a path of blood and vengeance and needless violence around the world and now he rules. It is time for Marith to put down his sword, to send home his armies, to grow a beard and become fat. It is time to look to his own house, and to produce an heir. The King of Death must now learn to live.
But some things cannot be learnt.
The spoils of war turn to ash in the mouths of the Amrath Army and soon they are on the move again. But Marith, lord of lies, dragon-killer, father-killer, has begun to falter and his mind decays. How long can a warlord rotting from within continue to win?
As the Army marches on to Sorlost, Thalia’s thoughts turn to home and to the future: a life grows inside her and it is a precious thing – but it grows weak.
Why must the sins of the father curse the child?
"Anna Smith Spark has grown as a writer across this series and I’m excited to see what she may come up with next. I shall be certainly watching out for future works because she has proven that she can keep pace with the best writers of the genre. Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch and Mark Lawrence make way because the Queen of grimdark is ready to lead the charge in a new wave of dark fantasy fiction."
Series: Empires of Dust #3
While winter snows keep the Witch Lord Ruven's invading armies at bay, Lady Amalia Cornaro and the fire warlock Zaira attempt to change the fate of mages in the Raverran Empire forever, earning the enmity of those in power who will do anything to keep all magic under tight imperial control. But in the season of the Serene City's great masquerade, Ruven executes a devastating surprise strike at the heart of the Empire - and at everything Amalia holds most dear.
To stand a chance of defeating Ruven, Amalia and Zaira must face their worst nightmares, expose their deepest secrets, and unleash Zaira's most devastating fire.
"A phenomenally well-written, engrossing political fantasy series with fine dialogue throughout. Swords and Fire is a series that many more people should add to their reading list."
Series: Swords and Fire #3
"The Rage of Dragons explodes at a breakneck pace. Complex characters, dragons, revenge, ALL THE STABBY-STABBY-STAB-STAB. I adored everything about this book! The cover, the chapter titles, the maps, the wee dragon on the spine, the notes from Winter at the back... it was just fucking phenomenal. Truly. What a brilliant debut!"
The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable war for generations. The lucky ones are born gifted: some have the power to call down dragons, others can be magically transformed into bigger, stronger, faster killing machines.
Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Tau Tafari wants more than this, but his plans of escape are destroyed when those closest to him are brutally murdered.
With too few gifted left the Omehi are facing genocide, but Tau cares only for revenge. Following an unthinkable path, he will strive to become the greatest swordsman to ever live, willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill three of his own people.
Series: The Burning #1
Kristoff has saved his best for last, delivering powerful, emotional, game-changing reveals meant to shock, stun, and grind you to a pulp. As Mia’s prestige rises, all her wins feels earned and it is immensely satisfying. Every victory, however small, is clawed for with every ounce of effort available. You feel with Mia. You hurt with Mia. And you certainly lose with Mia. If you’ve read this far, you don’t need my recommendation, you’ll be buying this book no matter what. Be assured that Darkdawn solidifies the Nevernight Chronicles as one of fantasy’s all-time greats."
Series: The Nevernight Chronicle: Book 3
The last member of a murdered House tries to protect his ward from forced marriage to a monster while uncovering clues to his own tortured past. The Tarot Sequence imagines a modern-day Atlantis off the coast of Massachusetts, governed by powerful Courts based on the traditional Tarot deck. Rune Saint John, last child of the fallen Sun Throne, is backed into a fight of high court magic and political appetites in a desperate bid to protect his ward, Max, from a forced marital alliance with the Hanged Man. Rune's resistance will take him to the island's dankest corners, including a red light district made of moored ghost ships; a surreal skyscraper farm; and the floor of the ruling Convocation, where a gathering of Arcana will change Rune's life forever.
"The Tarot Sequence is proving to be a top-notch fantasy series and if you haven’t already joined the ride, you should do so as soon as possible. The Hanged Man is that rare second novel that improves on everything the first novel already did so well. This one takes everything and cranks it to eleven and I loved every minute of it. The Hanged Man releases on December 17 and is available for preorder now."
Series: The Tarot Sequence: Book 2
After a savage battle, the Boundary is whole again - but it may be too late. Banes now stalk the lands of Andarra, and the Venerate have gathered their armies for a final, crushing blow.
In Ilin Illan, Wirr fights to maintain a precarious alliance between Andarra's factions of power. With dark forces closing in on the capital, if he cannot succeed, the war is lost.
Imprisoned and alone in a strange land, Davian is pitted against the remaining Venerate. As he tries to keep them from undoing Asha's sacrifice, he struggles to come to terms with his own path and all he has learned about Caeden, the friend he chose to set free.
And finally, Caeden is confronted with the reality of a plan laid centuries ago - heartbroken at how it started and devastated by how it must end.
"The Light of All that Falls is complex, epic fantasy that deals wonderfully with ideas and themes in fresh ways. While feeling like a classic fantasy it does new and fresh things with old tropes and I enjoyed every moment of it. It will appeal most to fans of big, sprawling epics like Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn or Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time. I can't wait to see what Islington gives us next!"
Series: The Licanius Trilogy: Book 3
On a mountainside at the edge of the Kaigenese Empire live the most powerful warriors in the world, superhumans capable of raising the sea and wielding blades of ice. For hundreds of years, the fighters of the Kusanagi Peninsula have held the Empire's enemies at bay, earning their frozen spit of land the name 'The Sword of Kaigen.' Born into Kusanagi's legendary Matsuda family, fourteen-year-old Mamoru has always known his purpose: to master his family's fighting techniques and defend his homeland. But when an outsider arrives and pulls back the curtain on Kaigen's alleged age of peace, Mamoru realizes that he might not have much time to become the fighter he was bred to be. Worse, the empire he was bred to defend may stand on a foundation of lies. Misaki told herself that she left the passions of her youth behind when she married into the Matsuda house. Determined to be a good housewife and mother, she hid away her sword, along with everything from her days as a fighter in a faraway country. But with her growing son asking questions about the outside world, the threat of an impending invasion looming across the sea, and her frigid husband grating on her nerves, Misaki finds the fighter in her clawing its way back to the surface. When the winds of war reach their peninsula, will the Matsuda family have the strength to defend their empire? Or will they tear each other apart before the true enemies even reach their shores?
"And when the dust settles and the frantic drumbeat of your skewered heart wanes, the story eases you into a denouement that fittingly takes its time in assuring you of the final outcome, the future ahead and the power of empathy. Take a bow dear author, for you are a storyteller, and The Sword of Kaigen is a tale, beautifully told."
Tomas Piety has been many things: soldier, priest, gangster...and spy. As Tomas's power grows, the nobility better watch their backs, in this dark and gritty epic fantasy series.
People are weak, and the poorer and more oppressed they are, the weaker they become--until they can't take it anymore. And when they rise up...may the gods help their oppressors.
When Tomas Piety returned from the war, he just wanted to rebuild his empire of crime with his gang of Pious Men. But his past as a spy for the Queen's Men drew him back in and brought him more power than he ever imagined.
Now, with half of his city in ashes and the Queen's Men at his back, the webs of political intrigue stretch out from the capital to pull Tomas in. Dannsburg is calling.
In Dannsburg the nobility fight with words, not blades, but the results are every bit as bloody. In this pit of beasts, Tomas must decide once and for all whether he is truly the people's champion...or just a priest of lies.
Series: War for the Rose Throne #2
The adventures of Li-lin, a Daoist priestess with the unique ability to see the spirit world, continue in the thrilling follow-up to the critically-acclaimed historical urban fantasy The Girl with Ghost Eyes.
It’s the end of the Nineteenth Century. San Francisco’s cobblestone streets are haunted, but Chinatown has an unlikely protector in a young Daoist priestess named Li-lin. Using only her martial arts training, spiritual magic, a sword made from peachwood, and the walking, talking spirit of a human eye, Li-lin stands alone to defend her immigrant community from supernatural threats.
But when the body of a young girl is brought to the deadhouse Li-lin oversees for a local group of gangsters, she faces her most bewildering—and potentially dangerous—assignment yet. The nine-year-old has died from suffocation . . . specifically by flowers growing out of her nose and mouth. Li-lin suspects Gong Tau, a dirty and primitive form of dark magic. But who is behind the spell, and why, will take her on a perilous journey deep into a dangerous world of ghosts and spirits.
With hard historical realism and meticulously researched depictions of Chinese monsters and magic that have never been written about in the English language, The Girl with No Face draws from the action-packed cinema of Hong Kong to create a compelling and unforgettable tale of historical fantasy and Chinese lore.
"I cannot recall a book that has taken me out of my own head and pulled me this deep into its lore. If you have any interest in any of the topics mentioned above, go grab a copy off NetGalley now, pre-order it off a retailer, or go pick up the first volume of the series."
Series: The Daoishi Chronicles #2
Sometimes being wrong is the right answer.
Nick Hayes’s genius is in wringing out the universe’s secrets. It’s a talent that’s allowed him to carve paths through time. But the worst part is that he knows how his story will end. He’s seen it with his own eyes. And every year that passes, every breakthrough he makes, brings him a step closer. Mia’s accident is waiting for them both in 2011. If it happens then he’s out of choices.
Then a chance 1992 discovery reveals that this seeker of truth has been lying to himself. But why? It’s a question that haunts him for years. A straw he clings to as his long-awaited fate draws near.
Time travel turns out not to be the biggest problem Nick has to work on. He needs to find out how he can stay on his path but change the destination. Failure has never been an option, and neither has survival. But Nick’s hoping to roll the dice one more time. And this new truth begins with a lie.
"I could ramble on about all the brainy twists, the tenderness, love, sacrifice, adventure, and exceedingly intelligent ‘what if’ ideas that were followed through to the end of this novella. Perhaps I already did and decided to jump back for a re-do. If I did it right, you’ll never know. What you should know is that Dispel Illusion is a brilliant finish to the Impossible Times trilogy, rife with unpredictability, nostalgia, and ceaseless imagination."
Series: Impossible Times #3
You have heard the story before - of a young boy, orphaned through tragic circumstances, raised by a wise old man, who comes to a fuller knowledge of his magic and uses it to fight the great evil that threatens his world.
But what if the boy hero and the malevolent, threatening taint were one and the same?
What if the boy slowly came to realize he was the reincarnation of an evil god? Would he save the world . . . or destroy it?
Among the Academy's warrior-thieves, Annev de Breth is an outlier. Unlike his classmates who were stolen as infants from the capital city, Annev was born in the small village of Chaenbalu, was believed to be executed, and then unknowingly raised by his parents' killers.
Seventeen years later, Annev struggles with the burdens of a forbidden magic, a forgotten heritage, and a secret deformity. When he is subsequently caught between the warring ideologies of his priestly mentor and the Academy's masters, he must choose between forfeiting his promising future at the Academy or betraying his closest friends. Each decision leads to a deeper dilemma, until Annev finds himself pressed into a quest he does not wish to fulfil.
Will he finally embrace the doctrine of his tutors, murder a stranger, and abandon his mentor? Or will he accept the more difficult truth of who he is . . . and the darker truth of what he may become . . .
Series: The Silent Gods #1
After a cataclysmic war of the gods, the last of humanity huddles in Bastion, a colossal ringed city. Beyond the outermost wall lies endless desert haunted by the souls of all the world's dead.
Trapped in a rigid caste system, Nuru, a young street sorcerer, lives in the outer ring. She dreams of escape and freedom. When something contacts her from beyond the wall, she risks everything and leaps at the opportunity. Mother Death, a banished god seeking to reclaim her place in Bastion's patchwork pantheon, has found her way back into the city.
Akachi, born to the wealth and splendour of Bastion's inner rings, is a priest of Cloud Serpent, Lord of the Hunt. A temple-trained sorcerer, he is tasked with bringing peace to the troublesome outer ring. Drawn into a dark and violent world of assassins, gangs, and street sorcerers, he battles the spreading influence of Mother Death in a desperate attempt to save Bastion.
The gods are once again at war.
"While Fletcher’s grim tales certainly aren’t for everyone, he remains one of my favorite authors, and Smoke and Stone keeps that streak alive. It is a dark tale full of unconventional ideas with that special kind of madness that only Fletcher can provide. Bring on the sequel."
Series: City of Sacrifice #1
Half orc. All badass. A female chieftain in a brutal wasteland society fights to take what is hers in an action-packed, foul-mouthed fantasy adventure from the author of The Grey Bastards (“Nonstop action, though not for faint hearts.”—The Wall Street Journal).
Fetching was once the only female rider in the Lot Lands. Now she is the proud leader of her own hoof, a band of loyal half-orcs sworn to her command.
But in the year since she became chief, the Lots have tested her strength to the breaking point. The Bastards are scattered, desperate, their ranks weakened by a mysterious famine, their fortress reduced to smoldering slag. And their troubles are only growing. A pack of ravening beasts circles their camp, while grasping human nobles hatch a plan that will shift the balance of power in the Lots.
Fetch and her comrades are still standing defiant—they’re Bastards, after all—but even the toughest half-orc can take only so much; and Fetch knows they’re on the verge of ruin.
As she strives to lead her hoof to safety and unravel the plots set against them, Fetching must journey through forbidden elven lands, overcome long-standing hatreds, battle a monstrous wizard of terrifying power—and, worst of all, delve into the dark truths of her own existence.
She’s no stranger to fighting the world, but on this journey, sharp steel and a strong hog won’t be enough. To survive these trials, she’ll have to defy not just her foes but the very nature of the Lots.
"The True Bastards is an immersive and gripping tale of survival and sacrifice, and does an exceptional job further developing The Lot Lands in surprising and interesting ways. If you have an interest in reading a series based on non-human protagonists as they battle and claw their way through an unforgiving environment while forging bonds of brotherhood, this series checks all of those boxes, and so much more. Highly recommended."
Series: The Lot Lands #2
The kingdoms of Osten Ard have been at peace for decades, but now, the threat of a new war grows to nightmarish proportions.
Simon and Miriamele, royal husband and wife, face danger from every side. Their allies in Hernystir have made a pact with the dreadful Queen of the Norns to allow her armies to cross into mortal lands. The ancient, powerful nation of Nabban is on the verge of bloody civil war, and the fierce nomads of the Thrithings grasslands have begun to mobilize, united by superstitious fervor and their age-old hatred of the city-dwellers. But as the countries and peoples of the High Ward bicker among themselves, battle, bloodshed, and dark magics threaten to pull civilizations to pieces. And over it all looms the mystery of the Witchwood Crown, the deadly puzzle that Simon, Miriamele, and their allies must solve if they wish to survive.
But as the kingdoms of Osten Ard are torn apart by fear and greed, a few individuals will fight for their own lives and destinies—not yet aware that the survival of everything depends on them.
"Empire of Grass continues the epic story set in the massive world of Osten Ard. It’s fantasy at its finest because it is layered with so much history and lore. This is a world so detailed it could be real."
Series: Last King of Osten Ard #2
Impossible world. Impossible dragon. Impossible adventure.
Lost with her ship and crew in an unfamiliar land, Min’s first command could be her last.
Nothing here behaves the way it should:
The magic that powers her skyship has been drained, rendering it immobile.
The sky is an endless twilight, lit by the luminous fish that swim in it.
Off starboard, there’s also the country-sized dragon that is looking particularly hungry.
It will take all of Min’s training and experience to get her people safely back home, but as the truth about the Darkstar Dimension begins to be revealed, Min will have to prove to her crew - and to herself - that she is still the best person for the job.
From the twisted mind that created the ‘delightfully weird’ Yarnsworld series comes a fantasy adventure like no other.
Grab it now, to set sail on a journey you’ll never forget!
"Although it may be home to a New Zealand-sized dragon with teeth the size of skyscrapers, the Darkstar Dimension is still at the top of my list of worlds that I would move to immediately and forever. To have the opportunity to discover new wonders, new worlds, and new dangers at any moment is an adventure too enticing to pass up. And with Patrick’s vivid imagination and natural gift for storytelling, this is a world that I hope we’ll get to revisit for many years to come."
Series: Darkstar #1
A soldier with a curse
Tala lost her family to the empress's army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress's crimes don't haunt her half as much as the crimes Tala has committed against the laws of magic... and her own flesh and blood.
A prince with a debt
Jimuro has inherited the ashes of an empire. Now that the revolution has brought down his kingdom, he must depend on Tala to bring him home safe. But it was his army who murdered her family. Now Tala will be his redemption - or his downfall.
A detective with a grudge
Xiulan is an eccentric, pipe-smoking detective who can solve any mystery - but the biggest mystery of all is her true identity. She's a princess in disguise, and she plans to secure her throne by presenting her father with the ultimate prize: the world's most wanted prince.
A thief with a broken heart
Lee is a small-time criminal who lives by only one law: Leave them before they leave you. But when Princess Xiulan asks her to be her partner in crime - and offers her a magical animal companion as a reward - she can't say no, and soon finds she doesn't want to leave the princess behind.
This band of rogues and royals should all be enemies, but they unite for a common purpose: to defeat an unstoppable killer who defies the laws of magic. In this battle, they will forge unexpected bonds of friendship and love that will change their lives - and begin to change the world.
"The character development in Steel Crow Saga is nothing short of masterful. The slower start is absolutely worth it because of what the author is building. Fans of character stories and Asian-inspired settings will find a plethora of elements to enjoy, but all fantasy fans will find an authentic world with characters who overcome achingly real struggles."
Perfect as a gift for that Pratchett fan in your life, or as an addition to your own never-ending Pratchett collection, The Ankh-Morpork Archives: A Discworld Anthology – Volume 1 might be a little unnecessary, it is nevertheless beautiful and a wonderful return to one of the most endearing cities in literature.
Series: Discworld Anthology #1
Fallen is a high-water mark for Benedict Jacka’s ‘Alex Verus’ series and a challenging benchmark for other urban fantasy writers. Compelling, un-put-down-able, emotional, and with gripping prose that at times takes you right into the bloody room, Fallen serves as a significant signpost towards this series’ end game. If you’re a fan of urban fantasy, then I wouldn’t necessarily suggest you jump into book ten (of what is expected to be a twelve-book series), but by gosh it’s been a fun ride to get here, and it only keeps getting better.
Series: Alex Verus series: Book 10
The Secret Chapter was yet another brilliant inclusion in Genevieve Cogman’s ‘The Invisible Library’ series. Filled with fast paced action, thrilling heist moments, great character development – for both primary and secondary characters – and with a tantalising mystery to continue unfolding in future books, The Secret Chapter brought everything to love about great fantasy.
Series: The Invisible Library Series #6
A year has passed since Auric Manteo descended into the haunted depths of a Djao ruin to return a lethal artifact, only to face down a bloodthirsty, imprisoned god. Now his daughter Agnes comes to bring him back to the capital with promises of hidden secrets finally revealed.
But the city decays, poisonous disorder is rife, and whispered prophecy foretells of cataclysm and doom. Summoned by their no-longer human queen, Auric and Agnes are commanded to carry out an impossible task, one that can be accomplished only with the mysterious blade Szaa’da’shaela, gifted to Auric on a lunatic's whim.
Can Auric and his daughter survive a journey fraught with blood, menace, and madness? And can they pay the price demanded by a being every bit as evil as the Aching God?
"Shel has given us a gem in Sin Eater. Wonderful ambiance, delightful characters, and a plot that expands to become authentically epic all combine for a splendid and satisfying read. Those who enjoyed Aching God will not be disappointed!"
Series: Iconoclasts #2
Serena’s fearsome power is growing stronger. After conning her way aboard a luxury airship in search of clues about her past, she walks straight into a sky pirate’s trap. But after her powers are unleashed and apocalyptic visions invade her mind, Serena realises the greatest threat may be herself…
As Damien Fieri struggles against his bloodlust, connections in high places conspire to keep his killer instincts sharp. He’d love to confront the clandestine forces that turned him into a living weapon - but can he find a way to do it that doesn’t shed more blood?
Can Serena and Damien bend their powers for good, or will they become dangerous pawns in a much deadlier game?
"This is a more than worthy sequel to Symphony of the Wind, as fast and deadly as wildfire, full of heart and humour. All of us loved the first book at Fantasy Book Review choosing it as our finalist in the last SPFBO competition, and this is getting just as much enthusiasm. If you haven’t read the first book, I urge you to do so. It wasn’t just one of the best self-pub books I read last year, it was one of my favourites of 2018. And Wrath of Storms has easily made to on to my Best Books of 2019 list. Safe to say that I’m seriously excited for what comes next."
Series: The Raincatcher's Ballad #2