Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire, A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen? How about something by Ursula Le Guin, Brandon Sanderson or Guy Gavriel Kay? It is likely that the majority of visitors to this site have already read the above works and authors. It is highly likely that they have heard of them. So what is left for those that have read all the classics and are looking for something new and different? Welcome to the Hidden Gems section of the site which features wonderful fantasy works that are a too-well-kept secret, including the torch-beareres for the self and independently published. Read and enjoy a hidden gem today.
A 10/10 book. Sean: ‘This is a beautiful book; it is flawless and intelligent. I do not have a single criticism for this fantastic piece of writing. I loved it! I could not recommend it more highly. I really liked The Song of Achilles though this surpassed it in every way. I really hope to see more from this author in the future’.
He calls himself Alif - few people know his real name - a young man born in a Middle Eastern city that straddles the ancient and modern worlds. When Alif meets the aristocratic Intisar, he believes he has found love. But their relationship has no future - Intisar is promised to another man and her family's honour must be satisfied. As a remembrance, Intisar sends the heartbroken Alif a mysterious book. Entitled The Thousand and One Days, Alif discovers that this parting gift is a door to another world - a world from a very different time, when old magic was in the ascendant and the djinn walked amongst us. With the book in his hands, Alif finds himself drawing attention - far too much attention - from both men and djinn. Thus begins an adventure that takes him through the crumbling streets of a once-beautiful city, to uncover the long-forgotten mysteries of the Unseen. Alif is about to become a fugitive in both the corporeal and incorporeal worlds. And he is about to unleash a destructive power that will change everything and everyone - starting with Alif himself.
"I would highly recommend this book to anybody who like a ripping yarn, whether they are into fantasy or not because this is more of a thriller with echoes of the computer acrobatics seen in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, which I find really interesting, but set against an exotic landscape that really comes to life. You can feel and smell the duststorm as it sweeps over the houses, seeping its way in through the cracks, the panic as The Hand, an unbending, alien force, closes in, and the awkwardness of a young American scholar who tries to help Alif but is so clearly out of place. Overall, a sumptuous, colourful and many-layered novel." Fantasy Book Review
A Lord of the Rings for the 21st century. Only a lot shorter. And funnier. And completely different. Conor thought he was an average teenager. OK, so his father only had one hand, spoke to him in ancient languages and was a bit on the eccentric side but, other than that, life was fairly normal. Until, that is, two Celtic warriors on horseback and wearing full armour appear at his front door and try to kill him. After that, things get pretty weird.
"It is a condensed tale and everything seems to happen at a frenetic pace. There is always tension built at the end of a chapter and this just rolls over to the next chapter. It took me a few hours to read it and while I enjoyed it a lot I would have liked a little more meat and bones to the whole thing. It felt like reading the Lord of the Rings in sixty seconds. Although being a young adult book this style would work perfectly in that scenario. A young person would pick it up and not be daunted by its size. I am not sure of the author’s intention but to my mind it felt almost a quick parody of the genre and poked gentle fun at fantasy." Allan Fisher, Fantasy Book Review
A. K. Larkwood’s The Unspoken Name is among the most creative, exciting, and brilliantly-told epic fantasy novels I’ve read. It is an immersive experience that grabbed my attention early on, then grew at a staggering rate until I found myself being launched through fantastic worlds, meeting wonderful characters, and caught in a magnetic prose that left me spellbound. Larkwood has a tremendous talent for building upon the best parts of what makes fantasy great and elevates it all with her own dash of chaos and wonder. Simply put, it is an outstanding debut I won’t soon forget.
If the Harry Potter series and The Lies of Locke Lamora ever got together and decided to have a dark book baby, they would call it Nevernight. This is the sort of book I dream about reading. Only a fantasy expert could have written one this well. It’s exactly why authors such as Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss are so successful: they know their audience. And here Jay Kristoff certainly knew his.
God is a slick god. Temple knows. She knows because of all the crackerjack miracles still to be seen on this ruined globe... Older than her years and completely alone, Temple is just trying to live one day at a time in a post-apocalyptic world, where the undead roam endlessly, and the remnant of mankind who have survived, at times, seem to retain little humanity themselves. This is the world she was born into. Temple has known nothing else. Her journey takes her to far-flung places, to people struggling to maintain some semblance of civilization – and to those who have created a new world order for themselves. When she comes across the helpless Maury, she attempts to set one thing right, if she can just get him back to his family in Texas then maybe it will bring redemption for some of the terrible things she's done in her past. Because Temple has had to fight to survive, has done things that she's not proud of and, along the road, she’s made enemies. Now one vengeful man is determined that, in a world gone mad, killing her is the one thing that makes sense…
"The Reapers are the Angels is a real triumph, a literary fantasy where the zombies are mostly window-dressing. This is a novel more concerned with people and their relationships, with the human spirit and all its flaws and frailties. It's a story driven by the characters' needs to establish some sort of order in their lives, some sort of goal to cling to, and all the pitfalls that arise because of this need. It speaks of resilience and belief, of hope and sorrow, and the need to look for the beauty in life, no matter how hard that might be. An instant post-apocalyptic classic." Speculative Horizons
"A haunting and beautifully written vision of fractured humanity that may soon be regarded as a classic within its genre" Fantasy Book Review
Aden awakens naked in a bath tub, knowing only that he is dead. His new world is Nightfall, a place filled with characters bizarre, grotesque and magical: Julius the duke, the monstrous Gorr family, the goddess Muse, Slythe the deadly assassin. On the night Aden awakens, the Forgetting closes in, erasing everything it touches. Aden has little time to discover why this world and its characters seem so familiar to him, and why they call his grandfather the Worldmaker… and he must work out if he is here to save this world, or to help destroy it.
"Yep. Last Friday I became one of those guys. You know? Those guys who tear up at the end of a book? I saw a tiny little tear stain the last page of Nightfall and in the two days since that moment I am still thinking about that ending and the whole experience I just went through. I have read hundreds of books over the years, and a few of them have been emotional, but nothing has even come close to extracting the types of emotions that Will Elliott managed to pull out of me. I can't guarantee you will have the same experience. I can't guarantee you will be as moved as I was by the ending. But there is a chance that this book will resonate with you on every level, and I think it would be a great decision for you to take a chance on this book and see where it goes. " Fantasy Book Review
London, 1815 – The Roxy Playhouse is in trouble! The Roxy Playhouse Irregulars, those libertine artists and dreamers, are up to their necks in debt – “Pay up in one month or its curtains for you all.” Dark times lead to drastic schemes and so the Irregulars decide to reinvent themselves as ‘performance thieves’, infiltrate High Society and ‘Robin Hood’ their way through it. However, getting embroiled in a dark and deadly plot to destroy the Monarchy was never part of their script. The Roxy Irregulars will have to stage the performance of their lives if they want to save the day and make it home in time for last orders.
"Hats off to Brandenburg is a stunning piece off work with a well-structured storyline and characters that are more than likable. The jump from one plot to a much bigger plot was brilliantly done. Hats off to Brandenburg is a worthy addition to anyone’s bookshelf and I know it made an entry into my top 10 all time favourites! All I can say is: “Sit back, relax and enjoy the show”. I hope the Roxy Irregulars are here to stay!" Fantasy Book Review
Set in the future on a distant world, Lear’s Daughters tackles the issues of global warming, pollution, exploitation of resources, and disastrous climate change. Long out of print, it has been completely rewritten by the authors to reflect the cutting-edge knowledge and research on environmentalism of the twenty-first century.
All her life, Spensa has dreamed of becoming a pilot. Of proving she's a hero like her father. She made it to the sky, but the truths she learned about her father were crushing. The rumors of his cowardice are true--he deserted his flight during battle against the Krell. Worse, though, he turned against his team and attacked them.
Spensa is sure there's more to the story. And she's sure that whatever happened to her father in his starship could happen to her. When she made it outside the protective shell of her planet, she heard the stars--and it was terrifying. Everything Spensa has been taught about her world is a lie.
But Spensa also discovered a few other things about herself--and she'll travel to the end of the galaxy to save humankind if she needs to.
"It takes little effort to understand that Starsight is an intense ride with equal measures of thrilling action and emotional resonance. Once again, he knocks it out of the park; it’s another Grand Slamderson. Every new project he tackles, his storytelling somehow seems to get better and better. His brain belongs in a museum. It’s truly a gift that we get to experience so many stories from such a prolific writer. Don’t be put off by the YA label. Everyone should join Spensa on her journey, and strap in tight. There’s many more light years of space mileage to cover yet."
Who or what is Endymion Spring? A power for good, or for evil... A legendary book that holds the secret to a world of knowledge... A young boy without a voice - whose five-hundred-year-old story is about to explode in the twenty-first century... Set in present-day Oxford and Germany at the dawn of printing, one magical book sets two boys’ worlds alight – bringing them unimaginable danger, excitement and power...
"Endymion Spring is a very, very good book; the characters, particularly those in Mainz, are brought vividly to life and the skillfully described locations are a real highlight. There are, however, times when the feel is more that of a screenplay than a book (there is not doubt that this would, and possibly may, make a very good film) but this is a minor grievance that in no way detracts from what is a fascinating and highly rewarding story." Fantasy Book Review
A flash of light and Detective Joe Dante steps through. No longer on the cobblestone streets of 1961 Boston, Joe finds himself in a horrifying new world-Hell itself. Joe was in hot pursuit of his family's killer, drug lord Filippo Argenti, when both were killed, and isn't about to let a little thing like death slow him down. So, with a healthy dose of New England stubbornness and the help of a mysterious guide, Virgil DiMini, Joe must evade angry demons, and search ever-lower through the rings of the original Dante's Inferno in hopes of finding justice for his wife and children. However, Joe will soon discover that behind every sin lies a secret and each secret revealed could land Joe in an eternity of hot water... VERY hot.
"This tale works on all levels, and as well as being a clever exposition of today’s society and its morals, and how far we have fallen, it also works on the level that it is action packed throughout. In the end though, it is a tale of faith and of renewed hope for the future. I often found myself pausing through this book and pondering on things in my life. It is a story which will live long in the memory and that is the highest compliment one can pay to a book. I urge you to give this first time author a try. You will not be disappointed. It is a cathartic experience. It is also a wonderful modern retelling of the classical poem, and one that deserves widespread reading. As for me I will be passing this book onto my family and friends, as well as finally giving Dante’s The Inferno a go." Fantasy Book Review
On a crisp autumn morning, in his cottage in the idyllic land of the Vale, Mr. Edward T. Cozzlebottom composed the following letter for his secret love, the graceful and lovely Mizz Ezmerelda Wimbish. "Dear Mizz Wimbish, Confessions are something to admire. Don't you agree? Far more confessors, of the subtle variety, would make this world a place more agreeable for all. It is in this spirit that I concoct this missive and subtle confession. I have been taken with you for some number of years. I notice that you are quite fond of roses, as am I. Given our mutual interests, and the proximity of our lives, I think it is time for us to meet fate halfway and talk of things that affect us both. We could discuss your roses, or my books, or any matter that concerns you. There are many seemingly quiet things that happen on our very street that I think could fill an evening, if not a lifetime. If my suggestion intrigues you, I will meet you beyond the honeysuckle on the far side of Embry Lane by the fourth gaslight. I will be there Wednesday just before the lamplighter arrives. I encourage you to consider my offer, as it is filled with gravity. Most sincerely and with the respect due to a lady of your type, Edward T. Cozzlebottom. P.S. If it rains, bring an umbrella." Though these two lonely souls occupy homes separated by a matter of feet and inches, they soon discover that it will take many miles of treacherous travel before they can master the short distance between their hearts and doors. Each one goes on a separate journey that takes them from the startling beauty of the Many Mirrored Way to the blackest woods of the Great Dorianic Forest. Along the way, they encounter the Trench Systers, the Wicked Tinker, the Walrus King, and the Brothers of the Black Lodge.
"If you love fantasy and adventure fiction then this book is for you. Well written, charmingly detailed and epic, this truly is a must read for 2012." Fantasy Book Review
Italy is on the brink of collapse. Borders are closed, banks withhold money, the postal service stalls. Armed gangs of drug-fuelled youths roam the countryside. Leonardo was a famous writer and professor before a sex scandal ended his marriage and career. Heading north in search of her new husband, his ex-wife leaves their daughter and her son in his care. If he is to take them to safety, he will need to find a quality he has never possessed: courage.
"The Last Man Standing is a must read in the dystopian fiction genre, less bleak but no less moving than The Road and a book that’s ending is nothing short of perfection. A disturbing yet strangely uplifting look at a future we can all only pray never comes to be. A special mention must go to Silvester Mazzarella who has managed to lose nothing in translation and every sentence is precise, crisp and a joy to read." Fantasy Book Review
In 1944, as waves of German ninjas parachute into Kent, Britain’s best hopes for victory lie with a Spitfire pilot codenamed ‘Ack-Ack Macaque’. The trouble is, Ack-Ack Macaque is a cynical, one-eyed, cigar-chomping monkey, and he’s starting to doubt everything, including his own existence. A century later, in a world where France and Great Britain merged in the late 1950s and nuclear-powered Zeppelins encircle the globe, ex-journalist Victoria Valois finds herself drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the man who butchered her husband and stole her electronic soul. Meanwhile, in Paris, after taking part in an illegal break-in at a research laboratory, the heir to the British throne goes on the run. And all the while, the doomsday clock ticks towards Armageddon.
"Ack-Ack Macaque shows just what is possible by combining new idea and creating a unique world and a set of characters, a monkey, who would have guessed! Gareth L. Powell will be an author to look out for." Jasper de Joode, Fantasy Book Review
Thirty years ago Ineluki, the Storm King, was destroyed and his armies scattered. Osten Ard has been at peace ever since, ruled by Simon Snowlock, kitchen boy made king, and Miriamele, King Elias' only child. But now age weighs upon their reign. Simon's dreams have deserted him, old allies die and betrayal and assassination threaten. His son and heir John Josua is years dead and his grandson, Morgan, is a wastrel. A journey of redemption and discovery beckons in the darkening world.
And in the frozen North, in Nakkiga, the mountain fortress, Ineluki's ally, the Norn Queen, wakes from her deep, decades-long sleep and tells her followers that she will sleep no more. Humanity must be destroyed. Her sorcerers will bring a demon back from death, her warriors will seek the world for living dragon's blood...
And finally the greatest artefact of all, the Witchwood Crown, will be hers.
"It’s a book driven by cultural clashes and racial wars. The world is stark and grey, and I’m not entirely sure who to root for. It’s highly compelling fantasy, go read it! " Sean Barrs, Fantasy Book Review
In the city of stairs, nothing is as it seems.
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.
"The Divine Cities trilogy is quite unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It treats its audience with the same respect and consideration as it shares with its cast. It is a rich, lovingly-crafted world that is both thematically complex and wonderfully entertaining. Shara, Mulaghesh and Sigrud have all been ensconced in my personal Fictional Character Hall of Fame, and I will miss them dearly. If you’re looking to discover something new, something original, and something memorable, then this is the series you’re looking for."
In a land where three suns almost never set, a ruthless assassin continues her quest for vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.
Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church hierarchy think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending the men who destroyed her familia; in fact, she’s told directly that Consul Scaeva is off limits. But after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia's suspicions about the Red Church’s true motives begin to grow.
When it’s announced that Scaeva will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end him. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between love and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.
"Godsgrave completely exceeded my expectations. I thought I knew where this was all going but I really didn’t have a clue. Darkdawn, the final book in the trilogy, is out later this year and I can’t wait to read it. This ended on such a monumental cliff-hanger. If Jay Kristoff writes with the same level of imagination and originality as he has here, this could be one of the best trilogies fantasy has ever seen."
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."
Against the backdrop of epic warfare and the powers of ten mysterious gods, Lucia struggles to understand The Black One. Her father-king wants war. Her messianic brother wants peace. The black god wants his due. She suffers all the consequences. King Vieri is losing his war against the lands of Pawelon. Feeling abandoned by his god, he forces his son Caio, the kingdom's holy savior, to lead his army. Victory ought to come soon. To counter Caio's powers, Pawelon's prince enters the conflict. Rao is a gifted sage, a master of spiritual laws. He joins the rajah to defend their citadel against the invaders. But Rao's ideals soon clash with his army's general. The Black One tortures Lucia nightly with visions promising another ten years of bloodshed. She can no longer tell the difference between the waking world and her nightmares. Lucia knows the black god too well. He entered her bed and dreams when she was ten. The Black One watches, waiting to see Lucia confront an impossible decision over the fates of two men--and two lands.
"I enjoyed this book, immensely. It had style, it had substance, and it had a lot of heart. For an independently self published novel, Siregar easily defies the stigma that you can only get a quality book out of a recognised publishing house. From the cover art he designed himself through to the words put down on paper (or e-paper for e-book readers), Siregar has produced a full package of the highest quality and I will definitely be going back for more." Fantasy Book Review
She turns to face the future in a world that’s falling apart. For sixteen-year-old Tris, the world changes in a heartbeat when she is forced to make a terrible choice. Turning her back on her family, Tris ventures out, alone, determined to find out where she truly belongs. Shocked by the brutality of her new life, Tris can trust no one. And yet she is drawn to a boy who seems to both threaten and protect her. The hardest choices may yet lie ahead…
"Little did I know when I first picked up a copy of Veronica Roth's Divergent that it was quickly becoming a sensation of its own. Not quite of the scope of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, but some sizable movement. More surprising was that Divergent is Roth's first book, which she wrote instead of doing homework in college." AT Ross, Fantasy Book Review
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. "
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."
In the first age of Andeira, men and dragons brought together the two halves of the elemental magic of the world to create a union through which their magic, and the world, could support and renew itself. When war broke out, that union was destroyed - deliberately severed by the ancient mages in a desperate attempt to stop their enemies. They knew the price of their actions: the dragons would disappear from Andeira until such time as it would be safe for them to return, stripping the world of half the elemental magic it needed to survive. What the mages did not realise was that their enemies would survive the severing of the bond, threatening the prophecy created by the dragons to ensure their return in a later age. Three thousand years on, the world is slowly dying, and the dragons have been forgotten by all but a few. This is the story of one man's search across their ancient homeland, and his desperate bid to fulfil the prophecy and bring the dragons back into the world.
"A magnificent debut, a brilliant book - a must for any epic fantasy lover." Fantasy Book Review
Year of the Unicorn is, I believe, the third novel in Norton’s beloved Witch World series and the first of the High Hallack cycle, but this novel can stand alone. I can’t recommend it enough. Anyone with an interest in unconventional romantic fantasy should read this forgotten gem of a book.
The greatest empire of them all began with a road.
The Circle – a thousand miles of perilous forests and warring clans. No one has ever tamed such treacherous territory before, but ex-soldier Teyr Amondsen, veteran of a hundred battles, is determined to try.
With a merchant caravan protected by a crew of skilled mercenaries, Amondsen embarks on a dangerous mission to forge a road across the untamed wilderness that was once her home. But a warlord rises in the wilds of the Circle, uniting its clans and terrorising its people. Teyr’s battles may not be over yet...
All roads lead back to war.
"This story grabbed me from the first page and completely hooked me until the last. The plot never stopped moving forward. It’s a brilliantly well-balanced story with an ending that was electric in all its dramatic intensity. Bravo Mr Selby!"
The Girl and the Stars is more than the start of a new series. It’s the culmination of some of the best ideas of Lawrence’s previous works while promising that amazing things are still to come. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next Icepunk book in the Yaz-mere.
Along the Razor’s Edge will make you mad. It will make you hold your breath, pump your fist, pause and reflect, and swear at 2am. It will do all these things and more, because it is one hell of a great story. For me, it was more than just reading a book. It was an experience.
I read this cover to cover in one go and I’m already so desperate for the next book that I’ve put my order in direct with the author. It’s an incredible series that deserves more readers so take a chance. Then get in line behind me for what comes next.
The grey monster disappears into the bracken. After the near encounter, Norri is left shaken and wondering. What is it? How did it come to be in the Fornvelt? He has no idea that sighting the creature is just the first portent of great events that are taking shape, much less what his part in them will be. Norri, Tom, and the others find themselves in an epic struggle against the massed armies and navy of the Corriian Empire who unleash demonic weapons of terror and legend against them until all hope of any of them surviving the conflagration seems lost. Norri 's task and the journey he undertakes goes terribly wrong. There, in utter despair, he makes the decision that could shake the world. Thus begins the fantastic voyage of Beckwood Brea.
"I would heartily recommend Beckwood Brae and look forward to reading the second book in the series - an accomplished debut from a talented and committed writer." Fantasy Book Review
There is an ancient legend in the memories of the humans of Niwengeard, that a time will come when Darkness will fall upon the kingdoms of Earde and one will rise who threatens all species. It has been foretold that at this time, a Gifted human child possessing the powers of the magical races--the empyreals--will be born to lead a revolution against the Darkness. But this memory is hazy, like the memories of the beginning of time, of the Creators, of the First and Second Destructions, and even of the empyreal races who share the humans' world. So when a fairy named Rædan appears before fourteen-year-old Lisandra Ackart and tells her that the time of the Third Destruction has begun and that she is the Gifted One, she doesn't believe him. When a series of strange events leaves her hundreds of miles from home, Lisandra is thrust unwillingly into the heart of an epic struggle that has spanned millennia, a conflict between the races of the Dark and the races of the Light. Now that struggle is nearing its end, and Lisandra must find the twenty-three Keepers of the ancient Prophecy, each of whom holds a single piece of the key to saving Earde from the Darkness. But first she must find a way to stop the Dark Queen, Lucifæra--who the Light Ones believe is behind the sudden disappearance of thousands of fairies--and her mysterious hexagonal charm.
"I think that Melaine Bryant reasons for writing this book was firstly to entertain and secondly to encourage readers to explore all the classic fantasy tales that have been around for, in some instances, hundreds of years. All the ingredients needed in a high fantasy novel are there; the heroine, the prophecy plus, of course, the quest. This delightfully constructed story reminded me somewhat of Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn, not so much in content, but in its style and how it read. I would not hesitate to recommend The Prophecy Keepers to adults, both young and old, who are looking for a great new fantasy series." Fantasy Book Review
"The Fifth Empire of Man is amazing. Intricate with stunning dialogue. Expertly edited (I noticed one tiny mistake in these 400-pages). It's surely only a matter of time before one of the big-5 fantasy publishers knocks on Hayes' door. In my mind, Hayes does grimdark better than Abercrombie with characters just as memorable. Be one of the cool kids who reads this series before it gets popular because I guarantee it will. Oh yeah, it's about pirates, mate!"
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself King, and traitors at every turn. The Five Kingdoms and Sarth have assembled a fleet of ships unlike any the world has ever seen and they intend to purge the Pirate Isles once and for all by fire and steel. Revenge, never far from Keelin Stillwater’s mind, is finally within his grasp and he sets sail to the Forgotten Empire. But more than dense jungles and ruined cities await him there. Vengeful gods and malignant spirits now call those cursed lands home, and they are not wisely disturbed. Meanwhile, Elaina Black tries to secure herself powerful allies and the forces those allies can spare. She’s set her course on the throne: either by Drake’s side or over his dead body.
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."
The first love song in the world, as composed by a pig in the Garden of Eden... The Devil, alarmed when his hobby of writing romantic fiction begins to upstage his day job... A man finding love with someone who has an allergy to his very own happiness; another losing love altogether when his wife gives him back his heart in a Tupperware box...
"This collection of eighteen - seventeen if you can't find the hidden one - short love stories is an absolute delight. We enjoyed it so much that we made it the Book of the Month for December 2009." Fantasy Book Review
Cursed with endless drowsiness, Enchantress Hiresha sleeps more than she lives. Since she never has had a chance to raise a family, she sometimes feels like every woman is pregnant except for her. This time, she is right. From virgin to grandmother, all the women in her city have conceived. One unexpected pregnancy is a drama; fifty thousand is citywide hysteria. A lurking sorcerer drains power from the unnatural pregnancies, and Hiresha must track him by his magic. Unfortunately, her cultured education in enchantment ill equips her to understand his spellcraft, which is decidedly less than proper. The only person uncivilized enough to help is the Lord of the Feast, a dangerous yet charming illusionist. Associating with him may imperil Hiresha’s city, yet refusing his help will allow the sorcerer to leech godlike power from the mass births.
"If you are a fan of fantasy literature and want to read something new and exciting in the genre then you really should read Brood of Bones. It is a book that impressed me in all areas, from the glorious cover to the complex and involving story. I will sign off this review with the words on Steven Erikson: "Ambition is not a dirty word. Piss on compromise. Go for the throat. Write with balls, write with eggs. Sure, it's a harder journey but take it from me, it's well worth it." And I’m sure A.E. Marling would heartily agree with his sentiments." Fantasy Book Review
When a high-ranking officer gallops into the quiet Mistyvales, he brings a warning that shakes the countryfolk to their roots. But for Aedan, a scruffy young adventurer with veins full of fire and a head full of ideas, this officer is not what he seems. The events that follow propel Aedan on a journey that only the foolhardy or desperate would risk, leading him to the gates of the nation's royal academy - a whole world of secrets in itself. But this is only the beginning of his discoveries. Something is stirring in the land, something more ominous than the rising threat of hostile nations. Fearful travellers whisper of an ancient power breathing over Thirna, changing it, waking it. In the very heart of these stirrings, Aedan encounters that which defies belief, leaving him speechless with terror - and wonder.
"Dawn of Wonder is, at 710 pages, a big book and one that is undeniably a labour of love for its author Jonathan Renshaw. It's epic fantasy, but epic fantasy with a difference as this is more fantasy in the Robin Hobb and Patrick Rothfuss mould, where the 'hero' is not all-perfect and highly skilled at everything they set their mind too, Renshaw's hero Aedan is intelligent and talented, yes, but he is also flawed, emotionally damaged by his childhood and those scars shape his present and future life."
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.
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."
In the near future, where America has become a police state, 100 boys are selected to enter an annual contest where the winner will be awarded whatever he wants for the rest of his life.
The game is simple - maintain a steady walking pace of four miles per hour without stopping. Three warnings and you're out - permanently.
"For fans of dystopian fiction who want to get into the heads of some wonderfully flawed characters being put through the ringer in genuinely frightening way, The Long Walk is definitely worth taking."
Bram Stoker's immortal Dracula told us about Count Dracula as an undead vampire. But how did this come to be? Who was Dracula in real life? There has always been speculation, but The Dracula Papers now offers the ultimate answer. It takes us back to the year 1576, to the wild land of Transylvania and to the early life of Prince Vladimir who came to be the horror known as Dracula.
"So, I've read Sookie Stackhouse, and I've read the Twilight Saga, I watched Buffy, Being Human, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries. While I honestly admit to enjoying them, (except the Twilight movies, seriously people), it seems that the market is becoming oversaturated with angst-ridden, over-sexed vampires, and there’s only so much crazy eyed Vampness a girl can take (yes, Damon Salvatore, I mean you). So, let’s get back to where it all started - old school Gothic tales set during the early years of everyone’s favourite Vampire, Count Dracula. This is a chunky book, 470 pages to be precise, and I was a little daunted at first, but, from the moment I started reading I literally could not put the book down." Helen Greenwood, Fantasy Book Review
Kallon Redheart lives with his back turned on his fellow dragons, on humans, and on everything he once understood. Riza Diantus is a young woman with dreams too wide to fit inside her village fence. Their unexpected friendship is risky in Leland Province, where drought has stripped the land and superstition has cowed its people. And the danger only grows. Fordon Blackclaw, Dragon Council Leader, resents Leland's time-worn venur system. He has inflamed tensions between dragons and humans to the brink of war. He wants to trample humans into utter submission, or wipe them off the face of the land. Anger erupts, scorching innocent lives in its path. When Riza is threatened, Kallon is the only one with the power to save her. But first, he must confront his past and the future he stopped believing in. He must claim his destiny.
"There is plenty of soaring action, drama, humour as well as a deeper message behind the thrill-fest about tolerance, understanding and peaceful coexistence. If you liked the BBC series ‘Merlin’ the film ‘Dragonheart’ and the book and film ‘Eragon’ then this is a must read. ‘Redheart’ will appeal to all ages and is a great read right up to its final unexpected twist ending." Daniel Cann, Fantasy Book Review
Two young men are thrown to opposite sides of a war where both will fight to prevent their homeland, the world’s last pocket of free people, from being consumed by a formidable Empire. If they fail, mankind is destined to an existence of slavery and habitual torture. Naïve and inexperienced they must learn fast as they begin their rite of passage, one as a warrior and the other as a Magii, to first survive and then manipulate those around them to save their people.
The Walkers of Legend launches into an epic action fantasy series that will begin to unravel a fearsome and deeply endangered world, and one that holds a staggering ten-thousand year-old secret.
"The book caught me by surprise and was close to blowing me away and appears to be the first in a series from this total unknown. I can't recommend it enough. This new author has amazing storytelling skills and has produced an epic and pacey first book to be proud of. For anyone wanting great characterisation and detailing set on an epic scale, with a pace that drags you kicking and screaming to the very end, I highly recommend it and hope you get chance to review it." Fantasy Book Review
His name is Farden. They whisper that he’s dangerous. Dangerous is only the half of it. Something has gone missing from the libraries of Arfell. Something very old, and something very powerful. Five scholars are now dead, a country is once again on the brink of war, and the magick council is running out of time and options. Entangled in a web of lies and politics and dragged halfway across icy Emaneska and back, Farden must unearth a secret even he doesn’t want to know, a secret that will shake the foundations of his world. Dragons, drugs, magick, death, and the deepest of betrayals await.
"I immediately liked this book. I think the word that best describes my initial reading experience would be comfortable. When you read a good fantasy book – or a good book from any genre to be honest – you are able to relax as soon as you pick it up, safe in the knowledge that you are in capable hands and about to follow a story that is sure to allow an enjoyable escape from the real world whilst you are lost within its pages. Every David Gemmell book did – and still does – this for me, so did The Written. Ben Galley is not yet as good an author as Gemmell but the thing that I find exciting is that I honestly think that he could be." Fantasy Book Review
Zenn Scarlett is a bright, determined, occasionally a-little-too-smart-for-her-own-good 17-year-old girl training hard to become an exoveterinarian. That means she’s specializing in the treatment of exotic alien life forms, mostly large and generally dangerous. Her novice year of training at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars will find her working with alien patients from whalehounds the size of a hay barn to a baby Kiran Sunkiller, a colossal floating creature that will grow up to carry a whole sky-city on its back. But after a series of inexplicable animal escapes from the school and other near-disasters, the Cloister is in real danger of being shut down by a group of alien-hating officials. If that happens, Zenn knows only too well the grim fate awaiting the creatures she loves. Now, she must unravel the baffling events plaguing her school, before someone is hurt or killed, before everything she cares about is ripped away from her and her family forever. To solve this mystery – and live to tell about it – Zenn will have to put her new exovet skills to work in ways she never imagined, and in the process learn just how powerful compassion and empathy can be.
"Zenn Scarlett is right up there with Ender's Game, Partials and Katya's World as one of my favourite YA sci-fi novels. Zenn Scarlett is a book that I think will appeal to a broad range of readers, whether you're new to sci-fi or not." Ryan Lawler, Fantasy Book Review
Only very special people are chosen by children's author Laura White to join 'The Society', an elite group of writers in the small town of Rabbit Back. Now a tenth member has been selected: Ella, literature teacher and possessor of beautifully curving lips. But soon Ella discovers that the Society is not what it seems. What is its mysterious ritual, 'The Game'? What explains the strange disappearance that occurs at Laura's winter party, in a whirlwind of snow? Why are the words inside books starting to rearrange themselves? Was there once another tenth member, before her? Slowly, disturbing secrets that had been buried come to light...
"I found this book very interesting. It did start slowly and it did take time for me to warm to the characters, but this was more like unwrapping a pass the parcel, the more you read the more you want to know what is at the very heart, under all the layers that are being revealed one at a time. With a large cast of characters and back stories to delve into this book will not leave you disappointed, but will hopefully leave you as surprised and satisfied as I felt upon finishing the story." Michelle Herbert, Fantasy Book Review
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
In this dazzling memoir, the acclaimed writer behind Babylon 5, Sense8, Clint Eastwood’s Changelingand Marvel’s Thor reveals how the power of creativity and imagination enabled him to overcome the horrors of his youth and a dysfunctional family haunted by madness, murder and a terrible secret.
For four decades, J. Michael Straczynski has been one of the most successful writers in Hollywood, one of the few to forge multiple careers in movies, television and comics. Yet there’s one story he’s never told before: his own.
Joe's early life nearly defies belief. Raised by damaged adults—a con-man grandfather and a manipulative grandmother, a violent, drunken father and a mother who was repeatedly institutionalized—Joe grew up in abject poverty, living in slums and projects when not on the road, crisscrossing the country in his father’s desperate attempts to escape the consequences of his past.
To survive his abusive environment Joe found refuge in his beloved comics and his dreams, immersing himself in imaginary worlds populated by superheroes whose amazing powers allowed them to overcome any adversity. The deeper he read, the more he came to realize that he, too, had a superpower: the ability to tell stories and make everything come out the way he wanted it. But even as he found success, he could not escape a dark and shocking secret that hung over his family’s past, a violent truth that he uncovered over the course of decades involving mass murder.
Straczynski’s personal history has always been shrouded in mystery. Becoming Superman lays bare the facts of his life: a story of creation and darkness, hope and success, a larger-than-life villain and a little boy who became the hero of his own life. It is also a compelling behind-the-scenes look at some of the most successful TV series and movies recognized around the world.
Get knee-deep in grit with twenty-five grimdark sci-fi and fantasy short stories from the shadowy vaults of Grimdark Magazine. The top names in dark speculative fiction and the genre’s brightest newcomers bring you stories of war, betrayal, violence, and greed, as anti-heroes and adversaries fight to the bittersweet end.
"This is a great collection of stories if you love grimdark SFF and enjoy acts of violence precisely for the shock value, morally grey characters and no 'happily ever after.' As the author Mark Lawrence says in his foreword, “Knee-Deep in Grit is a curry house of stories, they’re all going to be spicy and if you like your reading bland… you’ve come to the wrong place.” Amen to that."
A bounty hunter with a death wish. An orphan with her head in the clouds. A conspiracy with the power to bring down a kingdom.
Serena dreams of leaving her harsh desert home behind in her very own airship. But when an assassin's knife meant for Serena kills her friend instead, the rebellious orphan ventures into the corrupt heart of Dalthea to discover who put a price on her head. With each new turn, she edges closer to uncovering the awful truth... And the mystical powers brewing deep within her.
After his fiancée’s death, soldier-turned-bounty hunter Tyson Gallows is eager to sacrifice his life in the line of duty. When a foreign enemy assassinates a high-ranking official, he vows to bring them to justice. On the hunt for a killer, Gallows exposes a sinister plot that proves his fiancée’s death was no accident.
Driven by revenge, Serena and Gallows must join forces to take down the conspiracy before the kingdom falls to ruin.
"I’ve been trying to think of some critical things to say about the book as this early SPFBO round as we tend to judge quite harshly, but in the high of just finishing, I can’t think of much. Other than the first two chapters not really engaging me and maybe that some scenes could be tightened up a bit. Technically, this has been done exceptionally well, it read like something that had been traditionally published, skilfully written and decently edited. Regardless of how far this book goes in the competition, it deserves more readers. Honestly, I flat out loved it and I’m looking forward to the next instalment already. In the meantime, there’s a prequel novella called The Fury Yet To Come which is free if you sign up to the author’s newsletter- it won’t be staying on my TBR for long."
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."
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."
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."
Shorefall is a slice of genius slathered with unfiltered madness; it is an innovation on invention. I want to scrive in this world, to create and experiment with Berenice and Orso, to scale towers and improvise with Sancia, to fight battles and defend my friends with Gregor. I loved this book. Bennett is one of the brightest talents around. Read the Divine Cities trilogy. Read Foundryside. Read Shorefall. Read whatever comes next.
Hayes has won several awards over the course of writing career, most recently the Booknest novel of the year, and is once again a finalist for this year’s SPFBO, which he won in a previous year. But through all his accolades and experiences in the self- and trad-published industries, there is no doubt in my mind that ‘The War Eternal’ is the crown jewel of his writing career. There is more going on beyond Eska’s endeavors that will be revealed in From Cold Ashes Risen, and I can hardly wait to find out how this story will pan out. All I know for sure is that it’s going to be fantastic, and you'll be plotting your own mission of vengeance if you miss it.
Daniel's school holidays are interrupted when, via a ley-line that passes through the goldfish tank in his bedroom, he is transported to a parallel world - in which he has been chosen to fight a battle on behalf of Good against the forces of Evil! Reluctant isn't the word...
"Return To Allapatria tells the story of Daniel, an ordinary 12 year old at the start of his school holidays. With his father away on business, as usual, and his mum’s attention fully on the local gardening competition, Daniel has nothing but good weather and his computer game to look forward to filling his days; just the way he likes it. His neighbour is a boy of the same age called Barnaby who seems a little ‘odd’ as far as Daniel is concerned and as such Daniel tries to ignore him as much as possible. Daniel’s plans for a relaxed six weeks is shattered when strange things start to happen with his fish tank, he gets dragged along on a day out he doesn’t want to go on and a rather strange creature appears in his bedroom!" Fantasy Book Review
The Universe is dangerously close to collapsing. With a shady authority known as the Time Police on their tail, will the Timeseekers be able to save us all? Their only hopes rest with the prophesied ‘chosen one’ who – rather unexpectedly – turns out to be a kind old lady called Barbara. However, Nana Barb, as she is affectionately known by her seven grandkids, one great-granddaughter and the members of her local bridge club, becomes lost in time after the physicist who lives next-door accidentally activates her new invention. Unfortunately the only people who can save Nana Barb (and the entire Universe) are her hapless grandson Dave, his best and idiotic friend Simon and the beautiful yet clumsy physicist Louise. Guided by the omnipotent tentacles of the Fates, Nana Barb ventures through time desperate for a good cuppa, in the process meeting her long-dead parents, spawning a new religion and picking up a futuristic android companion.Will Dave and his new friends shake off the deadly Time Police? Will the Timeseekers stop the Universe from collapsing? And more importantly, will Nana Barb ever find a decent cup of tea?
"The Adventures of Nana Barb: Lost in Time is a great starter of series and even more impressive as a début from John Auckland. Combining nice proven sci-fi elements with an interesting storyline and an even greater narration done by the funny and with Web-spinners. Using input given by the reading community this story can go any which way." Jasper de Joode, Fantasy Book Review
Daughter of the Forest is nothing short of fantastic! Gorgeous description, amazing world building, subtle characters, a road of trials that leads past some extremely dark places and one of the most awesome heroines I’ve encountered anywhere.
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!"
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."
Twelve-year-old Jack spends his days alone in a deserted coastal town, his father gone, his mother dying. Then he meets a stranger - and embarks on a terrifying journey. For Jack must find the Talisman, the only thing that can save his mother.
His quest takes him into the menacing Territories, a parallel world where violence, surprise and the titanic struggle between good and evil reach across a mythic landscape.
"Despite a few dated references to homosexuality, a slow start and a slightly damselly best friend, the Talisman was a truly epic journey. Many reviewers describe it as a kid’s book for adults, a conclusion with which I wholeheartedly agree, indeed if you spent your childhood entranced by authors like C. S. Lewis (who even gets a wonderfully offbeat acknowledgement), Susan Cooper or Alan Garner, books where children must journey off alone into mysterious other worlds upon epic adventures, then you should be pleased to know the Talisman provides just the same sort of experience, but with the added punch of being a little darker, a little more poetic, and far less safe."
Timion the Black has exhausted his options. Reckless, despicable, Timion’s own band of mercenary men turn against him, leaving him for dead in a back alleyway. Fate deposits the usurped buccaneer into the hands of altruistic nuns. There he finds his way to health and into their debt. Revenge, dark magic, and clever technology collide, catapulting Timion beyond the rim of the known world - beyond the mythic Boiling Seas. There he finds a forgotten, corrupt race sharpening their swords for conquest – their dark, evil eyes set upon his home port of call: Glammenport.
"Glammenport impressed me immediately - the standard of the writing was high and the descriptions were vivid, the characterisation strong. Comparisons are difficult and only Raymond E Feist’s Magician really comes to mind and this only because of both books featuring two very different worlds. Kevin Lane has not re-invented the genre here but he has taken it and produced a highly polished, skilful and above all enjoyable book that will allow readers to escape into a richly textured fantasy world. He is an author with a future and if he can continue to write with such verve and skill I, for one, will happily read his work. This is a very good book and I hope that there is an even better work to come, as this author possesses all the raw materials to write a fantasy classic." Fantasy Book Review
The pacing of the book was great from the beginning you're in a linearly phase where everything is explained with the help of a private eye. As a soon as Zak finds a certain schematic while cleaning out the attic the story goes on a roller-coaster ride. Having achieved what was impossible. He becomes the Master of Machines... but with this new title there are certain consequences which he did not know. The ending of the book leaved nothing to be desired, it is a story where everything turns out for the better. On top of this there is nice lead into a possible sequel in the last two sentences of the book. Zak Corbin: Master of Machines is a great book, isn't tinkering and creating robots any boys dream?
"The pacing of the book was great from the beginning you’re in a linearly phase where everything is explained with the help of a private eye. As a soon as Zak finds a certain schematic while cleaning out the attic the story goes on a roller-coaster ride. Having achieved what was impossible. He becomes the Master of Machines… but with this new title there are certain consequences which he did not know. The ending of the book leaved nothing to be desired, it is a story where everything turns out for the better. On top of this there is nice lead into a possible sequel in the last two sentences of the book. Zak Corbin: Master of Machines is a great book, isn’t tinkering and creating robots any boys dream?" Jasper de Joode, Fantasy Book Review
It’s the 21st Century, and magic users are outlaws. The public considers summoners evil and in league with the Devil. So when someone or something wipes out the entire Spokane Grove, police are baffled and wary. After all, what is more powerful than a group of summoners? Grace Moore is a foodie – and a mid-level Seattle summoner – sent to investigate the murders. In her search, she discovers Robert, a streetwise teenager, who inherits his summoner uncle’s diary and performs a summoning to get back at a teenage rival – and accidentally attracts a giant demonic raccoon looking to devour anyone with talent. Robert is the most powerful magic user, albeit untrained, she’s ever seen. If the demon raccoon manages to devour him, Grace is sure that the cops won’t be the least of her problems – assuming she lives. But can she keep Robert safe and solve the murder of the magic users before she can become the next item on the demon’s menu?
"An excellent debut novel and a highly recommended addition to the YA, contemporary / urban genre." Fantasy Book Review
Sierra has a despised and forbidden gift - she raises power from the suffering of others. Enslaved by the king's torturer, Sierra escapes, barely keeping ahead of Rasten, the man sent to hunt her down. Then she falls in with dangerous company: the fugitive Prince Cammarian and his crippled foster-brother, Isidro. But Rasten is not the only enemy hunting them in the frozen north and as Sierra's new allies struggle to identify friend from foe, Rasten approaches her with a plan to kill the master they both abhor. Sierra is forced to decide what price she is willing to pay for her freedom and her life...
"I thoroughly enjoyed reading this debut. It is well written: the characters are great and realistic, and the descriptions of magical feats will leave you craving for more. The story is refreshing, interesting, and, at times, quite horrific (did I mention that there’s lots and lots of torture?) – One cannot ask for more! I for one am looking forward to the next book in the series, you will be too." Fantasy Book Review
An extraordinary debut that is well worthy of the hype. A beautifully written, highly engaging page-turning masterpiece where I was on Tom's side every step of the way. This isn't the most action-packed spectacle but the way Bancroft presents, with slower moments and emotional flashbacks intertwined, the more action-oriented scenes have great impact. Especially the ending. The future possibilities seem awesome with the way things concluded. The ending convinced me this was definitely a 10-star read.
Rune Saint John, last child of the fallen Sun Court, is hired to search for Lady Judgment's missing son, Addam, on New Atlantis, the island city where the Atlanteans moved after ordinary humans destroyed their original home. With his companion and bodyguard, Brand, he questions Addam's relatives and business contacts through the highest ranks of the nobles of New Atlantis. But as they investigate, they uncover more than a missing man: a legendary creature connected to the secret of the massacre of Rune's Court. In looking for Addam, can Rune find the truth behind his family's death and the torments of his past?
"A highly enjoyable read from K.D. Edwards, The Last Sun is sure to appeal to those who love wonderfully crafted characters against a backdrop of excellent world building. I’m eagerly anticipating the sequel."
In a time when the world was ravaged by chaos, one kingdom remains; ordered, isolated, protected. Then Tabitha Serannon awakens an ancient power and the world begins to change. She is hunted for her talent. The Shadowcasters whisper in her ears as their evil closes around her. Soon the Riddler walks beside her, but is he on her side? She has a moment to learn the magic before she loses her grasp of the Lifesong, but the path she must follow leads into Darkness; into terror, treachery and desire. To survive she must give voice to a music that she hardly understands, an enchantment that will echo through all time.
"Greg Hamerton tells a very good story and he makes sure that he tells it in full. To maintain the readers interest throughout a story of the length requires no little skill – but Hamerton does it with ease. The Riddler’s Gift is a highly recommended fantasy novel – enormous fun to read and extremely easy to lose yourself within." Fantasy Book Review
The temples of the Forgefather have fallen. The clerics and defenders that could once be found across the nine lands are no more. Priests huddle in the great temple, clinging to the echoes of their lost religion. But the Father has fallen silent. There are none who still hear his voice.
The mines of Aspiration lie far below the temple's marble halls. Slaves toil in the blackness, striving to earn their way into the church and the light. Wynn has been sold into this fate, traded for a handful of silver. In the depths of the mines, where none dare carry flame, he must meet his tally or die. But there are things that lurk in that darkness, and still darker things within the hearts of men.
When the souls bound to the great forge are released in a failed ritual, one novice flees down into the darkness of the mines. The soulwraiths know only hunger, the risen know only hate. In the blackest depths Kharios must seek a light to combat the darkness which descends.
"Faithless is an utterly dark, unique, well-written, and deeply engaging grimdark story from a talented author who's definitely one to watch."
Ein is on a mission from God. A God of Death.
Time is up for the Emperor of Ten Kings and it falls to a murdered eight year old boy to render the judgement of a God. Ein knows he can't do it alone, but the empire is rife with heroes. The only problem; in order to serve, they must first die.
Ein has four legendary heroes in mind, names from story books read to him by his father. Now he must find them and kill them, so he can bring them back to fight the Reaper's war.
"Without spoiling anything, I will say that a book that deals with the spiritual realm always allows for great potential to re-visit the world, and while it seems as though Rob intended Never Die to stand alone, the return of these engaging characters and well fleshed out setting would be extremely welcome. One of the best I’ve read in 2018 and I look forward to a great deal more from Mr. Hayes."
The endgame has begun.
The battle for the emperor’s throne grows ever fiercer. The City of Countless Souls cowers behind locked doors as the whims of the downtrodden and the powerful bring the great game of Araxes to its chaotic conclusion.
With the soulblade at his hip and magic in his soul, Caltro’s freedom is almost within reach. But as Temsa reign of murder clashes with Widow Horix’s plans, the locksmith’s fate becomes all the more entwined with the needs of dead gods, the Cult, and vengeful royals. Caltro realises his struggle is not just for his redemption, but for that of the entirety of the Far Reaches.
While the Core Districts descend into chaos, debts left unpaid in the desert haunt Nilith’s long-awaited arrival in the city. A new foe is hunting her through the streets, an enemy with enough power to rival even that of the Cloudpiercer.
And yet all their struggles pale in comparison to the dark omen that is spreading through the Arctian Empire:
The River Nyx is drying up.
"Breaking Chaos, at its heart, is a story about the choices we make -- especially under duress -- and how fighting against your instincts to make these tough choices help to define your true character. It is a genuinely thrilling conclusion to a series that gets progressively better with each book. The conclusion delivered far more than I had anticipated, and although Galley has an ambitiously full writing schedule ahead of him in 2019, I hope he returns to Araxes soon. The expansive world-building and rich environments are too compelling to stay away from for long."
Four years have passed since Lidan’s world was ripped apart, and time is running out to change her father’s mind about the succession before the bargain with her mother expires. Torn between what she wants and what she knows is right, she is faced with an impossible choice; will her brother live, or will he die?
Within the walls of the Hidden Keep, Ranoth holds his secrets close as he tries to harness his wild magic. But when life in the Keep descends into chaos, he is cast once more into the outside world, forced upon a southward path toward unknown lands and untold danger.
With Ran set on seeking justice and revenge, and Lidan fighting to find her feet and follow her heart, journeys will converge, and the ghosts of a past thought long dead will rise.
"Legacy of Ghosts is an action-packed, perfectly paced tale that has wonderful and engaging emotional moments. It builds on the foundation left by the first book and sets things up for what should be a stunning and spectacular conclusion to the trilogy."
Golgotha Falls: A city of carnal nightmare and monstrous appetite, nowhere in all the worlds of empire will you find its equal. Forged from dark science and steeped in ancient myth, it is a city ruled by ancient gods and policed by angels, where your every desire can be satiated and your every terror made flesh. Here in this sweating, convulsive metropolis of ninety million souls, the spider-god Desdemona, is the most feared of all the city's deities. Sixteen spell-binding tales unfold the chronicles of this new age medusa, a hero unlike any you have ever encountered before.
"There is obviously a lot of George Udenkwo in Golgotha Falls, all of his inspirations, loves, favourite books and films. There are lashings of Norse, Greek and Roman mythology. Udenkwo’s intelligence and passion come through clearly in his work – he is also an author of frightening imagination. The book made me use my brain and gave me the inclination to further research the figures of mythology mentioned in the tales. I would happily recommend George Udenkwo and Golgotha Falls to readers who enjoy a fine mixture of science and fantasy in their books. Golgotha Falls is a stunning debut from an author of exceptional imagination." Fantasy Book Review
For twenty years civil war has torn the Empire apart; the Imperial line extinguished as the mad Emperor Quintus burned in his palace, betrayed by his greatest general. Against a background of war, decay, poverty and violence, men who once served in the proud Imperial army now fight as mercenaries, hiring themselves to the greediest lords.
"Interregnum shows that Turney not only has an excellent imagination but also a gift for storytelling. It is exciting, involving, moving and thought provoking, an accomplished example of historical fiction/alternate history." Fantasy Book Review
In the dead of night, a covered wagon driven by a hooded, faceless being is careering through the forest at breakneck speed. Inside the wagon, sit two jittery Goblin men: Grot and Mouldy. Suddenly, the contents of the sack they are staring at begin to glow... Consumed by the desire for revenge, the Goblins' wicked Dark Mistress sets diminutive winged telepaths, the Pahleen, a riddle they must work out if they are to get back what they have lost and save the world known as Wadjamaat. Desperately, King Kilron searches high and low but fi nds no clue.Then, something unexpected happens in Haggles Cove and therace is on again...but there is a sting in the tail. To have a chance of succeeding, Kilron must now face the prospect of doing something always forbidden to his ancient race. Meanwhile, unaware of the planet's 'ticking clock', the cosmopolitan human population of the walled naval port of Bellana are busy getting their wondrous Mermaid Stadium ready for the grand Argia Final. With canine companion Wolf in tow, country girl Hahmi Merkin gets a hostile reception when she enters the city. She heads for the sanctuary of blacksmith friend, Aristide Brindle's house where she leaves her horse and cart. Entrusted with his son's 'paddywhack', she sets off for the stadium. What happens after that is beyond even her wildest imagining...
"Blue Fire Burning, written by Hobb Whittons and published by AuthorHouse in 2011, is a work of high fantasy, ambitious in its intent and an example of self-publishing done very well. An admirable effort and a deserving recipient of our Young Adult Fantasy Book of Month, September 2011 award." Fantasy Book Review
Nineteen years ago, a brain disease known as the Great Madness killed most of the world’s population. The survivors all had something different about their minds. Now, at the start of adolescence, their children enter a trance-like state known as the Changeland and emerge either with special mental powers or as cannibalistic Ferals. In the great forest of South West Western Australia, thirteen-year-old Arika and her twin brother Narrah go through the Changeland. They encounter an enemy known as the Anteater who feeds on human life. He exists both in the Changeland and in the outside world, and he wants the twins dead. After their Changings, the twins have powers that let them fight their enemy and face their destiny on a long journey to an abandoned American military base on the north-west coast of Australia…if they can reach it before time runs out.
"I truly enjoyed Children of the Different and would recommend it to those who appreciate an author the likes of a Garth Nix, as it has some of the feel that Garth injects into his stories. I would also recommend it to anyone who enjoys post-apocalyptic fiction with a dash of science fiction. There are significant amounts of both that give the story a wider appeal than it otherwise would have. Give it a go, you won’t be disappointed."
Everybody knows Captain Drake Morass is only out for himself. As the fires of a dying city burn on a distant shore, Drake sees an opportunity to unite the other pirate Captains under his flag and claim a crown for himself. If he is to succeed, he will need allies and the Oracle named Keelin Stillwater, the best swordsman in the isles, as his right hand. With enemy ships sailing his waters and setting fire to his cities, and the sinister Tanner Black threatening to steal the throne before Drake even has a chance to sit upon it, Drake Morass must somehow convince the other Captains that his best interests are also theirs.
"Where Loyalties Lie is piratical grimdark mastery, superbly written, with utterly engaging characters, and is a true contender for this years #SPFBO."
"War, my friend, is a thing of beauty."
How do you get forty fantasy authors to contribute short stories for a war-themed anthology without paying them? It sounds as if there should be a good punchline to that, but all Petros Triantafyllou did was twist the moral thumbscrews and tell them all the profits would go to Doctors Without Borders, a charity that works tirelessly across the world to alleviate the effects of conflict, sickness and poverty.
So, with clear consciences, several busloads of excellent and acclaimed fantasy authors have applied themselves to the task of penning a veritable mountain of words on the subject of The Art of War, expect bloodshed, gore, pathos, insight, passion, and laughs. Maybe even a wombat. Who knows. Anyway, as the original blurb said: "It's good. Buy it."
Featuring: Mark Lawrence, Ed Greenwood, Brian Staveley, Miles Cameron, John Gwynne, Sebastien De Castell, Mitchell Hogan, Stan Nicholls, Andrew Rowe, C.T. Phipps, Rob J. Hayes, Nicholas Eames, Mazarkis Williams, Ben Galley, Michael R. Fletcher, Graham Austin-King, Ed McDonald, Anna Stephens, Anna Smith Spark, RJ Barker, Michael R. Miller, Benedict Patrick, Sue Tingey, Dyrk Ashton, Steven Kelliher, Timandra Whitecastle, Laura M Hughes, J.P. Ashman, M.L. Spencer, Steven Poore, Brandon Draga, D. Thourson Palmer, D.M. Murray, Anne Nicholls, R.B. Watkinson, Charles F Bond, Ulff Lehmann, Thomas R. Gaskin, Zachary Barnes & Nathan Boyce. With a Foreword by Brian D. Anderson. Print version includes 40 black & white interior art pieces.
"Out of 40 stories with the setting being war it's guaranteed some of them are going to be similar. Perhaps if this was limited to 20 stories it could have been even more enjoyable, however, if I personally wasn't engaged by, or didn't enjoy a certain tale that isn't to say it will not be someone else's favourite. Arguably it could have been streamlined yet, I'd have given this book 4 or 5 stars after only reading 20 of the stories, therefore, it would be unfair to penalise this anthology for presenting me with more stories for the same value. This could be the finest fantasy anthology around and I believe it will be a long time before I see one that is as complete, well-produced and brimming with as many quality tales. Petros deserves a lot of credit for what he has composed with Art of War: Anthology for Charity."
Stay out of trouble.
Though this is Marik’s mantra, he rarely seems able to follow it. Having escaped a brutal civil war in his native South, the former soldier now roams the distant North, trying to forget his past and forge some kind of future. Marik suspects he is paying the price for the moment of weakness that caused him to flee his comrades and family and everything he knew. Because however hard he tries, intrigue and danger are never far away …
After an unlikely series of events see him employed as a bodyguard, Marik survives a terrifying shipwreck and washes up on a distant shore. He finds himself in the Salka Delta, an isolated region of islands and marshes. Here, a mercenary named Reverrik has enslaved the local people and Marik is soon recruited by a tiny band of rebels. As well as traitors and outlandish creatures, he also faces Hammerhand, a giant enforcer feared by all.
Staying out of trouble is never easy.
The moon has not changed in the fifty years of the dark lord Magna’s rule – but everything else has. All too often, the servants of Dark Overlords are dispatched with a lazy flick of the hero’s sword. But in Shadowing, the job benefits of fire, mayhem, and shapeshifting almost make up for it. In between burning down villages, the minion’s primary directive is taking out heroes. When a man in golden armour and his faithful companions sneak across the border on a quest to assassinate the Dark Lord Magna, long live the Magna, it’s up to the Shadows to cut his quest short. As always, things do not go quite according to plan, and one henchman ends up lone-wolfing it across the permafrost lands, following the stench of valour.
"Well-written and a highly enjoyable, with shades of Pratchett and Gemmell, Shadowing: A Henchman's Tale is little gem from a gifted storyteller. I would highly recommend it and - at the time this review was written - is currently available to purchase from Amazon's Kindle Store for just £2.10 and as such is worth every penny. I greatly look forward to the future instalments in the Moonblind series." Fantasy Book Review
Amra Thetys lives by two simple rules - take care of business, and never let it get personal. Thieves don't last long in Lucernis otherwise. But when a fellow rogue and good friend is butchered on the street in a deal gone wrong, she turns her back on burglary and goes after something more precious than treasure: Revenge. Revenge, however, might be hard to come by. A nightmare assortment of enemies, including an immortal assassin and a mad sorcerer, believe Amra is in possession of The Blade That Whispers Hate - the legendary, powerful artifact her friend was murdered for - and they'll do anything to take it from her. Trouble is, Amra hasn't got the least clue where the Blade might be. She needs to find the Blade, and soon, or she'll be joining her colleague in a cold grave instead of avenging his death. Time is running out for the small, scarred thief.
"If you are looking for a fantasy book featuring a thief protagonist which is well paced, balanced and genuinely interesting and exciting then I am delighted to recommend The Thief Who Pulled On Troubles Braids. It has a lovely, wry sense of humour and cleverly builds characterisation through dialogue. I liked the female lead, Amra, who was strong yet flawed - the type of lead I have always enjoyed in other works like those by David Gemmell. I was able to find empathy for Amra, and that is important. And if you’re quick, the Kindle edition is available for free on Amazon.co.uk at this moment in time."
Into Kisia’s conquered north, a Levanti empire is born.
Loyal to the new emperor, Dishiva e’Jaroven must tread the line between building a new life and clinging to the old. Only Gideon can lead them, but when he allies himself with a man returned from the dead it will challenge all she thinks she knows and everything she wants to believe.
Now empress of nothing, Miko is more determined than ever to fight for her people, yet with her hunt for allies increasingly desperate, she may learn too late that power lies not in names but in people.
Rah refused to bow to the Levanti emperor, but now abandoned by the Second Swords he must choose whether to fight for his people, or his soul. Will honour be his salvation, or lead to his destruction?
Sold to the Witchdoctor, Cassandra’s only chance of freedom is in his hands, but when her fate becomes inextricably linked to Empress Hana, her true nature could condemn them both.
There is no calm after the storm.
"A brilliant read and I can’t wait for book three. This is a great read for those who love Asian-inspired fantasy, grittier reads with multiple POV characters and beautifully crafted prose."
Widow’s Welcome isn’t the usual fare, it’s a collection of well-told tales spun by clever hands into something new. It’s a book of stories within stories, the dark shadow of what’s to come hidden beneath them all. I genuinely can’t wait to see where this goes.
Late one night, fate brings together DJ Aspirin and ten-year-old Alyona. After he tries to save her from imminent danger, she ends up at his apartment. But in the morning sinister doubts set in. Who is Alyona? A young con artist? A plant for a nefarious blackmailer? Or perhaps a long-lost daughter Aspirin never knew existed? Whoever this mysterious girl is, she now refuses to leave.
A game of cat-and-mouse has begun.
Claiming that she is a musical prodigy, Alyona insists she must play a complicated violin piece to find her brother. Confused and wary, Aspirin knows one thing: he wants her out of his apartment and his life. Yet every attempt to get rid of her is thwarted by an unusual protector: her plush teddy bear that may just transform into a fearsome monster.
Alyona tells Aspirin that if he would just allow her do her work, she'll leave him – and this world. He can then return to the shallow life he led before her. But as outside forces begin to coalesce, threatening to finally separate them, Aspirin makes a startling discovery about himself and this ethereal, eerie child.
"Daughter from the Dark is a disturbingly captivating read throughout, forcing us to ask questions about identity, how we understand ourselves, and what is necessary for the process of creation. Perhaps what's more, it subtly nudges the reader to consider what one is willing to give up in order to create. This is another excellent read from the Dyachenkos!"
Beneath the wide-open spaces of Dartmoor live the Dini. Now just two feet tall, their bodies no longer able to bare children, the Dini are dying out. Only ten survive on the moor. According to their own folklore they are descendants of the Celtic tribe, the Votadini, who were great warriors and horsemen. Led by their kinsman warlord, whose battle name was Artos (now remembered as Arthur), they defeated the Saxon invaders. The witch Demetia, responsible for the treacherous downfall of Artos, sought to punish his loyal kinsmen and cursed the Votadini so that generation by generation they shrunk in size. After 1,000 years, the Dini were forced by the cruelty of the Biguns to live in hiding in the wild places. But staying hidden is growing difficult as modern-day Biguns pour into the wild places to enjoy their stark beauty. Is it time to stop hiding and fight back? A series of strange events arouses the suspicions of Dartmoor Ranger Bob Johnson. Is he going mad or can there really be tiny people living on the moor? If he is going mad, he’s not the only one – there’s a strange old man who believes he is the re-incarnation of Merlin. Is it Bob’s role to save them? Is there an even bigger task for him? Inspired by the Spirit of Artos, Bob becomes Robert Edgar Johnson, Guardian of the Earth, Companion of Kings. Maybe, just maybe, he can help to save us all.
"Beneath the wide-open spaces of Dartmoor live the Dini. Now just two feet tall, their bodies no longer able to bear children, the Dini are dying out. Only ten survive on the moor. Dartmoor… The Saving is a charming tale from author BJ Burton; part historical fantasy, part contemporary fantasy, this is a story that will leave you believing that little people really do exist in the remote areas of the British Isles." Fantasy Book Review
Joshua "Ash" Drake is a man in hiding. Hiding from the past, from the horror of his life as a priest after the gods disappeared. Hiding from his emotions, denying the nightmares that haunt his sleep and the anger that fuels his days. Most of all, hiding from the truth - that no matter how much he keeps his head down, no matter how he clings to the echoes of everyday life, his city - his world - is dying. When a new technology offers salvation to his desperate city, Ash must reach out to people he left behind and step back into the world that almost killed him. But coming out of hiding now could be the worst mistake Ash has ever made. Because there are monsters in the darkness, feeding the chaos, watching the city burn. And once those monsters know his name, Ash will never be able to hide again.
Somewhere along the line where human nature meets human imagination, myths are created. Somewhere in that space lives the spirit that created and sustains Shehaios, the Fair Land. One man embodies the gifts of the spirit. A man all too susceptible to the human flaws that lie beneath the cloak of magic. The journey of self-discovery for Kierce, heir to the Lord High Magician, and Caras, heir to the chief of Oreath, is inextricably bound up with the history of their land. The survival of their self-sufficient agrarian culture is threatened by the might of the sophisticated Empire of the Sacred Union, and neither Kierce's cunning nor Caras's courage may be enough to save the Fair Land. A story that will take you on a wonderful trip into a fantasy world and maybe reveal aspects of the real one.
"Cloak of Magic is an impressive debut novel; a book of satisfying depth featuring characters worthy of empathy and a story that weaves and turns in a way conducive to the heightening and retaining of the reader’s interest. You will find that the best fantasy novels are always strong on characterisation and this is certainly the case here. Central to the story is Kierce, heir to the Lord High Magician and a charismatic, yet flawed man. He contains hidden power and the destiny of the land he loves will rest on how he can harness that power. Strong supporting players surround Kierce; there is his childhood friend Caras, a rock of a man, trustworthy, loyal and single minded. King Rainur, the King's wife Cathva, the Imperial Commander Hiren and Orlii complete an impressive list of memorable characters that the reader will find easily identifiable." Fantasy Book Review
With his patients dead and his genetic research in tatters, Dr. Anton Springmann fled his homeland as a fugitive, taking a one-way diesel ship to New Alania. But within hours of his arrival, screams ring through the night. Hordes of gray, humanoid creatures--devils, to the townspeople--attack Anton's new home. Among the dead, Anton finds a single survivor: a young girl, Elisa Pierce. Her skin grows cracked and she begins to mutate. She's becoming a devil. Anton's seen it before. Tormented by past sins, Anton struggles to save Elisa before the change takes her completely. But old enemies have pursued him across the seas, and now Anton is being hunted by more than just devils. Redemption doesn't come cheap in New Alania.
"The Converted has all the hallmarks I have come to expect from a debut novel. It has a deep story set in an intricately described world with a broad spectrum of unique characters, but it just seems to be missing something, that little bit of polish that turns a good story into a fantastically immersive story. This is a story that starts out a little slow and rocky but gets much better the further you get into it. Similar to what I said in my review of The Passage, I implore you to keep reading The Converted because there is a complex story in there with a bunch of different threads and a pay-off that is well worth it." Fantasy Book Review
The last of an ancient order of Jewish mystics capable of extraplanar travel, The Merkabah Rider roams a demon haunted American West in search of his renegade teacher. But as the trail grows fresher, shadows gather, and The Hour Of The Incursion draws near... Four novella episodes in one book. This ain't your grandpappy's old west.
"Reviewing books for FBR has given me the opportunity to read books that I normally wouldn't, and to be honest I never thought that I would be reading fantasy stories about a Jewish mystic chasing down his former mentor in the Wild West. While the "Weird Western" genre was somewhat popularised a number of years ago by Robert E. Howard, the genre has remained largely untapped, but with the incorporation of Jewish religion into Wild West culture, Ed Erdelac has created a story that is fresh, original, and fun to read." Fantasy Book Review
In an alternate version of London in 1895, a few talented people can travel instantly between locations through Thresholds - tears in the fabric of reality. Lord Henry Lewis is a Warden, working to close dangerous Thresholds to prevent the sickness that flows from the darkness outside reality. William Marsh loses his family to the sickness when several undirected Thresholds are opened in his home. Marsh has the born talent to open Thresholds, and Lord Lewis's superiors order him to train the young man. Their relationship is strained, but they slowly come to rely on each other. The number of rogue Thresholds is increasing and times are dangerous. Lewis and Marsh discover that a cult, disillusioned by the scientific advances of the age, is opening the rogue Thresholds to destroy mankind. As London falls into darkness, they must race against time to stop the end of the world.
"Pip Janssen has written a compelling story of stamina, strength and growth. Lord Lewis gets to test all of these in his journey and even whilst he is striving to be a lone wolf he is surrounded by a cast of characters that fit into his life so well that he barely notices how much he relies on them at first. I wonder if there will be more Lord Lewis adventures in the future as this London feels realistic and the characters that surround Lord Lewis are well written with definable characteristics." Fantasy Book Review
Pope Benignus is dying, and the man who takes his throne will hold the reins of an empire. Conspiracies swirl like shadows around Livia, the pope's daughter, who refuses to be anyone's pawn: chasing the whispers of a deadly coup, she vows to expose the truth and save her church from disaster. Livia has secrets of her own, though, and one wrong move could cost her life and her soul. Felix is the scion of a dying merchant house, a man with just one chance to save his family and the woman he loves. His last hope lies in the snowbound hell of Winter's Reach, a former prison colony turned "free city" under a brutal tyrant's reign. Livia and Felix have never crossed paths, but they've both been snared in a far greater web than they can imagine. They - along with a pair of veteran bounty hunters, an exiled politician, and a sadistic coven of witches - are cogs in one man's apocalyptic plan for revenge. A plan that, if it succeeds, will leave an entire nation in flames.
"This book is the first of 4 completed stories in the Revanche Cycle saga. The finale here is pretty great but don't expect closure. It sets the sides and leads to a few gems of what may happen in The Instruments of Control. To conclude, a stunning dark fantasy narrative with all the double-crossing, deceit, blackmail and political chaos you could hope for. A great find in my #SPFBO group. It will take something truly stunning to beat this. Note- I'm pretty sure all 4 of these books cost a combined total of £8.00 on Amazon."
Don't draw your blade in the City of Swords, unless you're willing to kill... or ready to die. Young and filled with idealistic fervor, Arturo packs his blade and travels to the fabled City of Swords in the hopes of joining the dashing Bravadori. Yet upon arriving he discovers these masked vigilantes have more in common with brutal thugs than noble monster slayers. Disillusioned and mocked, he stubbornly refuses to give up his dreams. When an impending bandit attack threatens untold depravities upon a distant village, and no others will heed the call for help, Arturo joins forces with a worthless outcast and a walking legend to attempt the impossible, to traverse the demon-haunted wilderness and prove that in the City of Swords, true heroes can rise from the unlikeliest of places.
"this story is an exquisite and detailed fantasy gem that contains great characters, a unique world, deep histories, and a mysterious Black Shepherdess."
Even myths have legends. And not all legends are myth. When a local hospital is attacked by strange and frightening men, Fiona Patterson and Zeke Prisco save a catatonic old man named Peter--and find themselves running for their lives with creatures beyond imagination hounding their every step.
With nowhere else to turn, they seek out Fi's enigmatic Uncle Edgar. But the more their questions are answered, the more they discover that nothing is what it seems--not Peter, not Edgar, perhaps not even themselves.
The gods and monsters, heroes and villains of lore--they're real. And now they've come out of hiding to hunt their own. In order to survive, Fi and Zeke must join up with powerful allies against an ancient evil that's been known by many names and feared by all. The final battle of the world's oldest war has begun.
"It's really tough to summarise but if I had to it would be something along the lines of: A mixture of the Iliad (for the myths), Dante's Inferno (for the beasts), The Dark Tower (for the alternative world switching), and The Hunger Games (for young love in crazy circumstances). That description doesn't do the depth of this tale justice but I'm happy with it. Paternus is a dark urban fantasy gem and if you can get past the first 20% then you are in for a treat. Highly recommended - it didn't achieve 5-stars due to the slow start- that's all."
The gods and goddesses are dead, killed two hundred years ago. With their destruction the moon split apart, the sun dwindled and the land was devastated. Civilisation has re-emerged from the carnage, but twisted creatures still prowl the savage Wildlands between the city-states. In the skies above the city of Vasini, a falling star, a fragment of the dead moon goddess Serindra, heads to earth. In the Palace district, Dame Vittoria Emerson, darling of the city, has been found dead, lying amongst her own vomit. As Captain Marcus Fox of the Inspectorate hunts the killer, Dr. Elizabeth Reid searches for the remnants of Serindra determined to make sure the poisonous quicksilver it contains is not used. With Vittoria’s death threatening to draw the city’s political elite into a war of assassins, Fox and Reid must rush to expose the secrets that lie within Vasini before they tear the city-state apart.
"The Silver Mask is a well-written flintlock and alchemy fantasy novel infused with a healthy dose of social pomp and political intrigue. It is also an entry into the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off and I found it to be - along with A Threat of Shadows by J. A. Andrews - head and shoulders above the rest in regards to writing skill, characterisation and plot development."
Five years ago, Corin Cadence’s brother entered the Serpent Spire — a colossal tower with ever-shifting rooms, traps, and monsters. Those who survive the spire’s trials return home with an attunement: a mark granting the bearer magical powers. According to legend, those few who reach the top of the tower will be granted a boon by the spire’s goddess. He never returned. Now, it’s Corin’s turn. He’s headed to the top floor, on a mission to meet the goddess. If he can survive the trials, Corin will earn an attunement, but that won’t be sufficient to survive the dangers on the upper levels. For that, he’s going to need training, allies, and a lot of ingenuity. The journey won’t be easy, but Corin won’t stop until he gets his brother back.
"Sufficiently Advanced Magic is LitRPG excellence that is highly recommended, it already has a huge following and I can see why it is a #SPFBO finalist and r/stabby award winner."
Do some choices change us too much for us to ever change back? There was a time when Alaric was a Keeper, one of the men entrusted with counseling the queen, protecting the people’s histories and ancient stories, and working magic in defense of the land. But in a desperate attempt to save his dying wife, he has sacrificed it all - abandoning his duties, betraying his deepest beliefs and falling ever deeper into darkness. So far, he has done nothing but fail, and his wife’s time is growing short. Now, haunted by his past, Alaric has found one last chance at a cure, hidden in a magical Wellstone buried a century ago. With the help of a handful of quirky companions, the stone - and the cure - are finally within his grasp. But he’s not the only one searching for the Wellstone. His quest grows more perilous as he discovers that his companions are harboring dangerous secrets their own. It becomes almost impossible when he unearths rumors of a gathering shadow threatening the land - whispering of the return of a dark lord, thought to be defeated. To face this enemy, and have any chance of saving his wife, Alaric needs to be the Keeper he used to be, not the broken man he has become. Can he put the failures and pain of his past behind him to stand against the approaching threat? Or, in the face of all the growing shadows, will it be the darkness within himself that destroys everything?
"The overall reading experience was definitely a positive one and I think a lot of readers will get a lot of enjoyment out of reading this and other works by Andrews. A Threat of Shadows is a fun fantasy with some well-placed twists and the lead protagonist, Alaric, is a character worth following, the success of his quest one in which you will find yourself rooting for."
Life held little interest for Jacob... until he found death. Abused and neglected, Jacob's only solace comes when he is alone in the woods or in the arms of his new girlfriend. But when he stumbles across a hidden bunker filled with human skulls, he learns what true suffering is. Drawn to examine the skulls, he finds there is more than just empty blackness behind their lifeless stares. Through their eyes he watches them die. With every glance, he witnesses another murder, the memories of the dead playing out inside his mind until reality becomes a blur. A primal cruelty awakening, Jacob returns to the morbid comfort of the skulls, over and over again. But when he happens upon a fresh skull, a victim tortured and slain for his amusement alone, he knows his time has come. Face to face with death, Jacob must choose whether to resist the darkness that dwells inside or condemn himself forever, murdering his innocence on the edge of an axe.
"After reading Skulls it is becoming clearer to me why Fantasy-Horror hybrid stories are doing so well. By taking everyday people like the neighbour down the street and turning them into a monster you can create an incredibly chilling realistic scenario that can be off-putting to a lot of readers, but by adding a few supernatural elements the story becomes less realistic, making it more accessible to a wider ranger of readers while retaining that chilling essence. If you are looking to enter this genre for the first time, or if you are looking for something a bit more edgy than your regular epic fantasy, I recommend that you read Skulls and experience the piercing gaze of the skulls for yourself." Fantasy Book Review
Not all stories have happy endings.
Everyone loves Mathias. Naturally, when he discovers it’s his destiny to save the world, he dives in head first, pulling his best friend Aaslo along for the ride.
However, saving the world isn’t as easy, or exciting, as it sounds in the stories. The going gets rough and folks start to believe their best chance for survival is to surrender to the forces of evil, which isn’t how the prophecy goes. At all. As the list of allies grows thin, and the friends find themselves staring death in the face they must decide how to become the heroes they were destined to be or, failing that, how to survive.
"Above all, that’s just what this book is: FUN. Lots of it. I wasn’t familiar with Kade’s work before picking up this story, but she has earned herself a new fan. Fate of the Fallen is a welcome addition to the classic fantasy genre, paying homage to what has come before it while adding many new twists to subvert your expectations. It’s going to be a long wait for book two, but I’ll be along for the ride."
Tomkin Thornhewn, youngest son of the Duke of Marshwell, has a problem: he’s not heroic. Regardless of his aspirations, the bookish, untrained young man is better suited to recording the deeds of heroes than being one himself. Which becomes an obvious problem when he finds himself clinging to a ledge above a sleeping dragon. And instead of wielding his family’s great sword with valor and skill, he drops it - onto the dragon. The problem grows immeasurably worse when Tomkin himself falls off the ledge - also onto the dragon. And his problem reaches its peak when Tomkin, after being captured, discovers a maiden locked in a tower. But this is no sweet damsel. Not only does she refuse to be rescued, she refuses to even admit she’s in distress. It’s too bad for the people of Marshwell that Tomkin is the only thing standing - or falling - in the dragon’s way.
"Andrews has a lot to offer. One of the plot twists was easy to work out for me but I don't think that will be the case for this tale's target audience. This is an excellent, well-written fantasy fairy-tale containing intriguing characters, interesting dilemmas, and a seemingly charming dragon. This is definitely worth picking up."
Sixteen-year-old Allyssa appears to be the ideal princess of Emperion—she’s beautiful, elegant, and refined. She spends her days locked in a suffocating cage, otherwise known as the royal court. But at night, Allyssa uses her secret persona—that of a vigilante—to hunt down criminals and help her people firsthand.
"Cage of Deceit is an exciting, absorbing political fantasy experience that is expertly polished with reference to the writing and editing. Davis already seems to have a large following and I can understand why. A highly enjoyable SPFBO tale that younger fantasy book lovers will probably adore and one that I devoured within 24 hours."
She made her way down the cliff, and on to the beach. At the edge of the waves, she stopped, shaking her wet paws. She knew that somewhere ahead was her person, but far, far away. She miaowed plaintively; stood staring at the moving blur of uncrossable sea.
She led the way to safety, out of the blazing hell of blitzed Coventry. People touched her for luck; feared her as an omen of disaster. Wherever she went, she changed lives…
From her beginning to her end she never wavered.
She was the Blitzcat.
"One of the few books I'd genuinely describe as magic realism, seeing real events through a slightly different perspective, offering a little bit of miraculous magic in a dark and terrible time, and therefore a book that should resonate with anyone, especially cat lovers."
Voice of War is a wonderful fantasy epic filled with plenty of action and magic. With family as a major theme, it charts a unique course for itself among other fantasy offerings. This one is certainly worth your time, especially if you enjoy magic with your epic fantasy. A cliffhanger of an ending has me salivating for the next installment.
Thrust into leadership upon the death of his emperor father, young Prince Ahkin feels completely unready for his new position. Though his royal blood controls the power of the sun, he’s now responsible for the lives of all the Chicome people. And despite all Ahkin’s efforts, the sun is fading—and the end of the world may be at hand.
For Mayana, the only daughter of the Chicome family whose blood controls the power of water, the old emperor’s death may mean that she is next. Prince Ahkin must be married before he can ascend the throne, and Mayana is one of six noble daughters presented to him as a possible wife. Those who are not chosen will be sacrificed to the gods.
Only one girl can become Ahkin’s bride. Mayana and Ahkin feel an immediate connection, but the gods themselves may be against them. Both recognize that the ancient rites of blood that keep the gods appeased may be harming the Chicome more than they help. As a bloodred comet and the fading sun bring a growing sense of dread, only two young people may hope to change their world.
"The Seventh Sun is the start of something special. An incredibly unique world, characters you care for, and authentic grappling with personal faith all combine to make this a captivating read. Fans of YA fantasy, those looking for unique and interesting worlds, and readers who love legends and myths are sure to enjoy this. I'm confident that when you finish, you'll be looking forward to the next book as much as I am!"