One of the great things about reading fantasy fiction is that there is a *huge* backlist of brilliant books to work through while you’re waiting for all the new books/sequels. I have attempted to give a flavour of these books without looking into them too deeply as I don’t want to be spoiled or spoil you. So without further ado, here are my most anticipated backlist reads.
Children of Earth and Sky | Guy Gavriel Kay
Children of Earth and Sky is inspired by Renaissance Europe and follows a range of characters: an angry woman pretending to be someone she’s not, an artist travelling to a dangerous city, a boy training to be a soldier, an apathetic merchants son and a young woman who is out to avenge her family. I don’t want to know too much more but apparently there are pirates and a Grand Khalif – what an interesting combination! I adored Tigana, I am here for Kay’s brilliant writing and complex characters. This should hit my historical fiction/fantasy niche.
The Waking Fire | Anthony Ryan | The Draconis Memoria book 1
I mean, dragons. Come on. This has received a lot of great reviews from people I have similar tastes with so I’m excited to try it. In this steampunk world the blood of Drakes (dragons) can be distilled into a potent elixir that gives certain people great powers. Or enhances their powers. I believe there is lots of action and great characters which all sounds good.
The Tiger and the Wolf | Adrian Tchaikovsky | Echoes of the Fall book 1
I must admit the cover of this one drew me in first, I mean really, it’s stunning. TTATW follows Maniye, the daughter of the Wolf Clan’s Chief and the Queen of the Tiger, who carries secrets that mean she doesn’t quite fit in anywhere. These animal tribes are shapeshifters and the way Maniye’s mixed heritage manifests and affects her behaviour sounds super intriguing. I’m keen to read some good fantasy about shapeshifters and as this won the Best Fantasy Novel in the British Fantasy Awards in 2017 it must be a good place to start.
Fool’s Gold | Jon Hollins | The Dragon Lords book 1
Oh hey, seeing a pattern? I am clearly all about the dragons. I hear Fool’s Gold is a fun, fast paced, amusing heist adventure where a group of diverse characters ( I think one is a lizard man?!) decide to steal from an evil Dragon Lord… I love funny fantasy stories so this promises to be a great read!
The Clan of the Cave Bear | Jean M Auel | Earth’s Children book 1
This one is set in an Ice Age-esque world and apparently weaves together friendship, family and the boundaries of love into an awesome saga. At the dawn of the first ‘modern’ humans, we follow Ayla, orphaned wandering a desolate environment she is found by a woman from a different Clan. With light hair and blue eyes Ayla is very different to the members of this Clan and is considered a threat to everything they believe. I think. She’s definitely a threat to something. I have never read anything with this sort of backdrop so I’m intrigued to see how Auel manages to bring this world to life.
Twelve Kings | Bradley Beaulieu | The Song of Shattered Sands book 1
From the ice to the sand… I am so behind with this one. I was keen to read it before it was release and now we nearly have three books in this series out. Time flies. Twelve Kings is set in Sharakhai, the great desert city ruled by 12 terrible, cruel, powerful and immortal kings. Enter Ceda, a woman from the slums who discovers something about the history of the kings and now has the power/knowledge to end their powerful reign… unless they find her first. Yes. Please. Also the UK covers are drool-worthy.
A Natural History of Dragons | Marie Brennan | The Memoirs of Lady Trent book 1
A Victorian age inspired fantasy following an intelligent female protagonist as she endeavours to study dragons and other mythical beasties to become her world’s most prominent dragon naturalist. I like that this is told in the form of a memoir and I love the idea that she may be hindered by having to be ‘proper’ and adhere to other Victorian-y behaviours and manners.
Promise of Blood | Brian McClellan | Powder Mage book 1
This a break from my usual fantasy loves as it is classed as a more flintlock/military fantasy. It’s good to try new things though and a lot of people love this series. Also the tagline of ‘The Age of Kings is dead… and I have killed it..’ just pulls me in. There has been a military coup to overthrow the king but resentments still simmer among the population and there is a clash between technology and the legends of the Old Gods. The magic is linked to guns and those who wield them which is an interesting twist. I am very interested to see how McClellan develops the characters who believe in technology over stories of the gods and seeing how they deal with omens of doom that suggest maybe they shouldn’t rule anything out. Gods and technology, curiouser and curiouser… 😀
Kushiel’s Dart | Jaqueline Carey | Phedre’s Trilogy book 1
Kushiel’s Dart is set in a medieval inspired world rife with court politics, spies, heroic traitors, deadly couriters and cunning poets. Phedre is trained in the art of seduction and her job as a courtesan is to spy on key political players in the bedroom, while seducing them. Courtesans are well regarded and she is well looked after by the man she spies for. She uncovers a plot that threatens everything she holds dear and must try and save the day. I do love a good medieval setting full of assassins, court politics and cruel villains.
A Cavern of Black Ice | JV Jones | Sword of Shadows book 1
I think this one follows more traditional fantasy tropes but in an icy arctic world. After a terrible event unsettles Raif’s clan, he decides to leave and travel to Spire Vanis with his uncle. There they save a pretty young woman in distress (Ash) and both of them discover they have powers and a joint fate to prevent the release of the greatest evil of the land, the End Lords. With lots more nightmarish prophecies and portents of doom.
Malice | John Gwynne | The Faithful and the Fallen book 1
Angels. Demons. Kings. Warriors. Giants. All of the good fantastical characters. I have tried not to look up too much about this one, but there are great battles of good vs evil and young warriors rising up and learning the true price of courage and war. Who will win?
Phew. Where do I start??!