What better book to take on your summer downtime than a fantasy epic full of blood and thunder? Swide recommends the 10 best new Fantasy fiction for you to read on you summer holidays.
Summer reading list 2014:
Top 10 Fantasy Books
With Game Of Thrones topping the ratings television executives have realised that there is an insatiable appetite amongst the public for high fantasy. Fantasy aficionados however have known about the joys of the fantasy genre since forever. Whether you’re a face-in-tome fantasy lover or a Game Of Thrones blow in, here are the top 10 fantasy fiction reads for you summer holidays.
Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris
With the release of ‘Midnight Crossroad’, ‘Southern Vampires’ creator Charlaine Harris begins a new series in another small southern town, this time in Texas, not Louisiana. Midnight, Texas is a forgotten, middle-of-nowhere settlement with a supernatural underbelly found not very deep below the surface. The story follows 22-year-old psychic Manfred, who on landing in Midnight realises the town can sit comfortably in the canon of weirdest places in America and sets about getting to the truth about what the town hides. Part Twin Peaks, part Twilight, Charlaine has her established following of readers and this will not disappoint, it may well expand her readership.
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
With the first book in the Stormlight Archive, ‘The Way of Kings’, Brandon Sanderson has created a probably THE fantasy series of our times. Weighing in at over a thousand pages, mature characterisation and with a story arch truly deserving of the word Epic, ‘The Way of Kings’ won over legion fantasy fans as the new heavyweight in Fantasy fiction. The eagerly anticipated second instalment ‘Words of Radiance’, is worth the wait and proves that Sanderson’s projected ten book series could be a significant literary presence in your life for the next decade. Get in on the second floor before everyone else does.
The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley
The Emperor’s Blades, the first book of Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne is a vividly imagined fantasy tale of conspiracy and empire. Staveley’s literary talent is such that there was a huge amount of hype about this book even though the author was virtually unknown. However, Staveley delivers with a superbly-crafted work of high fantasy full of political intrigue and over-the-top epic imperial ambition. The book follows the fortunes of a slain emperor’s children as the look to fulfil their destiny.
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
A dystopian Science Fiction tale from debut novelist Pierce Brown has been touted as the successor to Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games, but in truth, the quality of writing here is superior. Brown weaves a rich back story and peoples it with well realised and complex characters. It is a more mature offering for a more mature readership that will also appeal to the teen dystopian sci-fi fan. Red Rising, the first in a trilogy is clearly cut out for the big screen so by reading this now by the time it’s made into a film you can bore everyone stupid about how you’ve read the trilogy.
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
The first book in The Southern Reach Trilogy describes a team of four (a biologist, an anthropologist, a psychologist, and a surveyor) who set out into an area known as Area X. The area is abandoned and cut off from the rest of civilization. They are the 12th expedition. The other expeditions have been fraught with disappearances, suicides, aggressive cancers, and mental trauma. An old-style gothic tale of suspense set in the not-too-distant future; it’s an enjoyable page-turner just perfect for your summer downtime.
Blood and Iron by Jon Sprunk
Blood and Iron is a Sword and Sandal epic that reads like Spartacus set in a richly imagined fantasy world. The lead character finds himself thrust into the slave caste of which he becomes their leader in rebellion. Well-trodden story line allows the author to immerse himself in the minutiae of a world that is imagined with completeness.
Veil of the Deserters by Jeff Salyards
The second of the Boodsounder’s Arc, the sequel to the highly popular ‘Scourge of the Betrayer’, ‘Veil of the Deserters’ continues the tale of the Syldoon Empire and it’s fearsome soldiers in their brutal quest for imperial domination. Salyard came out of nowhere with ‘Scourge’ to much acclaim and with ‘Deserters’ he proves that he is no one trick pony.
Tower Lord by Anthony Ryan
Book 2 of the Raven’s Shadow trilogy ‘Tower Lord’ continues with King Janus’ vision of a Unified Realm in tatters and the great army scattered to the four winds. Vaelin Al Sorna, warrior of the Sixth Order, known as Darkblade, knows that the brave have fallen, fighting a war based on a lie and is looking for peace in exile in the North. However he with the blood-song cannot expect to live a life on no consequence and he is found.
Half A King by Joe Abercrombie
Half a King (Shattered Sea Series) displays Joe Abercrombie’s writing in all its glory. A compelling, taut and evocative tale of a outsider prince determined to prove himself worthy in the eyes of his father and the world the book scores high on all counts. With twists at every turn the author’s unique macabre and dark vision takes you on a voyage to a world of tragedy, betrayal and adventure. An ‘up all night read’.
Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence
Lawrence’s Broken Empire trilogy has established him as a Fantasy Fiction heavy weight of the same calibre as George R.R. Martin. Now Lawrence returns with his bold vision of dark fantasy with the tale of a The Red Queen’s grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth, a wayward ne’er-do-well, drinker and gambler, 10th in line to the throne and happy with his lot, is about to have his cart upended in a time, with an undead army on the march, of danger to the realm. Lawrence is a joy to read and ‘Prince of Fools’ is a very accomplished fantasy read for the serious fantasy devotee and the newcomer.
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