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Our reviewers at The Ranting Dragon have been working all year to report on the best releases, along with the disappointing ones.
For now, though, we present you with our favorite twenty fantasy releases of the year 2011. With The Crippled God, the Malazan Book of the Fallen series comes to an end in iron and blood, fire and triumph, magic and heartbreak. The Cold Commands is the much anticipated sequel to The Steel Remains, the 2008 fantasy debut of acclaimed science fiction author Richard Morgan. After writing and publishing two huge bestselling epic novels in 2010, Brandon Sanderson needed a break. The thirteenth installment in the New York Times bestselling series The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, Ghost Story picks up on the heels of book 12, Changes, pretty much immediately—and much later. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss was one of the most critically acclaimed fantasy debuts of our time.
Kevin Hearne’s Hexed follows hot on the heels of Hounded, the first book in Hearne’s urban fantasy series, The Iron Druid Chronicles.
In Moon Over Soho, the second adventure of Peter Grant, the magic-wielding constable takes on jazz. While some of you may not have heard of Jo Walton, Among Others certainly brought her to the forefront of fantasy literature. Darger and Surplus are two conmen embroiled in a web of political intrigue and crime that begins with them conning their way onto a caravan carrying a gift of immense value from the Caliph of Baghdad to the Duke of Muscovy. Book six of the Greywalker novels, Downpour picks up Harper Blaine’s tracks shortly after the conclusion to Labyrinth.
Set ten years after the conclusion to Spellwright, Spellbound follows Francesca, a Cleric devout in her ability to heal her patients.
Circle of Enemies is the third and—currently—final installment in the Twenty Palaces series by Harry Connolly. Emily Gee’s The Sentinel Mage is the first volume in a new sword and sorcery trilogy titled The Cursed Kingdoms. Below are the top 5 fantasy books of the last decade based on sales volume and customer rankings. Derek Novak is the Prince of The Shade, which is an island hidden from humans, and its inhabitants are Vampires and their slaves. With the holidays coming up, maybe you’re looking for the perfect nerdy Christmas gift for that special book-loving nerd in your life. The Philosopher Kings is the second book in the Thessaly trilogy (a continuation of The Just City) by Hugo and Nebula award-winning Jo Walton. Robin Hobb is another author that seems to have the formula for a bestselling fantasy novel down pat.
The Providence of Fire is the much-anticipated second installment in Brian Staveley’s fantastic debut series, Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne. Naomi Novik has taken a break from her highly popular Temeraire series to give us Uprooted, which is set in a fantasy world for which she drew inspiration from the Kingdom of Poland.
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Having reviewed over a hundred of 2011’s fantasy releases, it is time to look back and tell you which books we liked most. Steven Erikson manages to not only craft one of the best books I have read this year, but to finish one of the finest fantasy series ever.
Arriving after a three year hiatus, the second installment of A Land Fit for Heroes does not disappoint.
You’d think he would spend his break drinking cocktails on some exotic beach, but instead, he wrote a short novel, The Alloy of Law.
Like its predecessor, The Wise Man’s Fear is a character study that focuses deeply on the dilemmas the young and gifted orphan Kvothe meets while on his life’s journey. Only a few weeks after Atticus’s showdown with Aenghus Og, Atticus is already mired in the affairs of warring Polish and German witches, rogue demons, Bacchants from Las Vegas, and the first Druid initiate in centuries. When a part-time jazz musician drops dead from what seems like a heart attack, the jazz notes lingering on his corpse indicate a supernatural cause of death, requiring the investigative work of our charming Mr. This standalone novel follows Mori, a twin who has recently lost her sister, as she struggles in her day-to-day life at a boarding school, eventually finding solace in a magic that can have devastating consequences—not only for herself, but for everyone around her.
Where The Adamantine Palace was pretty decent and The King of the Crags was pretty good, The Order of the Scales is pretty brilliant. The setting of Dancing with Bears is so detailed and unique that it is almost unrecognizable as our Earth. While not as action-oriented as some of her past novels, Richardson hits her stride with the two main characters as they are taken out of their comfort zones. However, when one of her patients dies on her table only to come back to life before her eyes, she’s thrown into a magical conspiracy involving gods, demons, and rogue magicians. A bit of horror, a bit of sci-fi, some action, lots of suspense, some mystery, a bit of intrigue all thrown together that works oh so well together.
Sofia gets captured on her 18th birthday and taken to The Shade, because of a prophecy that was made when Derek was put into an enchanted sleep 400 years ago! Claire Randall is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon — when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles.
Or maybe you are the bookworm, looking for the best new fantasy books of 2015 to add to your to-read list, and you want to make sure you haven’t missed any of this year’s releases. So, to make things easier, we have sifted through the piles of new fantasy books released over this past year and compiled a list of the best. The #1 New York Times bestselling author is very well-established on the fantasy scene by now, so it should come as no surprise that we’ve featured this sequel to the highly-acclaimed Steelheart (the first book of his new Reckoners series). She has been writing her internationally bestselling Realm of the Elderling novels since 1995, when Assassin’s Apprentice was published. The first book, The Emperor’s Blades, was released last year and met with an extremely positive reception. If for no other reason, you should read this book because Warner Bros has bought the rights to the movie, which is to be produced by Ellen Degeneres. In case of trademark issues please contact the domain owner directly (contact information can be found in whois). HD Wallpaper and background images in the Fantasy club tagged: fantasy image fantasy creatures books. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons, Patrick Rothfuss’s The Wise Man’s Fear, and Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance. Unfortunately, we still missed a couple of acclaimed titles, like Jay Lake’s Endurance, and David Anthony Durham’s epic finale, The Sacred Band.
In this ending, set in motion long before and foreshadowed all through the series, Erikson pulls out all the stops. Jemisin’s The Kingdom of Gods is the intriguing and spectacular ending to The Inheritance Trilogy. Set approximately one year after the events of The Steel Remains, The Cold Commands reunites us with forgotten war heroes Ringil, Archeth, and Egar, albeit in somewhat altered circumstances. Set in an almost steampunk-esque era in the world of Sanderson’s acclaimed Mistborn Trilogy, this urban epic tells the tale of Waxilium Ladrian, who leaves his old life as lawkeeper behind to take over his deceased uncle’s position as head of his house, but soon finds himself at the center of a mysterious series of robberies.
The least standalone-ish of The Dresden Files to date, Ghost Story is the true game-changer of the series.
The Wise Man’s Fear has new flaws as well as new greatness, and those that loved The Name of the Wind will love The Wise Man’s Fear. Lachlan’s brilliant fantasy debut, Wolfsangel, and the second installment in his unnamed Norse werewolf series. He has also developed a sudden (and unfortunate) reputation among all world mythologies as a badass god-killing machine.
Written with a unique voice, Among Others will leave you thinking long after you set it down. This final volume—which is definitely not the last we’ve seen of Deas’ epic world of dragons—is like a roller coaster ride with turns and twists and new thrilling discoveries behind every curve.

With a rich history and a layered story, Dancing with Bears is a must read for those fond of original speculative fiction.
Unwittingly, old associates are pulled back in as Nyx tracks down rogue Bel Dames to protect her homeland.
Not only that, but some of the troubles they have are so real, so organic, that you can’t help but believe these characters are real people. With characters who have truly grown up in the world Charlton created, writing that leaves you immersed in the story to the point where you can believe you’re there battling demons with Nicodemus and Francesca, and one of the most unique magic systems in fantasy, Spellbound has all of the ingredients that make up an amazing sequel to an amazing debut. Award-winning Nnedi Okorafor delivers a charming, immersive, exciting, and unique novel for young adults. The British army withdraws from Philadelphia, George Washington prepares to move from Valley Forge in pursuit, and Jamie Fraser comes back from the dead to discover that his best friend has married Jamie’s wife.
New and old authors, standalone books and serials, urban fantasy and epic, we’ve included something for absolutely everybody. It is set about 20 years after The Just City, which you would definitely need to read before attempting this book so you understand the premise. The dystopian series is about Epics, a group of superhuman beings who were given powers by an event known as the Calamity and have subdued the rest of humanity. The sequel does not disappoint; with a gripping plot, rich character development (including multiple strong, well-rounded female characters), and skillful worldbuilding, you won’t want to miss this one. Set some hundred years after the events in The Broken Kingdoms, it is narrated from the first person viewpoint of the trickster child god Sieh, as his interactions with human children threaten his immortality. No holds are barred in this fast-paced genre shake-up, its pages veritably bursting with passion, action, intelligence, and pathos. Combining inventive magic with blazing gunfire, The Alloy of Law is a riveting, action-packed story that reinvents the world of Mistborn with a bold new set of characters, witty dialogue, and a revolutionized setting.
Unable to interact with the physical world, or any of his friends, Harry must solve a gruesome murder—without magic.
While this sequel doesn’t entirely live up—there’s a significant decrease in action, and some of Rothfuss’s plot decisions are sketchy at best—it is still a great book and a very worthy sequel. Once again, Hearne knocks it out of the park with a wicked sense of humor, believable characterization, hyper action, and a grittier edge than is seen in Hounded. While Midnight Riot, Ben Aaronovitch’s debut novel, was a very strong start to the Peter Grant series, Moon Over Soho cements the series as one of the better urban fantasy series. This is how epic fantasy should be: with savage and horrifying dragons, political intrigue, mystery, great worldbuilding, neck-breaking pacing, interesting magic, and breathtaking battle sequences. Hurley is at her best with characters—and this is where most of the conflict lies, as loyalties are tested and old wounds, both physical and mental, come to bear.
Again featuring the fascinating and unique magic system of the Grey, Downpour is not a novel to miss for any urban fantasy enthusiast. Sunny is an albino American new to Nigeria, and not only does she find it tough to make new friends, she finds she just might be magical, too. Reckoners are a group of ordinary humans who have devoted their lives to studying and defeating the Epics.
Fool’s Quest is the second book in her highly acclaimed The Fitz and the Fool series, which chronicles her beloved character FitzChivalry Farseer. If you haven’t already jumped on this particular bandwagon, pick up the first book and get yourself caught up before the release of the third and final, The Last Mortal Bond, early next year.
Uprooted is a standalone novel, so even if you haven’t read Novik’s other series, you should definitely consider adding this one to your to-read list. Always an exercise in imagination and pure reasoning, Erikson does not disappoint as he uses the final book to delve even deeper into the wonderful world he has built. Artistically written, The Kingdom of Gods is a reflective, almost philosophical journey into the many elements of the immortal and mortal realms. All in all, The Cold Commands takes everything that made The Steel Remains great and ramps it up to the next level. It’s a wild roller coaster of a ride that will have a fan in equal parts tears, laughter, and rage. If you are a fan of the epic fantasy genre, you owe it to yourself to read both this book and its predecessor. Set approximately one hundred years after the events of its predecessor, it centers around the fates of reincarnations of the original protagonists, still locked into a tragic cycle of death and rebirth involving the god Odin and the monstrous Fenris wolf destined to kill him at Ragnarok. The humor, the world-building, the action, the magic, the mystery, the procedural—they all are top-notch.
There is no wrong or right; there are no heroes—there is only blind ambition, blind devotion, and a struggle to survive. Violent, bloody, and an intense ride set in a superbly-crafted science fiction universe, Infidel is a book you don’t want to miss! Sunny, along with fellow magic students Chichi, Sasha, and Orlu, must form her own magical Oha Coven to defeat the serial killer preying on children in the area. For when a magical attack begins targeting members of his old gang, Ray must make the decision between ties to his past and responsibilities in the present as he comes head to head with the sorcerer who thrust him into this mess in the first place. One wouldn’t expect three aforementioned elements to fit together, but Walton blends them masterfully in a fascinating and unique interpretation of philosophy, religion, and history.
It might all sounds like it could be very predictable, but if you think you’ve seen all the tricks Sanderson has up his sleeves, prepare to be shocked and amazed.
If you’re not familiar with Fitz yet, take yourself all the way back to the beginning; I realize this is a considerable undertaking, but you’ll thank me later.
Breathtakingly complex, overwhelmingly heartbreaking, fantastically humorous, and epic on every scale imaginable, Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen, and particularly The Crippled God, are the work of a true master writer.
The easygoing focus on characters combined with the marvelous, almost poetic prose turns this novel into an engrossing page-turner. It’s darker, faster, grittier, and more violent than its predecessor while providing the same generous servings of black humor, snappy dialogue, tight characterization, and cynical, razor-sharp wit. Once again, Lachlan delivers a dark and thrilling tale incorporating Norse gods and monsters, historical detail, sinister magic, and a tragic human struggle against fate. A novel full of dark realism and gritty violence, Circle of Enemies is a read that leaves you wanting more, and wanting it now. Her incarnations of the gods and their children are thoughtful and multi-faceted, and in this sequel, many of the seeds of thought planted in The Just City come to fruition. Robin Hobb has crafted an enchanting world with unforgettable characters in a series of books that’s all but impossible to put down, which is why it is one of our top new fantasy books for 2015. Read the full synopsis here. The Kingdom of Gods corroborates what those who have read its predecessors already surmised: N. While Fenrir is an engrossing and well-written story in its own right, it is an also excellent second book in what is shaping up to be a truly memorable series. An alternate history where African natives developed steam power ahead of their colonial oppressorsRelease Date: September 6, 2016 The Queen of Blood The beginning of Durst’s first foray into adult fantasy, about the spirits that wish to destroy humanity and the young women tasked with fighting them.
This one is one of my most anticipated fantasy reads of 2016Release Date: September 22, 2016 Crooked Kingdom Sequel to the highly popular (and one of my personal favorite's) YA fantasy book's last year which was a cross between Lies of Locke Lamora and Ocean's Eleven. The Inheritance Trilogy may well be the single most intriguing fantasy series you ever come across.
I can't wait for this bookRelease Date: October 25, 2016 The Blood Mirror The next book in Brent Week's fabulous Lightbringer series -- a series with one of the more interesting magic systems and compelling world building. Actually, Luke Scull can, who has with his Grim Company books proven himself to be at the forefront of the Grim Dark fantasy movement.
Oh, and your probably a violent sociopath — great at killing and torturing your enemies in imaginative ways, but not so good at making real, connecting relationships.
It does not take in consideration ebook-only releases, self-published titles, or books printed by unknown publishers.
If you read one or two books out of the three, you will likely be disappointed.As the series grows stronger each book in, so do the characters themselves continually grow (and suffer) from book to book and this final book wraps things up pretty tightly. About as good as an ending you can get in a story about a bunch of depressed mages.This is one of those books that definitely hits all the literary notes if you look for them (which is one of the reasons the critics rave about this series). The whole work is very much self aware and there’s tons of references to external literature packed between the pages.

One of the best, most intelligent fantasy series I’ve had the pleasure of reading and my favorite fantasy book of 2014.
City of Stairs by Robert Jackson BennettBest new Fantasy by an already established author, this year. Typical of a Jackson novel, there’s a cast of  strong characters, each haunted by a damaging past, a wildly imaginative world, and an eclectic blend of different genres. And the author, who has not really gained the attention he deserved, is finally getting his due.This book starts off slow (I almost put it aside at first), but be patient for about one hundred pages in, the novel picks up some serious steam.
And of course, there’s some crazy good action scenes that explode out of nowhere, leaving you with your mouth open. Combining SOME of the elements that make A Song of Ice and Fire and the Wheel of Time style fantasies entertaining reads, The Emperor’s Blades delivers on most of the hype behind it. Keep in mind, this novel has not one but two (arguably even three) coming of age stories going on at the same time. The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley New, refreshing, violent — and completely boundary pushing in concept.
It’s a modern take on the old Sword and Sorcery style story, but packed with about a million jolts of savagery, violence, and human depravity. Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson (The Stormlight Archives) The most exiting and the most anticipated epic fantasy of 2014 by most fantasy readers.
And I would say, one of the pure epic fantasies currently written, though there are some flaws with it.
The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan (The Powder Mage Trilogy) One of the most action packed fantasy releases this year. If you want to read heroic fantasy with a dark twist and one of the more compelling magic systems, this is the one to read. The style of this author is very much influenced by Brandon Sanderson, which is no surprise as Sanderson actually taught MeClellan. The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks (The Lightbringer Series) A strong continuation to Weeks’s Lightbringer series, but not as good as his previous effort The Blinding Knife. In this book, Week’s spends a good deal of time (more in this single book than the previous books combined) fleshing out and developing the characters. They are flawed individuals who realize it and try and better themselves.But the story does get bogged down with very little in the plot development actually happening.
It feels more like that bridging novel between novels that (slowly) moves some of the pieces around the board, setting up the events for the a next book where the real plot action will happen. Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de CastellAction, heroism, adventure and a king to save. Full Fathom Five is a mystery story masquerading as urban fantasy with some heavy steampunk elements mashed in.
This book completely surprised me — after about fifty or so pages, I was completely sucked into the story. But the power of this novel is in a coming of age story well told and the rich, captivating world drawn by the author. The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss Instead of the next book in the Kingkiller Chronicles, we got a short story by Rothfuss. As many will agree, The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a different tale than the Kingkiller, but I had the feeling there was far less pressure on the author here — he was writing a tale HE wanted to write without having to live up to vast expectations. Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb (Fitz and the Fool Trilogy) A wonderful character-driven fantasy tale.
This one is for the fans of Fitz and the Fool, of course — for who else would pick up the first book of a new trilogy about characters who already have two trilogies? If you want action, violence, and darkness, there are dozens of other books released this year you can sink your teeth in.17.
Veil of the Deserters by Jeff Salyards (Bloodsounders Arc) A superb follow up to Scourge of the Betrayers, a book that debuted the powerful skills of a new author in the fantasy genre.This is a grimdark tale to its core. Sworn in Steel by Douglas Hulick (A Tale of the Kin) A tale that carries on the exploits of Drothe, a criminal underworld information broker.
The book does a fine regard — if you liked the first book, you will like the second book.
And for the most part, he does succeed.Half a King reads a bit like a lighter version of his previous works. But the classic style Abercrombie voice is still there.Abercrombie has always been about slowly crafting the unlikeliest character into the hero while showing the most heroically seeming characters to be anything but a heroic.
The same formula applies here.Yarvi is a maimed youth who becomes king when his father unexpectedly dies in an accident. But in a world where the measure of a man is in that of his deeds, his stature, and his martial prowess, a king with a crippled hand who prefers scholarly pursuits over martial ones is hardly considered a figure out of myth.
But the power of the story is in the transformation story of Yarvi — how this unlikely youth transforms into a capable leader who inspires loyalty.Should you read it? The Shadow Throne by Django Wexler (The Shadow Campaigns)The author with the most original name in the genre, Django Wexler, wrote one of the best fantasy books of 2013.
This year, he writes a sequel that delivers on the first book’s promise, though to a lesser degree. The writing and characters are all great but the author abandons the setting that made the first book so great in favor of the urban.
The setting takes place in a sort of darker version of an alternative Italian renaissance period. There’s noble houses all vying for power, dark secrets to unveil that threaten the balance of powers and a protagonist who must navigate these dark waters to survive. It brings to mind elements of Red Rising (boy must use intelligence to outwit peers), Harry Potter (talented boy goes to school and makes enemies and friends both with teachers and peers), with a bit of the Three Musketeers (fencing, swordplay, and relentless action) thrown in, you are going to love this book.This book shows some serious promise for the next in the series and was actually one of my favorite debut fantasy reads of 2014 by a new author. Belcher The first book, Six-Gun Tarot was a jumbo of different subgenres and ideas that somehow, surprisingly all work together. Hidden by Benedict Jacka (An Alex Verus Novel)A kick-ass addition to the already delicious Alex Verus series.
The whole series, for me, has replaced the Dresden Files, as my favorite Urban fantasy series. Sleeping Late for Judgement Day by Tad Williams (A Bobby Dollar Novel) Tad Williams sinks his teeth into the Urban Fantasy Genre. The protaganist is a wisecracking joker who always end up in a bad situation — usually pursued by both heaven and hell. The prose is sharp and the author has some intelligent insights about the human condition scattered throughout the narrative.
We give our opinions on how the books fared, both the good and the bad.Skin Game by Jim ButcherFor the most part, Butcher delivers the goods here. Butcher is killing the series a bit by focusing TOO much on all the side characters he’s obligated to bring in for guest appearances which just bogs down the books. They just keep getting stronger and stronger with every book or two.I miss the good old days when Dresden was just an impoverished detective, barely able to pay rent, always facing down a MUCH stronger villain and barely escaping by the tip of his wizard hat. I think for a lot of people this book would have been an awesome sequel IF it was the story of Valin’s return.
But instead it was mostly the story of a couple other characters we don’t care about. The Revolutions is a real jumbo of different genres, but it brings with it shades of Jonathan Strange & Mr.
The novel also can be a bit confusing, but if you can press though, you are in for a rather eclectic treat.
The author knows how to build an utterly captivating setting that sucks you in and comes off as completely real, even though it’s such a weird and exotic place. The world building is good and it’s nice to see the author flesh out the mysteries of his world a bit more with this book.

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