I’ve been a little slack on the blogging front recently, and whilst some of it has been to do with concentrating on fiction writing, at least some of it has been down to lack of inspiration. I mean, with the world the way it is right now, I think a lot of us aren’t feeling our best selves, so I guess it makes sense!
So I thought, what better way to reignite my love of blogging than by writing a series of posts just talking about my absolute favourite books, and encouraging other people to read them? This post is going to be the first in a series of ‘Reading Recommendations’ posts, and I thought I should probably start out with my all time favourite genre: fantasy!
So here are my recommendations for some great fantasy reads:
Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
In a world where mercenary bands are basically like rock bands, the Kings of the Wyld used to be the biggest and baddest band around. Now they’re washed-up has beens, but when their leader’s daughter is stranded in the middle of a deadly siege, they get back together for one last quest. Chaos and hilarity ensues.
I’m sorry, but I will literally never shut up about this book…it was perfection. It just had so many things I love about fantasy in it combined with a rare dash of humour, irreverancy and heart-warming friendships that you just don’t see that often. It was utterly unique, and I would urge anyone who hasn’t already to read this book!
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
This book tells the story of Sorcha, the seventh child and only daughter of Colem of Sevenwaters, whose life is thrown into chaos when her father marries a wicked sorceress who places a terrible curse on Sorcha’s six brothers. The only person who can break the curse is Sorcha, and until she completes the almost impossible task before her, she can’t speak, or her brothers will be lost forever. Her becomes even harder when she’s kidnapped by her father’s enemies, and finds a love she has never known before.
I would really recommend anything written by Juliet Marillier, but this was the book that got me into her writing, and is still a firm favourite in my mind.
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
This series is set in a world that is rocked by intense storms, and is in a constant state of war, centuries after the fall of the legendary Knights Radiant. All they left behind were mystical weapons called Shardblades, and armour called Shardplates, which are now used by highborn men of the realm in the war against the Parshendi. The story follows two Shardbearers, the conflicted High Prince Dalinar Kholin and his son Adolin, and also Kaladin, a soldier sold into slavery, and Shallan, a scholar on a dangerous mission to save her family.
I know that Brandon Sanderson is an incredibly popular author, but I feel like his Mistborn books get a lot more attention than his Stormlight Archive books. And in my opinion the Stormlight Archive books are a million times better!
Daughter of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts
When Mara’s brother and father are killed, she’s recalled from her chosen life of religion to be the Ruling Lady of the Acoma family at the young age of seventeen. With the other ruling families of Kelewan circling the weakened Acoma, Mara must adjust fast and learn to rule, or see the destruction of her entire family and people.
This is the first book in the incredible Empire trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts, and is a book that’s stuck with me since I read it years ago. I just loved the character of Mara, who despite not being a fighter in the physical sense is such a strong and intelligent character, and I loved seeing her grow into her role as Ruling Lady!
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Maia, the half-goblin son of the Emperor has been raised far away in exile, until the day he gets an unexpected message. Both his father and three brothers have died in a mysterious accident, and he is now the Emperor. He arrives at the Imperial Court reluctant to take up the role, with no idea of how the Imperial Court works, or who he can trust. But he must adjust fast, as his life could be in danger from the very same people who plotted against his father.
This is one of the most charming fantasy books I’ve ever read, and mostly because Maia is literally the sweetest character ever. I really enjoyed all the court politics, but if you prefer more action-heavy fantasy, this one may not be for you!
Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie
Monza Murcatto and her brother are the best mercenaries in Duke Orso’s army, but when they start to get a little to popular, their charming employer attempts to have them murdered. With her brother dead, Monza must go into hiding, but she has revenge on her mind, and she’ll stop at nothing to achieve it.
This book is a part of Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series but could also technically be read as a standalone. And whilst you might be best reading the original First Law trilogy first, I personally loved this book a lot more, which is why it’s on this list.
The Black Hawks by David Wragg
Vedren Chel despises his job serving his step-uncle, but is bound by an oath to remain, when he’d much rather just go home. But when he is offered a deal, he snaps it up: all he has to do is escort a hapless young prince across the country to safety, with the assistance of a motley band of mercenaries, the Black Hawk Company, and he’ll be released from his oath. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as it might seem…
I found this book to be a little slow-starting, but was definitely worth the effort. Things really pick up once Chel starts his journey and he meets the Black Hawks, who are such an amazing bunch of misfits!
Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb
Liveships – ships made of sentient wood – are incredibly rare and valuable, and are the only way to transverse the Rain Wild River where rare wizard wood can be found. When Althea Vestrit’s father dies she expects to inherit the newly awakened family liveship Vivacia…but instead the ship passes to her foolish brother-in-law. Enraged, Althea sets out on a journey to prove that she is the best person to own Vivacia. Meanwhile pirate Captain Kennit has his sights set on getting a liveship of his own…
I haven’t found too many pirate themed fantasy books out there, so I really enjoyed this one! I also loved the magic system of ships being sentient and having their own personalities, and whilst the characters aren’t all likeable, they are certainly interesting. I’d strongly recommend this series!
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
The Gentlemen Bastards were all orphans, taken in by a man called Father Chains and trained in the arts of thieving, trickery and conning. Most skilled of all of then is Locke Lamora, who now leads the group in various daring escapades to relieve the city of Camorr’s nobility of their money. However, things in the City are changing, and someone is running a dangerous coup on the underground world. Locke and friends find themselves reluctantly drawn into the dangerous goings on, and for once, they may be out of their depths.
If you love clever characters, charming thieves and awesome friendships, this is the book (and series for you!).
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for centuries, each Queen producing a female heir. Queen Sabran the Ninth is still unwed, but knows she desperately needs a daughter to prevent the end of her line and see the destruction of her realm. Unknown to her she is being watched over by Ead Duryan, a lady-in-waiting who also happens to have been sent from a secret society of mages to watch over the court. Meanwhile, across the sea Tané is about to achieve her dream of being a dragonrider, but finds herself forced to make a terrible decision.
This is a long book, but well worth the time investment in my opinion! The world-building is second to none, and for such a long book I didn’t feel like it dragged or anything.
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy they train young women to be deadly warriors and assassins. They’re all taught a million ways to kill a man, and those that show gifts from the old bloodlines are trained to use their strange gifts to their advantage. However, even the Sisters of Sweet Mercy get more than they bargained for when young Nona Grey arrives, a girl already accused of murder, and with unknown levels of power.
I’ve described this book on numerous occassions as ‘Hogwarts for killer-nuns’, and if that doesn’t sell it to you, I don’t know what will!
Blood Song by Anthony Ryan
When Vaelin Al Sorna’s father gives him up to the Sixth Order, he is resigned to a harsh life learning to fight, kill and survive in the wilds, all in the name of the Faith, and the Realm. Most recruits of the Sixth Order don’t survive to become full Brothers, but Vaelin is determined to suceed. Because war is coming, and soon there will be no choice but to fight…
If you like the whole ‘religious school for ass-kicking’ thing you get in Red Sister, then Anthony Ryan’s Blood Song might also be up your street!
So have you read any of these books? Are there any that are going to be going on your TBR list? What are some of your fantasy recommendations?