2015 has seen quite a few interesting releases in fantasy thus far and since I have read quite a few of these books, I feel confident in making a few recommendations. These books I have selected are those which stand out as being very enjoyable reads and i have given ratings of either 4 or 5 out of 5 stars. If you have read any of these books , please share your thoughts.
- The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (Published January 13, 2015)
GoodReads Summary: Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.
Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.
At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.
Until one day, he does…
As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?
I was already in love with the cover and the synopsis but I fell in love with the prose and the writing style the author employed in this book. It is a YA novel so there was a bit of flirty romance and “foolishness” but not so much that it in any way devalued the story. I gave this one 4 out of 5 stars.
- Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (Published Feb 10, 2015)
GoodReads Summary: This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.
The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.
That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.
Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.
But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart…
This book has had both good and bad reviews but I totally enjoyed. It was not very deep but totally engrossing and there was enough action to make the story flow. There was even a couple plot twists which accounted for some tension which I think is necessary to stimulate interest. This earned 4 out of 5 stars.
- A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E Schwab
Goodreads Summary: Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.
Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.
This book was awesome! I devoured it and I loved almost everything about it. I loved the idea of alternate Londons and the magic system was well thought out. I am looking forward to the second installment in this series scheduled to be released in 2016. I gave this a rating of 4 out of 5 stars but in reality it’s more like 4.5 stars.
- The Girl At Midnight by Melissa Grey (Published April 28, 2015)
Goodreads Summary: Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s ever known.
Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she’s fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it’s time to act.
Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.
But some jobs aren’t as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.
I loved the female protaganist in this. The story took a turn that was not immediately obvious, which is always good. The magic elements were very welcome and I would most certainly re-read this once the second book in the series is released. I liked it that much. Rated 4 out of 5 stars.
- The Novice (Summoner #1) by Taran Matharu(Published May 5th 2015)
Goodreads Summary: When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.
As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.
From the first time I saw the cover, I knew I was gonna love this book, and I did! There is magic, power struggles, inequality, intrigue, danger and action, and I have a feeling the sequel is going to be even better. Loved it! Rated 4 stars.
- Arena 13 By Joseph Delaney (Published June 4, 2105)
Goodreads Summary: Welcome to Arena 13. Here warriors fight. Death is never far away . . .
Leif has one ambition: to become the best fighter in the notorious Arena 13. Here, punters place wagers on which fighter will draw first blood. And in grudge matches, they bet on which fighter will die.
But the country is terrorized by the creature Hob, an evil being who delights in torturing its people, displaying his devasting power by challenging an Arena 13 combatant in a fight to the death whenever he chooses. And this is exactly what Leif wants . . .
For he knows Hob’s crimes well. and at the heart of his ambition burns the desire for vengeance. Leif is going to take on the monster who destroyed his family. Even if it kills him..
The cover art is gorgeous. The character development was well done and I thought it to be a fresh take on the overplayed dystopian theme. I love Joseph Delaney’s writing style and I was confident that this would be an engaging read and it did not disappoint. Rated 4 stars.
- An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (Published April 28th 2015)
Goodreads Summary: Laia is a slave.
Elias is a soldier.
Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
The world building was well done and I liked and connnected with both main characters. The wiriting and story was such that this appeals to both YA and adult readers. I was totally engrossed in this world and enjoyed it from start to finish. Rated 4.5 stars
- Ink and Bone (The Great Library) by Rachel Caine (Published July 7, 2015)
Goodreads Summary:In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…
Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.
Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.
When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn.…
Once I realised this book was about books and a library, I had to read it. But that’s not all. Steampunk elements, alchemy and book smuggling all add intrigue to this awesome book. I was well entertained and am looking forward to other books in this series. This one earned 5 stars!
- The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent (Published June 9, 2015)
Goodreads Summary: Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she’s too busy trying to actually survive. Her town’s population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago.
When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she’ll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie’s sin has put her in serious trouble.
To keep them both alive, Nina will need to trust Finn, a fugitive with deep green eyes who has already saved her life once and who might just be an exorcist. But what kind of exorcist wears a hoodie?
Wanted by the Church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she can’t survive on her own. She needs Finn and his group of rogue friends just as much as they need her.
Demons..check! Newly discovered powers..check! Conspiracy…check! What better to have on your side than an exorcist with demons running loose? This was a very entertaining read which also highlights siblings and friends looking out for each other. Loved it. Rated 4 stars.
- Bloodmoon ( The Scarlet Star Trilogy #2) by Ben Galley (Published June 24, 2015)
Goodreads Summary: A Bloodmoon is rising…
With Fell Falls put firmly behind him, Tonmerion Hark has only one desire: to make his way east and once again feel the soil of his Empire under his boots.
But blood has been spilt. Machinations of the powerful foiled. Scores have been scraped in the desert sand and now they must be settled. A new power is growing in London, and it pines for revenge.
Now that both Tonmerion and Rhin find themselves being hunted over prairie and wasteland, he and his strange new family put their fate in the hands of a travelling circus, headed straight for the shores of the Iron Ocean, and a ship home.
There is only one truth: all will be settled on the night of the Bloodmoon.
Ben Galley is one of my favourite authors and he does not disappoint with this new installment in his Scarlet Scar Trilogy. I binge read both Bloodrush and Bloodmoon and I am eagerly awaiting the last book Bloodfeud which he announced on his page as being finished. The main character has really evolved in this, and is not afraid to do what is necessary. He is learning to trust his instincts and is discovering the extents of his gift. The magic system is quite unique and very well thought out. I loved , loved, loved this!! 5 out of 5 stars.
- Queen Of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas (Published September 1, 2015)
Goodreads Summary: Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .
She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.
She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.
The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series contrinues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.
This series keeps getting better with each book. I kid you not! I was not in love with the first book; in fact I remember taking quite a long time to read it but boy when it picked up it grabbed my attention and took me for a ride and did not let up. This latest installment is my favourite because Celaena’s character has literally evolved and matured. There are also quite a lot of issues that were resolved while still others were created. I highly recommend this series and this book and I’m looking forward to the two forthcoming books in this series. 5 out of 5 stars!Did you like these? Head over to Goodreads and check out these books and others that I read by clicking on the Goodreads reading challenge located here:
For a free copy of Bloodrush(The Scarlet Star Trilogy #1) by Ben Galley, visit his webiste and subscribe to his mailing list. I’m not sure how long this offer lasts so head on over soonest if you are interested.