The Farseer family rules the Six Duchies as they have for many generations but dire times are at hand. The Red Ships are raiding the coastal cities and King Shrewd's health is failing. He has many sons so the line of succession is well defined and with the King in poor health Prince Verity does the majority of the ruling. Of course that doesn't sit well with Prince Regal, a selfish and cruel individual who is the son furthest down the line of succession and unhappy with his station. Sound familiar?
The Summoner trilogy, by Taran Matharu, is a YA series that combines classic rpg video game elements, a Hogwart's like academy, and the teen vs teen survival trials of the Hunger Games. Fletcher is an orphan who finds, and successfully uses, a demon summoning scroll in a world where the human battlemage summoners support the army in an endless conflict with the orcs.
Brandon Sanderson's magnum opus continues with Words of Radiance (Book 2 of The StormLight Archive) clocking in at 1088 pages which makes it the biggest book ever printed by Tor Books. I only wish it were bigger - it's that good. The world is rich and deep, the characters are complex, and the magic systems are true Brandon Sanderson - well defined, unique, and interesting. All of the main characters are back and the story just gets bigger and bigger. For most authors the end of this book would be a satisfying conclusion to any series but it is obvious that this one is just getting started. Sanderson set the bar so awfully high with the Mistborn series that I am truly impressed he was able to surpass himself with the Stormlight Archive.
Just wow. This is the first book of the Stormlight Archive series and it represents over ten years of world building on the part of Brandon Sanderson. The world is so rich and the magic systems are so detailed that this single book contains more depth than most Fantasy series do in their entirety. The paperback version is 1280 pages (the audiobook is 45+ hours) of great character development and story telling. The entire series is planned to be 10 books in total composed of two story arcs of 5 books each. The Way of Kings is an amazing work of fantasy that grabbed my attention from cover to cover and is not to be missed.
Django Wexler is a strong new voice in military based fantasy, The Thousand Names follows the story of two very different soldiers facing impossible odds under an eccentric new commander. Captain Marcus d'Ivoire was the senior-most surviving officer after a bloody rebellion forces the Colonial Army into retreat. As a common born graduate of the War College he never imagined being in charge of a regiment so he's relieved that the Royal Army is sending a colonel to take charge. Winter Ihernglass is a Ranker, one of the rank and file. Most of the Colonials were sent there because they were an embarrassment or did something criminal but Winter wanted to go where no one would ask questions because "he" is a "she".
A young mage hidden at birth and raised in anonymity by a lowborn family? Check. A coming of age story with a younf male lead and an obvious love interest? Check. An evil rival that wrongs said love interest? Check. I could keep on going but you get the point. If you have read a lot of fantasy literature then you have read this all before, and while there is nothing terribly wrong with The Blacksmith's Son, there is also very little to make it stand apart from the competition. The five book Mageborn series gets off to a mediocre start with this one.
This book has many things to like about it, and some not to like, which might very well be appropriate as the story revolves around the combination of opposites. There are two main characters in this one - Prince Jalan Kendeth, a womanizer and self proclaimed coward, and Snorri, a Viking warrior out for revenge against those who attacked his homeland. Snorri and Jalan form an odd couple dynamic as fate thrusts them together and sends them out on a suicide mission where they must find a way to get along or they will both end up dead. With their opposing personalities playing off each other they both face obstacles in their own unique way while never really knowing the bigger picture of what is going on.
Having enjoyed all 6 existing books in Joe Abercrombie's First Law series I find myself always craving for more. That is why I picked up Sharp Ends despite the fact that I tend to not like collections of short stories. Add on that Steven Pacey narrated the audiobook and there was no way I could resist this one. The Abercrombie/Pacey audiobook combo is one of the best that I have ever listened to and the two of them just bring out the best in each other. Pacey's narration of these characters is just superb and I highly recommend that you give the entire series a listen even if you have already read it. To my delight many of my favorite characters from the prior books do make an appearance in these short stories including, but not limited to, Glokta, Logen, Dogman, Bethod, Whirrun, and Nicomo Cosca. However, in the end, the short story format left me wanting more and feeling unsatisfied as favorite characters appeared and were gone before I knew it.
The Symphony of the Ages is a long fantasy series about three friends prophesied to save the world. It starts when a boy finds himself a thousand years in the past where he meets and falls in love with Emily. They shared one night together and then he was inexplicably gone. She sets out with a broken heart to find him and in one of the few realistic aspects of the series ended up a prostitute called Rhapsody. She eventually studied to be a Namer, a loremaster who can speak true names which gives them some power, and a musician. While running from a former evil client and his goons she meets The Brother, whom she names Achmed the Snake, and his friend Gunther. An Assassin by trade The Brother was forced to work for one of the evil Fedor because it had his true name. By renaming him Rhapsody has unknowingly freed him and the three flee into the center of the earth, literally walking and crawling from one side of the world to the other. The discover that there is a prophecy about "The Three" who might be able to save the world from destruction by the Fedor. Rhapsody also falls for a guy who might be evil, is half insane, and as a young man got sent back in time for a single night...lots of us make bad relationship decisions.
In the Bitterbynde books the world of Erith is a dangerous place full of wights, both Seelie and Unseelie, and the Faeran themselves are barely a memory. The title character of the Ill-Made Mute has no memory, no voice, and a face that is horribly scarred from paradox ivy poisoning. At night the servants share stories of Seelie and Unseelie wights, how to escape them, and most often about people who died. Although Erith is a fantasy world the author pulled these stories from real tales, mostly from the British Isles. These stories become very important as the Mute journeys in search of a name, her memory, and something to remove the scars left by the poison. Naturally this all turns into a greater quest that will determine the fate of both faeries and humans. The series really stands out due to a poetic writing style that blends well with the tales of Eldritch lore.