Elantris, Brandon Sanderson’s first widely distributed book, is named after the ruined city of Elantris, which is the focus of the story. A standalone fantasy novel, the book won the Romantic Times award for best epic fantasy of 2005, was chosen by Barnes and Noble editors as the best fantasy or sf book of the year, and has been released in twenty languages. It is an excellent book and a stand alone story, despite the fact that Brandon does plan to eventually write a sequel. This book started the career of one of the best Fantasy writers alive today and you should not miss out on reading it.
Kaylin Neya is a Hawk, the police arm of the Halls of Law in the city of Elantra. She is always oversleeping, never finds time to do her laundry, and can't be bothered to style her hair. Kaylin is brash, impatient, ignorant, and almost suicidally tactless. Kaylin is very human. She is also covered in ancient writing that gives her enormous power to heal or destroy. Kaylin is the Chosen, though no one has ever explained who chose her or why.
Gen thought it was a good idea to brag about his thieving skills in a wine shop and declare he would prove himself by stealing the King's seal. Which he did. Unfortunately, agents of the King had heard his boasting and thus he finds himself in prison for a while. Then the Magus, chief advisor to the King of Sounis, offers him freedom if he steals an unspecified item from an unknown place. Again Gen says he can steal anything and joins the Magus in a small party heading to a mysterious destination.
Castillar Lupe dy Cazaril feels broken in both body and spirit. After fighting through several wars and then pulling an oar as a galley slave he's finally walking back to the last place he felt at "home". He's 35 going on 70 and his whole desire is a quiet comfortable place to hide. But the gods have need of a good man....
During the 1800s, Arthur Conan Doyle, Mary Shelley, and Bram Stoker all created iconic literary characters. The newspapers were covering sensational murderers such as Jack the Ripper and "Burke and Hare" who killed to sell the bodies to anatomists. Roger Zelazny's last novel, A Night in the Lonesome October, is a whimsical tribute to these roots of the horror and detective genres. For obvious reasons, it's the perfect October read.
Tad Williams offers up a modern view of the struggle between heaven and hell and in his version of the conflict things aren't quite as black and white as you would imagine. Angel Doloriel (Bobby Dollar) is unlike any angel you've ever read about before and his heavenly assignment is to be an advocate for the recently departed. He is responsible for pleading the case on behalf of the deceased's soul to ensure their final judgment results in a trip to heaven or no worse than minimal time in purgatory.
Take what you know about "urban fantasy" and throw it out the nearest window. Rae Seddon, nicknamed Sunshine, lives in a world that has always known magic, vampires, weres, and demons. Sunshine sucks you in with a detailed narrative that is almost stream of consciousness. Rae introduces us to the family coffee shop, its employees, and patrons in fun but very realistic detail. She's just an ordinary baker wishing she didn't have to get up at 4am...until she's taken by the darkest of Others, vampires.
If you like happy endings where the hero gets the girl or the hobbit returns home to sit by the fire then you need to look elsewhere. Joe Abercrombie is ruthless in the way he resolves his story arc and no character gets through this series unscathed no matter how important. Things go from bad to worse for most of the characters and even those who win big in the end are actually losers. This is a 3 book series that wraps itself up nicely despite the fact that Abercrombie has written additional books in this world with some of the same characters.
The Furies of Calderon kicks off the Codex Alera series which is an excellent 6 book series written by Jim Butcher. The series follows the life of Tavi, a young boy with no fury-crafting skills, in a world where everyone has access to elemental furies and their magical abilities. The fantasy world of Alera is very interesting and the magic system hooks you in quickly by creating a diverse set of circumstances. Furies are elemental beings (Air, Earth, Fire, Metal, Water or Wood) capable of helping the person who summons them in various ways from small everyday tasks through fighting in combat. As examples, earth furies help lift heavy loads and wind furies help their summoner travel faster. Alerans start to manifest their personal furies as children and by the time they are teenagers they are capable of summoning one or more furies to aid them at will. A person's place in society is often dictated by the strength of their furies.
David Farland has created a world where rulers take advantage of a magical process by which they acquire one or more of the attributes of their subjects, such ..Show More »as strength, stamina, glamour, metabolism, grace, etc. The person that gives up such an endowment is known as a "dedicate" and they are now crippled in that capacity for the rest of their lives so that the receiver can be enhanced. Those who receive endowments are known as Runelords and they each approach the ethics of receiving endowments from different moral perspectives which adds to the richness of the characters. Some are ruthless in their thirst to improve themselves for their own purposes while others pledge their lives to making the world better on behalf of their dedicates.