I read Fantasy-Faction’s article on their Top Ten Most Anticipated Books of 2013, and was left with mixed emotions. I didn’t agree with some of them. Didn’t agree with their number one. But that’s the site’s owner’s opinion. Not mine.
I was going to do my best and worst books of 2012, but figured out I had read only about thirty or so books in the year. Nonetheless, it was an important year for me. David Eddings reignited my love of fantasy in January. In late July, I learned the name of a genre I’ve come to adore, Noir. Since then, I’ve been shoveling down the two.
This year, I’ll be reading a whole lot more books. I’m not setting a goal, just one to read. Good thing too, because my TBR stack is nearly touching the ceiling. I’ve got two books for February’s Book Club over at Fantasy-Faction. I’ve got the entire Sherlock Holmes Tales on my kindle. And to top it off, there is thirteen more books in the Dresden Files, which I hope to complete this year. By then, another one will have come out.
But enough of my goals for the year, besides finishing this book I’m working on, Sorrow’s Steel which sits at 50K words at the moment, I have a list of 5 books I’m eagerly anticipating for this year. There’s only about ten I’m looking forward to, and about five I’ll be newly introduced to, so the list is short for a reason.
Anyways, here’s my list. Maybe drop me a link in the comments to your’s?
5. Fade to Black by Francis Knight
The only debut on this list. A Fantasy Noir novel, rain and cynicism aplenty. I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with the lady, and if her protagonist’s voice is like her own, than I believe this may be in my top five of the year. Oh, and she stole my idea of pain magic. Curious to see how she does it.
Mahala: a city built in the dark depths of a valley. A city built up in layers, not across – where streets are built upon streets, buildings balance precariously upon buildings. A city that the Ministry rules from its lofty perch at the sunlit summit & where the forsaken lurk in the shadowy depths of the Pit.
Rojan is a bounty hunter trying to make his way in the city. Everyone knows he’s a womaniser, a shirker of all responsibility, but they don’t know he’s also a pain-mage: able to draw magic from his own & other people’s pain. He’s not keen on using it (not least because it’s outlawed), but when his niece is abducted and taken to the dark depths of the Pit, he may just be forced to unleash his power . . .
4. Best Kept Secret by Jeffrey Archer
Jeffrey Archer is one of my favorite authors. His style is so simple, so subtle. I love it. His novel, A Prisoner of Birth, is one of my all-time favorite books. The first in the Clifton Chronicles, Only Time Will Tell, was my favorite book of 2011. So I jumped into the second one, Sins of the Father, as soon as it was released. It left a bitter taste in my mouth. Something felt wrong with, which is why his third book ranks low on my list. But don’t be deterred. He’s an amazing author. And this book will most likely be amazing. I just have a twinge of apprehension toward it.
Best Kept Secret opens a moment after the end of The Sins of the Father, with the resolution of the trial and the triumphant marriage of Harry Clifton and Elizabeth Barrington, finally uniting their family. Harry, now a bestselling novelist, Emma, their son Sebastian, and orphaned Jessica make a new life for themselves, but all is not as happy and secure as it could be. Emma’s brother, Giles, is engaged to a woman who may be more interested in Barrington’s fortune and title than in a long and happy marriage. And Sebastian, though he is bright, isn’t quite the hard worker that his father was at school, and finds a hard time resisting the temptations that his somewhat unsavory friends provide.
It all comes to a head when a new villain is uncovered, a face from the past with grudges against both Harry and Giles—Fisher, who tortured Harry at school and later took credit for Giles’ heroics during the war. Fisher teams up with Giles’ now ex-wife to wreak havoc on Giles’ latest election as well as meddle with affairs inside Barringtons, while Harry and Emma must deal with a new scheme that Sebastian has unwittingly fallen into with a supposed friend. The drama continues for Harry Clifton and his family, bringing this mesmerizing saga into the 1960s.
3. Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
I rounded off the year with his debut, Prince of Thorns. And if the story get any better, as I assume it will, then this book will quite possible rank up as one of my all-time favorites. I’ve read snippets of his second book, King of Thorns, and the prose is even better, if that’s even possible. The blurb sends chills down my spine. But truth be told, I want to see what Jorg’s fate is. That, and the cover is amazing.
To reach the throne requires that a man journey. Even a path paved with good intentions can lead to hell, and my intentions were never good.
The Hundred converge for Congression to politic upon the corpse of Empire, and while they talk the Dead King makes his move, and I make mine. The world is cracked, time has run through, leaving us clutching at the end days, the future so bright that those wh…o see it are the first to burn. These are the days that have waited for us all our lives. These are my days. I will stand before the Hundred and they will listen. I will take the throne whoever seeks to thwart me, living or dead, and if I must be the last emperor then I will make of it such an ending.
This is where the wise man turns away. This is where the holy kneel and call on God. These are the last miles, my brothers. Don’t look to me to save you. Don’t think I will not spend you. Run if you have the wit. Pray if you have the soul. Stand your ground if courage is yours. But don’t follow me.
Follow me, and I will break your heart.
2. Tomorrow the Killing by Daniel Polansky
This one is special because it has technically been released since last fall. But there is only the hardback edition in the US, so I’m making an executive decision. (which means I don’t care about your opinion.) His debut, Low Town, is a book I can see having the closest comparison to mine. The mystery isn’t amazing, but his voice is astonishing. So yes, this book has been anticipated for a long time.
Once he was a hero of the Great War, and then a member of the dreaded Black House. Now he is the criminal linchpin of Low Town.
His name is Warden.
He thought he had left the war behind him, but a summons from up above brings the past sharply, uncomfortably, back into focus. General Montgomery’s daughter is missing somewhere in Low Town, searching for clues about her brother’s murder. The General wants her found, before the stinking streets can lay claim to her, too.
Dark, violent, and shot through with corruption, TOMORROW, THE KILLING is a fantastic successor to one of the most heralded fantasy debuts of recent times.
1. Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
I had the pleasure of reading his debut, The Lies of Locke Lamora, this summer. I ran head-first into the next one. But see, I’m lucky. Some people have been waiting nearly five years for this book. And with his depression, I can understand. His humor, his plotting, his characters, are all amzing in their own rights. But one thing’s for sure, I hope he finishes this series because I don’t know anyone else who could do it justice.
After their adventures on the high seas, Locke and Jean are brought back to earth with a thump. Jean is mourning the loss of his lover and Locke must live with the fallout of crossing the all-powerful magical assassins the Bonds Magi. It is a fall-out that will pit both men against Locke’s own long lost love. Sabetha is Locke’s childhood sweetheart, the love of Locke’s life and now it is time for them to meet again. Employed on different sides of a vicious dispute between factions of the Bonds Sabetha has just one goal – to destroy Locke for ever. The Gentleman Bastard sequence has become a literary sensation in fantasy circles and now, with the third book, Scott Lynch is set to seal that success.