This is my very first blog post and even if we are a little over 2 months into 2021 already, all the books on this list have yet to be released. Plus I love top 10 lists and so this was a lot of fun to write. Enjoy!
10. Jade Legacy (The Green Bone Saga, #3) by Fonda Lee
The Green Bone Saga is my favorite Urban Fantasy series right now, and Jade Legacy is the final book of this action packed trilogy. The story so far is quite exciting and there have been many twists and turns that stoked the flames of my interest. This world is filled with jade-powered warriors, political intrigue and dark conspiracies. The first two books really built something compelling and I am quite excited to finally get my hands on he conclusion on this epic saga.
9. The Bone Shard Emperor (The Drowning Empire, #2) by Andrea Stewart
Last year’s The Bone Shard Daughter really caught me by surprise. I had heard all kinds of hype about it for months before it’s release and so I knew it was acclaimed before I got my hands on it. The author really created something completely original here. Her ability for world-building is so very excellent. The fact that she changes the point of view from first to third person depending on which character is driving a particular chapter, is something I would have thought to bother me, but instead it really gave each main character a unique voice. The idea to use small shards of bones from every living person in the world to power machines of war is something both ingenious and kind of terrifying at the same time. I really liked how the first book finished, and it definitely made me hungry for a second helping.
8. The Maidens by Alex Michaelides
As I am sure you already suspect, my favorite genre of literature is definitely Fantasy. That being said, I also quite enjoy a good mystery book. I have read every single Agatha Christie novel growing up, (the ones with Hercule Poirot at least) and I am always on the lookout for a hidden mystery gem. I don’t know if you can call last year’s The Silent Patient “hidden”, as it was quite a roaring success, but it certainly took me by surprise in how much I absolutely enjoyed it. In fact, I was one book short to make my Goodreads challenge 2020 at the time, and so I sat down on December 31st at 1pm and read The Silent Patient from cover to cover in one sitting. It was that good. And so now I am so very excited to get my hands on the author’s second book, The Maidens. Will lightning strike twice? Stay tuned to find out.
7. Priest of Gallows (War for the Rose Throne, #3) by Peter Mclean
When I am at work, recommending books in the Fantasy section to customers, (which might be my favorite thing) I always try to understand what type of Fantasy they like. Because the world of Fantasy literature is quite vast, and there are many different sub-genres of Fantasy, in this humble blogger’s opinion that is. So when I ask them about it, they sometimes tell me that they are on the prowl for something different then your usual high fantasy series. In most of those cases, the first book I will recommend to them is Priest of Bones, which is the first book of the War for the Rose Throne series. One of the many reasons I really enjoyed the first two books released so far, is how much fun it was to get a “Fantasy Godfather” type story. It felt totally fresh and unique, while bringing a hefty dose of grit, brandy and blood along for the ride. I’ve been highly anticipating the next instalment and it is almost here!
6. Play of Shadows (Court of Shadows, #1) by Sebastien de Castell
In 2020, I discovered author Sebastien de Castell. He had been around for a while of course, first establishing himself as a rock solid fantasy author with his Greatcoats series, and following it up with his outstanding six book Gunslinger series, but I hadn’t gotten around to read any of his stuff before last year. I remedied the situation by reading ALL of his stuff. Like, all of it. Both series. All ten books. And yeah, I absolutely love everything he has written so far. So when it was announced that he was going back to his world of The Greatcoats for a brand new series, I automatically knew this would be one of my most anticipated books of the year. To see it showing up at number 6 on the list shows you how many awesome books are releasing this year. In another year, this could have easily been top 2.
5. The Maleficent Seven by Cameron Johnston
The Maleficent Seven is the only fantasy book on this list that is not a sequel or a new book from an author I already love. This will be my first time experiencing a Cameron Johnston book. To best explain why this ended up this high on my most anticipated list, here is an excerpt from the book’s own blurb on Goodreads:
“Black Herran was a dread demonologist, and the most ruthless general in all Essoran. She assembled the six most fearsome warriors to captain her armies: a necromancer, a vampire lord, a demigod, an orcish warleader, a pirate queen, and a twisted alchemist. Together they brought the whole continent to its knees… Until the day she abandoned her army, on the eve of total victory.“
I mean, how can anyone NOT be intrigued? This seems like it will play right into my wheelhouse of crazy characters, plenty of action and I assume a nice scoop of crass banter. I will be all over this one.
4. Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune
I discovered quite a few literary gems last year, but perhaps none shone brighter than a quirky, cozy, heart warming fantasy book by author TJ Klune. Indeed, The House on the Cerulean Sea completely stole my heart. I could not stop gushing about it weeks and months after I read it. I recommended that book to more people than any other last year. I often called it the ultimate feel-good book, and I have gotten nothing but positive comments from the people who ended up reading it. I simply adored it. I think it is no surprise then, that Klune’s next foray into fantasy territory is so high on my list.
3. The Fall of Babel (The Books of Babel, #4) by Josiah Bancroft
The top 3 of this list was quite hard to finalize. In any year with a somewhat weaker lineup of upcoming releases, any of these 3 books would have easily ended at the top of the list.
The Books of Babel series is unique to me. I started reading it because I had heard such great things about it on the SFF blogsphere, and yet it took a little while for me to get invested in it. It is also worth mentioning that this was Bancroft’s very first published work and it is not uncommon to see a newer author get stronger in their craft the further along you get into their books. This was absolutely the case for me here.
While the first book of the series didn’t grab me right away, it was still quite good and by the end of it, had piqued my interest enough for me to want to get into book two right away. The sequel was leaps and bounds better in almost every aspect. I really enjoyed it, and finished it rather quickly.
I read book three, The Hog King. Let me say this, strictly looking at a single book within a series, The Hod King might be my favorite book of all time. It certainly falls into my top 5, easily. The way Bancroft crafted this third entry was nothing short of masterful. I have aways really enjoyed movies where they show you the same series of events multiple times but from different point of views, each time revealing a little more about the overarching story, until you reach a very satisfying ending reveal. This book gave me exactly this. I cannot rave enough about how good it was. It brought this whole series to another level for me, and is the main reasons why I am HIGHLY anticipating the final volume later this year.
2. The Desert Prince by Peter V. Brett
Having to choose in which order to put these last two titles was not an easy task. They both can be considered #1 as far as I am concerned but in the spirit of top 10 lists, The Desert Prince is my second most anticipated book of 2021.
Back when I started working for Indigo Books and Music in 2013, I had been in a a reading funk for quite some time. However, being surrounded by books every day at work gave me the itch to get back into reading more and more every day. Back then I wasn’t really in touch with the SFF blogsphere, I didn’t have a Goodreads account and most of my new colleagues were not very big on Fantasy books. So I kept browsing our SFF section, waiting for something to catch me eye. This is when I picked up The Warded Man for the first time. I didn’t really know what to expect from it other than the synopsis picked my interest enough to give it a shot.
What I ended up discovering was a five book series called The Demon Cycle, which would be my absolute go-to recommendation for the following six years. In the years that followed, I often joked with my friends at work that if I had gotten 1$ each time I’d sold a copy of The Warded Man to a customer, I could have afforded a brand new, top quality bookshelf. I cannot speak highly enough about this series as a whole. One day I hope to review the whole thing on this blog, but for now I will say that from 2013 to 2019, I called it the best Fantasy series I’d read in my adult years. (I read Dragonlance in my teens). It is that good.
The Desert Prince is the start of a new series set in the same world roughly 15 years after the event of the final volume in the Demon Cycle series. The prospect of going back to this world I love so much, of seeing beloved characters I have missed dearly for more than three years, I could not be more hyped for this. It’s been a long time coming and I am ready to have my mind blown again, Mr. Brett.
1. The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga, #1) by John Gwynne
We come to it at last. As I mentioned above, for six years, The Demon Cycle had bewitched me. Then in 2019, I discovered John Gwynne and his series, The Faithful and the Fallen. It had been recommended to me on Reddit by Mark Lawrence, who is an author I like a lot. I ended up reading all four books within a week, and I have been absolutely obsessed by everything Gwynne has written since then. In 2020, I read his follow up trilogy Of Blood and Bone, which acts as a sequel of sorts to the Faithful and the Fallen.
All seven books together form what is called the Banished Lands saga, which is without a doubt my absolute favorite series from the last 20 years. I will even go as far to say that it’s the only series that rivals Dragonlance for me and could potentially be considered my All Time favorite series. It is THAT good! I will definitely make a blog post about the entire saga at some point, but for now, suffice it to say that I am John Gwynne’s biggest fan and when he announced he next book would be the start of a new epic set in a brand new world he created, which is heavily inspired by vikings and their Norse mythos, I was pink with barely controlled glee.
Some of the bloggers I follow have started posting reviews about this one already and so far everyone seems to say the same thing: Gwynne has done it again! This is why, The Shadow of the Gods is my most anticipated titles of 2021.
2021 is going to be one for the ages with so many other great books being releases that didn’t even make it on the list. If you made it all the way here, thank you for reading! Feel free to comment below about which books YOU are excited to get your hands on in 2021. See you next time!