Best Epic Fantasy of 2015

Best Epic Fantasy of 2015

Epic Fantasy. Swords or magic? Anything is possible. There are lots of variations on this theme. It's no longer a knight on a quest for a golden chalice. The stories have gotten a lot in terms of complexity and character development. Below are my favorite Epic Fantasy book of 2015. Brain Staveley's debut, The Emperor's Blades,  featured last year also on the Best Epic Fantasy list. This was precisely one of those book that had everything that I mentioned above. It laid a solid foundation for the series, but this is just a start and no guarantee for a good series. With the sequel, Providence of Fire, did proof that Brian Staveley is a terrific author he used the foundation flawlessly in his sequel. There are some definite bold moves in the ending of the book that will pay on the third book. A Darker Shade of Magic was one of my most anticipated book of 2015. When I read V.E. Schwab's Viscous I knew she was destined to do great things and this is precisely what she does with A Darker Shade of Magic. This book has the wow factor. Engaging, intriguing and above all just very cool. Mark Lawrence. What have you done to the Epic Fantasy world? From the first book that he published, Prince of Thorns he has been changing the standards in Epic Fantasy. His writing skill are unique. The way that he builds story after story and with that one of the most interesting worlds that I came across next to that of Stephen King's The Dark Tower universe is just amazing. Read this guys books and you want nothing else. Next to Brain Staveley's debut, Sebastien de Castell also made a long lasting impression with his Greatcoats series last year. An amazing combination of Sword and Sorcery and knighthood. The story is not overly full of plot twists and turns but the ones that are present are like doors slapping close in your face, they will shock you awake. And I just love it when Gods walk among us mere mortals. And last there is the massive Blackguards Anthology. Herein there is a wealth of Epic Fantasy no one had dared to dream of. There is a wide diversity in the stories that feature in the anthology that only shows that this genre is far from dead yet. 
  • Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley, Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne #2
All that remains to be said is you must read Chroncile of the Unhewn Throne. Yes you must. I already said it after finishing The Emperor's Blades that Brian Staveley is on the right track and with The Providence of Fire he proves once again that he is the next big Epic Fantasy writer. There are some big names out their, George R.R. Martin, Brandon Sanderson and Steven Erikson to name a few, but they have to be careful. Brian Staveley might knock them of their place. And I do mean this seriously. The creativity and ideas that he has shown so far are fresh and inventive. There are some themes of the classic Epic Fantasy style, but the most is all new idea's. The Emperor's Blades focus on establishing the world; the basicsand with The Providence of Fire Brian Staveley deftly further builds his world and makes a bold move in the end. A move that when I look at Brian Staveley's writing career so far will be worked out in the finest details and will produce some shocking results to come. What are you waiting for? Get started in this amazing series! Now. 

read the full review here

  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Which brings me to the following conclusion: WOW! With A Darker Shade of Magic, V.E. Schwab has really out done herself. With Viscous last year and A Darker Shade of Magic, she is on a winning streak, these book are just plain awesome. V.E. Schwab knows how to write engaging and in this case multidimensional characters, how to construct interesting, appealing and shocking worlds and events to in the end produce an impressive book. A Darker Shade of Magic has this all and much more. This is one of the must reads for 2015. I don't say this very fast and often, but this is already one of my nominees for the best of list at the end of the year. Really you don't want to miss out on this book. 

Read the full review here

  • The Liar's Key by Mark Lawrence, Red Queens War #2
The Liar's Key is, just as with is predecessor Prince of Fools and the Broken E
mpire series, a tour de force. There are only a few authors who have really risen up in the last few years. Mark Lawrence is definitely one of them. The Liar's Key is an intricate story that shows elements of epic fantasy, science fiction and bit of horror every now and then. Mark Lawrence has set up this story very well in particular resolving some issues, giving a great background about what makes the world go round and of course reveals more about Jalan. Jorg was an amazing character, complex and dark, but Jalan is also something, he doesn't have the complexity yet of Jorg but is very well developed in other areas one of being a smartass to begin with. There were plenty of funny moments, the bankable advice was definitely one of my favorites. Once again Mark Lawrence has outdone himself. 

Read the full review here

  • Knight's Shadow by Sebastien de Castell, Greatcoats #2 
I have to give a hand once again to Sebastien de Castell. What he has shown in Knight's Shadow is just amazing. He has really outdone himself this time. Giving you a action packed book to begin with and slowly playing with you emotions. I already felt connected with Falcio and his Greatcoats, and when I got the the ending of the book, my emotions were torn. It's powerful stuff that Sebastien de Castell wrote in those few chapters. After these events I do see the ray of sunshine at the end of the tunnel for Tristia and it's new ruler but there is a lot of work to be done. However the title of the third book Tyrant's Throne , sounds rather grim as well... I know I probably will have to wait another year for the third book in the series but if I get such a high quality book once again it is definitely worth the wait. The Greatcoats series with Traitor's Blade and Knight's Shadow should be on every reading list. period.

Read the full review here

  • Blackguards: Tales of Assassins, Mercenaries, and Rogues by J.M. Martin (ed)
I only highlighted a few stories that you can find in Blackguards but trust me when I say that this anthology contains a lot of good stories. Every fantasy reader that picks up this anthology will know some of its writers and will perhaps like me also discover many new ones. Since the majority of the stories to take place in already established universes they are also readily inviting to pick up those series. 

The story layout was done in a way that in many cases the diversity was maintained but my note with Michael J. Sullivans and Paul S. Kemp's story do still stand. They are different stories but both feature two rowdy male protagonists. 

In short Blackguards is an tour de force anthology. You might think that the theme of the anthology might produce a quite narrow type of story but this a wrong assumption. Each author has written a different type of story with his own big and bold idea's. If you are a fantasy fan, make sure you don't forget to pick Blackguards up. 

Read the full review here

Comments

  1. There's another author who had his first novel published mid 2015 by the name of Scott Hawkins. It's called The Library at Mount Char. It has a similar style of Mark Lawrence of the anti hero that you love to hate but find yourself rooting for. It's hard to put down once started. Here's a link to a review for it.
    http://www.mybookishways.com/2015/06/a-chat-with-scott-hawkins-author-of-the-library-at-mount-char.html

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  2. By all rights, The Providence of Fire should have made my list as well, but I read an ARC of it last year. Knight's Shadow most definitely made the list, though, and was one of the strongest second books I have ever read from an author.

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