Lately, I’ve been trying to catch up on some of the hottest fantasy novels of the year. When I say lately, I mean over the last several years, as it’s taken me forever lately to finish a book. What that means is that I’m currently 2/3 of the way through the Mistborn trilogy, which I heartily recommend. Sanderson is a wonderful author with an astute grasp of characterization and turning tropes on their head.
I’ve also been reading the Cycle of Galand series by Edward W. Robertson. He’s a self-published author (I think), and his work is delicious. Dante and Blays make an entertaining duo. I’ve enjoyed following their journeys and adventures, though I missed the original Cycle of Arawn. What I treasure about Robertson’s writing is how he’s able to combine adventure stories with an element of puzzle-solving. Each story has at least one central problem which requires outside-of-the-box thinking to solve. Sometimes it’s simple battle tactics, other times it’s something related to the unique magical system he’s created. Right now, I’m on book three of the series “The Wound of the World.”
Alex Marshall is the pseudonym for another author I hadn’t read previously (Jesse Bullington). His “Crown for Cold Silver” stretches the limits of traditional European-based fantasy by including influences from Vedic myth, as well as offering true gender diversity in an empowering way. His world-building is astounding, and I can’t wait to read part two of his trilogy, which is only ten years newer than Mistborn. I told you I’m taking a long time to finish books.
“The Ten Thousand Doors of January” did not take me long to read at all. I only wish I’d picked it up sooner. Alix Harrow‘s stunning portal fantasy transports the reader (sorry, couldn’t resist) to a world where anything can happen. Or rather, it takes the protagonist, a woman of color, on a journey far from the bounds of her racist, elitist 19th century society to worlds where witch-queens rule, panther-women stalk, and vampires lurk. Some worlds are closer than she thinks. It’s beautiful. I nearly cried near the end. (Don’t worry, there is a happy ending.)
As writers, we need to fill the well occasionally. Sometimes that means reading The Metabarons. Sometimes that means catching up on well-written fantasy by some of the greatest masters on Earth.