Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2014 Top 10 Most Anticipated

I should probably complete a best of 2013 list before an anticipated 2014 book list however there were so many to choose from that I have been struggling with the ranking. I am considering just a top 10 with no ranking. My 2014 top 10 anticipated books list is not much easier. There are a ton of amazing looking books coming out this year! I have nearly 50 marked on my Goodreads Fantasy Not Yet Released Shelf. Narrowing it down to 2014 30 Most Anticipated was difficult enough. That being said, here goes.

1) Prince of Fools (The Red Queen's War #1)

Prince of Fools (The Red Queen’s War, #1)
Anyone who knows me or has read this blog should be aware by now that The Broken Empire (Prince of Thorns) is my favorite series and Mark Lawrence is my favorite author. The series ended with Emperor of Thorns, which was the highlight of my year in books. He's back with a brand new trilogy, set in the same world. From the Goodreads blurb-

The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire dread her like no other. For all her reign, she has fought the long war, contested in secret, against the powers that stand behind nations, for higher stakes than land or gold. Her greatest weapon is The Silent Sister—unseen by most and unspoken of by all.

The Red Queen’s grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth—drinker, gambler, seducer of women—is one who can see The Silent Sister. Tenth in line for the throne and content with his role as a minor royal, he pretends that the hideous crone is not there. But war is coming. Witnesses claim an undead army is on the march, and the Red Queen has called on her family to defend the realm. Jal thinks it’s all a rumor—nothing that will affect him—but he is wrong.

After escaping a death trap set by the Silent Sister, Jal finds his fate magically intertwined with a fierce Norse warrior. As the two undertake a journey across the Empire to undo the spell, encountering grave dangers, willing women, and an upstart prince named Jorg Ancrath along the way, Jalan gradually catches a glimmer of the truth: he and the Norseman are but pieces in a game, part of a series of moves in the long war—and the Red Queen controls the board.
I have no doubt this will live up to expectations, which from what I have seen, are insanely high.

2) Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archives #2)

Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2)The Way of Kings, book 1, was a highlight of my reading year. The first 8 chapters are released and there is already a lot of discussion about this book. It is also on many 2014 lists as the first was on many "best of" lists the year it came out. Not grimdark, but I still loved it. The writing, lore, characters, plot, and magic were all phenomenal. Even at over 1000 pages, it didn't seem overly long. Here's the Blurb-

In the first volume, we were introduced to the remarkable world of Roshar, a world both alien and magical, where gigantic hurricane-like storms scour the surface every few days and life has adapted accordingly. Roshar is shared by humans and the enigmatic, humanoid Parshendi, with whom they are at war. Among those caught up in the conflict are Highprince Dalinar Kholin, who leads the human armies; his neice Jasnah, a renowned scholar; her student Shallan, a brilliant but troubled young woman; and Kaladin, a military slave who, by the book’s end, was beginning to become the first magically endowed Knight Radiant in centuries.
In Words of Radiance their intertwined stories will continue and, as Sanderson fans have come to expect, develop in unexpected, wonderfully surprising directions. The war with the Parshendi will move into a new, dangerous phase, as Dalinar leads the human armies deep into the heart of the Shattered Plains in a bold attempt to finally end it. Shallan will come along, hoping to find the legendary, perhaps mythical, city of Urithuru, which Jasnah believes holds a secret vital to mankind’s survival on Roshar. The Parshendi take a dangerous step to strengthen themselves for the human challenge, risking the return of the fearsome Voidbringers of old. To deal with it all, Kaladin must learn how to fulfill his new role, while mastering the powers of a Windrunner
3) The Thorn of Emberlain (Gentleman Bastards #4)

No cover but all 3 previous covers were beautiful. This book is promised for late 2014 (November) however many think it won't come out because of past delays with Scott Lynch's books. I do. His first book, The Lies of Locke Lamora, was a huge success and a personal favorite. I plan a reread soon. The next book, Red Seas Under Red Skies was a bit of a letdown for me but I plan to try it again. The Republic of Thieves, the third in the series was one of my top 10 of the year, and I reviewed it here Review. Scott Lynch is one of the most imaginative a best writers in fantasy today. From Goodreads, a very short description of this book-

A kingdom torn by civil war.

A breakaway republic, outnumbered on all fronts.

Two thieves caught between avarice and admiration.

Things change forever.
4)The Crimson Campaign (The Powder Mage Book #2) 

The Crimson Campaign (The Powder Mage, #2)
Brian McClellan's debut book, considered "flintlock" or "gunpowder" fantasy has made most 2013 top 10's I have seen. I read it early and was blown away. I have been anticipating book 2 since I was halfway through book 1. Here's the description-
'The hounds at our heels will soon know we are lions' Tamas's invasion of Kez ends in disaster when a Kez counter-offensive leaves him cut off behind enemy lines with only a fraction of his army, no supplies, and no hope of reinforcements. Drastically outnumbered and pursued by the enemy's best, he must lead his men on a reckless march through northern Kez to safety, and back over the mountains so that he can defend his country from an angry god. In Adro, Inspector Adamat only wants to rescue his wife. To do so he must track down and confront the evil Lord Vetas. He has questions for Vetas concerning his enigmatic master, but the answers might come too quickly. With Tamas and his powder cabal presumed dead, Taniel Two-shot finds himself alongside the god-chef Mihali as the last line of defence against Kresimir's advancing army. Tamas's generals bicker among themselves, the brigades lose ground every day beneath the Kez onslaught, and Kresimir wants the head of the man who shot him in the eye.
5) Half a King (Untitled Trilogy #1)

Half a King
Normally, Joe Abercrombie would be number 2 on this list. I have read 4 of his 6 books and loved them all. However, this book is geared at younger readers and while I have had some good experiences with YA books, I don't read many these days. Because Joe Abercrombie is such a good writer and storyteller I expect I will enjoy this book a lot, despite its YA designation. The description has me very interested as well-

“I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

The deceived will become the deceiver.

Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

The betrayed will become the betrayer.

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

Will the usurped become the usurper?

But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.

6) The White Towers (The Rage of Kings #2)

The White TowersAndy Remic, author of Kell's Legend, (The Clockwork Vampire trilogy) which is one of the strongest grimdark series available and one I highly recommend, released the first of 2 books in a new series at the end of 2013. I loved it! I wrote a review here Review. Book 2 looks even better!

Vagandrak is broken, and a new threat has arisen that threatens to defeat even the mighty Iron Wolves.
The twisted, deviant Elf Rats have gathered in the toxic realm beyond the White Lion Mountains… swiftly they invade the troubled land of Vagandrak, killing for profit and pleasure.
The now-disgraced Iron Wolves are the realm’s only hope, but there’s a problem: they’ve been sentenced to death by the insane King Yoon for the dark sorcery in their blood.
In the mountains of Zalazar lie the White Towers, pillars of legend said to contain the Heart of the Elves. The Iron Wolves must journey north to steal the Heart, and purify the evil in the land, but the land belongs to the Elves – and they won’t give it up without a fight!
 7) Sword of the North (Grim Company #2)

Sword of the North (The Grim Company, #2)Luke Scull's debut, The Grim Company, was an excellent grimdark book, one many are talking about and received high praise. I wish I saw this work higher on charts and on more lists though! Goodreads description says-
In The Grim Company, Luke Scull introduced a formidable and forbidding band of anti-heroes battling against ruthless Magelords and monstrous terrors. The adventure continues as the company—now broken—face new dangers on personal quests…. As Davarus Cole and his former companions were quick to discover, the White Lady’s victorious liberation of Dorminia has not resulted in the freedom they once imagined. Anyone perceived as a threat has been seized and imprisoned—or exiled to darker regions—leaving the White Lady’s rule unchallenged and absolute. But the White Lady would be wiser not to spurn her former supporters: Eremul the Halfmage has learned of a race of immortals known as the Fade, and if he cannot convince the White Lady of their existence, all of humanity will be in danger. Far to the north, Brodar Kayne and Jerek the Wolf continue their odyssey to the High Fangs only to find themselves caught in a war between a demon horde and their enemy of old, the Shaman. And in the wondrous city of Thelassa, Sasha must overcome demons of her own.
8) The Shadow Throne (The Shadow Campaigns #2)

The Shadow Throne (The Shadow Campaigns, #2) The first book I read this year was The Thousand Names, book 1 of the series, and although in the style of Brian McClellan's Powder Mage books it's very different and just as good. So well written and such a highly imagined world and excellent cast of characters made for a great read. Book 2 looks like this-

Anyone can plot a coup or fire an assassin’s bullet. But in a world of muskets and magic, it takes considerably more to seize the throne.
The ailing King of the Vordan lies on his deathbed. When he dies, his daughter, Raesinia Orboan, will become the first Queen Regnant in centuries—and a ripe target for the ambitious men who seek to control her. The most dangerous of these is Duke Orlanko, Minister of Information and master of the secret police. Having meticulously silenced his adversaries through intimidation, imprisonment, and execution, Orlanko is the most feared man in the kingdom.
And he knows an arcane secret that puts Raesinia completely at his mercy.
Exposure would mean ruin, but Raesinia is determined to find a way to break herself—and her country—out of Orlanko’s iron grip. She finds unlikely allies in the returning war hero Janus bet Vhalnich, fresh from a brilliant campaign in the colony of Khandar, and his loyal deputies, Captain Marcus d’Ivoire and Lieutenant Winter Ihernglass.
As Marcus and Winter struggle to find their places in the home they never thought they would see again, they help Janus and Raesinia set in motion events that could free Vordan from Orlanko’s influence—at the price of throwing the nation into chaos. But with the people suffering under the Duke’s tyranny, they intend to protect the kingdom with every power they can command, earthly or otherwise

9)The Blasted Lands

James A. Moore's book Seven Forges was great (See My Review) and one of my 2013 favorites. Recently, he shared a link (2 Free Short Stories) with me to 2 short stories in the same world and I look forward to reading them soon. This book hasn't been heavily publicized which is too bad because it's very good. I think with continued releases in this world, the book will get the praise it deserves. Unfortunately no cover art yet (the Seven Forges art was beautiful and a huge selling point for me) but here is the description.

The Empire of Fellein is in mourning. The Emperor is dead, and the armies of the empire have grown soft. Merros Dulver, their newly-appointed - and somewhat reluctant - commander, has been tasked with preparing them to fight the most savage enemy the world has yet seen.
Meanwhile, a perpetual storm ravages the Blasted Lands, and a new threat is about to arise - the Broken are coming, and with them only Death.

10) The Whispering Swarm (Sanctuary of the White Friars #1)

The Whispering Swarm (Sanctuary of the White Friars, #1)Michael Moorcock is one of my favorite authors and I believe he epitomizes grimdark. He is releasing his first new series in 10 years. I have never read a bad book by him. I'm very interested (I mention this book here 2 Huge Overlooks). Goodreads says-

Back in the Thirteenth Century, King Henry III granted a plot of land in the heart of London to an order of Friars known as the Carmelites. In return, they entered into a compact with God to guard a holy object. This sanctuary became a refuge for many of ill-repute, as the Friars cast no judgment and took in all who were in search of solace.
Known as Alsatia, it did not suffer like the rest of the world. No Plague affected it. No Great Fire burned it. No Blitz destroyed it. Within its walls lies a secret to existence – one that has been kept since the dawn of time – a bevy of creation, where reality and romance, life and death, imaginary and real share the same world.
One young man’s entrance into this realm sends a shockwave of chaos through time. What lies at the center of this sacred realm is threatened for the first time in human existence.

Honorable Mention-Blood Will Follow (Valhalla Saga #2)

Blood Will Follow (The Valhalla Saga, #2)Snorri Kristjannson's debut Swords of Good Men, was a great grimdark release last year. I truly enjoyed it. Still under most most peoples radar's, its an excellent read. It is structured a little differently but I found it to be a strength.

Ulfar Thormodsson and Audun Arngrimsson have won the battle for Stenvik, although at huge cost, for they have suffered much worse than heartbreak. They have lost the very thing that made them human: their mortality.
While Ulfar heads home, looking for the place where he thinks he will be safe, Audun runs south. But both men are about to discover that they can not run away from themselves.
King Olav might have been defeated outside the walls of Stenvik, but now Valgard leads him north, in search of the source of the Vikings’ power.
All the while there are those who watch and wait, biding their time, for there are secrets yet to be discovered…
Just Missed Honorable Mention-The Tower Lord (Raven's Shadow #2)
The first Raven's Shadow book Blood Song was truly very good. I especially like the main character. This book received a lot of press and garnered much hype, well deserved. However, I just liked the above books a tiny bit better.

Just a few more...

The City Stained Red-Sam Sykes
Son of the Morning-Mark Alder
Blood and Iron-John Sprunk
Twelve Kings in Sharakhai- Bradley Beaulieu
The Incorruptibles-John Jacob Horner (Praised by Mark Lawrence)
The Knight (High Kingdom #1)-Pierre Pevel
Traitor's Blade-Sebastien de Castell
The Path to Power- Karen Miller
The Fifth Season- N.K Jemisin
Unwrapped Sky-Rjuric Davidson

Well, that's all for now. I must stop. I could keep going on but I won't. I'm sure I missed some so perhaps there will be a mid-year update.

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