After all the reflection of 2010 I though it was high time I gave a rundown of all the books I'm excited for in 2011. This list deals specifically with Fantasy and Cross Genre novels as my Sci-Fi and Steampunk list will be in another list per the style of last years Looking Forward pieces. This list includes not only highly anticipated series continuations, but new series and debut authors I think have a chance of writing something memorable in the genre based off what sometime little information that is available.
This Fantasy debut made some decent waves in the UK when it was release this year and we'll finally be able to get it in the US right after New Year.
Ash is a member of an elite group of assassins, the Roshun, who offer protection through the threat of vendetta. Forced by his ailing health to take on an apprentice, he chooses Nico, a young man living in the besieged city of Bar-Khos. At the time, Nico is hungry, desperate, and alone in a city that finds itself teetering on the brink.
When the Holy Matriarch’s son deliberately murders a woman under the protection of the Roshun; he forces the sect to seek his life in retribution. As Ash and his young apprentice set out to fulfill the Roshun orders, their journey takes them into the heart of the conflict between the Empire and the Free Ports…into bloodshed and death.
They say Black Dow's killed more men than winter, and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbour, is not about to stand smiling by while he claws his way any higher. The orders have been given and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they've brought a lot of sharpened metal with them. Bremer dan Gorst, disgraced master swordsman, has sworn to reclaim his stolen honour on the battlefield. Obsessed with redemption and addicted to violence, he's far past caring how much blood gets spilled in the attempt. Even if it's his own. Prince Calder isn't interested in honour, and still less in getting himself killed. All he wants is power, and he'll tell any lie, use any trick, and betray any friend to get it. Just as long as he doesn't have to fight for it himself. Curnden Craw, the last honest man in the North, has gained nothing from a life of warfare but swollen knees and frayed nerves. He hardly even cares who wins any more, he just wants to do the right thing. But can he even tell what that is with the world burning down around him? Over three bloody days of battle, the fate of the North will be decided. But with both sides riddled by intrigues, follies, feuds and petty jealousies, it is unlikely to be the noblest hearts, or even the strongest arms that prevail. Three men. One battle. No Heroes.
Never Knew Another by J.M. McDermott | February 2011, Night Shade
This was one I was immediately drawn to because of the stellar cover.
J. M. McDermott delivers the stunning new fantasy novel, Never Knew Another -- a sweeping fantasy novel that revels in the small details of life.
Fugitive Rachel Nolander is a newcomer the city of Dogsland, where the rich throw parties and the poor just do whatever they can to scrape by. Supported by her brother Djoss, she hides out in their squalid apartment, living in fear that someday, someone will find out that she is the child of a demon. Corporal Jona Lord Joni is a demon's child too, but instead of living in fear, he keeps his secret and goes about his life as a cocky, self-assured man of the law. Never Knew Another is the story of how these two outcasts meet.
Rothfuss's WMF is one of the most highly anticipated Fantasy sequels of recent memory and will finally be here in few short months. Day two of Qvothe's story will finally unfold, but hold long until everyone demands day 3?
My name is Kvothe. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me... So begins the tale of a hero told from his own point of view—a story unequalled in fantasy literature.
Black Halo by Sam Sykes | March 22, Pyr
Tome of the Undergates was a rocky journey, but there is something about it that draws me back in. Could be it reminds me of all the in-fighting if RPGing of the past along with some nice touches with a very different Fantasy world.
The Tome of the Undergates has been recovered, and the gates of hell remain closed. Lenk and his five companions set sail to bring the accursed relic away from the demonic reach of Ulbecetonth, the Kraken Queen. But after weeks at sea, tensions amidst the adventurers are rising. Their troubles are only beginning when their ship crashes upon an island made of the bones left behind from a war long dead. They soon find out that the reach of Ulbecetonth is longer than hell can hold.
Another UK hit will come across the pond and this time it involved werewolves and Norse mythology. That's a double win on my sheet.
The Viking king Authun leads his men on a raid against an Anglo-Saxon village. Men and women are killed indiscriminately, but Authun demands that no child be touched. He is acting on prophecy—a prophecy that tells him that the Saxons have stolen a child from the gods. If Authun, in turn, takes the child and raises him as an heir, the child will lead his people to glory.
But Authun discovers not one child, but twin baby boys. After ensuring that his faithful warriors, witnesses to what has happened, die during the raid, Authun takes the children and their mother home, back to the witches who live on the troll wall. And he places his destiny in their hands.
So begins a stunning multivolume fantasy epic that will take a werewolf from his beginnings as the heir to a brutal Viking king down through the ages. It is a journey that will see him hunt for his lost love through centuries and lives, and see the endless battle between the wolf, Odin, and Loki, the eternal trickster, spill over into countless bloody conflicts from our history and our lives.
This is the myth of the werewolf as it has never been told before and marks the beginning of an extraordinary new fantasy series.
Bullington was one of the most original voices to come out of 2009 with The Sad Tale of the Brother Grossbart and it looks as though he is here to stay as his second novel comes out early next year and he has been signed for a third novel Hook and Cod. But first we'll have The Enterprise of Death to sink out teeth into.
As the witch-pyres of the Spanish Inquisition blanket Renaissance Europe in a moral haze, a young African slave finds herself the unwilling apprentice of an ancient necromancer. Unfortunately, quitting his company proves even more hazardous than remaining his pupil when she is afflicted with a terrible curse. Yet salvation may lie in a mysterious tome her tutor has hidden somewhere on the war-torn continent.
She sets out on a seemingly impossible journey to find the book, never suspecting her fate is tied to three strangers: the artist Niklaus Manuel Deutsch, the alchemist Dr. Paracelsus, and a gun-slinging Dutch mercenary. As Manuel paints her macabre story on canvas, plank, and church wall, the apprentice becomes increasingly aware of the great dangers that surround her. She realizes she must revisit the fell necromancy of her childhood – or death will be the least of her concerns.
Bledsoe's Eddie LaCrosse series is still going strong. I was a bit surprised to see the new release moved from a hardcover to a paperback as well as a change in the direction of the cover art, but it seems fitting for this pulpy Fantasy adventure.
Murder, betrayal, and magic--just another day on the job for Eddie LaCrosse. Freelance sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse is in the wrong place at the wrong time while conducting an undercover investigation on the island kingdom of Grand Bruan. When a poisoned apple kills a member of the queen's personal guard, Eddie becomes the prime suspect in the murder. He must do some fast talking to keep his head attached to his shoulders. While trying to clear his name and find the real killer, Eddie becomes embroiled in a nasty political scandal. Someone is trying to ruin Queen Jennifer and doesn't care who is killed along the way.The more Eddie digs, the more twisted the lies become, until Eddie finds himself caught between two opposing armies. The fate of the entire kingdom lies in his hands.
The first in a new series called A Tale of the Kin. Looks to be very much in the vein of Brent Weeks so might be worth a look.
Drothe has been a member of the Kin for years, rubbing elbows with thieves and murderers in the employ of a crime lord while smuggling relics on the side. But when an ancient book falls into his hands, Drothe finds himself in possession of a relic capable of bringing down emperors-a relic everyone in the underworld would kill to obtain.
Abraham is turning his highly capable skills to a more traditional Epic Fantasy series after The Long Price Quartet.
Summer is the season of war in the Free Cities.
Marcus wants to get out before the fighting starts. His hero days are behind him and simple caravan duty is better than getting pressed into service by the local gentry. Even a small war can get you killed. But a captain needs men to lead -- and his have been summarily arrested and recruited for their swords.
Cithrin has a job to do -- move the wealth of a nation across a war zone. An orphan raised by the bank, she is their last hope of keeping the bank's wealth out of the hands of the invaders. But she's just a girl and knows little of caravans, war, and danger. She knows money and she knows secrets, but will that be enough to save her in the coming months?
Geder, the only son of a noble house is more interested in philosophy than swordplay. He is a poor excuse for a soldier and little more than a pawn in these games of war. But not even he knows what he will become of the fires of battle. Hero or villain? Small men have achieved greater things and Geder is no small man.
Falling pebbles can start a landslide. What should have been a small summer spat between gentlemen is spiraling out of control. Dark forces are at work, fanning the flames that will sweep the entire region onto The Dragon's Path -- the path of war.
A new Epic Fantasy debut from what could be a huge series. The cover took my breath away completely and Orullian is doing something interesting by releasing short stories placed in the world long before the story takes place. The first is already up at Tor.com.
The gods, makers of worlds, seek to create balance—between matter and energy; and between mortals who strive toward the transcendent, and the natural perils they must tame or overcome. But one of the gods fashions a world filled with hellish creatures far too powerful to allow balance; he is condemned to live for eternity with his most hateful creations in that world’s distant Bourne, restrained by a magical veil kept vital by the power of song.
Millennia pass, awareness of the hidden danger fades to legend, and both song and veil weaken. And the most remote cities are laid waste by fell, nightmarish troops escaped from the Bourne. Some people dismiss the attacks as mere rumor. Instead of standing against the real threat, they persecute those with the knowledge, magic and power to fight these abominations, denying the inevitability of war and annihilation. And the evil from the Bourne swells…
The troubles of the world seem far from the Hollows where Tahn Junell struggles to remember his lost childhood and to understand words he feels compelled to utter each time he draws his bow. Trouble arrives when two strangers—an enigmatic man wearing the sigil of the feared Order of Sheason and a beautiful woman of the legendary Far—come, to take Tahn, his sister and his two best friends on a dangerous, secret journey. Tahn knows neither why nor where they will go. He knows only that terrible forces have been unleashed upon mankind and he has been called to stand up and face that which most daunts him—his own forgotten secrets and the darkness that would destroy him and his world.
The war with the Wasp Empire has ended in a bitter stalemate, and Collegium has nothing to show for it but wounded veterans. Cheerwell Maker finds herself crippled in ways no doctor can mend, haunted by ghosts of the past that she cannot appease, seeking for meaning in a city that no longer seems like home. The Empress Seda is regaining control over those imperial cities who refused to bow the knee to her, but she draws her power from something more sinister than mere armies and war machines. Only her consort, the former spymaster Thalric, knows the truth, and now the assassins are coming and he finds his life and his loyalties under threat yet again. Out past the desert of the Nem the ancient city of Khanaphes awaits them both, with a terrible secret entombed beneath its stones...
Three generations ago Captain Vidar¬ian Rulorat’s great-grandfather gave up an imperial commission to com¬mit social catastrophe by marrying a fire priestess. For love, he unwittingly doomed his family to gen¬erations of a rare genetic disease that follows fami¬lies who cross elemental boundaries. Now Vidar¬ian, the last surviving member of the Rulorat family, struggles to uphold his family legacy and finds himself chained to a task as a result of the bride price his great-grandfather paid: the Breakwater Agreement, a seventy-year-old alliance between his family and the High Temple of Kara’zul, domain of the fire priestesses.
The priestess Endera has called upon Vidarian to fulfill his family’s obligation by transporting a young fire priestess named Ariadel to a water temple far to the south, through dangerous pirate-controlled territory. A journey perilous in the best of conditions is made more so by their pursuers: rogue telepathic magic-users called the Vkortha who will stop at nothing to recover Ariadel, who has wit-nessed their forbidden rites.
Together, Vidarian and Ariadel will navigate more than treacherous waters: imperial intrigue, a world that has been slowly losing its magic for genera¬tions, secrets that the priestesshoods have kept for longer, the indifference of their elemental goddesses, gryphons—once thought mythical—now returning to the world, and their own labyrinthine family legacies. Vidarian finds himself at the intersection not only of the world’s most volatile elements, but of colliding universes, and the ancient and alien powers that lurk between them.
The Goblin Corps by Ari Marmell | July 26, Pyr
I discussed this about a month back. There is not enough humor in Fantasy. All too often things get bogged down in politics so I'm glad to see something that takes a different route with a point of view we seldom see.
Morthûl, the dreaded Charnel King, has failed.
Centuries of plotting from the heart of the Iron Keep, deep within the dark lands of Kirol Syrreth—all for naught. Foiled at the last by the bumbling efforts of a laughable band of so-called heroes, brainless and over-muscled cretins without sense enough to recog¬nize a hopeless cause when they take it on. Machina¬tions developed over generations, schemes intended to deliver the world into the Dark Lord’s hands, now devastated beyond salvation. But the so-called forces of Light have paid for their meddling with the life of Princess Amalia, the only child of the royal family of Shauntille.
Now, as winter solidifies its icy grip on the passes of the Brimstone Mountains, disturbing news has reached the court of Morthûl. King Dororam, en¬raged by the murder of his only child—and accom-panied by that same group of delusional upstart “he¬roes”—is assembling all the Allied Kingdoms, fielding an army unlike any seen before. The armies of Kirol Syrreth muster to meet the attack that is sure to come as soon as the snows have melted from the mountain paths, but their numbers are sorely depleted. Still, af¬ter uncounted centuries of survival, the Dark Lord isn’t about to go down without a fight, particularly in battle against a mortal! No, the Charnel King still has a few tricks up his putrid and tattered sleeves, and the only thing that can defeat him now . . . may just be the inhu¬man soldiers on whom he’s pinned his last hopes
Welcome to the Goblin Corps. May the best man lose.
“The Goblin Corps is both very dark and extremely humorous. Whereas I’ve already written novels about some fairly gray antiheroes, the protagonists of Goblin Corps are actually the villains. The novel follows a squad of goblin soldiers—an orc, a troll, and so on—during what might be the final days of an evil empire facing attack from the combined forces of humanity and the other “good” races. My previous novels have a thorough mix of sarcasm, tongue-in-cheek humor, and brutal violence—but this book takes both of those even further. As I said, we’re following the villains here.
This is getting touted as the next big thing in Fantasy as major deals were struck in both the US and UK. The series is known as the Broken Empire Trilogy and is being ptiched as "introducing a compelling new anti-hero and his ultra-violent world, pitched as the best of Brent Weeks and George Martin." Time will only tell if it can live up to that. One surprising thing was the slim page count given the comparisons to Martin and Weeks both known for thick books. Both the US and UK editions are under 400 pages.
"Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies in my mother's tomb. Now I have many brothers, quick with knife and sword, and as evil as you please. We ride this broken empire and loot its corpse. They say these are violent times, the end of days when the dead roam and monsters haunt the night. All that's true enough, but there's something worse out there, in the dark. Much worse."Once a privileged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg Ancrath has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming, immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities. The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares everywhere. Jorg's bleak past has set him beyond fear of any man, living or dead, but there is still one thing that puts a chill in him. Returning to his father's castle Jorg must confront horrors from his childhood and carve himself a future with all hands turned against him.The thorns taught him a lesson in blood...
The Prince of Thorns is the first volume in a powerful new epic fantasy trilogy, original, absorbing and challenging. Mark Lawrence’s debut novel tells a tale of blood and treachery, magic and brotherhood and paints a compelling and brutal, sometimes beautiful, picture of an exceptional boy on his journey toward manhood and the throne.
Dorana is a country ruled by a rigid class system based upon magical aptitude and the right pedigree. While all Doranens have mage ability, some are more blessed than others.
Morgan is one of the powerful ruling elite, fanatically devoted to enforcing the regulations and maintaining the purity of mage bloodlines. When he falls in love with Barl, a woman of inferior breeding who possesses astonishing mage powers, he sets himself upon a dangerous course.
A terrible mage war erupts when Morgan becomes unstoppable, driving Barl to lead a small pack of survivors into the distant mountains. When they arrive, their welcome is not what they expected, and Barl must embark upon a desperate course to protect and preserve her people until they may be needed once again...
Francesca DeVega is a successful healer in the city of Avel, wielding magical text to close wounds and disspell curses, but her life is thrown into chaos when a dead patient suddenly sits up and tells her to run. Now Francesca is in the middle of a game she doesn’t understand, one that ties her to the notorious rogue wizard, Nicodemus Weal, and brings her face to face with demons, demigods, and a man she thought she’d never see again.
It has been ten years since Nicodemus Weal escaped the Starhaven Academy, where he was considered disabled and useless, where he battled the demon who stole his birthright and killed his friends. Unable to use the magical languages of his own people, Nico has honed his skills in the dark language of the kobolds, readying himself for his next encounter with the demon. But there are complications: his mentor suffers from an incurable curse, his half-sister’s agents are hunting him, and he’s still not sure what part Francesca DeVega will play. He certainly doesn't know what to make of Francesca herself…
Introducing new twists to the unique magical system of Spellwright and uncovering more sinister dangers, Spellbound is sure to please Blake Charlton’s fans and earn him new ones.
Grossman's The Magicians was one of the most surprising Fantasies of 2009 and and this is one of my most anticipated titles for 2011. It seems to still be on schedule, but the formal release date has not been announced.
The new book picks up with protagonist Quentin Coldwater five years after the original—at the end of The Magicians Coldwater is 23—when he and his friends have become royalty in the fantasy world of Fillory. Coldwater, who is dealing with the challenges of being a member of the ruling class, embarks on a dark quest in the novel, which Bennett called “Voyage of the Dawn Treader [book 5 in the Chronicles of Narnia] as rewritten by Raymond Chandler.”
Jasper Fforde's exuberant return to the fantastical BookWorld opens during a time of great unrest. All-out Genre war is rumbling, and the BookWorld desperately needs a heroine like Thursday Next. But with the real Thursday apparently retired to the Realworld, the Council of Genres turns to the written Thursday.
The Council wants her to pretend to be the real Thursday and travel as a peacekeeping emissary to the warring factions. A trip up the mighty Metaphoric River beckons-a trip that will reveal a fiendish plot that threatens the very fabric of the BookWorld itself.
Once again New York Times bestselling author Jasper Fforde has a field day gleefully blending satire, romance, and thriller with literary allusions galore in a fantastic adventure through the landscape of a frisky and fertile imagination. Fans will rejoice that their favorite character in the Fforde universe is back.
City of Hope and Despair by Ian Whates | March 29, Angry Robot
A SECOND VISIT TO THAIBURLEY: THE CITY OF DREAMS, THE FABLED CITY OF A HUNDRED ROWS.
Dark forces are gathering in the shadowy depths, and the whole city is under threat. The former street-nick, Tom, embarks on a journey to discover the source of the great river Thair, said to be the ultimate power behind all of Thaiburley. Accompanying him are the assassin Dewar and the young Thaistess Mildra. It soon becomes evident that their journey has more significance than any of them realise, as past secrets catch up with them and unknown adversaries hunt them... to the death!
File Under: Fantasy [ Towering City | Ancient Secrets | Assassins & Gods | Soul Thief! ]
my year end best of list to say that I want to reading the third volume is something of an understatement. This volume also returns to Villjamur, which I like better as a setting than Villiren. Yes, I missed the ancient dank.
A new and corrupt Emperor seeks to rebuild the ancient structures of Villjamur to give the people of the city hope in the face of great upheaval and an oppressing ice age. But when a stranger called Shalev arrives, empowering a militant underground movement, crime and terror becomes rampant. The Inquisition is always one step behind, and military resources are spread thinly across the Empire. So Emperor Urtica calls upon cultists to help construct a group to eliminate those involved with the uprising, and calm the populace. But there’s more to The Villjamur Knights than just phenomenal skills and abilities – each have a secret that, if exposed, could destroy everything they represent.
Investigator Fulcrom of the Villjamur Inquisition is given the unenviable task of managing the Knights’, but his own skills are tested when a mysterious priest, who has travelled from beyond the fringes of the Empire, seeks his help. The priest’s existence threatens the church, and his quest promises to unweave the fabric of the world. And in a distant corner of the Empire, the enigmatic cultist Dartun Súr steps back into this world, having witnessed horrors beyond his imagination. Broken, altered, he and the remnants of his cultist order are heading back to Villjamur. And all eyes turn to the Sanctuary City, for Villjamur’s ancient legends are about to be shattered…
The Iron Jackal by Chris Wooding | August 18, Gollancz
The third book of the Ketty Jay should see the light sometime this year, but the August date may slip as Wooding scraped his first draft only to start anew. Either way I'll need my fix of adventure in the sky with a crew that has become like family.
I was chagrined when I heard this sequel to the fabulous Bitter Seeds was pushed from February to October because they're trying to establish the first book a bit more and make sure people find it since it is much a melting pot of genres: Superheros, Strange Science, and Dark Magic.. Understandable, but still disappointed. Either way I'll be there. Also, the mass market version of Bitter Seeds comes out the month prior.
The penultimate novel in the Psalms of Isaak series is up in the air slightly as Scholes admitted some personal issues have slowed him down a little, but we will see it hopefully in 2011.
Huso's sophomore effort after the resounding The Last Page is one of those books I'd nearly trade my soul to read. Word on the street is it is done and should be out later in 2011.
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REVIEW | Spellwright by Blake Charlton