ARTICLE: The Top Twenty Fantasy Books I Have Read This Year (2019)

Hi, all. Apologies I haven’t been that active recently. My laptop decided to give up the ghost so I’ve been in internet no man’s land. As I have a new computer I thought I would catch up and it is that time of year for me to list my favourite reads. Everyone loves a good list. This time I am going to do it slightly different. As the standard of books I have read in 2019 has been exceptionally high, I’m not going to order from 20 down to 1. I’m going to “sell out” and state that 20-6 are as good as equal and I will list my final 5 in order of which were my favourites. This post is limited to one entry per author and I have read quite a few great books that didn’t even make the list.

David Wragg – The Black Hawks
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I said: “The Black Hawks is an extraordinary debut that is as humorous as it is dark.”
(Full Review)

Tom Lloyd – Knight of Stars
Knight of Stars (The God Fragments, #3)
I said: “From what I’ve read of Lloyd’s work, he’s one of the finest writers of stunning, action-focused fantasy in the world.”
(Full Review)

James Islington – The Light of All That Falls
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Note: I’m currently halfway through reading the third entry of The Licanius Trilogy. It seems excellent and will definitely make my top twenty. It may yet find a place in the top-5 but I will update that when I have finished the novel.

Andrzej Sapkowski – Season of Storms
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I said: “Season of Storms features demon hunts, corrupted magic, uncertainty over monarchy ascension, and a battle with a gigantic sea monster… I devoured it in 48-hours and loved being back in the world of The Witcher.”
(Full Review)

Melissa Caruso – The Unbound Empire
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I said: “A phenomenally well-written, engrossing political fantasy series with fine dialogue throughout. Swords and Fire is a series that many more people should add to their reading list.”
(Full Review)

John Gwynne – A Time of Blood
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I said: “Looking at the consistent, high quality of Gwynne’s outings, I imagine when he writes he has a mantra that states ‘anything below excellent is not good enough.'”
(Full Review)

Tachi Onyebuchi – Riot Baby
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I said: “A thrilling, intense, nail-biting read that transcends genre and has an ending of biblical proportions.”
(Full Review)

Adrian Tchaikovsky – Children of Time
I said: “When I finished reading this story the first thought I had upon reflection was that there is no way I could be an author because I could never write anything this good so what would be the point? It’s one of the best science fiction books I’ve ever read.”
(Full Review)

Mark Lawrence – The Girl and the Stars
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I said: “This is a exceptional, haunting, claustrophobic take on fantasy that presents some of Lawrence’s finest storytelling.”
(Full Review)

Justin Call – Master of Sorrows
I said: “Exquisite… This novel features tragic and sad deaths, utter betrayals, twisty-turny-twisty-turns, phenomenal weapons, and well depicted disabled individuals.”
(Full Review)

Brian D. Anderson – The Bard’s Blade
I said: “Magic, music, assassinations, and betrayal . . . a successful mix of some of the finest elements of James Islington’s The Shadow of What Was Lost, Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind, and Anderson’s own Behind the Vale . . . everything fans of epic fantasy will be looking for on their next big adventure. Highly recommended.”
(Full Review)

Brian Naslund – Blood of the Exile
Blood of an Exile (Dragons of Terra, #1)
I said: “Blood of an Exile is a thrilling, action-packed rollercoaster ride of a dark fantasy debut and I devoured the four hundred plus pages in three days . . . a darkly-tinged mixture of John Gwynne’s―Of Blood and Bone and Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher Saga.”
(Full Review)

Rob J. Hayes – Never Die
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I said: “Hayes is releasing books at a remarkable rate and I’ve yet to find a book of his that I haven’t enjoyed… The ending was intense and great to read.”
(Full Review)

Ed McDonald – Crowfall
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I said: “An engaging and thrilling final chapter to an excellent dark fantasy trilogy . . . when fans of dark fantasy think of standout characters in the genre, Galharrow is a name that will be uttered alongside Jorg, Geralt, and Locke Lamora.”
(Full Review)

Peter McLean – Priest of Lies
I said: “Priest of Lies is stunning low fantasy by an author who is on top of his game.”
(Full Review)

TOP 5…

5) Evan Winter – The Rage of Dragons
I said: “The Rage of Dragons is an excellent high-octane thrill ride of a fantasy debut that I devoured in one day.”
(Full Review)

4) Ian C. Esslemont – Kellanved’s Reach
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I said: “The world created is incomparable and the pinnacle of not just fantasy but current literature in general. I had to drop everything and start this immediately.”
(Full Review)

3) R. F. Kuang – The Dragon Republic
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I said: “A phenomenal follow-up to what was one of my highest rated fantasy books of 2018, and I think this exceeds the debut in almost every way.”
(Full Review)

2) Peter Newman – The Ruthless
I said: “One of the most developed, unique, and thrilling fantasy series currently being written. This is highly recommended to all grimdark and dark fantasy readers, and anyone who enjoys political or horror-tinged fantasy drama.”
(Full Review)

1) Robin Hobb – Assassin’s Fate
Note: I didn’t review any of The Fitz and the Fool trilogy. I was so engrossed that I just wanted to read and didn’t want any sort of distractions. The Realm of the Elderlings is one of my top two fantasy series of all time. All I had to say was “Incredible. Fitz, Fool, Nighteyes… I will love you forever.”




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