2020, a unique year in Earth history, had one silver lining for me. While I’ve had to wear a mask for most of this year and I’ve had some friends and family suffer from COVID-19, this year provided some great fantasy reads. And if there was ever a year I needed to escape through reading, 2020 was the one.
Something else about this crazy year I’ve become aware: I am mortal. While, as far as I know, I haven’t come down with COVID, I am not as young as I once was. The vaccine is now beginning to make the rounds, but I could still get it.
I’m not making light of this epidemic when I say this: I don’t have time to waste reading books I don’t want to finish. Or series of books. So, while I read a lot of fantasy, there’s so much more out there I want to get to. As a result, I’ve become more picky about finishing a book I’ve started if I lose interest. Gone are the days when I stick it out and finish a book until the end—even if I don’t like it.
So, below are fantasy novels I’ve read this year and whether or not I will continue reading books by these authors.
The Riyria Revelations
By Michael J. Sullivan
Books in this series: Theft of Swords; Rise of Empire; Heir of Novron
Thief Royce Melborn and mercenary Hadrian Blackwater hire themselves out as non-heroes who will hire themselves out for swashbuckling jobs around the land of Elan. They find themselves in the middle of all the political intrigues between the kingdoms. Think Game of Thrones but with a more humorous tone.
Will I continue reading this author? While I found the first two books in this series enjoyable, the third didn’t grab me as much as its predecessors–but it was still good. So will I continue to read this author? Yes. Sullivan has earned by trust with enjoyable storytelling and lovable characters. Down the road, I plan to read his other series set in this same “universe.”
Shades of Magic
By V. E. Schwab
Books in this series: A Darker Shade of Magic; A Gathering of Shadows; A Conjuring of Light
Kell travels between several different versions of London and, along with his newly acquired partner-in-crime, Delilah, find themselves fighting the dark magic seeping through the obliviated Black London.
Will I continue reading this author? You bet. I’ve only read the first book in this series and loved the world building and character interplay between Kell and Delilah. The first book, A Darker Shade of Magic, stands alone as a complete story, but I can’t wait to get to the other two in this trilogy. And who doesn’t love a good parallel world story?
The Divine Cities
By Robert Jackson Bennett
Books in this series: City of Stairs; City of Blades; City of Miracles
The island country of Saypuri once enslaved by its neighboring continent, now rules thanks to the destruction of the continent’s six gods. Saypuri spy Shara Komayd and her associates discover a plot to overthrown Saypuri with the remnant of magic left on the continent.
Will I continue reading this author? I finished all three books in this series and I have to say they’re probably my favorite reads of 2020. Bennett mixes the genres of fantasy and noir in each book, creating a unique world that is a mixture of a 1920’s urban setting and Lord of the Rings. I don’t know what Bennett’s other books are about, but I’m definitely going to check them out.
By Cy Tidd
Books in this series: The Unmade Man; The White Ring; The Burning Collar
Something is definitely wrong with the wizards in their castle overlooking the city of Akken. Constable Parn uses his powers to check out all the odd incidents happening around the city and finds out things are way more serious than he originally thought.
Will I continue reading this author? I’ve only read the first book. It was an safe risk because it is less than 200 pages. For being self-published, this book is well done. The Unmade Man had great world building and characters, but I am wondering about a few things about this author, Cy Tidd (which I strongly suspect is a psydonym). These books have great covers and seem ripe to gain a following, but Tidd is a mysterious being. If the next two books are as good as the first, I recommend them and am waiting for the series to receive more marketing by its author.
By K. M. Weiland
It’s 1820s London, and Will is accidently gifted with superpowers. As far as he knows, there aren’t any other superheroes around. When he uses his abilities to try and stop some powerful politicians from enslaving the city, he faces obstacles that seem insurmountable.
Will I continue reading this author? I really enjoyed Weiland’s previous stand alone novels Dreamlander and Storming, but when I found out Wayfarer was set in the 1820s, I wasn’t sure I would like it. But after being on my to-read list I finally got around to reading it, and I regret not reading it sooner. Weiland is another indie author who is way underrated. Check out her books if you’re not familiar with them. I’m not sure what she has coming out next, but I intend to check it out.
Fall of Creation
Books in this series: Embered Soul; Book 2 coming soon
By Willem Neill
Newly knighted Seb du Monte fights the beasts that have plagued the land for years; however, something has changed, but he’s not sure what. He begins a journey and finds he has to change his destination when he realizes the fate of his world is in the balance.
Will I continue reading this author? I admit I picked up this book because of its beautiful cover. What I found Embered Soul to be was a journey back into high fantasy, a sub-genre I haven’t read in a long time. I interviewed the author for this blog and we have been emailing each other on occasion. Seems like a nice guy. He is currently working on the 2nd book in this series and I definitely want to read more about Seb du Monte.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard
By J.K. Rowling
I listened to this short audiobook that contains five fables (translated by Hermione Granger) and enjoyed the magic universe of the Harry Potter universe.
Will I continue reading this author? I have it on my to-read list to go through the Harry Potter books again. It’s been a long time. There are also some other post-Potter novels by Rowling that I intend to tackle as well.
The Mistborn Trilogy
By Brandon Sanderson
Books in this series: The Final Empire; The Well of Ascension; The Hero of Ages
Vin finds herself following the charismatic Kelsier and his troupe of rebels who intend to overthrow the seemingly omnipotent Lord Ruler who enslaves the land.
Will I continue to read this author? Sanderson is pretty well known in the fantasy publishing industry right now. I loved his novels, but one caveat: they are long books. Saying that, they are worth the reader’s time and I intend to tackle his other series.
Next: Science fiction I read in 2020