The 25 Best Books of 2015

As usual, come the end of the year, the “Best of” award posts start to flow in thick and fast. Here’s the latest one and the final post of 2015 for me, looking back at the best novels of the year that I’ve had the chance to read. I’ve provided blurbs and the links to my reviews where I’ve reviewed the books, but bear in mind, I haven’t been able to review every novel released this year, so there have been a few that I’ve missed out on. For further details though, keep reading.

And here we are again. It’s been an interesting year in 2015. I’ve started my second year of my Foundation Degree course, my final one at my College before I spend next year in Plymouth, and I’ve moved blogs from blogger to WordPress due to technical issues (this also explains why some formatting issues appear on this blog – I’m doing my best to update all the links but it is a slow process).  Due to an increase in Work shifts and the generally harder education, as well as reviewing comics on a weekly basis for All Comic and recapping/reviewing shows such as Manhattan, The Knick and Childhood’s End for Spoiler TV (I’ll also be covering the upcoming Shannara Chronicles) I haven’t had as much time to update the blog as I would have liked. I also haven’t been able to read as many releases as I would have liked this year, especially some of the big ones. Here are just a few ‘big’ 2015 releases that would have likely featured on my 2015 best of had I the chance to read them (although as always, I cannot say for sure, I’m just going by a combination of praise + the fact that I have liked works by some of these authors in the past):

  • Nemesis Games by James SA Corey
  • Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • FIrefight/Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderon
  • The Price of Valour by Django Wexler
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  • Illuminae by Arnie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  • Sevenevens by Neal Stephenson

And whatever else everyone is blogging about that’s big that I’ve missed out on. I’ve heard lots of great things about them and would love to have had the time to read them in 2015, but sadly I was short of both of those things. Maybe I’ll do a big post towards the end of 2016 of all the books from this year that I’ve caught up on, assuming I’ve not been distracted by a load of 2016 releases.  I also need to get around to reading the rest of the books from the SPFBO finalists at some point over the course of the next month as well, so it’ll be interesting to see where that goes. (If you’re unsure as to what the SPFBO is, and want to find out more, head over to here!) This will all be about the 25 best novels of 2015 that I’ve read personally and the ones that I think that were a cut above the rest. So just a few quick things to bare in mind before I begin:

  • LEAVE ME RECOMMENDATIONS! Again, I have not read everything that’s been released in 2015. I may not have even heard about your favourite book, so if you’ve read something that blew you away, leave a suggestion in a comment below and I’ll let you know whether or not I’ve read it and whether I’ll give it a go. There’s never such a thing as too many books.
  • THIS LIST IS NOT IN ORDER! I’ve made best of lists in order for a while but each year it gets harder and harder to place them in order mainly due to the excellent quality of each release. Therefore I’ve decided to abolish the ranking on this list, and whilst some novels may be better than others on this list, they’re all the releases that I deem to be the best of the year, each bringing their own, unique and interesting content to the table.
  • YOU CAN DISAGREE ME WITH IF YOU WANT! I’m not going to say that everyone else’s opinions don’t matter and my list is the only list you should be paying attention to. You’re perfectly entitled to your own beliefs and I’m fully aware that one or two picks on this list may not quite be universally adored, but please, keep it civil in the comments if you can. That’d be great.
  • I HAVE NOT WRITTEN A REVIEW FOR EVERYTHING FEATURED HERE (YET)! Understand that I’ve finished a few novels as recently as a few days before making this list so I may not have had enough time to review everything and may have missed some novels earlier in the year as well. However, I will try to go back and offer a full review on everything that has earned a place on this list where possible. But I will leave a brief paragraph on my thoughts of the novels featured here.

And now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are my picks for the best 25 novels of 2015. I’ve tried to keep it as varied as possible but there’s a heavy reliance on science fiction and fantasy as this is the genre that I have read the most of in 2015. There’ll be a couple of non-fiction and literary choices in there, but predominantly, this is speculative fiction, simply because I read a lot of speculative fiction novels. The following selection was picked from a grand total of 141 novels that I read this year (however, not all of them were 2015 releases and not all of them were in fact, novels, with a fair portion of that 141 being graphic novels), and you can find out everything that I’ve read this year here.

That should just have about covered everything that I need to say before I begin this list, and now we can get into the fun stuff.

 

****

‘MANCER #1: FLEX BY FERRET STEINMETZ (Angry Robot)

Review Coming Soon

Flux

A desperate father will do anything to heal his daughter in a novel where Breaking Bad meets Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files…

FLEX: Distilled magic in crystal form. The most dangerous drug in the world. Snort it, and you can create incredible coincidences to live the life of your dreams.

FLUX: The backlash from snorting Flex. The universe hates magic and tries to rebalance the odds; maybe you survive the horrendous accidents the Flex inflicts, maybe you don’t.

PAUL TSABO: The obsessed bureaucromancer who’s turned paperwork into a magical Beast that can rewrite rental agreements, conjure rented cars from nowhere, track down anyone who’s ever filled out a form. But when all of his formulaic magic can’t save his burned daughter, Paul must enter the dangerous world of Flex dealers to heal her. Except he’s never done this before – and the punishment for brewing Flex is army conscription and a total brain-wipe.

 ****

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC #1: A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC BY V.E. SCHWAB (Titan Books)

Review

A-Darker-Shade-Of-Magic

Most people only know one London; but what if there were several? Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There’s Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III. There’s Red London, where life and magic are revered. Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. But once upon a time, there was Black London…

****

THE COPPER PROMISE #2: THE IRON GHOST BY JEN WILLIAMS (Headline)

Review

The-Iron-Ghost

Beware the dawning of a new mage…

Wydrin of Crosshaven, Sir Sebastian and Lord Aaron Frith are experienced in the perils of stirring up the old gods. They are also familiar with defeating them, and the heroes of Baneswatch are now enjoying the perks of suddenly being very much in demand for their services.

When a job comes up in the distant city of Skaldshollow, it looks like easy coin – retrieve a stolen item, admire the views, get paid. But in a place twisted and haunted by ancient magic, with the most infamous mage of them all, Joah Demonsworn, making a reappearance, our heroes soon find themselves threatened by enemies on all sides, old and new. And in the frozen mountains, the stones are walking…

****

STAR WARS: AFTERMATH BY CHUCK WENDIG (Del Ray)

Review

Aftermath

The second Death Star is destroyed. The Emperor and his powerful enforcer, Darth Vader, are rumored to be dead. The Galactic Empire is in chaos.

Across the galaxy, some systems celebrate, while in others Imperial factions tighten their grip. Optimism and fear reign side by side.

And while the Rebel Alliance engages the fractured forces of the Empire, a lone Rebel scout uncovers a secret Imperial meeting…

****

 ®EVOLUTION #3: REGENERATION BY STEPHANIE SAULTER (Jo Fletcher Books)

Review Coming Soon

Regeneration

The gillungs – genetically modified, waterbreathing humans – are thriving. They’ve pioneered new aquatic industries, and their high-efficiency quantum battery technology coupled to tidal turbines in the Thames estuary looks set to revolutionise the energy industry. But as demand grows, so does fear of what their newfound power might mean.

Then a biohazard scare at Sinkat, their London headquarters, fuels the opposition and threatens to derail the gillungs’ progress. Was it an accident born of overconfidence, or was it sabotage?

DS Sharon Varsi has her suspicions, and Gabriel sees parallels in the propaganda war he’s trying to manage: politicians and big business have stakes in this game too. And now there is a new threat: Zavcka Klist is out of prison. With powerful new followers and nothing to lose, she’s out to reclaim everything they took from her.

****

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN BY PAULA HAWKINS (Transworld)

Review

Girl-on-the-Train

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.

Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

****

CITY ON FIRE BY GARTH RISK HALLBERG (Jonathan Cape)

Review Coming Soon

City-on-Fire

New York. 1977. Be There When It Explodes.

It’s New Year’s Eve, 1976, and New York is a city on the verge. As midnight approaches, a blizzard sets in – and an unmistakable sound rings out across Central Park. Gunshots. Two of them. The search for the shooter will bring together a rich cast of New Yorkers.

From the reluctant heirs to one of New York’s greatest fortunes, to a couple of Long Island kids drawn to the nascent punk scene downtown. From the newly arrived and enchanted, to those so sick of the city they want to burn it to the ground. All these lives are connected to one another – and to the life that still clings to that body in the park. Whether they know it or not, they are bound up in the same story – a story where history and revolution, love and art, crime and conspiracy are all packed into a single shell, ready to explode.

Then, on July 13th, 1977, the lights go out in New York City.

****

BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME BY TA-NEHISI COATES (Spiegel & Grau)

Review Coming Soon 

Between-The-World-And-Me

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.

****

THE DANDELION DYNSASTY #1: THE GRACE OF KINGS BY KEN LIU (Head of Zeus)

Review Coming Soon

grace-of-kings

Two men rebel together against tyranny—and then become rivals—in this first sweeping book of an epic fantasy series from Ken Liu, recipient of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards.

Wily, charming Kuni Garu, a bandit, and stern, fearless Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke, seem like polar opposites. Yet, in the uprising against the emperor, the two quickly become the best of friends after a series of adventures fighting against vast conscripted armies, silk-draped airships, and shapeshifting gods. Once the emperor has been overthrown, however, they each find themselves the leader of separate factions—two sides with very different ideas about how the world should be run and the meaning of justice.

Fans of intrigue, intimate plots, and action will find a new series to embrace in the Dandelion Dynasty.

 ****

GUNS OF THE DAWN BY ADRIAN TCHAIKOVSKY (Tor UK)

Review Coming Soon

guns-of-the-dawn

A standalone, action-packed pseudo-Napoleonic historical fantasy adventure from the esteemed author of the Shadows of the Apt series.

Denland and Lascanne have been allies for generations, but now the Denlanders have assassinated their king, overthrown the monarchy and marched on their northern neighbour. At the border, the war rages; Lascanne’s brave redcoats against the revolutionaries of Denland.

Emily Marshwic has watched the war take her brother-in-law and now her young brother. Then comes the call for more soldiers, to a land already drained of husbands, fathers and sons. Every household must give up one woman to the army and Emily has no choice but to join the ranks of young women marching to the front.

In the midst of warfare, with just enough training to hold a musket, Emily comes face to face with the reality: the senseless slaughter; the weary cynicism of the Survivor’s Club; the swamp’s own natives hiding from the conflict.

As the war worsens, and Emily begins to have doubts about the justice of Lascanne’s cause, she finds herself in a position where her choices will make or destroy both her own future and that of her nation.

****

SIX OF CROWS #1: SIX OF CROWS BY LEIGH BARDUGO (Henry Holt and Company)

Review 

Six-of-Crows

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

****

THE SONG OF THE SHATTERED SANDS #1: TWELVE KINGS IN SHARAKHAI BY BRADLEY P. BEAULIEU (Gollancz)

Review

Twelve-Kings

In the cramped west end of Sharakhai, the Amber Jewel of the Desert, Çeda fights in the pits to scrape a living. She, like so many in the city, pray for the downfall of the cruel, immortal Kings of Sharakhai, but she’s never been able to do anything about it. This all changes when she goes out on the night of Beht Zha’ir, the holy night when all are forbidden from walking the streets. It’s the night that the asirim, the powerful yet wretched creatures that protect the Kings from all who would stand against them, wander the city and take tribute. It is then that one of the asirim, a pitiful creature who wears a golden crown, stops Çeda and whispers long forgotten words into her ear. Çeda has heard those words before, in a book left to her by her mother, and it is through that one peculiar link that she begins to find hidden riddles left by her mother.

As Çeda begins to unlock the mysteries of that fateful night, she realizes that the very origin of the asirim and the dark bargain the Kings made with the gods of the desert to secure them may be the very key she needs to throw off the iron grip the Kings have had over Sharakhai. And yet the Kings are no fools-they’ve ruled the Shangazi for four hundred years for good reason, and they have not been idle. As Çeda digs into their past, and the Kings come closer and closer to unmasking her, Çeda must decide if she’s ready to face them once and for all.

 ****

THE WATER KNIFE BY PAOLO BACIGALUPI (Orbit)

Review

The-Water-Knife

WATER IS POWER

Paolo Bacigalupi, New York Times best-selling author of The Windup Girl and National Book Award finalist, delivers a near-future thriller that casts new light on how we live today—and what may be in store for us tomorrow.

The American Southwest has been decimated by drought. Nevada and Arizona skirmish over dwindling shares of the Colorado River, while California watches, deciding if it should just take the whole river all for itself. Into the fray steps Las Vegas water knife Angel Velasquez. Detective, assassin, and spy, Angel “cuts” water for the Southern Nevada Water Authority and its boss, Catherine Case, ensuring that her lush, luxurious arcology developments can bloom in the desert and that anyone who challenges her is left in the gutted-suburban dust.

When rumors of a game-changing water source surface in Phoenix, Angel is sent to investigate. With a wallet full of identities and a tricked-out Tesla, Angel arrows south, hunting for answers that seem to evaporate as the heat index soars and the landscape becomes more and more oppressive. There, Angel encounters Lucy Monroe, a hardened journalist, who knows far more about Phoenix’s water secrets than she admits, and Maria Villarosa, a young Texas migrant, who dreams of escaping north to those places where water still falls from the sky.

As bodies begin to pile up and bullets start flying, the three find themselves pawns in a game far bigger, more corrupt, and dirtier than any of them could have imagined. With Phoenix teetering on the verge of collapse and time running out for Angel, Lucy, and Maria, their only hope for survival rests in one another’s hands.  But when water is more valuable than gold, alliances shift like sand, and the only truth in the desert is that someone will have to bleed if anyone hopes to drink.

****

GEMINI CELL BY MYKE COLE (Ace)

Review

Gemini-Cell

Gemini Cell takes place in the SHADOW OPS universe, but is a prequel, taking place many years before the events in CONTROL POINT.

Myke Cole continues to blow the military fantasy genre wide open with an all-new epic adventure in his highly acclaimed Shadow Ops universe—set in the early days of the Great Reawakening, when magic first returns to the world and order begins to unravel…

US Navy SEAL Jim Schweitzer is a consummate professional, a fierce warrior, and a hard man to kill. But when he sees something he was never meant to see on a covert mission gone bad, he finds himself—and his family—in the crosshairs. Nothing means more to Jim than protecting his loved ones, but when the enemy brings the battle to his front door, he is overwhelmed and taken down.

It should be the end of the story. But Jim is raised from the dead by a sorcerer and recruited by a top secret unit dabbling in the occult, known only as the Gemini Cell. With powers he doesn’t understand, Jim is called back to duty—as the ultimate warrior. As he wrestles with a literal inner demon, Jim realizes his new superiors are determined to use him for their own ends and keep him in the dark—especially about the fates of his wife and son…

****

THE BROKEN EARTH #1: THE FIFTH SEASON BY N.K. JEMISIN (Orbit)

Review

Fifth-Season

This is the way the world ends. Again.

Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.

****

IMPERIAL RADCH #3: IMPERIAL MERCY BY ANN LECKIE (Orbit)

Review

Ancillary-Mercy

The stunning conclusion to the trilogy that began with the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke award-winning Ancillary Justice.

For a moment, things seem to be under control for the soldier known as Breq. Then a search of Atheok Station’s slums turns up someone who shouldn’t exist – someone who might be an ancillary from a ship that’s been hiding beyond the empire’s reach for three thousand years. Meanwhile, a messenger from the alien and mysterious Presger empire arrives, as does Breq’s enemy, the divided and quite possibly insane Anaander Mianaai – ruler of an empire at war with itself.
Anaander is heavily armed and extremely unhappy with Breq. She could take her ship and crew and flee, but that would leave everyone at Athoek in terrible danger. Breq has a desperate plan. The odds aren’t good, but that’s never stopped her before.

****

UPROOTED BY NAOMI NOVIK (Tor UK)

Review

Uprooted

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

  Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows – everyone knows – that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

From the author of the Temeraire series comes this hugely imaginative, engrossing and vivid fantasy novel, inspired by folk and fairy tales. It is perfect reading for fans of Robin Hobb and Trudi Canavan.

 ****

DOMINION OF THE FALLEN #1: THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS BY ALIETTE DE BODARD (Gollancz)

Review

the-house-of-shattered-wings

Paris in the aftermath of the Great Magicians War. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black, thick with ashes and rubble. Yet life continues among the wreckage. The citizens retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital.

House Silverspires, previously the leader of those power games, now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something  from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.

Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen, an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, and a resentful young man wielding spells from the Far East. They may be Silverspires’ salvation; or the architects of its last, irreversible fall . . .

 ****

GREATCOATS #2: KNIGHT’S SHADOW BY SEBASTIEN DE CASTELL (Jo Fletcher Books)

Review

knights-shadow

Following his beloved debut, Traitor’s Blade, Sebastien de Castell returns with volume two of his fast-paced fantasy adventure series, inspired by the swashbuckling action and witty banter of The Three Musketeers. Knight’s Shadow continues the series with a thrilling and dark tale of heroism and betrayal in a country crushed under the weight of its rulers’ corruption.

A few days after the horrifying murder of a duke and his family, Falcio val Mond, swordsman and First Cantor of the Greatcoats, begins a deadly pursuit to capture the killer. But Falcio soon discovers his own life is in mortal danger from a poison administered as a final act of revenge by one of his deadliest enemies. As chaos and civil war begin to overtake the country, Falcio has precious little time left to stop those determined to destroy his homeland. 

****

POWDER MAGE #3: THE AUTUMN REPUBLIC BY BRIAN MCCLELLAN (Orbit)

Review

Autumn-Republic

The capital has fallen…
Field Marshal Tamas returns to his beloved country to find that for the first time in history, the capital city of Adro lies in the hands of a foreign invader. His son is missing, his allies are indistinguishable from his foes, and reinforcements are several weeks away.

An army divided…
With the Kez still bearing down upon them and without clear leadership, the Adran army has turned against itself. Inspector Adamat is drawn into the very heart of this new mutiny with promises of finding his kidnapped son.

All hope rests with one…
And Taniel Two-shot, hunted by men he once thought his friends, must safeguard the only chance Adro has of getting through this war without being destroyed…

THE AUTUMN REPUBLIC is the epic conclusion that began with Promise of Blood and The Crimson Campaign.

****

THE RED QUEEN’S WAR #2: THE LIAR’S KEY BY MARK LAWRENCE (Harper Voyager)

Review

Liar's-Key

From the critically-acclaimed author of PRINCE OF FOOLS comes the second volume of the brilliant new epic fantasy series, THE RED QUEEN’S WAR.

‘If you like dark you will love Mark Lawrence. And when the light breaks through and it all makes sense, the contrast is gorgeous’ ROBIN HOBB

The Red Queen has set her players on the board…

Winter is keeping Prince Jalan Kendeth far from the longed-for luxuries of his southern palace. And although the North may be home to his companion, the warrior Snorri ver Snagason, he is just as eager to leave. For the Viking is ready to challenge all of Hell to bring his wife and children back into the living world. He has Loki’s key – now all he needs is to find the door.

As all wait for the ice to unlock its jaws, the Dead King plots to claim what was so nearly his – the key into the world – so that the dead can rise and rule.

 ****

TOUCH BY CLAIRE NORTH (Orbit)

Review

Touch

Kepler had never meant to die this way — viciously beaten to death by a stinking vagrant in a dark back alley. But when reaching out to the murderer for salvation in those last dying moments, a sudden switch takes place.

Now Kepler is looking out through the eyes of the killer himself, staring down at a broken and ruined body lying in the dirt of the alley.

Instead of dying, Kepler has gained the ability to roam from one body to another, to jump into another person’s skin and see through their eyes, live their life — be it for a few minutes, a few months or a lifetime.

Kepler means these host bodies no harm — and even comes to cherish them intimately like lovers. But when one host, Josephine Cebula, is brutally assassinated, Kepler embarks on a mission to seek the truth — and avenge Josephine’s death.

****

THE ALCHEMY WARS #1: THE MECHANICAL BY IAN TREGILLIS (Orbit)

Review

The-Mechanical

My name is Jax.

That is the name granted to be by my human masters.

I am a clakker: a mechanical man, powered by alchemy. Armies of my kind have conquered the world – and made the Brasswork Throne the sole superpower.

I am a faithful servant. I am the ultimate fighting machine. I am endowed with great strength and boundless stamina.

But I am beholden to the wishes of my human masters.

I am a slave. But I shall be free.

****

CHRONICLE OF THE UNHEWN THRONE #2: THE PROVIDENCE OF FIRE BY BRIAN STAVELY (Tor)

Review

The-Providence-of-Fire

Brian Staveley’s The Providence of Fire, the second novel in the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, a gripping new epic fantasy series.

The conspiracy to destroy the ruling family of the Annurian Empire is far from over.

Having learned the identity of her father’s assassin, Adare flees the Dawn Palace in search of allies to challenge the coup against her family. Few trust her, but when she is believed to be touched by Intarra, patron goddess of the empire, the people rally to help her retake the capital city. As armies prepare to clash, the threat of invasion from barbarian hordes compels the rival forces to unite against their common enemy.

Unknown to Adare, her brother Valyn, renegade member of the empire’s most elite fighting force, has allied with the invading nomads. The terrible choices each of them has made may make war between them inevitable.

Between Valyn and Adare is their brother Kaden, rightful heir to the Unhewn Throne, who has infiltrated the Annurian capital with the help of two strange companions. The knowledge they possess of the secret history that shapes these events could save Annur or destroy it.

****

STAR WARS: LOST STARS BY CLAUDIA GREY (Egmont)

Review

lost-stars

The reign of the Galactic Empire has reached the Outer Rim of Jelucan, where aristocratic Thane Kyrell and rural villager Ciena Ree bond over their love of flying. Enrolling at the Imperial Academy is nothing less than a dream come true for both of them. But Thane sours on the dream when he sees firsthand the horrific tactics the Empire uses to maintain its ironclad rule.

Bitter and disillusioned, he joins the fledging Rebellion–putting Ciena in an unbearable position between her loyalty to the Empire and her love for the man she’s known since childhood.

Now on opposite sides of the war, will these friends turned foes ever find a way to be together, or will duty tear them–and the galaxy–apart?

***

That just about wraps it up then, for the year. As you can see I’ve just about managed to get this done in the last few hours of 2015 (or at least in the UK, it’s still 2015), so basically, this is it for the year. Remember  to leave your thoughts on the list in the comments below! Would any of these titles make it on your best of the year? Are there any glaring omissions that missed this list that I should go and read ASAP? Let me know, and I’ll see you again in 2016!

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3 comments

  1. Not sure how Star Wars Aftermath got added to the list. So boring, just a giant set up to a second book that doesn’t show much promise either. Huge disappointment, especially since it was my first Chuck Wendig novel.

    Like

    1. Thanks for commenting! I really enjoyed it myself – but I understand it was always going to be a divisive choice given its reception. Chuck Wendig’s Miriam Black series is worth reading though even if you didn’t necessarily like Aftermath.

      Like

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