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Best Fantasy Books of 2017 (So Far)

The Top Fantasy Reads That Have Been Released in 2017
We are mid-swing into the 2017 year and so far there's been quite a few standout fantasy book releases by some big hitting authors. 

April, particularly, was a strong month with such standout releases by the likes of fantasy greats Mark Lawrence, Brian Stavely, and Tad Williams.

Tad Williams, particularly, is releasing the first follow to his groundbreaking coming of age epic fantasy series Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn -- THE defining fantasy of the late 80's and early 90's. It's a series that greatly influenced and inspired George Martin's own writing of his Song of Ice and Fire saga. So a follow-up series to one of the greatest fantasy series of the 20th century is a big deal.

The Best

Here's my list of the best fantasy novels I've read in 2017 so far. I'll be keeping this list updated from month to month with all the new releases coming out. These are the books I HAVE read (or actually, listened to via audiobook).

So if you are looking for some of the standout reads for new fantasy released this year (2017), this list will point you in that direction. 

Oathbringer: Book Three of the Stormlight Archive

(Brandon Sanderson)

The eagerly awaited sequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling Words of Radiance, from epic fantasy author Brandon Sanderson at the top of his game.

In Oathbringer, the third volume of the New York Times bestselling Stormlight Archive, humanity faces a new Desolation with the return of the Voidbringers, a foe with numbers as great as their thirst for vengeance.

Dalinar Kholins Alethi armies won a fleeting victory at a terrible cost: The enemy Parshendi summoned the violent Everstorm, which now sweeps the world with destruction, and in its passing awakens the once peaceful and subservient parshmen to the horror of their millennia-long enslavement by humans. While on a desperate flight to warn his family of the threat, Kaladin Stormblessed must come to grips with the fact that the newly kindled anger of the parshmen may be wholly justified.

Nestled in the mountains high above the storms, in the tower city of Urithiru, Shallan Davar investigates the wonders of the ancient stronghold of the Knights Radiant and unearths dark secrets lurking in its depths. And Dalinar realizes that his holy mission to unite his homeland of Alethkar was too narrow in scope. Unless all the nations of Roshar can put aside Dalinars blood-soaked past and stand togetherand unless Dalinar himself can confront that pasteven the restoration of the Knights Radiant will not prevent the end of civilization.

Other Tor books by Brandon Sanderson

The Cosmere The Stormlight Archive The Way of Kings Words of Radiance Edgedancer (Novella) Oathbringer The Mistborn trilogy Mistborn: The Final Empire The Well of Ascension The Hero of Ages Mistborn: The Wax and Wayne series Alloy of Law Shadows of Self Bands of Mourning

Collection Arcanum Unbounded

Other Cosmere novels Elantris Warbreaker

The Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians The Scrivener\'s Bones The Knights of Crystallia The Shattered Lens The Dark Talent

The Rithmatist series The Rithmatist

Other books by Brandon Sanderson The Reckoners Steelheart Firefight Calamity

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Lawrence's newest book in a completely new setting (not tied to his Broken Empire or Red Queen's War). With 'Assassin' fantasy subgenre all the rage right now, Lawrence puts his own brutally dark stamp on the genre with Red Sister. 

Red Sister not as twisted as his Broken Empire books, which by most standards is not saying much since it's likely darker and far more brutal than most of the other happy-go-lucky 'Assasin' fantasy you'll read.

It also just might be Lawrence's best work, masterfully combining the deep, exotic world building of the Broken Empire with the nuanced characterization of his Red Queen's War series. Quite simply, Red Sister makes for a startlingly good read and certainly one of the must-read fantasy books of 2017.

If you love Grimdark or Lawrence, or simply some of the best fantasy that's come out this year, don't miss this one. Red Sister is in the running for Lawrence's best work. 

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The blood-thirsty, epic Traitor Son Cycle comes to its gripping conclusion in this fifth and final book.In the climax of the Traitor Son Cycle, the allied armies of the Wild and the Kingdoms of men and women must face Ash for control of the gates to the hermetical universe, and for control of their own destinies. But exhaustion, treachery and time may all prove deadlier enemies.In Alba, Queen Desiderata struggles to rebuild her kingdom wrecked by a year of civil war, even as the Autumn battles are fought in the west. In the Terra Antica, The Red Knight attempts to force his unwilling allies to finish the Necromancer instead of each other. But as the last battle nears, The Red Knight makes a horrifying discovery...all of this fighting may have happened before.Read the gripping conclusion to The Traitor Son Cycle, following The Red Knight, The Fell Sword, The Dread Wyrm, and The Plague of Swords.The Traitor Son CycleThe Red KnightThe Fell SwordThe Dread WyrmThe Plague of SwordsThe Fall of Dragons

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With a Martin-esque plot and Jim Butcher pace, The Axe and the Throne is a definite "must read" for even the pickiest fantasy fans.

In his stunning debut, Ireman has built the type of world so vivid and engrossing that leaving it at the end is agony. In spite of leaning toward grimdark, where authors often enshroud every scene in depressing darkness, there is no lack of cheerful moments or brilliant scenery. Yet the pangs of near-instant nostalgia that come after you put down a book like this have less to do with the inspired setting, and far more to do with those who inhabit it. 

From savage, unremorseful heroes, to deep, introspective villains, the cast of this story is comprised of believable characters capable of unthinkable actions. And it is these characters -- the ones you wish you could share a drink with or end up wanting to kill -- that forge the connection between fantasy and reality. Keethro, Titon, Ethel, Annora. These are names you will never forget, and each belongs to a man or woman as unique as they are memorable. 

No book would be complete without a its fair share of intrigue, however, and there is no lack of it here. Each chapter leaves you wanting more, and Ireman's masterful use of misdirection leads to an abundance of "oh shit" moments. Do not be fooled (or do -- perhaps that's part of the fun) by storylines that may appear trope-ish at first. This is no fairytale. 

Available on Amazon & Audible, Barns & Noble, iTunes, Google, and Kobo.

McClellan starts up another trilogy set in the same universe as his 'Powder Mage' trilogy, but ten years after.

I daresay it's also the author's best work so far, with complex social themes, an interesting setting, compelling and developed characters, a unique magic system, and breathtaking action scenes.

It's full of some old and new characters, but still maintains the overall same vibe of the a wild west landscape on the verge of an industrial revolution, with the push and pull of the frontier struggling to stave off the encroachments of civilization.

McClellan is pioneering a newly developing subgenre called Gunpowder fantasy which is a variation of steampunk, but one that merges the aesthetics and setting of the American wild west with gunfighting, magic, and mayhem.

I suspect you'll really find a lot to love in this one if you were fans of Sanderson's Mistborn series (specifically, his Wax and Wayne series).

Sins of Empire one of the most enjoyable steampunkish action fantasy books I've read this year. Read this one and you get a gritty, action-packed ride that's hell of a lot of fun to read. Despite the action-heavy, there's a lot of depth between the pages: troubled characters, a world in the midsts of civil upheaval, themes of revolution social class struggle, and of course, a deep mythology and interesting magic system.

What more can I say? Absolutely read this one. If anything, it's a better book than McClellan's last effort (which was an impressive series already). 

Books in Gods of Blood an... Series (1)

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Another new entry by an author who's book won our best award a couple years ago, starring our favorite character, Sigrud je Harkvaldsson, stoic warrior, exiled prince, and merciless killer of men and monster.

City of Miracles is the third and final book of the Divine Cities trilogy (starts with the outstanding City of Mirrors) 

City of Miracles is a sad farewell to what I consider one of the best fantasy trilogies written in the last decade. It's also a unique take on the classic 'epic fantasy' genre and a breath of fresh air in a perennially popular genre that's grown a bit stuffy and stale.

Robert Jackson Bennet is one of the more most talented, imaginative, and gifted wordsmiths in the fantasy genre (I put him right up there with other greats like Guy Gavriel Kay and Tad Williams) who always focuses on telling a strongly plotted tale, driven by powerful, complex characterization. 

Divine Cities is the perfect blend of strong characterization, a layered plot, deep mysteries, and brutal action. Read this for an example of how to do epic fantasy refreshingly right.

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Yes, by THAT guy, the guy who's books made our Best Fantasy of 2015 and 2016 lists. 

Staveley burst out of nowhere back in 2015 with his indelible 'The Emperor's Blades' and quickly rose to the top as one of the best new fantasy writers, taking the trappings of the classic coming-of-age epic fantasy design and weaving together something new and grand from the old design.

This one is Staveley's own vision of the Assasin fantasy tale but entirely reworked into a blood-soaked coming-of-age swan song that you won't easily forget. A tragedy, a romance, and tale of murder.

Set in the same universe as his last trilogy, this one has a lot of blood, angst, and monsters to kill. 

One of the best books I've read this year so far. Staveley has done it again. Pick this one up now.

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An Echo of Things to Come

(James Islington)

(The Licanius Trilogy)

The second book in the acclaimed Licanius Trilogy by James Islington.\"Love The Wheel of Time? This is about to become your new favorite series.\" - B&N SF & Fantasy Blog\"Fans of Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson will find much to admire.\" - GuardianIn the wake of a devastating attack, an amnesty has been declared for all Augurs-finally allowing them to emerge from hiding and openly oppose the dark forces massing against the land of Andarra. As the Augur Davian and his new allies hurry north toward the ever-weakening Boundary, however, fresh horrors along their path suggest that their reprieve may have come far too late.His ally in the Capital, the new Northwarden, contends with assassins and politicians, and uncovers a dangerous political secret. Meanwhile, their compatriot Asha begins a secret investigation into the disappearance of the Shadows. And Caeden races against time to fulfill his treacherous bargain with the Lyth, but as more and more of his memories return, he begins to realise that the two sides in this ancient war may not be as clear-cut as they first seemed...The Licanius TrilogyThe Shadow of What Was LostAn Echo of Things to ComeThe Light of All That Falls

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Sequel to his last book Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, this one delivers in every way. 

While this series sings a different song than your typical 'epic fantasy', it's absolutely worth partaking of.

Beaulieu is one of the more talented wordsmiths writing fantasy and his descriptions and settings are captivating. The characters are compelling, deeply driven by complex motives and motivations and the world building is impressive.

If you are expecting a simple actional tale of swords & sorcery, this series is not that. But if you want a well-written, intricately plotted novel set in an exotic landscape bound by exotic magics, this series is something you'll need to read.These books are on the forefront of a new fantasy subgenre called silk road fantasy, one that features exotic landscapes of desert and wind. 

Captivatingly different, but an outstanding read. If you've read the first on the series, picking this one up is a no brainer. And if you haven't read the first book, then make sure you do.

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An exciting new writer sharp, compelling and original Mark Lawrence

Years have passed since the Vagrant journeyed to the Shining City, Vesper in arm and Gammas sword in hand.

Since then the world has changed. Vesper, following the footsteps of her father, journeyed to the breach and closed the tear between worlds, protecting the last of humanity, but also trapping the infernal horde and all those that fell to its corruptions: willing or otherwise.

In this new age it is Vesper who leads the charge towards unity and peace, with seemingly nothing standing between the world and a bright new future.

That is until eyes open.

And The Seven awaken.

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Bound, newest Alex Vera book, is a great continuation to what I like to call 'The Dresden Killer' series. It's a series that takes all the elements that Dresden Files great but gives it a much darker, more brutal edge.

And right now, the Alex Vera is taking some serious market share away from The Dresden Files, bettering the series that inspired it in almost every way. The characters are more complex, more realistic, and not always idealists. 

Bound is one of the best, if not the best, book in the series. At this point, if you've made it this far in the series, you'll probably read this one no matter what I say; but what I say is this: pick this one up as Jacka cooks up one of his best books in the series so far, delivering on the slightly failed promise of the last two in the series.

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After years of struggle and sacrifice, Falcio val Mond, First Cantor of the Greatcoats, is on the brink of fulfilling his dead king\'s dream: Aline, the king\'s daughter, is about to take the throne and restore the rule of law once and for all.But for the Greatcoats, nothing is ever that simple. In the neighboring country of Avares, an enigmatic new warlord is uniting the barbarian armies that have long plagued Tristia\'s borders--and even worse, he is rumored to have a new ally: Trin, who\'s twice tried to kill Aline to claim the throne of Tristia for herself. With the armies of Avares at her back, led by a bloodthirsty warrior, she\'ll be unstoppable.Falcio, Kest, and Brasti race north to stop her, but in those cold and treacherous climes they discover something altogether different, and far more dangerous: a new player is planning to take the throne of Tristia, and with a sense of dread the three friends realize that the Greatcoats, for all their skill, may not be able to stop him.As the nobles of Tristia and even the Greatcoats themselves fight over who should rule, the Warlord of Avares threatens to invade. With so many powerful contenders vying for power, it will fall to Falcio to render the one verdict he cannot bring himself to utter, much less enforce. Should he help crown the young woman he vowed to put on the throne, or uphold the laws he swore to serve?

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A Conjuring of Light: A Novel

(V. E. Schwab)

(Shades of Magic)

The third book in the Red London book series. I didn't have much expectation when I started reading these, thinking the story yet another YA fantasy trying to become the next Harry Potter.

However, I was pleasantly surprised by A Darker Shade of Magic which builds up a fascinating premise where parallel versions of London exist in different worlds, crossable only by a select few travelers with a magical gift. There are 4 Londons, each more magical than the next.

Despite my complaints, the magic system, unique world building, and over-the-top adventure tale was just a lot of fun to read.

A Conjuring of Light is the concluding book in the trilogy and, for the mosts part, delivers a win for the author. It's not quite as good as the first book but better than book 2, which was a low point for the series. 

Overall, one of the better new epic fantasy series that's come out the past couple years. It's not quite as strongly written as efforts by the best in the genre but stands tall as worth-reading tale. 

And hey, if you love the whole 'Magical London' theme (a theme explored by many authors such as China Mieville and Neil Gaiman), this is your perfect fit.

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Miranda and Caliban

(Jacqueline Carey)

A lovely girl grows up in isolation where her father, a powerful magus, has spirited them to in order to keep them safe.

We all know the tale of Prospero\'s quest for revenge, but what of Miranda? Or Caliban, the so-called savage Prospero chained to his will?

In this incredible retelling of the fantastical tale, Jacqueline Carey shows readers the other side of the cointhe dutiful and tenderhearted Miranda, who loves her father but is terribly lonely. And Caliban, the strange and feral boy Prospero has bewitched to serve him. The two find solace and companionship in each other as Prospero weaves his magic and dreams of revenge.

Always under Prosperos jealous eye, Miranda and Caliban battle the dark, unknowable forces that bind them to the island even as the pangs of adolescence create a new awareness of each other and their doomed relationship.

Miranda and Caliban is bestselling fantasy author Jacqueline Careys gorgeous retelling of The Tempest. With hypnotic prose and a wild imagination, Carey explores the themes of twisted love and unchecked power that lie at the heart of Shakespeares masterpiece, while serving up a fresh take on the play\'s iconic characters.

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In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyards bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl\'s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother\'s web in an attempt to maintain control over his countryand his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare\'s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fireleaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

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In the #1 New York Times bestselling Mercy Thompson novels, the coyote shapeshifter has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercys bond with the packand her mateis broken, shell learn what it truly means to be alone... Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapesonly to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe... Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise...

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Awaken Online: Precipice

(Travis Bagwell)

(Awaken Online)

A LitRPG novel (an emerging fantasy/science fiction genre right now) and probably the best traditional LitRPG series. This is book two which follows the first in the series Awaken Online: Catharsis.

LitRPG is usually translated from Russian authors or sloppily written indie fiction, but there are a few good reads in the genre that non-hardcore readers of the genre might enjoy. The Awaken Online series is one such (perhaps one of the only LitRPG's I would recommend to regular fantasy readers who are not exposed to the genre).

The premise is basically about a bullied on, socially awkward, loner high school kid who picks up a new immersive virtual reality game (an MMORPG) and almost accidently, ends up becomes the dark lord villain of the game.

If this sounds a bit cheesy as a plot, it certainly is, but such is the premise the entire LitRGP genre is founded on in which the events mostly or partly take inside an ultra-realistic virtual reality world video game. See my Best LitRPG Books list.

Ironically, one of the great fantasy writers (Tad Williams) in fact pretty much founded the LitRPG genre (before it existed) way back with his Otherland series.

If you are interested in LitRPG or want to see what the fuss is about, start with Awaken Online. As reading goes, it makes for a pretty compelling read that does pull you into the story. If you like this one, then chances are, you'll like some of the other good LitRPG that's available.

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The Core: Book Five of The Demon Cycle

(Peter V. Brett)

New York Times bestselling author Peter V. Brett brings one of the most imaginative fantasy sagas of the twenty-first century to an epic close. For time out of mind, bloodthirsty demons have stalked the night, culling the human race to scattered remnants dependent on half-forgotten magics to protect them. Then two heroes arosemen as close as brothers, yet divided by bitter betrayal. Arlen Bales became known as the Warded Man, tattooed head to toe with powerful magic symbols that enable him to fight demons in hand-to-hand combatand emerge victorious. Jardir, armed with magically warded weapons, called himself the Deliverer, a figure prophesied to unite humanity and lead them to triumph in Sharak Kathe final war against demonkind. But in their efforts to bring the war to the demons, Arlen and Jardir have set something in motion that may prove the end of everything they hold deara swarm. Now the war is at hand, and humanity cannot hope to win it unless Arlen and Jardir, with the help of Arlens wife, Renna, can bend a captured demon prince to their will and force the devious creature to lead them to the Core, where the Mother of Demons breeds an inexhaustible army. Trusting their closest confidantes, Leesha, Inevera, Ragen, and Elissa, to rally the fractious people of the Free Cities and lead them against the swarm, Arlen, Renna, and Jardir set out on a desperate quest into the darkest depths of evilfrom which none of them expects to return alive. Look for Peter V. Bretts complete Demon Cycle: THE WARDED MAN | THE DESERT SPEAR | THE DAYLIGHT WAR | THE SKULL THRONE | THE CORE Praise for the novels of Peter V. Brett The Warded Man There is much to admire in Peter Bretts writing, and his concept is brilliant. Theres action and suspense all the way.Terry Brooks [A] fast-paced and thoroughly enjoyable dark fantasy.The Miami Herald The Desert Spear Inspired, compelling, and totally addictive: the most significant and cinematic fantasy epic since The Lord of the Rings.Paul W. S. Anderson, director of Resident Evil: Afterlife Fans of epic fantasy in the tradition of Robert Jordan and George R. R. Martin will enjoy the arrival of a strong voice in multivolume epic fantasy.Library Journal The Daylight War Highly entertaining, fast-paced, and action-packed.SF Site [Brett is] at the top of his The Skull Throne Heart-thumping, adrenaline-pumping . . . The crescendo is near perfect.Book Frivolity A page-turner, and quite possibly the best so far.Starburst Magazine

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Paradox Bound: A Novel

(Peter Clines)
Nothing ever changes in Sanders. The towns still got a video store, for gods sake. So why doesnt Eli Teague want to leave? Not that hed ever admit it, but maybe hes been waitingwaiting for the traveler to come back. The one whos roared into his life twice before, pausing just long enough to drop tantalizing clues before disappearing in a cloud of gunfire and a squeal of tires. The one whos a walking anachronism, with her tricorne hat, flintlock rifle, and steampunked Model-A Ford. The one whos being pursued bysomething. So when the mysterious traveler finally reappears, Elis determined that this time, hes going to get some answers. But his hunt soon yields far more than he bargained for, plunging him headlong into a dizzying world full of competing factions and figures straight out of legend. To make sense of the mystery at its heart, he must embark on a breakneck chase across the country and through two centuries of historywith nothing less than Americas past, present, and future at stake.

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