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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. 

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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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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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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Anaimon: The Starfall is a highly original and imaginative foray into an epic fantasy series. Grand adventure abounds across a vast world steeped in rich history and vibrant cultures.

Sharing camaraderie, sorrow, terror, and moments of levity, Burning Flower and her friends journey to undo the breaking of Anaimon. Forging a friendship and a destiny inconceivable, they travel to undo the ruin of their world as the pursuit of foes and nightmares converge upon them. Fans of Malazan, Tales of the Otori, and LOTR will find much to enjoy here, with immersive world-building and vivid descriptions of a unique and colourful setting. 

Available now via Amazon For more information, please blog