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Best Fantasy Book of the Year: Forum Picks

By / December 13, 2015 / no comments

Something we’ve done this year is to keep a record of the 2015 books that forum members have read. If they feel so inclined, they give the book a rating. Note that some forum members who have read the book, decided not to vote but wrote a review instead, as they don’t like giving books a rating. Here are the results and if you want to take a look yourself at the reviews and ratings, then click here. A few surprising books didn’t make the list at all either with not enough votes or a low ranking, such as: Fool’s Quest, Shadows of Self and The Liar’s Key. Also note that I only ranked the books that had more than 5 votes. The first few are honourable mentions as they didn’t have many votes but scored well.

HM: Sword of the North by Luke Scull3 VotesScore: 9.03

northBook 2 from the series called The Grim Company, also the name of the first book. It has had good reviews so far, being a bit Abercrombie like.

“Plotwise everything progresses nicely without any unnecessary deviations or side stories. Very coherent. I can wholeheartedly say I loved this book.”Griffin

“Hands down one of the best fantasy books I’ve read this year.” – btkong

HM: The Price of Valour by Django Wexler3 Votes8.27

priceBook 3 from the Shadow Campaigns series. The series as a whole has been talked about in many circles.

“In this third entry Wexler reach a nearly perfect balance between war and politics.”Kalavan

“The ending of the book cultures a new set of rules along which the plot will develop I’m quite happy with.”Griffin

“This was the best in the series so far. I loved the first, disliked the second, and was impressed with the third.”btkong

HM: The Sane King by Matt Knott3 Votes7.97

The-Sane-King-Amazon-EbookDark Heroic fantasy, with many finding good comparisons to Malazan. The debut novel of Matt Knott, this could be the makings of something great. Think Conan.

“Lots of POVs, some characters we meet a lot, some barely a few times. Characters die and that’s a good thing.”Griffin 

“I found this to be a fun (unexpectedly so for an indie book) read with great characters and an engaging story.”Silvion Night

“The story starts off at a fast pace and was interesting from the get go.”TomTB

#12 The Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett7 votesScore: 5.17

517QER3dcaL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_A series that is already polarising and this book was exactly the same. There were some that loved it while others just shunned it.

“As I stated in the book club there are couple of flaws but as with the others I thoroughly enjoyed the book.”Sopranosfan

“2 for effort, and nothing else. Imo it reads like a tabletop RPG.”Laurentius

“Action packed final chapters alone…it would have been lower if not for that redeeming it a bit. I will be finishing the series, but not with high hopes.”Reakon

#11 The Vagrant by Peter Newman7 votesScore: 6.96

VagrantA debut novel that reads like scenarios from a video game. The prose can be difficult for some and it can be confusing for others. However, some just loved this book.

“I’m going to predict this is the best debut fantasy book of the year.”Jon Snow

“Didn’t finish it. The prose was too hard for me to read.”Danica

“This was, nearing the end of 2015, one of my favorite fantasy reads this year.”BtKong

#10 Queen of Fire by Anthony Ryan9 VotesScore: 7

queenA book that might have been more successful if it had a full tie publisher. However, this was probably the first self-published book that had a lot of success.

“The action is high and I love the military aspect of it.”tom.pace.315

“The quick and easy version is that I loved the series, thought it hit all the right notes for me, and will cause quite a jumble to my to 25 list.” Annomander Matt

“At the end we have a conclusion of a book that travelled all over the map but failed to capture the reader unlike the first two books.” – rudyjuly2

#9 The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu7 VotesScore: 7.07

graceJust pipping The Queen of Fire is the very hyped ‘The Grace of Kings’. A Japanese influenced story, this book appeals to many because it’s many action sequences.

“Absolutely brilliant book in terms of prose,characters,story and setting. Definitely one of the best debuts of the year.”Haven

“It’s hard to like a book for me, where the characters are supposed to be the main thing about it, but in the end they are not. It’s hard to like a book where one of two main characters is dumb as ***k.”Alucard

“Liked the start a lot and things got kind of circly and some characters made me mad with their motivations. But I enjoyed it a lot. Would definitely read more.”SuperDuper

#8 Firefight by Brandon Sanderson6 VotesScore: 7.17

firefight-200x300A world where super powers exist, but the more you use them the more corrupt your mind becomes. The sequel to Steelheart has been long awaited by many, even though Sanderson writes at a prolific pace (he just has too many series).

“Felt this book was a let down compared to Steelheart. Ends well though.”Jon Snow

“I actually thought it was on par with Steelheart. The plot wasn’t quite as focused, but some of the revelations toward the end more than made up for it.”Ryan W. Mueller

“I thought it was as good as steelheart personally. My enjoyment wins with this one.”Reakon


#7 Half a War by Joe Abercrombie6 VotesScore: 7.42

war2The ending to the Shattered Seas comes in at number 8. Everything about this book is very Abercrombie, right down to the ending. If you’ve read one Abercrombie book, you’ve read them all, even if they are YA. But hey, if the formula works, why mess with it?

“Oof, finished it! Loved it! Don’t care that’s YA. I still found it ticked all the boxes.”Bethan

“All the characters were great, I don’t think the series was affected by its YA branding.”TomTB

“I didn’t really like the post-apocalyptic touch (well – more than a touch by the end) on the story. The way Abercrombie used the ‘Elf-weapons’ was abysmal.”Griffin

#6 The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher7 VotesScore: 7.75

windlalassProbably long overdue from Bucher, a new series. While Codex Alera had positive reviews and Dresden is always awesome, many of us fans wanted something new from him. Flying ships, pirates, cats…what more can you ask for?

“Somewhat reminiscent of the Codex Alera series, and has the potential to be great, depending on how the books pan out.”Haven

“Beware, it’s really hard to put down. Classic Butcher to take the usual tropes and rub them in your face. I’m missing a bit of the Dresden typical humor but it’s still really good.”Joao Ribeiro

“As a stand-alone book I’ve found it inferior to every single one of the Ketty Jay’s ones, but the Cinder Spires has the potential to become the better series.”Kalavan

#5 Uprooted by Naomi Novik8 VotesScore 8.13

uprootedNaomi Novik is a very good writer and that is why I’ve been so disappointed in her Temeraire series. It started well and just got so meh towards the last few books. Uprooted is a stand-alone book with Polish/Russian fairy tale roots.

“I love this book. I love it’s characters, the world, the story itself and the writing style. Novik just won me over completely.”Alucard

“I just finished Uprooted in one sitting. Excellently well done. Certainly not the most original thing ever written, but that’s fine when all the elements of good fantasy are brought together so skilfully.”Lyraseven

“It’s a bit wispy and perhaps a bit too embroiled in sentimental reflection – but the world was really cool and some of the messages I took from the book were quite profound and meaningful.”Bridgefour

#4 The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan6 VotesScore: 8.25

autumnThe finale to the Powder Mage trilogy. It ends well, but there were a few inconsistencies with this book. However, like many others, I eagerly await more books from Brian McClellan as he can clearly write.

“A satisfying conclusion to one of the best flintlock fantasies out there.”Haven

“Thoroughly enjoyable, but too many loose ends that I was sure they would tie up.”Reakon

“I loved this book and the trilogy in general. There was so much action, and I liked all the POV characters.”Ryan R. Mueller


#3 Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley10 VotesScore: 8.27

fireSequel to the fantastic debut novel The Emperor’s Blades. Providence of Fire did not let anyone down. In fact, it is probably better.

“It is a huge step up from The Emperor’s Blades. The prose was more fluent and engaging.”Griffin

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book.”GreyMouser

“I liked all protagonists – they all have their interesting stories and angles (even Adare) and I’m very interested in the next book.”Shorty

#2 Golden Son – Pierce Brown9 VotesScore: 8.31

goldensunRed Rising was this amazing book and Golden Son produced an almost just as amazing book. A world where ‘humans’ have different traits and are categorized accordingly. Definitely a science-fiction book but there are many fantasy elements (much like Dune) so we decided to add it in.

“I loved Golden Son and Red Rising. I was even pleasantly surprised that Golden Son was as good as it was. I’d feared Red Rising would be a one time wonder and quality would drop significantly.”Griffin

“It’s not a masterpiece but I loved reading it and I’ll be very excited this time next year in anticipation of the finale.”Ser Pounce

“I preferred Red Rising to Golden Son. It was more intimate, and simpler. All the space battles and betrayals started to bleed together a bit for me in the sequel. I am still very interested to read the concluding volume of the trilogy!”MrMarbles

#1 Half The World by Joe Abercrombie9 VotesScore: 8.45

halftheworldJust edging out the #1 spot is Half the World, the second of three books in the Shattered Sea Trilogy. A little unfair of Abercrombie to have two books out in a year though! 😉

“His characters were fleshed out slowly, and surely, they became great characters unique to their own. World building still needs work though.”Jon Snow

“Great characters, a nice story which centres amongst some unusual camaraderie and some really gritty and laugh out loud moments.”Haven

“Loved it!!! i thought the new characters were great and Abercrombie was able to build up that sense of urgency and intrigue.”Danica

So what do you think of the forum members ranking list? Is it what you expected? Perhaps you’d like to join us and have a say in 2016! Look out soon for an Official Best Fantasy Books of 2015.

About the author

Jon Snow

Believe it or not, Jon Snow really got into reading only after reading A Game of Thrones back in 2002. Previously the only fantasy he had read were Lord of the Rings and many Magic: The Gathering books.While juggling teaching life, he tries to keep up with recently published books.


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