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Tendrils of Darkness — Chapter 21: Transformation
Transformation Sel might have made straight...
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Find out what the must-read fantasy books are over the 2017 year!
2017 looks to be an interesting year for fantasy book releases. Truth be told, it looks to be a much stronger year for fantasy than 2016 was (see our best fantasy books of 2016 list).
Some of the most anticipated fantasy books (Winds of Winter, The Doors of Stone, etc.) are unlikely to be released in 2017, but we can still hope.
We’ve combed through a number of different sources to find these books and then we’ve cherry picked our favourites. But by no means is this a comprehensive listing of every single fantasy book slated for a 2017 release. We could have a top 500 list and we still would not cover everything.
Also note that we have not added any indie releases to this list simply because there are way too many to keep track of. I’ll likely update this list later with a few of the more highly anticipated indie fantasy books of 2017 though, but as of now, we don’t have any added.
You’ll find that because of how fragmented the fantasy genre is these days, different ‘most anticipated’ lists you’ll find published around the web might feature entirely different books. This is because some people only draw from say paranormal romance or the non-genre ‘fantasy’ that seems to appeal to critics more than the genre stuff.
The bottom line is that there’s a shed load of fantasy releases and my specific list is only one slice of the fantasy pie, as it were.
I’ve tried my best to find different sources to confirm dates of each release, but all dates are subject to change due to long range forecasting! We usually get the dates come from Amazon or Locus but these sources are not always accurate.
And there we have it. Let’s look at our picks for the most anticiapted fantasy novels of the 2017 year! We’ll keep this list updated every month with new books added as we find them. I’ve only covered PURE fantasy books and not any science fiction.
Magic is real, and hungry. It’s trapped in ancient texts and artifacts, and only a few who discover it survive to fight back. Detective Sal Brooks is a survivor. She joins a Vatican-backed black-ops anti-magic squad—Team Three of the Societas Librorum Occultorum—and together they stand between humanity and the magical apocalypse. Some call them the Bookburners. They don’t like the label.
This is the prequel to the first book To Green Angel Tower. It also answers some questions about what actually happened in the immediate aftermath of the fall of Green Angel Tower.
Memory, Sorrow, Thorn was a classic epic fantasy, one that helped define / re-define the epic fantasy genre during the late 80’s and early 90’s. The original series helped prove epic fantasy could be complicated and just as much a journey inward as it was through strange, incredible landscapes.
I can’t wait to see what this new series holds for us. Williams is one of the most talented writers in the genre, so expect good things indeed.
Book 3 and like many other rulers, King Olav finds that it is easier to win a war than to maintain peace. He’s trying to spread the word about his god White Christ but others are not too forthcoming and are wishing him ill.
The follow up to Truthwitch. This bestselling author is one of those female fantasy authors who actually gets the fantasy genre. If you are lacking in quality female writing, then it isn’t too late to read Truthwitch before getting your hands on Windwitch in early Jan!
Twelve Kings of Sharakai was a great read. Another EPIC fantasy series that might go the distance. The beauty of these books is the prose and the not too many protagonists. A reader like myself does find it hard to keep up with everything that is going on but Beaulieu does a great job of staying focused for the reader. The prequel Of Sand and Malice made was interesting as it gave more information but unless this book shed more light on those matters, I’m not sure why the prequel matters at all?
The conclusion to this trilogy. Shades of Magic has had praised heaped on it.
I was a big fan of the first two books in the series which impressed me as one of the more interesting fantasy worlds /stories to come out the past couple years. Minor quibbles aside, the series has been wildly entertaining and easily accessible for both casual and hardcore fantasy readers.
Get in there and the read this trilogy first before it heads to television and you can be one of those people who can groan and moan how the book is better!
More of a “history” book than a fantasy book. However, many of us are real nerds who will love this type of book.
The third instalment to this series, Mare has her back against the wall. She is a prisoner and with no access to her lightning due to the Silent Stone prison. However her new bloods and Reds are conjuring up a plan of action that will pit blood against blood.
The first two books hit a cultural nerve and have been well recieved by most readers. Let’s see what book three can do.
Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows) meets the Sixth Sense.
A girl who has powers to see ghosts and talk to the dead runs away from her Aunt before she can be sold into an apprenticeship. As she does this, she meets a ghost boy, a ghost dog and a mysterious stranger and is thrown into a mystery that she doesn’t even know how to begin.
Honestly, this one peaks my interest quite a bit. I’m always in the mood for a good scare book and this mystery-adventure-fantasy-horror story looks to hit all the right buttons. We’ll see if it can deliver on the promise.
Taylor is slowing amassing quite the following. With Faeries (Warrior types not the airy fairy ones!) being her first foray into fantasy, Strange the Dreamer is getting quite the hype. What is it about?
What is it about?
the aftermath of a war between gods and men
a mysterious city stripped of its name
a mythic hero with blood on his hands
a young librarian with a singular dream
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperilled
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.
Certainly looks interesting!
Super excited to see a new series from McClellan. His Powder Mage series was one of the more exciting guns & sorcery fantasy series that was one hell of a ride from start to finish.Sins of Empire is set in the same world as Powder Mage Trilogy, though you probably guessed that due to the series name. Again, we will follow three main protagonists,
Sins of Empire is set in the same world as Powder Mage Trilogy, though you probably guessed that due to the series name.
Again, we will follow three main protagonists, however they are much different. Now we follow a spy named Michel Bravis, convicted war hero Ben Styke, and Lady Vlora Flint, a mercenary general. Together they must stop the insurrection of Landfall.
One of my own most anticipated fantasy books of 2017.
Mark Lawrence has really hit the scene with his last two trilogies. He has a way of making these anti-heroes work for him and gets everyone to love them, even though they can be sadistic as f*** sometimes. His Broken Empire books makes one of our top 25 fantasy books / series and his recent conclusion to his Red Queen’s War series made one of our best fantasy books of 2016 picks.
It’s no surprise that his upcoming book looks like something special too.
What I really admire of Lawrence with the start of this new trilogy is that he has moved away from the last two trilogies and written a new world, new characters and possibly an even greater trilogy than his previous ones.
Lawrence is always trying to push the envolope and do something completely new in each new series he writes. Expect the same here.
Definitely one of the top 10 books I would love to read next year.
There hasn’t been a bad Alex Verus book.
However, what I’m hoping for is for this story to move forward. The last couple in the series have really seen the story stagnate. While things happen, the character development and overall story hasn’t,
There is so much potential and the magic in this world is fantastic. Even Jim Butcher, the King of Detective Wizards has given this series praise.
Can Benedict Jacka fullfil on the promise the series holds? We’ll see. Up until the last book, I personally prefer the Alex Verus books to the Dresden Files books. But we’ll see how things play out over 2017 with new books by both authors on the table.
These are Staveley’s own words: Skullsworn, is about an assassin, Pyrre, who goes back to the city of her birth to pass the final test of her religious order: killing ten people in a month. She’s not all that worried about the killing—after all, she’s been training for fifteen years among some of the most deadly men and women in the world. The trouble is, the test stipulates that among the ten offerings, one must be a person that she loves. And Pyrre has never been in love. So it’s a romance novel—some kissing, some heartache, some sex—but with monsters, murder, and buckets and buckets of blood.
Osten Ard is at a critical turning point once again. Ancient enemies, long silent, are preparing to reclaim lands that were once theirs…
Two series have preceded this one to come. Memory, Sorrow and Thorn was one of the big Trilogies that he wrote back in the 90s. The Last King of Osten came after which is a stand alone and The Witchwood Crown takes over from that.
If you want some old school writing style but by an author who knows how to adapt to the changing fantasy genre, then give this a go!
City of Stairs was rated #2 in the best fantasy books of 2014, so you know that you’re headed in the right direction with this series. City of Miracles is the last in the trilogy so, if you are one of those people who likes to read all in a series in one go, then pick up this goodness.
Like the above, Tyrant’s Throne is the last in the series.
Sebastian de Castell’s epic fantasy tale of Greatcoats is dark, bleak and gritty and yet the drama is the one that shines through. Humour is added from time to time to break up the seriousness.
Not a fantasy novel but I’m sure there will be some of us that will be interested in this. Stella Gemmell (Widow) found this among his personal effects. Rhyming Rings is a crime thriller that details an ambidexterous killer who is murdering women in London. A local journalist becomes entangled in this story as his stories converge onto this mysterious case.
In case you were wonder, yes, he has done crime thrillers before. White Knight Black Swan is a book he wrote under the pen name, Ross Harding.
Please note that this book is over available in the UK at the of writing.
Suppose to be released in July of 2016, that never eventuated. This is the last book in the latest Fitz trilogy. What will happen to Bee, what will happen with Fool and Fitz? Please end well.
If you haven’t seen or heard of Robin Hobb, then start with Assassin’s Apprentice, perhaps one of the single best books ever written in the history of fantasy.
One that has slipped the radar a bit is Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Wings and Roses series.
She has slowly amassed a lot of following and her prose and writing style has endeared her to her fans.
Tchaikovsky doing what he does best: writing awesome military fantasy featuring strange creatures. I maintain that Tchaikovsky is one of the more underrated fantasy authors in the genre. I’m definitely curious to see what he brings to the table with book two of his new series.
I maintain that Tchaikovsky is one of the more underrated fantasy authors in the genre. The first book was quite intriguing, though I had mixed feelings about the book by the end of it.
However, I’m definitely curious to see what he brings to the table with book two.
A blend of Urban Fantasy and Sci-fi.
What happens if no one dies because a Dispatcher can help you have a second chance at life? If no one dies, it changes everything: war, crime, and everything in-between.
An interesting premise indeed. And it’s penned by John Scalzi, an often controversial SF writer who always writes thought provoking (and action-heavy) military SF.
This book was originally released as an audiobook but it will be published in 2017.
Extracted from Goodreads.com:
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a fully continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien will reunite fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves and Men, Dwarves and Orcs and the rich landscape and creatures unique to Tolkien’s Middle-earth.
The tale of Beren and Lúthien was, or became, an essential element in the evolution of The Silmarillion, the myths and legends of the First Age of the World.
My thoughts: yet another Lord-of-the-Rings story dredged up from somewhere in the Tolkien archives for the mass market. However, if you can’t get enough of LOTR, you might want to look at this story, which covers one of the enduring Tolkien mythologies: The story of Beren and Luthien.
While set in his world of Riyria, this series is a distant prequel, so that previous reading is not required. What happens when gods can be killed? What if you were the first to do it but reluctant to continue to do so? Once thought to be immortal the balance or power, the psyche is invigorated but will it also be the downfall of man?
One of the few “indie/self-published” authors who got a contract picked up after the fact.
While his first trilogy garnered a lot of praise, the Draconis Memoria hasn’t had the fan fare that his previous book had, but that’s because he’s set some high expectations with his highly regarded first book The Blood Song.
If you want to support a still-to-become-an-established author, want some epic fantasy, then read this series.
Personally, I thought the first book in the series was pretty decent. Initially pretty great, but somewhat disappointing by the end of it. Still, there’s promise here with the story. Let’s see what Ryan can bring to the table in book two.
White Trash Zombie series by Diana Rowland is urban fantasy with a unique spin on the zombie genre.
The star of the show is Angel Crawford, a twenty-something year old girl from Louisiana, with a history of domestic and drug abuse. She gets turned into a zombie and must find a way to deal with her new condition of craving brains, on top of all her problems.
Through these books you can see her trying to improve herself, fix up her problems and get ahead in life. She’s a flawed character, and very self-aware of her problems, which makes her one of the most relatable. This is where the zombie angle also works because despite being a zombie she’s more human, than some humans around her. The series is also a kind of a police procedural/mystery, supported by humour.
Pick this up if you want to read about realistic female characters (despite them being a zombie), or if you are a zombie genre fan. The series deals with some serious questions of domestic abuse and drug addiction, but overall it manages to keep an uplifting and fun perspective. If you are a fan of iZombie, you might consider these books as well, which came before the TV show. I highly recommend the audiobook versions as the narration of Allison McLemore is a perfect fit for a Louisiana girl.
The Nightwise by R. S. Belcher and that was one of the best fantasy books of 2015.
Really dark urban fantasy that came out of nowhere and totally surpassed my expectations. It’s urban fantasy without all the vampires and fairies and werewolves, it’s bleak and violent, but it’s a lot of fun.
The Brotherhood of the Wheel did it again in last year (2016) and The Queen of Swords is at it again in the same world.
K.J Parker is a renown writer in the fantasy world. He has many series but has turned into one of the few fantasy authors now who writes standalone.
Parker/Holt has won multiple awards and is a fantastic writer that definitely knows how to hook a reader in. Devices and Desires (Engineer Trilogy) is engrossing from start to finish.
His new book looks like another thought-provoking entry. Personally, while I enjoy the comedic Tom Holt persona, I adore the dark, gritty work of his K.J Parker persona. Keep an eye on this book folks!
Lackey, one a significant presence during the 90’s and early 2000’s fantasy scene, has largely retreated, publishing few books since her glory days. Truth be told, the genre has moved beyond her rather simplistic fantasy. However, she has still left a mark on the genre (especially
However, she has still left a mark on the genre (especially in the feminist fantasy movement) and many fans hold her works in high regard. If you are a fan of both her work and the Elemental Masters world, then keep an eye on this release.
If Tor will let you publish 6 books, you’re doing well. Max Gladstone is a consistent writer who publishes books year in year out since his debut.
In fact, the Craft Sequence is one of the best (and somewhat underrated) fantasy series published this decade. If you are sick of standard epic fantasy and what something…different, the Craft Sequence is some of the best stuff you’ll find.
This won’t be his last book in the sequence either as Tor has announced that he will be part of Tor Publishing which will do novellas and Gladstone will be part of that.
The conclusion to Bring Down Heaven.
The great demon Khoth-Kapira has broken free of his prison and taken his first steps upon the mortal world. And he owes it all to Lenk. Believing that the demon will mend a broken world that the gods have ignored, Lenk serves as a reluctant champion to Khoth-Kapira’s cause. But as the desperate and fearful flock to Khoth-Kapira’s banner, begging for salvation, Lenk begins to doubt his patron’s good intentions.
The city of Cier’Djaal, meanwhile, has become the battlefield for the last great war. And as the mortal races prepare to tear each other apart, none are aware of the march of the great demon who comes to tame them.
Buried Heart (Court of Fives #3) – Kate Elliot (July 25th)
And another end to another successful trilogy. If you think you’ve heard of Kate Elliot before, she is the author of the
If you think you’ve heard of Kate Elliot before, she is the author of the the acclaimed Spiritwalker and Crossroads series.
This series is a YA and weaves an epic story of a girl struggling to do what she loves in a society suffocated by rules of class and privilege. She is upper class but dreams of having the freedom of a commoner.
In Kate’s words, “Little Women meet American Ninja Warrior in a setting inspired by Greco-Roman Egypt” while the publisher has pitched it as “Little Women meets Game of Thrones meets The Hunger Games.”
This was suppose to be the 3rd and last book but because of its length, it got split and so here is the fourth book.
Bakker is someone who can delve into the philosophical whilst delivering a fantastic story. This will be the end to his second series and there will be many more to come, I’m sure of it.
I was a big fan of book one, which had a very strong Black Company vibe too it. I’d go as far as to say this series is one of the more interesting and compelling new military fantasy series out there right now. So if you are looking for your gritty military company fantasy fix, look no further than Llyod’s new series. I expect book two will be pretty interesting, if the first book was any indication.
A series where it got nominated for multiple awards. A story with strong leading female characters about a post-apocalyptic world. A story where daughter sees the wrong her mother and has to decide whether to do something about it or not.
The first two books were excellent reads and I expect the third will continue the trend. Jemisin’s speciality is writing complex fantasy with a strong, empowered female lead, romantic angst, and various political complexities that must be overcome.
Peter V. Brett is wrapping up the Demon Cycle with this 5th installment. Brett has copped a lot of flak over the last few years with audiences not happy with the decisions that his characters make, the POVs that people felt were unnecessary. However, I’m hedging that The Core will one one of the most anticipated books of 2017. Everyone wants to know how this series will end. Can it end like how the first started? The single most amazing fantasy book written in the last 15 years of fantasy.
With his massive Red Rising Trilogy doing so well, we can’t wait for more from this world. This new trilogy will star two new protagonists along with Darrow and Mustang 10 years after the revolution. Iron Gold is the term for the ruthless Golds that started it all 700 years ago and now the motto of the Golds who want to take back their own.
One of the few non-fantasy book on here, but there are enough elements of fantasy that everyone will love. It’s just a gorydamn good story its all.
We don’t have much in the way of advanced covers to show for these books, but we’ll try to update in a few months when the book covers are released on Amazon.
The third in the Vagrant series and here is hoping we get something different again. The first book The Vagrant, was a very heroic fantasy type with gripping scenes of fighting, laughter and despair. The Malice focused on a completely different protagonist who wasn’t a hero to be but had help from all over. Other than that, there isn’t a lot of information about this book.
The Vagrant books are unlike anything else out there and Newman’s prose is something special. I’ve been seriously impressed with the first two books so far. I’d even go as far as to say Newman is one of my favourite new fantasy authors and his books are some of my most anticipate reads.
Cameron burst on the scene in full force with The Red Knight and he’s been going strong the past couple years with a new book in the series each year. The Traitor Son Cycle has been on of my favourite fantasy series and is arguably one of the best military fantasy series since the original Mazalan Book of the Fallen. The last book was ab it on the disappointing side as not too much happened to move the plot forward over the (very) massive book, but things were set up nicely for the next book by the end of it. This is one of my most anticipated books of 2017.
Her first book since getting married in 2016 to Scott Lynch. Let’s see if she picks up more interest with this news.
Book one was a critical hit and regarded as one of the best fantasy books of 2014, topping most best list around the list. Book 2 was a bit on the disappointing side, though still a good read. Let’s see if she can deliver with book three.
A new Kevin Hearne book and a completely new world. I liked Hearne’s Iron Druid books which are a pretty good substitute for The Dresden Files, if an uncomfortably close copy of them (at least for the first few). The man undeniably has some talent for Detective/Wizard Urban Fantasy though and I’m curious to see what he can do with a new series.
Stephen R. Donaldson was a classic fixture of late 70’s fantasy, helping redefine what epic /high fantasy is. His books are highly regarded, due in part to his anti-hero protagonist and deep world building. Donaldson, in his Thomas Covenant books, took the basic archetypes of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and redrew the lines completely. Characters were made into real entities, flawed and not perfect. The world was gritty and grimy. However, Donaldson faded into obscurity in the 2000’s. His return to The Land with his third Thomas Covenant series proved disappointing, though.
With this book, Donaldson is trying his hand at a new world. The man has proven himself a pillar in the fantasy world in the past, but we’ll see if he can find a niche in the new, modern world of fantasy.
Shadow Ops has been consistently rated as some of the best electric action fantasy (special forces meets urban fantasy?). If you want to read about special ops kicking supernatural ass military style, then you’ll need to pick up Cole’s awesome series. I expect book six will be more of the same as the first five, which is to say, pretty bloody fantastic.
The third book of the Stormlight Archives and will be undoubtedly THE MOST anticipated book of 2017. There are some detractors but others like myself can really see the massive scope this series will be. As of writing, Sanderson is onto his 3rd draft and he said on his website brandonsanderson.com that he should be on target for November. I can’t wait. Squeeeeeeeeeee!
Yeah, I had to do a double-take on this one too. So Beaulieu is scheduled to bring out two books from the Song of Shattered Sands series. I will wait to believe it but from what I have seen, he is a pretty quick writer. See how February goes and how good that book is.
Set approx 28 years after Last Argument of Kings. This one has me excited. Joe has been pretty good about publishing a new book every year, so there’s a reasonable chance we’ll see something from the new trilogy this year.
Book 4 was disappointing, but maybe the next book can finally bring it? I don’t think it’
Yes, this old chestnut. Lynch did get married to Elizabeth Bear and he was almost done with the book in 2016. It was supposed to be released but was not.Fingers crossed?
Do we even care anymore? I’m not holding my breath for this one.
On a whole, as An Ember in the Ashes series moves forward, it develops characters and opts to flesh out the tale through the antagonists. It’s an adventure yarn, a fantasy tale, a coming of age YA tale, while also posing some interesting philosophical qualities that, through the plot and characters, investigate the damming effects caused by grief and the violence it can perpetuate.
Those looking for a well-written adventure fantasy full of action, romance, and suspense will find this series quite appealing.
I can’t get enough Dresden and things are really heating up in the world. There still looks like many “files” to go and that’s a good thing in my book. If you haven’t heard of Dresden Files and want to get into it because you love witty, humorous detective wizards, then might I recommend you start with the third book called Grave Peril. It doesn’t matter than you missed the first two as Butcher does a good job at recapping during every book. The first two aren’t written as well and it’s really book 3 he starts to get into it.
The Aeronaut’s Windlass didn’t gather that much praise when it came out. However, like most of Dresden’s books, I find that they are entertaining. I personally found his new book quite interesting and the world created was certainly unique. It hit a chord with me and I quite enjoyed it. If you like pirates, magic and cats, then why not give it a go? I’ll certainly be picking it up when it comes out.
Frankly, it was a better read for me than his past few The Dresden Files books. So for me, this is one of my more anticipated fantasy reads of the 2017 year.
Loved the first four books in the series. Wexler has been good about releasing a new Shadow Campaigns book every year, so I expect Book 5 will see the light of day in 2017. Book 4 set up everything nicely and moved the story forward in a new direction, so I’m excited to see where things will go in his new book.
These are unlikely to be released in 2017, but here’s our fantasy book wishlist of books we really want to see (finally) released in 2017.
Are we missing any highly anticipated fantasy book on this list? Let us know in the comments! Note, we won’t be adding random indie fantasy books here to keep this list sane, so please don’t submit your own fantasy novel as a highly anticipated release, because I won’t be adding it.
Note, we won’t be adding random indie fantasy books here to keep this list sane, so please don’t submit your own fantasy novel as a highly anticipated release, because I won’t be adding it.
Sharakhai, the great city of the desert, center of commerce and culture, has been ruled from time immemorial by twelve kings -- cruel, ruthless, powerful, and immortal. With their army of Silver Spears, their elite company of Blade Maidens and their holy defenders, the terrifying asirim, the Kings uphold their positions as undisputed, invincible lords of the desert. There is no hope of freedom for any under their rule.
Or so it seems, until Çeda, a brave young woman from the west end slums, defies the Kings' laws by going outside on the holy night of Beht Zha'ir. What she learns that night sets her on a path that winds through both the terrible truths of the Kings' mysterious history and the hidden riddles of her own heritage. Together, these secrets could finally break the iron grip of the Kings' power...if the nigh-omnipotent Kings don't find her first.
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.