Someone on reddit asked if I would do top ten lists, and I figure why not? Someone else requested 1 star review reviews, where I go through a 1 star review of a popular book or a book I liked and review the shit out of it. I was also asked for author interviews, so KS Villoso (Jaeths Eye) and Matt Moss (Path of Man) will have interviews here posted soon!
I’m working on a few lists like top ten redemption arcs, POV, battles, Discworld books, emotional wreckage books, animal companions, horror, urban, classics etc. Since I’ve read so many indie books this year I figured I would start it with indie authored top ten.
When I sat down to come up with a 1 – 10 list and put them in order I got myself into kind of a pickle not knowing what book to put where, so these are loose approximations.
Grey Bastards by Jonathon French
Why: Because we don’t see enough Orc POV, let alone well done Orc POV with a biker twist. This book was fun, original, raunchy and rather lude. This won’t be for people who don’t like that kind of thing, however it won the indie authored contest held by Mark Lawrence and has been picked up by traditional publishing so it no longer counts.
Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft
Why: Because it’s fucking gorgeous. This is some of the most poetic and prettiest turns of phrase I’ve read in a long time, and it’s the book that changed my mind on indie authored books and lead me down this path this year of reading shit tons of indie stuff. Some of which have become my favorite books.
10. Paternus by Dyrk Ashton
Why: Very unique mash up of all things mythos, I haven’t read anything else quite like it before. It did very well and made it to the semi finals in Mark Lawrences SFPBO contest, and for good reason. Lots of action, beheadings, and weird shit going on in this book – you won’t be bored.
9. Path of Flames by Phil T ucker
Why: Yay action books! I love books that are fast paced and cause me to have a significant loss of sleep. I know I’ve got an awesome book when it’s 4am and I’m still reading until my eyes literally refuse to cooperate. Monsters, magic, knights, castles, all of the classic standards in fantasy are in this book and man do I love that. It’s another semi finalist contestant in the SFPBO!
8. Valley of Embers by Steven Kelliher
Why: Burninating! Fire mages are awesome and there’s a lot of fire magic in this series. Another book that starts off right in the middle of a battle it keeps up a good pace through the rest of the book. Likeable main characters, great plot, good pacing with lots of action made this one a favorite.
7. Facefakers Game by Chandler Birch
Why: Who doesn’t love a good coming of age story? Usually, me. That’s why when I picked this up and really liked it I knew it was something different. A younger protagonist who didn’t totally get on my nerves was awesome. Monsters that come out at night in a London esque city made for an awesome setting and tone.
6. Star Reckoners Lot by Darrell Drake
Why: When magic can have serious consequences I think it adds something extra to the world rather than having magic always be safe/mostly safe. I also love new fantasy settings, I had never read a fantasy book set in ancient Iran and I haven’t come across one since, and I read a decent amount. Also, puns. God I love puns, which is probably obvious since I love Pratchett – this book has a healthy dose of punes, or a play on words.
5. Crimson Queen by Alec Hutson
Why: Epic. I like epic shit, bring on mysteries from a thousand years ago with mages and dark magic. Spider dungeons? More please! History and lore play a big part in the story making for some awesome world building.
4. Jaeths Eye by KS Villoso
Why: While I totally love fast paced stuff thats’s straight forward and easy to read, I equally love a finely tuned slower moving complex story with intricate world building. This books strength is it’s characters, so many books focus on the heros or champions of the story, and this one does the opposite of that. Common people running around in a fully realized world.
3. Sufficiently Advanced Magic by Andrew Rowe
Why: Because we need more awesome character heavy LitRPG. This was my first LitRPG and I’ve been reading a ton of those lately, mostly indie as well. Mayhaps I’ll make a top ten list of those later. I was skeptical at first thinking there wouldn’t be enough character development or story line going on to keep me interested and I am so glad I was wrong. This book had a lot of character interaction and plot line rather than over emphasizing leveling magic and dungeon raids. I highly recommend this as a starter into litrpg as the author describes it as a mix of that and epic fantasy. Much of the book revolves around a magic academy as the protag learns how to use his new skills.
2. Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron
Why: I fell in love instantly with the audiobook. This book has dragons in human form and follows a rejected dragon whos under the threat of death from his own mother for not being vicious enough. Julius is known as the nice dragon and has to figure out how to stay out of his mothers way and accomplish something impressive before she kills him. It’s actually really funny and has great side characters, Bob and Marci are some of my favorite side characters in the fantasy genre. Mileage may vary depending on sense of humor. Book club was hit and miss since humor is so subjective.
1. Construct by Luke Matthews
Why: The characters from the start gripped me, I love when I find myself rooting for the main character early on and genuinely care what happens to them. It’s hard to do and when it happens I remember. I instantly wanted good things for Samuel and his journey was awesome. Samuel is a Construct, or an artificial being who has had his memory wiped. He’s on the run from men who want him dead and he doesn’t know why. It’s sort of like Bicentennial Man meets fantasy and I love it so much
So that was really difficult to come up with just 10, and I still cheated a bit by having two honorable mentions that can’t qualify anymore. I sat here for a few days with a list of 18 not knowing which ones I was going to end up with. I hope this sparks some interest in these books, most of them have been reviewed by me on one platform or another, goodreads, reddit, or here, but there are a few exceptions. Path of Flames, Crimson Queen, and Grey Bastards I don’t have full reviews for yet, but those will be coming soon.