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Top 5 Fantasy Books of 2010

Hello Fantasy Fans!

Been a while since my last post, there was a pretty big event, you probably heard of it: Christmas. There is also another one approaching fairly rapidly: New Year’s. And in celebration of New Year’s we are going to post our top books of 2010 (as chosen by Twitter followers).

If you agree and want to chat about the books, or even if you disagree and want to make other suggestions, we have a means for you to do so! Simply sign up to our forums or click here to go to our special Books of 2010 thread. Look forward to chatting soon!

Firstly, Honorary Mention goes to:

Towers of Midnight by Brandon Sanderson
The Half Made World by Felix Gilman
City of Ruin by Mark Charan Newton
An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire
Surrender to the Will of the Night by Glen Cook
Oath of Fealty by Elizabeth Moon
Bearers of the Black Staff by Terry Brooks
The Ambassador’s Mission by Trudi Canavan.

These books were mentioned by our Twitter followers but didn’t have quite enough mentions to make the top 5. It was a pretty strong year for fantasy though, so whereas most years these books would probably have made it into a top 5, this year the following books had other ideas.

Best Books of 2010

Number 5: Joe Abercrombie’s Best Served Cold

Best Served Cold

To draw upon a brilliant Amazon review, “Anyone who uses a quote from Wrath of Khan as a book title must be really cool, and it appears that Joe Abercrombie in fact is – and he even gives us the real author of the quote, proving he knows stuff, too!”

Joe Abercrombie’s paperback edition of this book was release in mid 2010. It was hugely popular and was the first sequel to his First Law Trilogy. Since the release of his first book, people have been saying that Joe is writing comical, action-packed and yet dark fantasy in a way that really takes things to another level. He is another one of these modern fantasy authors that seem to be drawing non-fantasy fans into the genre because his work is literally so good, that people say, “Read this guy’s work.”

Number 4: Brent Weeks’ The Black Prism

The Black Prism

After a huge hit with The Night Angel Trilogy (by far my favourite trilogy of all time), Brent Weeks told us, “I am going to take a break from that world and write something new.” He did just that, and in late 2010, The Black Prism hit our shelves.

The Black Prism was a very different book. It wasn’t about dark characters in a dark world doing dark deeds. It was about a weak character gaining powers and finding himself thrust within a completely unfamiliar world, something of a more conventional story line. There were however very unique elements thrown in. There was a magic system so complex and unique you had to write things down, there was a main character almost as powerful as a god, and there was a wicked, wicked twist to the whole story revealed within about 50-100 pages. Although it didn’t hit me as hard as The Night Angel Trilogy did, there is certainly a lot of promise and I will be dashing out to buy the next book.

Number 3: Blake Charlton’s Spellwright

Spellwright

Imagine a world in which you could peel written words off a page and make them physically real. You might pick your teeth with a sentence fragment, protect yourself with defensive paragraphs, or thrust a sharply-worded sentence at an enemy’s throat. Such a world is home to Nicodemus Weal, an apprentice at the wizardly academy of Starhaven. Because of how fast he can forge the magical runes that create spells, Nicodemus was thought to be the Halcyon, a powerful spellwright prophesied to prevent an event called the War of Disjunction, which would destroy all human language. There was only one problem: Nicodemus couldn’t spell.

Sounds very…different, doesn’t it? Well it is and that’s what has critics raving. Spellwright is a complex book that takes a number of unique elements and puts them together. With fantasy, it can sometimes feel as though you are reading the same book over and over again. If we can promise you one thing with Spellwright, it is that you haven’t experienced anything quite like this before.

Number 2: Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings

Way of Kings

According to mythology, mankind used to live in The Tranquiline Halls. Heaven. But then the Voidbringers assaulted and captured heaven, casting out God and men. Men took root on Roshar, the world of storms. And the Voidbringers followed. They came against man ten thousand times. To help them cope, the Almighty gave men powerful suits of armor and mystical weapons, known as Shardblades. Led by ten angelic Heralds and ten orders of knights known as Radiants, mankind finally won. Or so the legends say.

Brandon Sanderson has made a name for himself. Not only has he taken on perhaps the biggest fantasy series of all time with The Wheel of Time, he has also produced his own work that has been getting 5 star reviews left, right and centre. When I first saw The Way of Kings in the flesh, I was worried. Not many people I know can pick up a 1000 page book and read through it happily.

However, I started getting messages just a week to two weeks after its release. “Finished The Way of Kings…Wow,” was one of them. “Best book I have read this year!” was another. Any book of over 1000 pages that is completed in 7 to 14 days is a piece of art. When I asked for the best books over the forums and twitter this one was mentioned time and time again.

Number 1: Peter V. Brett’s The Desert Spear

Desert Spear

For me, and many of our Twitter followers, this was ‘The Book’ of 2010. When Peter V. Brett hit us with The Painted Man in 2009, people just stopped in their tracks and said “wow!” I would estimate about 80% of those who reviewed the book simply said, “perfect,” whilst the other 20% said, “It was too simple and needed more expansion.” To these people, Peter V. Brett must have listened and said “Okay, you want more? I’ll give you more,” because damn…was Desert Spear an expansion!

Not only did we get taught the reasoning of the ‘evil character,’ but we were also led to sympathise with him. We thought that demons were mindless creatures with no real thought process…? In the introduction, we meet the highly intelligent, 10,000+ year old Coreling Prince, who can control other demons. We learnt all about the history of the demons, we learnt more about the races that inhabit Brett’s world; new characters, new relationships, new developments for the old characters. It was an incredible piece of work, that matched The Painted Man in every way and simply grew upon it.

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Click here to see our most anticipated books of 2011!

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Rating: 8.7/10 (10 votes cast)
Top 5 Fantasy Books of 2010, 8.7 out of 10 based on 10 ratings
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8 Comments

  1. Overlord says:

    Wow, the art for ‘JOE ABERCROMBIE’S – BEST SERVED COLD’ is awesome… I so badly need to read that original trilogy 😀 I think that was the German cover, beats the UK cover by a mile in my opinion!

  2. TankSpill says:

    It’s a little surprising to me that Shadowheart didn’t even get mention, as I’ve heard so many great things about it, but other than that, your list looks pretty good. I’m looking forward to picking up some Brent Weeks now after all the great things I’ve heard about him.

    • Overlord says:

      No one mentioned it in the Twitter or Forum shout outs sadly, it wasn’t my choice – it was voted by the visitors to my site.

      Basically I have around 40-50 responses through Facebook/Twitter/Forums and I took the books they gave me and tallied them up to get my top 5, then went through the top 5 and ordered them using my own opinions and that of the visitors comments 🙂

  3. Jen says:

    I think Way of Kings should be number one, but I am a total fangirl, so that’s ok. Agreed with Overlord on the Abercrombie art, I will have to check out his books, they sound right up my alley and he was damn entertaining and informative on a panel I watched.

    One book I loved this year is missing though. N.K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was my favorite of 2010 after TWoK. Voice, characters and setting were all spot on and something I had not read before. I gave my copy to a friend for Christmas and already wish I could read it again.

    • Overlord says:

      Haha, yes it was a very hard decision and I had to ask quite a few readers opinions who had read both.

      Yes… Again, wasn’t mentioned – I own N.K. Jesmin’s book after Brent Weeks spoke highly of it and thought it was very unique… surprised too that no one mentioned it :/ I think a lot of people overlooked it because she wasn’t a ‘huge name’, now she has a new contract though (4 more books at least) I am sure she will get a larger share of the marketing budget 😉

  4. blodeuedd says:

    Great list! Weeks was so cool, and Brett, oh yes, have not read this one yet, cos waiting to read both book 2 and 3 at the same time, but book 1 was kicking 🙂

  5. Damnit, all of those books are on my wishlist, I need to read them! Spellwright and Way of Kings are at the top of the list, I’ve been waiting too long!

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