Top 10 Anticipated Fantasy Books for 2013 – Part One: Readers’ Choice
For the last few years we’ve run articles where we’ve chosen our top 10 most anticipated novels for the coming year. They’ve proved overwhelmingly popular, amassing just shy of 200,000 hits in total! As a result, we decided last year to take things a step further and ask the publishers what their top 5 most anticipated novels of the year were. With that just as popular, this year we’re going to repeat the process and give you guys our opinion on what you should be looking out for.
So, we’ll be doing our most anticipated list in two phases:
Phase One will be Fantasy-Faction’s Top 10 novels to look forward to in 2013 (this post you’re reading).
Phase Two will be the publishers’ top 5 choices from their own lists (check back Monday for that!).
On to Phase One!
I want to start by saying almost exactly what I said for 2011: What a year 2012 was for Fantasy!!! Just when you think the genre has got as good as it is going to get, we are treated to more amazing débuts, fantastic books by already established authors and even some surprises from authors we thought we’d seen the best of. Débuts such as The Alchemist of Souls by Anne Lyle, Control Point by Myke Cole, The City’s Son by Tom Pollock, and Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis really stick out in my mind. All four authors I shall be anticipating further work from. Then we had the “solidification” book from Mark Lawrence, a book the proved he was as good an author as we had all hoped. We had books by authors who raised the bar and pushed boundaries: Brent Weeks’s The Blinding Knife was incredible, Joe Abercrombie’s Red Country was his best yet and Brandon Sanderson’s new Mistborn novel, The Alloy of Law, proved his diversity as an author. Finally, how can we forget the entries from veterans such as: Steven Erikson, Jim Butcher and Terry Brooks?
I’ll say it again: What. A. Year!
The scary thing is that some of the genres heavyweights didn’t even publish this year! Authors such as Peter V. Brett, George R. R. Martin, Scott Lynch, Patrick Rothfuss and so many more are making fans wait while they perfect their latest releases. But, with so many new names filling the gaps they’ve left, we’ve not even thought about complaining. So, with 2012 such a fantastic year for fantasy, can next year continue moving the genre forward? Damned right it can! Next year looks to be even better than the last. 2013 provides us with releases not only from some of fantasy’s biggest names continuing and finishing series that guarantee enjoyment, but also a number of authors who are using their stable fan-base to move into new areas, and fantastic debuts too.
So, without further build up (and rambling) from me, let’s move on to our top 10 releases of 2013 as chosen by our readers, Twitter fans, forum visitors and Goodreads group members.
Fade to Black by Francis Knight
The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski
Herald Of The Storm by Richard Ford
Throne of The Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb
Some great titles in our honourable mention category this year. One of the most lovely ladies I’ve ever met, Francis Knight, is set to release her urban fantasy novel. Andrzej Sapkowski’s third novel is FINALLY released in English. The unique voice of Richard Ford is applied to an epic fantasy novel – can’t wait for that. Throne of The Crescent Moon gets its much overdue UK release and Robin Hobb finishes her slow to start, but increasingly respected Rain Wild Chronicles. I’ve also heard a rumour that Sam Sykes is working on something new, although I can’t be sure it’ll be out in 2013, but certainly look out for that!!! Also, David Gemmell’s wife, Stella Gemmell, is to release her first solo effort. It didn’t make the list as it is likely to be fantasy-light/alternate history. Anyway, what I love about these books is that any one of them have the potential to make our ‘top 10′ books of the year list once we’ve reviewed them.
Top 10 Most Anticipated Books for 2013
10. Drakenfeld by Mark Charan Newton (Drakenfeld #1)
I was lucky enough to read an early draft of Drakenfeld and I have to say that I was mightily impressed. Fantasy’s answer to Sherlock Holmes and a break away from the ‘dark’ and ‘gritty’ fantasy that has become this decade’s trend. Mark Newton is an author I am always impressed with, his prose are flawless and his imagination is one of the genre’s finest. Bloggers and critics alike often wonder why Mark hasn’t done even better over the years, and I think it’s because Mark’s imagination is so good that he sometimes falls into the ‘new weird’ bracket, that is much smaller than the mainstream fantasy bracket. If I’m right, I’m pleased to say that Drakenfeld is Mark’s key to the mainstream and the recognition he deserves.
“Essentially it’s about a guy called Lucan Drakenfeld. He’s an officer for an organisation responsible for enforcing the law that binds a continent, and kings and queens, together in a royal union. It’s pretty much his story – he returns to his home city of Tryum when he receives news of his father’s death, and there’s lots for him to cope with on arrival such as burying his father’s ashes, and he spent most of his life living in his shadow. That’s the backstory. From there, Drakenfeld and his assistant are summoned in the middle of the night to investigate a very high-profile murder, which takes place in a locked room (or locked temple to be precise), where despite hundreds of potential witnesses, no one saw anything related to the killing. From there, all sorts of stuff happens.”
This is the first book in Mark’s new series Drakenfeld. It is unrelated to his other books and therefore you can pick this up and start reading!
9. The Crown Tower by Michael J. Sullivan (Riyria Chronicles #1)
Michael J. Sullivan is one of self publishing’s biggest success stories. His self published Riyria Revelations series sold thousands upon thousands of books before Orbit took notice and signed Michael up last year. Having read Michael’s work, I have to say that I’m hugely impressed and a great admirer for all that he has achieved. His books take a step back from the current complex, mainstream fantasy and go back to that lighter, more adventure orientated fantasy that was popular in the late eighties and early nineties (with far better prose and character development!). You know when you pick up a Michael J. Sullivan book that it’s going to be a quick, entertaining read that doesn’t require you to think too much – and I love that.
“Two men who hate each other. One impossible mission. A legend in the making.
A warrior with nothing to fight for is paired with a thieving assassin with nothing to lose. Together they must steal a treasure that no one can reach. The Crown Tower is the impregnable remains of the grandest fortress ever built and home to the realm’s most valuable possessions. But it isn’t gold or jewels the old wizard is after, and this prize can only be obtained by the combined talents of two remarkable men. Now if Arcadias can just keep Hadrian and Royce from killing each other, they just might succeed.
The Crown Tower is the first book in a new series, The Riyria Chronicles, based on characters from The Riyria Revelations. Unlike the previous series, which was a carefully choreographed interconnected series of books, the Chronicles are designed to be stand-alone stories that can be read independent of each other or the prior novels.”
This is the start of a new series with characters from previous books. It is likely you will be able to start with this book, however, seeing as how great the previous six (three collections by Orbit) were – I’d recommend picking them up first.
8. Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole (Shadow Ops #2)
Myke Cole is one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet, his love of communicating with fans is admirable, and, most importantly for readers, he writes a damned good story. His first book in the Shadow Ops series offered fantasy fans something new, or at least something that hadn’t been done very well to date: believable military fantasy. Myke’s first book was 100-miles-an-hour, action packed rollercoaster ride. Now, I loved it and I think the majority of fans did too. However, the first book in a series always needs to be action-packed, the second needs to pick that up and develop it. I’m interested to see where Myke goes next and I think we’ll see a huge development in him as an author now he is officially ‘pro’.
“The Great Reawakening did not come quietly. Suddenly people from all corners of the globe began to develop terrifying powers – summoning fire, manipulating earth, opening portals and decimating flesh. Overnight the rules had changed…but not for everyone.
Alan Bookbinder might be a Colonel in the US Army, but in his heart he knows he’s just a desk jockey, a clerk with a silver eagle on his jacket. But one morning he is woken by a terrible nightmare and overcome by an ominous drowning sensation. Something is very, very wrong.
Forced into working for the Supernatural Operations Corps in a new and dangerous world, Bookbinder’s only hope of finding a way back to his family will mean teaming up with former SOC operator and public enemy number one: Oscar Britton. They will have to put everything on the line if they are to save thousands of soldiers trapped inside a frontier fortress on the brink of destruction, and show the people back home the stark realities of a war that threatens to wipe out everything they’re trying to protect.”
All you need to do in order to catch up with Myke’s latest book is read the first book in the series: Control Point.
7. Highprince of War by Brandon Sanderson (Stormlight #2)
Brandon Sanderson took pretty much every ‘book of the year’ award going for his first Stormlight novel. This series seems to be Sanderson’s own Wheel of Time and you can tell he isn’t going to be in a hurry to finish it. The first book was huge in scope and featured an absolutely huge cast of characters with some of the finest examples of worldbuilding, magic system and religion creation and explanation I’ve ever come across. The question is then, why isn’t this number the number one most anticipated novel? Well, Stormlight is certainly dense and at 1000 pages, around 400,000 words – you could read three other novels in the time it takes to finish one of these. I guess this is probably what has put people off checking out the first book in the series and voting for the second. However, let me tell you guys, it’s worth it!
“Book two has no official synopsis yet, it will continue straight from the end of the first book. To tell you about that book: The world of The Way of Kings is one constantly assaulted by hurricanes, referred to in the book as highstorms. Flora and fauna have evolved to cope with this condition.
In response to an attack by malevolent entities (known as Voidbringers), the “Almighty” fashions magical weapons and suits of armor, called Shardblades and Shardplates. The “Almighty” equips knights, known as Radiants, with these, and, eventually, the Radiants defeat the evil Voidbringers.
Then, for unknown reasons, the Radiants turn against mankind, ignoring their cause and vanishing. They leave their Shardplates and Shardblades for all who want them, thus creating wars and strife. The book begins at a phase where warlords have, for many years, been gathering armies around Shardblade-wielding fighters. These armies fight over possession of the remaining Shardblades in an attempt to acquire a decisive advantage.”
Book two will follow from book one. Although there are certain minor connections with Sanderson’s other books, you only need to read the first Stormlight book The Way of Kings to be up to date and to understand this one.
6. The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch (Gentleman Bastard #3)
I think this is the third year in a row we’ve had Scott Lynch on this list. I love Scott Lynch, I think he is a great guy and one of the most talented writers in the genre. His ability to inject humour into stylised prose is unmatched in my opinion and I wish he was the kind of author who could bang out a book a year. However, Scott Lynch has a lot of personal problems (he openly talks about his battles with depression) and for this reason I don’t think there is a single person who is ‘on his back’ over the 3/4 year delay of third book in the Gentleman Bastard series. We’ve been told ‘this is the year’, and for that reason I’m adding this book on the list again. However, we’re willing to wait until Scott is back to 100% and ready to release it. If you’re reading this Scott, all the best. We love you, dude.
“Having pulled off the greatest heist of their career, Locke and his trusted partner in thievery, Jean, have escaped with a tidy fortune. But Locke’s body is paying the price. Poisoned by an enemy from his past, he is slowly dying. And no physiker or alchemist can help him. Yet just as the end is near, a mysterious Bondsmagi offers Locke an opportunity that will either save him – or finish him off once and for all.
Magi political elections are imminent, and the factions are in need of a pawn. If Locke agrees to play the role, sorcery will be used to purge the venom from his body – though the process will be so excruciating he may well wish for death. Locke is opposed, but two factors cause his will to crumble: Jean’s imploring – and the Bondsmagi’s mention of a woman from Locke’s past . . . Sabetha. The love of his life. His equal in skill and wit. And now his greatest rival.
Locke was smitten with Sabetha from his first glimpse of her as a young fellow-orphan and thief-in-training. But after a tumultuous courtship, Sabetha broke away. Now they will reunite in yet another clash of wills. For faced with his one and only match in both love and trickery, Locke must choose whether to fight Sabetha – or to woo her. It is a decision on which both their lives may depend.”
To catch up is easy! Just pick up the first two books in the series: The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies.
5. Sworn In Steel by Douglas Hulick (A Tale of the Kin #2)
I was lucky enough to read the manuscript of Among Thieves a couple of months after I started Fantasy-Faction. I remember reading though Douglas Hulick’s fantastic first person prose and being truly excited. I tore through the hundreds of pages in less than 24 hours and, if it had existed, was ready to tear through more. Among Thieves is a light fantasy novel that provides enjoyment through a witty first person narrator, plenty of plot twists and a ton of believable action scenes. Sworn In Steel was on our 2012′s most anticipated list, however Doug had some problems getting the manuscript in on time and so it has been delayed until him and the publishing company can slot it in to be released. From what I understand, Doug took almost a decade to write book one and so to create a book equally as good in less than a year was a big ask. The good news is that the book is done now and we’ll defiantly be hearing from Drothe in 2013. Hurrah!
“It’s been three months since Drothe killed a legend, burned down a portion of the imperial capital, and unexpectedly elevated himself into the ranks of the criminal elite. Now, as the newest Gray Prince in the underworld, he’s learning just how good he used to have it.
With barely the beginnings of an organization to his name, Drothe is already being called out by other Gray Princes. And to make matters worse, when one dies, all signs point to Drothe as wielding the knife. As members of the Kin begin choosing sides – mostly against him – for what looks to be another impending war, Drothe is approached by a man who not only has the solution to Drothe’s most pressing problem, but an offer of redemption. The only problem is the offer isn’t for him.
Now Drothe finds himself on the way to the Despotate of Djan, the empire’s long-standing enemy, with an offer to make and a price on his head. And the grains of sand in the hour glass are running out, fast…”
To catch up, you simply need to pick up Doug’s excellent debut Among Thieves.
4. Emperor of Thornsby Mark Lawrence (The Broken Empire #3)
Without doubt, along with Douglas Hulick listed above, Mark Lawrence is one of the finest authors to crop up since I’ve been working on this site. Mark has beautiful prose, he pushes boundaries and has somehow created a character who is so detestable to some that his books are unreadable and yet so intriguing and even loved by others that his books are un-put-down-able.
This is the third and final book that will bring this fantastic trilogy to a close. I’m looking forward to it as much as I’m dreading it. As much as I want to see what happens, I’m really going to miss Mark’s protagonist Jorg and the world that Mark has built around him.
“To reach the throne requires that a man journey. Even a path paved with good intentions can lead to hell, and my intentions were never good.
The Hundred converge for Congression to politic upon the corpse of Empire, and while they talk the Dead King makes his move, and I make mine. The world is cracked, time has run through, leaving us clutching at the end days, the future so bright that those who see it are the first to burn. These are the days that have waited for us all our lives. These are my days. I will stand before the Hundred and they will listen. I will take the throne from whoever seeks to thwart me, living or dead, and if I must be the last emperor then I will make of it such an ending.
This is where the wise man turns away. This is where the holy kneel and call on God. These are the last miles, my brothers. Don’t look to me to save you. Don’t think I will not spend you. Run if you have the wit. Pray if you have the soul. Stand your ground if courage is yours. But don’t follow me.
Follow me, and I will break your heart.”
To catch up with Mark Lawrence’s work you can pick up Prince of Thorns and King of Thorns. If you haven’t already – shame on you!!!
3. The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks (Lightbringer #3)
Having been a HUGE fan of Brent Weeks’s The Night Angel Trilogy, I was one of the first people to review Brent Weeks’s Black Prism. I have to admit that I was somewhat disappointed. To me The Night Angel Trilogy was one of the finest examples of character and action driven fantasy I’ve ever come across. Black Prism seemed to take too long to get going, probably because the politics and the magic system were so unique and complex. Book two though took my breath away. The characters were developed tenfold, the magic system really came into its own and Brent’s writing was better than ever – and that’s saying something. The series was originally set for three books, but Brent extended it to four in order to give the series the ending it needs. After reading book two this year – I’m absolutely cannot wait.
“No official blurb has been released yet, but book three will continue in Brent Weeks’s pre-industrial fantasy milieu, albeit more advanced than most, with gunpowder weapons and widespread use of simple machines such as pulleys and gears.
For those who haven’t read the first two: The story takes place in “The Seven Satrapies, 7 semi-autonomous countries surrounding a large sea, each ruled by a leader known as a satrap. Each satrapy has considerable independence, but is under the loose control of a federalist central government.
The government has three branches – The White, the Colors, and the Prism, and is located at the Chromeria – also the seat of education and regulation for the color magic on which the series is based. The seven satraps owe allegiance to the Prism, who is the representative of the god Orholam, on earth. Though the Prism is technically the ruler of the seven satrapies, he has the least official governing power of the three branches. Prisms typically die (or “start to lose their colors”) after their 7th, 14th or 21st year serving. Only one person a generation is supposed to have this power, however the two Guile brothers, Gavin and Dazen, both claim to be Prism. Since both demonstrated the same abilities, neither was less legitimate. Gavin was older, and thus considered Prism by default, and used this status to claim that Dazen was a fraud. As Gavin was not the nicest person, this did not sit well with those who would rather Dazen be Prism—or Dazen himself, for that matter. A devastating war resulted, culminating in a pitched battle in the satrapy of Tyrea. At this battle, Sundered Rock, Gavin defeated and killed Dazen, stopping the war. Tyrea was devastated, with almost all the men killed and its fertile farmland destroyed.”
Brent Weeks has a fantastic trilogy out called The Night Angel. However, this series is unrelated. All you need to do in order to catch up is pick up Black Prism and The Blinding Knife.
2. A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Wheel of Time #14)
A Memory of Light is the planned 14th and final book of the series. Sadly, as Robert Jordan passed away, it was uncertain for a while what would happen to the series, which was at the time unfinished. To fans delight, talented author Brandon Sanderson picked up Jordan’s notes and has all the skills and the backing to finish the series. His efforts so far have been well received and most feel Sanderson has breathed new life into a series that felt lost. For many this will be the end of over two decades worth of reading. Without question, A Memory of Light is one of the most anticipated fantasy novels of all time.
“And it came to pass in those days, as it had come before and would come again, that the Dark lay heavy on the land and weighed down the hearts of men, and the green things failed, and hope died.’ – Charal Drianaan te Calamon, The Cycle of the Dragon.
In the Field of Merrilor the rulers of the nations gather to join behind Rand al’Thor, or to stop him from his plan to break the seals on the Dark One’s prison – which may be a sign of his madness, or the last hope of humankind. Egwene, the Amyrlin Seat, leans toward the former.
In Andor, the Trollocs seize Caemlyn.
In the wolf dream, Perrin Aybara battles Slayer.
Approaching Ebou Dar, Mat Cauthon plans to visit his wife Tuon, now Fortuona, Empress of the Seanchan.
All humanity is in peril – and the outcome will be decided in Shayol Ghul itself. The Wheel is turning, and the Age is coming to its end. The Last Battle will determine the fate of the world. . .
For twenty years The Wheel of Time has enthralled more than forty million readers in over thirty-two languages. A Memory of Light brings this majestic fantasy creation to its richly satisfying conclusion.
Working from notes and partials left by Robert Jordan when he died in 2007, and consulting with Jordan’s widow, who edited all of Jordan’s books, established fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson has recreated the vision Jordan left behind.”
There are 13 books you need to read in order to get up to date with this series. I believe this book is out in January/February 2013, so you’ve got some reading to do!!!
1. The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett (Demon Cycle #3)
Peter V. Brett is the perfect example of a modern fantasy author. He knows his world inside out, his characters are so well-rounded that it is impossible to class them as good or evil, and his writing is some of the most atmospheric and powerful you will ever come across. Peter V. Brett, along with Brent Weeks, sparked my love of modern fantasy and his bringing the genre up to date has done the same for thousands of others. Nothing in Peat’s books could be classified as cheesy…almost all of it can be considered ‘cool’. Book three looks to expand the world even further and with the revelation in book two that the unintelligent evil was actually intelligent evil, we’ve got a lot to look forward to. Without doubt, The Daylight War is my most anticipated fantasy novel of 2013 and I was glad to hear so much of the community agreed with me.
“With The Warded Man and The Desert Spear, Peter V. Brett surged to the front rank of contemporary fantasy, standing alongside giants in the field such as George R. R. Martin, Robert Jordan, and Terry Brooks. The Daylight War, the eagerly anticipated third volume in Brett’s internationally bestselling Demon Cycle, continues the epic tale of humanity’s last stand against an army of demons that rise each night to prey on mankind.
On the night of the new moon, the demons rise in force, seeking the deaths of two men, both of whom have the potential to become the fabled Deliverer, the man prophesied to reunite the scattered remnants of humanity in a final push to destroy the demon corelings once and for all.
Arlen Bales was once an ordinary man, but now he has become something more—the Warded Man, tattooed with eldritch wards so powerful they make him a match for any demon. Arlen denies he is the Deliverer at every turn, but the more he tries to be one with the common folk, the more fervently they believe. Many would follow him, but Arlen’s path threatens to lead to a dark place he alone can travel to, and from which there may be no returning.
The only one with hope of keeping Arlen in the world of men, or joining him in his descent into the world of demons, is Renna Tanner, a fierce young woman in danger of losing herself to the power of demon magic.
Ahmann Jardir has forged the warlike desert tribes of Krasia into a demon-killing army and proclaimed himself Shar’Dama Ka, the Deliverer. He carries ancient weapons—a spear and a crown—that give credence to his claim, and already vast swaths of the green lands bow to his control.
But Jardir did not come to power on his own. His rise was engineered by his First Wife, Inevera, a cunning and powerful priestess whose formidable demon bone magic gives her the ability to glimpse the future. Inevera’s motives and past are shrouded in mystery, and even Jardir does not entirely trust her.
Once Arlen and Jardir were as close as brothers. Now they are the bitterest of rivals. As humanity’s enemies rise, the only two men capable of defeating them are divided against each other by the most deadly demons of all—those lurking in the human heart.”
To catch up with Peter’s work, you simply need to read the first two books in the series: The Painted Man (The Warded Man in the US) and The Desert Spear. What I’d give to read those two books for the first time again….
We were lucky enough to catch up with Peat and get a comment from him upon presenting the award. This is what he had to say:
Seriously? I won? Are you sure there wasn’t a miscount?
Don’t get me wrong, The Daylight War is a great book that I worked really hard on and am incredibly proud of. I would have thought that no one would be anticipating its release more than me. But while the rest of those guys can eat it (and let’s face it, Republic of Thieves is probably going to end up in 2014 anyway), even *I* am chomping at the bit to read AMoL…
Thanks to Fantasy Faction and everyone who voted! I’m truly touched and honored. Odds are I will be coming to a town near you on the Daylight Tour next year. Come out and say hi!
Books that probably won’t be out in 2013, but we wish they were!
Well, that just about wraps things up, however, I’d like to mention the books that we hope will come out this year, but don’t look likely. They were the books that were mentioned through the forums and over Twitter that we really can’t see coming out in 2013. That being said, we are going to slide them in here and at least cover our backs should they unexpectedly be released. It happened with A Dance With Dragons right?
The Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss (Kingkiller Chronicles #3)
The Winds of Winter by George R. R. Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire #6)
And that’s a wrap, please leave comments as to your thoughts on our list and also enjoy the patented, copyrighted, award that goes to Peter V. Brett and his upcoming novel The Daylight War.