This article will briefly introduce five of the must read fantasy novels out this year that we at Sentient Ink are particularly excited about. The five we have chosen are not in any particular order, and this isn’t an exhaustive list, but we think you’ll agree they’re all going to be awesome.
The Shepherd’s Crown, by Terry Pratchett (Out August 27, 2015 in the UK, September 1 in the USA)
So far we have reviewed the Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett’s first novel in the Discworld series, and Night Watch, the first in The City Watch sequence. With Terry Pratchett’s sad passing, The Shepherd’s Crown will bring an end to the epic, thirty two year old fantasy series.
The Shepherd’s Crown is the fifth Discworld novel to follow Tiffany Aching, a young witch in training who has grown up throughout the four novels in which she has starred, being just nine years old in The Wee Free Men, up to almost nineteen in I Shall Wear Midnight. Not much has been revealed about The Shepherd’s Crown, but with Tiffany’s fiery character and Pratchett’s famous literary bombardment of adventure, magic and humour, it is sure to be a wonderful, and very emotional, farewell to the Discworld and its creator.
Mistborn: Shadows of Self, by Brandon Sanderson (Out October 15, 2015)
Shadows of Self will be a sequel to the critically acclaimed Alloy of Law, and is set in the Mistborn Universe, but some 300 years after the events of the original Mistborn trilogy. This novel will also start a new Mistborn trilogy starring Wax and Wayne from Alloy of Law.
Brandon Sanderson’s prolific nature does nothing to baulk the incredible intelligence and creativity behind his worlds, and he has received vast praise for his ability to ‘evolve’ his medieval Mistborn universe 300 years to the time of Wax and Wayne. A crazy and daunting thing to attempt, but he pulled it off, and now he’s adding three more books to the series!
It’s such a risk to keep expanding, as well as adapting, a fantasy series that is already reviewed as one of the greatest reads – something which daunts most fantasy writers – but if anyone can pull it off, it’s Brandon Sanderson.
Fool’s Quest, by Robin Hobb (Out August 11, 2015)
The hugely anticipated sequel to Fool’s Assassin, and the second novel in the Fitz and the Fool series, Fool’s Quest promises to be another much-loved masterclass from another prolific fantasy writer – Robin Hobb. Fool’s Assassin was praised for its subtlety, not focusing on thrilling action and shocking twists, but on emotion and deep characters.
It’s worth a mention that Fool’s Assassin is Mark Lawrence’s number one on his reading list on Goodreads.com, and he describes it as ‘A powerful, passionate book…’ With most fantasy novels these days focused on action and gore, Robin Hobb gives us another option which is just as effective in stirring our emotions.
The Thorn of Emberlain, by Scott Lynch (Out September 17, 2015)
So far we have had three novels in the beloved Gentlemen Bastard sequence. The
first book, the Lies of Locke Lamora, is one of our favourite fantasy books here at Sentient Ink. The two sequels, Red Seas Under Red Skies and The Republic of Thieves, while still well-loved, are widely considered a slight step down from the original. Some of the camaraderie was lost (for spoilerific reasons we shall not go into) and some felt the love story of the third to be a little disappointing. We’re hoping here that The Thorn of Emberlain will be a return to Scott Lynch’s best… but even if it isn’t, it’s still going be brilliant.
Half a War, by Joe Abercrombie (Out… Now!)
If the first two novels of the Shattered Sea trilogy are anything to go by, then Half a War, the final instalment, is going to be pacey, direct, action-packed and filled with the exceptionally envisioned characters that define Joe Abercrombie’s style. I always feel that when people start labelling a novel as YA fiction, it can create a stigma – does this make it a childish book, one adult wonders, imagining a medieval war between hungry caterpillars and tigers on their way to tea.
Half a King and Half the World were both sensational novels, with intense action, meaningful relationships and plenty of themes that captivate me as an adult. I don’t even think this is YA to be honest; perhaps that just means it’s more accessible than some fantasies, which I suppose it is. But this novel is in no way handicapped; it doesn’t feel confined or held back. Despite being great novels themselves, the first two books in the Shattered Sea trilogy have also done well to build towards Half a War, provoking immense anticipation for the fantasy series’ conclusion. It was intense enough before a war had even started.
Thanks for reading what we at Sentient Ink think are the top 5 must reads still to come to our shelves in 2015 (Half a War is out now – but only just, so we’ve sneaked it in.) Of course we’d love to hear what other novels you’re looking forward to this year, so drop us a comment and let us know. Remember to follow/subscribe/like/comment/poke (Do people still poke? Surely not)/keep visiting our site; there are much more articles, writing guides and book reviews to come, and plenty of our own fiction too.