Lately I’ve been reading more and more adult fantasy instead of YA, and as a result, there are quite a few older series on my to-read list. The six I’ve listed below are really just a small taste!
First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie
The Blade Itself (book 1):
Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and increasingly bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer extraordinaire, is trapped in a twisted and broken body—not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers.
Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain, shallow, selfish and self-obsessed, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men.
And Logen Ninefingers, an infamous warrior with a bloody past, is about to wake up in a hole in the snow with plans to settle a blood feud with Bethod, the new King of the Northmen, once and for all—ideally by running away from it. But as he’s discovering, old habits die really, really hard indeed…
…especially when Bayaz gets involved. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he’s about to make the lives of Glotka, Jezal and Logen a whole lot more difficult…
I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about Joe Abercrombie. I hope I love this series because I already own the first two books of The Age of Madness; I’ve just been waiting to read the First Law trilogy first.
The Faithful and the Fallen by John Gwynne
Malice (book 1):
Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm. But that day will come all too soon. Only when he loses those he loves will he learn the true price of courage.
The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed in battle, the earth running dark with their heartsblood. Although the giant-clans were broken in ages past, their ruined fortresses still scar the land. But now giants stir anew, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of giant wyrms. Those who can still read the signs see a threat far greater than the ancient wars. Sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield. Then there will be a war to end all wars.
High King Aquilus summons his fellow kings to council, seeking an alliance in this time of need. Prophesy indicates darkness and light will demand two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star. They would be wise to seek out both, for if the Black Sun gains ascendancy, mankind’s hopes and dreams will fall to dust.
I’m ridiculously excited for John Gwynne’s new upcoming book, The Shadow of the Gods. But I’ve also heard amazing things about his series The Faithful and the Fallen, so I reckon I should read that too!
Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan
Theft of Swords (book 1):
Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles-until they are hired to pilfer a famed sword. What appears to be just a simple job finds them framed for the murder of the king and trapped in a conspiracy that uncovers a plot far greater than the mere overthrow of a tiny kingdom.
Can a self-serving thief and an idealistic swordsman survive long enough to unravel the first part of an ancient mystery that has toppled kings and destroyed empires?
And so begins the first tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.
This will hopefully just be the start of my Michael J. Sullivan journey. I also have Legends of the First Empire waiting for me, along with his new book, Nolyn. In case you missed it, the author just successfully funded a Kickstarter for Nolyn.
The Dandelion Dynasty by Ken Liu
The Grace of Kings (book 1):
Emperor Mapidere was the first to unite the island kingdoms of Dara under a single banner. But now the emperor is on his deathbed, his people are exhausted by his vast, conscriptive engineering projects and his counsellors conspire only for their own gain.
Even the gods themselves are restless.
A wily, charismatic bandit and the vengeance-sworn son of a deposed duke cross paths as they each lead their own rebellion against the emperor’s brutal regime. Together, they will journey to the heart of the empire; witnessing the clash of armies, fleets of silk-draped airships, magical books and shapeshifting gods. Their unlikely friendship will drastically change the balance of power in Dara… but at what price?
I actually might make The Grace of Kings my next read. It feels like a good followup to the book I’m reading now.
Green Bone Saga by Fonda Lee
Jade City (book 1):
FAMILY IS DUTY. MAGIC IS POWER. HONOR IS EVERYTHING.
Jade is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. It has been mined, traded, stolen, and killed for—and for centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their magical abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion. Now, the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon’s bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation.
When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone—even foreigners—wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and the rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones—from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets—and of Kekon itself.
JADE CITY begins an epic tale of family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of jade and blood.
I’ve been waiting for this series to finish before starting it. The third book is hopefully coming out around December 2021 so I’d like to start reading books 1 and 2 around that time.
Song of Shattered Sands by Bradley P. Beaulieu
Twelve Kings in Sharakhai (book 1):
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.
Oh boy this is a long series! I definitely don’t expect to finish it in 2021, but it would be nice to make a start! It sounds amazing. The series is concluding in July 2021.
I know that’s a pretty ambitious list, but there are so many amazing books out there!