Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday! This is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where a new top ten list hits the web every week!
This week our topic is …
TEN BOOKS/SERIES I LOVED MORE THAN EVERYONE ELSE
10. TYRANTS AND KINGS by JOHN MARCO
Back in 1999, I picked up John Marco’s The Jackal of Nar for the first time and was highly impressed with the amazing world and vivid characters. The next two installments only further convinced me that this was a series worth keeping on my bookshelf, so I could reread it from time to time. Not as many people liked it as much as I did though, which is a shame, because Tyrants and Kings might not be A Song of Ice and Fire, but it is still a really good epic fantasy.
9. OATH OF EMPIRE by THOMAS HARLAN
Alternative history with a fantasy leaning is how I always recall this very engrossing series from Thomas Harlan. I loved every minute of it, have all the books in the series in hardcover on my shelf. Other, less enamored readers criticize the books by saying they were not “historical” enough, had too much magic, or were too plodding in their pacing. Certainly, these people are entitled to feel that way and express their opinions, but I for one felt the series was a solid read from beginning to end.
8. DARKWAR by GLEN COOK
Okay, I admit I’m a Glen Cook fan, and back in my younger years, I was even more of a fanboy for anything he wrote. Honestly, I loved everything — even the few books that might not be considered his best. Darkwar, however, is one I’ve reread several times in my adult years and still find as clever and entertaining as I did years ago. Certainly, this isn’t Cook’s best work, but it is right up there, which is why it surprises me that so many others do not like it as much as I do.
7. WHEN THE HEAVENS FALL by MARC TURNER
The opening salvo in Marc Turner’s The Chronicle of the Exile series. A fantasy epic shaping up to be on par with Malazan. Yes, it has loads of characters in diverse places forcing you to get your bearing quickly or risk losing your way, but that is what makes it so much fun, at least in my opinion. Surprisingly, more people did not enjoy this story and continue on with the series. Sad really, because they are missing an epic in the making.
6. BLACK CITY SAINT by RICHARD A. KNAAK
Not being a huge urban fantasy aficionado, I wasn’t sure if Black City Saint would be something I would enjoy. It was though. The main character with his outdated persona and mysterious identity pulling me in. Probably the magical plot line also lent itself to my fantasy tastes. Whatever the reason, Black City Saint was one of my favorite urban fantasy reads, which is why I couldn’t believe more readers didn’t also love it.
5. ROMULUS BUCKLE by RICHARD ELLIS PRESTON, JR.
Not being a steampunk aficionado but loving anything with zeppelins, I was instantly drawn to this series by the amazing covers. (Hey, I never denied being a cover lover.) Once I cracked these action adventure books open though, it was the swashbuckling tales of Romulus Buckle and the crew of his zeppelin which kept me turning pages. I really wish more people would jump on this bandwagon, because I know Mr. Preston has loads more stories to tell of this steampunk world.
4. THE LAST SACRIFICE by JAMES A. MOORE
James A. Moore has become on of my favorite sword and sorcery writers these days. I absolutely loved his Seven Forges series and really wanted to enjoy this new endeavor by him in a completely new world. And, thankfully, I did like it, very much actually. Others did not, however. Not sure why my fondness for it is greater than other readers, but I really hope they continue on with this, because (whatever it’s flaws) The Tides of War is going to keep getting better and better from book to book. Just like Seven Forges did.
3. SCOURGE OF THE BETRAYER by JEFF SALYARDS
Realistic grimdark is how I always characterize Bloodsounder’s Arc. Jeff Salyards doing his utmost to add a feeling of authenticity to events, relationships, and combat in a fantasy world. Definitely, this focus on realism does cause Scourge of the Betrayer to start off slow and gradually build up speed as it carries along, but by the end — and especially in the next book — the story is near non-stop action. All of it caused by the solid foundation book one builds ever so slowly.
2. THE UNREMEMBERED by PETER ORULLIAN
Never having had the pleasure to read the first edition of The Unremembered, I can’t really say whether that version of the story deserved the very loud criticism it has received in many, many reviews. Having read The Author’s Definitive Edition, however, I can say I really enjoyed this new, improved version with its huge world, creative magic system, and interesting characters. Hopefully, more people will give the new version of the novel a go, because (even with its similarities to other epic fantasy, such as Wheel of Time) Peter Orullian still delivers an entertaining story.
1. THE DRAGON ENGINE by ANDY REMIC
When I wrote my review of this brutal grimdark story, my description was “If J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin had gotten together to write a grimdark interpretation of THE HOBBIT, THE DRAGON ENGINE would have been what they came up with.” And I still stand by those words today, because, with this novel, Andy Remic produces one of the grittiest grimdarks I’ve ever read; a novel which grabs you by the throat and forces you to take a look at the harsh, gory truth of war and fantasy adventuring. SCertainly, I understand why many people didn’t find it to their liking, but it really should get more respect for being one of the best gridmarks out there.