Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday! This is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, where a new top ten list hits the web every week!

This week we have a great topic to explore …


Honestly, most books surprise me in some way or another: plot twists, character deaths, or whatnot, but I’m sure this topic is really not about those sort of surprises.  The way I’m going to interpret and answer this question is by picking out the novels which surprised me by how much I either enjoyed them or hated them.  And for a change I’m going to focus on the books I enjoyed!

black line

blighted empire10. Blighted Empire 

Now, to be fair, I generally enjoy Warhammer novels.  Call them a guilty pleasure if you will.  So when I picked up Blighted Empire after enjoying its predecessor I sort of thought I’d liked it, but what was surprising is that C.L. Werner was able to deliver yet another outstanding sword and sorcery story while slowly evolving the tale away from its core concept of the Black Plague.

Purchase Blighted Empire at Amazon

the unremembered9. The Unremembered: Author’s Edition

When I picked this book up, my expectations were very low.  Reviews for the original edition of the book were quite negative; some would call them scathing.  I wanted to see for myself though.  Have to admit being quite surprised when I ended up enjoying this story quite a bit.  Yes, it had issues, flaws, weaknesses, and similarities to other fantasy works, but it was still a surprisingly solid book.

Purchase The Unremembered: Author’s Definitive Edition at Amazon

the-city-of-ice8. The City of Ice

The first installment of this series, The Iron Ship, aimed high with some grand ideas, compelling plots, a huge world, and a cast of characters who were all family members.  Even with all that, I had some major issues with certain elements of the narrative.  Book two, though, was as close to perfect as possible, correcting the problems, adding even more details to those compelling plots, upping the action, and setting the stage for a great book three.

Purchase The City of Ice at Amazon 

theblastedlands7. The Blasted Lands

This is a book two of a series, and, again, while I enjoyed the initial volume of the series, book one, Seven Forges, didn’t hit it out of the park for me.  All that changed in The Blasted Lands though when James A. Moore fulfilled all the great promise of this saga by unleashing a continent spanning war upon the world as seen through the eyes of numerous point of view characters.  Should I have been surprised by this turn of events?  Not sure, but I was.

Purchase The Blasted Lands at Amazon 

THE GRIM COMPANY6. The Grim Company

When I picked up this book, I had a feeling we were going to hit it off.  What surprised me though was how much I enjoyed Luke Scull’s Joe Abercrombie inspired grimdark.  Mixing violence, brutality, and darkness with more than a bit of gallows humor, this novel instantly became one of my favorite grims out there, and book two was even better!

Purchase The Grim Company at Amazon 

blade and bone5. Blade and Bone

Book one of this series was a good introduction to the characters, exotic land, and set a wonderful stage for the epic sword and sorcery story to grow.  Book two had its highlights, but overall, it failed to live up to its predecessor in many ways.  At least, in my eyes.  This third installment of the series though . . . wow, just wow.  A wonderful surprise were Jon Sprunk stuck with what he does best (action, action, action) and delivered a near perfect sword and sorcery tale.

Purchase Blade and Bone at Amazon

SCOURGE OF THE BETRAYER4. Scourge of the Betrayer

Tedious.  Boring.  Nothing happens.  Too detailed.  My reading friends whispered these and many more negative criticisms of Jeff Salyards’s novel in my ear when I asked them about Scourge of the Betrayer.  I decided to read it anyway.  So glad I did because (surprise, surprise) the book instantly became one of my favorites; the realism and pacing of the story exactly what I long for.

Purchase Scourge of the Betrayer at Amazon

traitors-blade-13. Traitor’s Blade   

When I requested this book on Netgalley several years ago, I had no idea exactly what Sebastien de Castell had in store for me.  Certainly, I had a premonition that the tale of three friends fighting against overwhelming odds in Three Musketeer-esque style might connect with me, yet imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon one of my favorite fantasy series ever.

Purchase Traitor’s Blade at Amazon  

farlander 12. Farlander

This series seems to be brought up quite a lot by me.  Normal, I guess, since it was a recent discovery of the last year, one I grew very fond of as I read through three books.  Sad thing is the novel sat on my tbr shelf for years after I found it at my local used bookstore.  It still surprises me beyond belief that a book I had so little interest in reading turned into a favorite.

Purchase Farlander at Amazon 

when the heavens fall1.  When the Heavens Fall

There are a few “surprising” things about this book which landed it atop this week’s list.  One, I was surprised by how much I grew to appreciate this initial story from Marc Turner’s Chronicle of the Exile series as I kept reading each book; the author building on even the most smallest details to create a complex world.  And, two, it shocks, surprises, and horrifies me that more people have not discovered this book/series and grown to love it.

Purchase When the Heavens Fall at Amazon

Well, that is my list this week.  Agree?  Disagree?  Have some thoughts on my picks?  Let us all know!

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9 Responses to TOP TEN TUESDAY

  1. Loving this post. ^_^

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bookstooge says:

    I read Farlander a couple of years ago but it wasn’t until this year that I added the next 3 books. I am hoping it turns out well 🙂
    I remember your reviews of the Blasted Lands books. I can’t remember why I never added them to my tbr though.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. @lynnsbooks says:

    This is a great list. 3, 4, 6 and 7 were all very pleasant surprises. I guess they shouldn’t have been because I’d had good recommendations about them but even so – great reads.
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have to agree, Marc Turner’s Chronicle of the Exile series is awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. proxyfish says:

    #3 and #6 are brilliant! I read and loved Turner’s Dragon Hunters so I’ll definitely have to go back and read When the Heavens Fall… and I’m just itching to start Scourge of the Betrayer too 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. De Castell’s series is quite high in my “want to read” list, and every time I see how much other readers love it, I feel guilty 🙂 for not having started it yet…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on Archer's Aim and commented:
    I’ve read a couple on this list and they surprised me too. I’ll have to get busy on the rest of them!

    Liked by 1 person

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