From Book Riot: 42 OF THE BEST FANTASY NOVELS FROM THE LAST 10 YEARS
And sure, I’m at least mildly curious. I do think this sort of thing should generally be phrased: 42 Of My Personal Favorite Fantasy Novels Of The Past Ten Years, because even if you start off by trying to list THE BEST, you’re probably going to slide toward your own personal favorites before you get to forty-two.
Also, why forty-two? Besides the obvious reason, I mean. Why not ten, which is the correct number for a Top Ten list, or twenty, which is a sensible number people can realistically consider in a single post? Or, if you’re going for a longer list that is really (in my opinion) too long, why not fifty?
Also, I have to say, limiting the list to “the past ten years” is all very well, there are good reasons to do that, but you DO REALIZE that you’re cutting Patricia McKillip off your list when you do that, right? Because she did have one book come out in the past decade, but it was by no means her best. I’m sure there are other authors in the same category of THE BEST EVER but not in the past ten years.
But sure, fine, the past then years, lots of great books, of course.
Are any of the fantasy novels I personally think might reasonably be included actually on this list? I’ve read a lot fewer books in the past ten years than I did in the years previous to that because writing takes up a lot of time, so I feel like I’ve probably missed practically everything. Also, I haven’t wanted to read high-tension books for the past couple of years. Besides that, I think some of the self-published books I’ve read in the past few years have been absolutely stellar, and there’s no chance they’ll be on a list like this.
I might pick … hmm … in no order whatsoever:
Piranesi, and I feel this is a no brainer and will also probably be on this list, or if it’s not, I don’t know why not. It was a highly visible work since it’s the only other novel Susannah Clarke has written, everyone has heard of it and probably read it, and it’s beautiful. Here’s my review.
But I’m also going to add From All False Doctrine, which is so well put together, so beautifully written, and so coherent in theme that I think it could arguably belong on a list of The Best Fantasy of the past ten years. Here’s my review.
And then I’d have to pause and consider. Rather than doing that, let me click through to the Book Riot post and see what’s actually on there …
Oh, yes, there’s The Goblin Emperor! Well, good. I’m a little surprised, and also, has anybody read the second book where Celehar is the pov protagonist? I found the first book frustrating, partly because it just wasn’t the book I wanted for the sequel, but largely because Celehar is such a doormat. Has he begun to overcome that problem in the second book? Because, sheesh.
What else? Let me see … lots of titles I recognize but haven’t read; a few I tried but didn’t finish; at least one I tried and found thoroughly underwhelming. Oh, there’s Uprooted. Well, you know I eventually turned out not to like this book very much even though I loved it the first time I read it.
So many books that are on my radar, some of which I actually own, such as Jade City.
Despite many, many interesting and enticing books on the Book Riot list, and despite Sarah Beth Durst being a bit hit or miss with me, I nevertheless find Race the Sands maybe the one that draws me the most:
This is a splendid cover, and although I didn’t much care for National Velvet as a kid, when I read practically nothing but animal stories, describing this one as a retelling of that classic story does draw me toward this book. Here’s the description:
Life, death, and rebirth—in Becar, who you are in this life will determine your next life. Yet there is hope—you can change your destiny with the choices you make. But for the darkest individuals, there is no redemption: you come back as a kehok, a monster, and are doomed to be a kehok for the rest of time.
Unless you can win the Races.
After a celebrated career as an elite kehok rider, Tamra became a professional trainer. Then a tragic accident shattered her confidence, damaged her reputation, and left her nearly broke. Now, she needs the prize money to prevent the local temple from taking her daughter away from her, and that means she must once again find a winning kehok . . . and a rider willing to trust her. Raia is desperate to get away from her domineering family and cruel fiancé. As a kehok rider, she could earn enough to buy her freedom. But she needs a first-rate trainer. Impressed by the inexperienced young woman’s determination, Tamra hires Raia and pairs her with a strange new kehok with the potential to win—if he can be tamed.
But in this sport, if you forget you’re riding on the back of a monster, you die. Tamra and Raia will work harder than they ever thought possible to win the deadly Becaran Races—and in the process, discover what makes this particular kehok so special.
I’m drawn in by all these characters, I’m curious about the kehok lion, and hey, this is a standalone, which is a plus. I think I might actually have this downstairs in paper! If not, I should at least pick up a sample.