So amidst all the lists at the end of the year, we wanted to focus on some of the books we’ve read that we really think need a bit more love and attention. I asked each of our contributors to highlight a few of their favorite reads of the year that they feel fell under the radar. Some of these rated high enough to make our Best of 2015 list, and some of them were nominated/ranked in the list we used for the Best Of list, but just didn’t quite make the final cut. Books that only one of us read were at a bit of a disadvantage. So this is a great chance for each of us to highlight books we felt were wonderful reads and deserve another mention as the year draws to a close.
Forget grim dark, this is mad dark . . . and it's awesome. The pacing here is just about perfect, the narrative is exceptionally strong, and the action is intense, with awe-inspiring feats of madness and delusion
The Dragon Engine (The Blood Dragon Empire, #1) by Andy Remic
Published by Angry Robot on September 1st 2015
Our reviews of this author: The Dragon Engine, A Song for No Man's Land, Twilight of the Dragons
The Dragon Engine is a traditional quest tale that subverts the usual tropes while going extremel dark. It’s a more mature, more adult, no-hold-barred kind of fantasy that rivals any big screen R-rated action.
Trial of Intentions (The Vault of Heaven, #2) by Peter Orullian
Published by Tor Books on May 26th 2015
The story is once again well-written, with even stronger dialogue than the first, and even more incredible visuals. The characters continue to thrive here, with even greater depth and diversity, while the world-building and the mythology are developed much farther and much deeper.
The final two books of the Iron Age trilogy released this year and I’m including them both. I really feel this series should get more love and attention. It is a brutal but that is tempered quite well with some amazing dark humor. For me to laugh out loud at a book? That’s high praise.
I loved how the speculative aspect was woven into the story in such a way, that it just felt natural. It takes real events and adds just a dash of something fantastical that helps explain well known stories revolving around gods and religion while giving us an Indiana Jones type of excitement.
Wake of Vultures (The Shadow, #1) by Lila Bowen
Published by Orbit on October 27th 2015
Our reviews of this author: Wake of Vultures
A western fantasy doused with folklore, and complete with vampires, werewolves and shape-shifters. Just don’t go into this expecting the sparkling variety of vampires or the happy, hunky type of werewolves. This is a darker book that left me mesmerized by the world and characters.
Teresa Frohock is a lovely author, Miserere definitely should be more widely read! Hopefully in Midnight’s Silence and Without Light or Guide will gain her the attention she very much deserves.
Just because The Girl With Ghost Eyes (which I think is a debut) was so good.
Erin Lindsey started out very strong with Bloodhound but then took the series to the next level with Bloodforged – loving this series and hope it receives recognition
Dark Ascension (Generation V, #4) by M.L. Brennan
Published by Roc on August 4th 2015
The Generation V series is such a good series but hasn’t received the attention it deserves!
Sometimes you just have to give a book 5 stars because it was so damn fun and you couldn't put it down. This was one of those. Heist, horror and humor - it was a winning combination.
No one was more surprised than I was at how much I enjoyed this one. By all accounts it shouldn't have been my kind of book at all, but it ended up destroying my emotions anyway. It made such an impact on me that I immediately shelved it under "Favorites".
Master of Plagues (Nicolas Lenoir, #2) by E.L. Tettensor, Erin Lindsey
Published by Roc on February 3rd 2015
Our reviews of this author: The Bloodforged, The Bloodsworn
Both this book and its predecessor got top marks from me, and that's rare for me when it comes to series. E.L. Tettensor/Erin Lindsey is one of my favorite authors and her stories definitely deserve more attention.
This book made my top ten this year, and I can’t stress enough what a wonderful fantasy it is! In my opinion, this book deserves to make it onto some award ballots, and it certainly deserves more attention. If you’re looking for an authentic story based on Chinese mythology, you won’t find anything better.
Here's another gem from a small press that i'm quite sure isn't being read by enough people. It's a novel told in verse, which I don't normally read, but Langmead's evocative prose and addictive noir science fiction tale was riveting.
Cash Crash Jubilee: Book One of the Jubilee Cycle by Eli K.P. William
Published by Talos on May 5th 2015
And finally, I was pleasantly surprised by this completely original science fiction story. It’s the start of a series, and I’m eagerly awaiting the next book. At times, William’s dense prose was a little too much, but by the end of the story I was hooked.