7 SFF BOOKS WITH INCREDIBLE OPENINGS…

They say the hardest part about writing a novel is the first line, now I’m not too sure how accurate that statement is having not written a novel but I know there are those out there that believe it to be a crucial element.

I appreciate a good opening line and the different ones you come across as a reader. There are the ones introduce a character like that of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, or the ones that illustrate the beauty of an authors writing style! I love the ones that hook you and suggest an intriguing plot, it truly shows an authors talent when one line has you drooling for the rest of the book.

So, without further ado, here are seven books with opening that I love for one reason or another.

THE NIGHT CIRCUS BY ERIN MORGENSTERN

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

Goodreads

My Review of The Night Circus

RED RISING BY PIERCE BROWN

“I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war.”

Goodreads

My Review of Red Rising

THE HOBBIT BY J. R. R. TOLKIEN

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

Goodreads

BLOOD SONG BY ANTHONY RYAN

“He had many names. Although yet to reach his thirtieth year history had seen fit to garner him with titles aplenty: Sword of the Realm to the mad king who sent him to plague us, the Young Hawk to the men who followed him through the trials of war, Darkblade to his Cumbraelin enemies and, as I was to learn much later, Beral Shak Ur to the enigmatic tribes of the Great Northern Forest – the Shadow of the Raven.”

Goodreads

My Review of Blood Song

THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER BY C. S. LEWIS

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

Goodreads

THE NAME OF THE WIND BY PATRICK ROTHFUSS

“It was night again. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.”

Goodreads

RED SISTER BY MARK LAWRENCE

“It’s important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size.”

Goodreads

Thank you again for reading and visiting the blog, it is very much appreciated. Let me know in the comments if there are any opening lines in books you love!


7 SELF-PUBLISHED FANTASY BOOKS YOU AND I NEED TO READ…

I titled this ‘7 Self-Published Books You And I Need To Read‘ because I have read some of those on the list, and some I haven’t. I really didn’t want to limit this list to books I alone have read, especially when there are some incredible sounding books out there, all of which have been rated highly by bloggers I respect and often agree with, but I just haven’t got around to reading yet.

I also wanted to keep it to books that have remained self-published indie books, so while I have read many others most of them have been acquired by publishers.

The Hugo Awards brought this Sunday’s Seven earlier than I had intended, it was on my list of posts but not for today but a fellow book blogger, Nick Borrelli said it pretty well on his Twitter

Now that all the Hugo hype is over, I’d just like to remind everyone that there’s a world of amazing #selfpublished SFF being churned out every year, & this year is the best ever in my opinion. So many diverse awesome reads to choose from.

You should give them a try!

#SelfPub

Nick Borrelli (Out of This World SFF Reviews). @NickRevws Twitter post – Aug 1 2020

**I have posted links of some of these books, these aren’t affiliate links, they are just there to make it easy for you. **

The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids by Michael McClung

My Thoughts On This Book? I can not sing enough praises about this book, and fully understand why it won SPFBO. I would recommend this book to everyone, it is a series but can be read alone. I will definitely be reading the others! This is a fun read with a great female protagonist, a creative and gritty world and murder and intrigue. What’s not to love?

Amazon Link UK

Synopsis:

Amra Thetys lives by two simple rules—take care of business, and never let it get personal. Thieves don’t last long in Lucernis otherwise. But when a fellow rogue and good friend is butchered on the street in a deal gone wrong, she turns her back on burglary and goes after something more precious than treasure: Revenge.

Revenge, however, might be hard to come by. A nightmare assortment of enemies, including an immortal assassin and a mad sorcerer, believe Amra is in possession of The Blade That Whispers Hate—the legendary, powerful artifact her friend was murdered for—and they’ll do anything to take it from her. Trouble is, Amra hasn’t got the least clue where the Blade might be.

She needs to find the Blade, and soon, or she’ll be joining her colleague in a cold grave instead of avenging his death. Time is running out for the small, scarred thief.

Add It To Your Goodreads

The Path of Flames By Phil Tucker

Why Do I want To Read This Book? Forbidden sorcery, an approaching army and betrayal! I was actually meant to read this a few months back for my #ReadersWithoutBorders challenge but I didn’t manage to tackle all of them! So this is still on my Kindle and is one I aim to get to soon!

Amazon Link UK

Synopsis:

A war fueled by the dark powers of forbidden sorcery is about to engulf the Ascendant Empire. Agerastian heretics, armed with black fire and fueled by bitter hatred, seek to sever the ancient portals that unite the empire – and in so doing destroy it.

Asho–a squire with a reviled past–sees his liege, the Lady Kyferin, and her meager forces banished to an infamous ruin. Beset by tragedy and betrayal, demons and an approaching army, the fate of the Kyferins hangs by the slenderest of threads. Asho realizes that their sole hope of survival may lie hidden within the depths of his scarred soul–a secret that could reverse their fortunes and reveal the truth behind the war that wracks their empire.

Add It To Your Goodreads

The Sword of Kaigen by M. L. Wang

My Thoughts On This Book? This book is just, wow. I would say I have no words but that’s a lie! I could praise this book all year round. This is easily one of the best books I have read this year, I think it is second 🤷‍♀️ quickly thinking what I have read this year. I read this initially on Kindle Unlimited but have a physical copy ordered!

Amazon Link UK

Synopsis:

A mother struggling to repress her violent past,
A son struggling to grasp his violent future,
A father blind to the danger that threatens them all.

When the winds of war reach their peninsula, will the Matsuda family have the strength to defend their empire? Or will they tear each other apart before the true enemies even reach their shores?

High on a mountainside at the edge of the Kaigenese Empire live the most powerful warriors in the world, superhumans capable of raising the sea and wielding blades of ice. For hundreds of years, the fighters of the Kusanagi Peninsula have held the Empire’s enemies at bay, earning their frozen spit of land the name ‘The Sword of Kaigen.’

Born into Kusanagi’s legendary Matsuda family, fourteen-year-old Mamoru has always known his purpose: to master his family’s fighting techniques and defend his homeland. But when an outsider arrives and pulls back the curtain on Kaigen’s alleged age of peace, Mamoru realizes that he might not have much time to become the fighter he was bred to be. Worse, the empire he was bred to defend may stand on a foundation of lies.

Misaki told herself that she left the passions of her youth behind when she married into the Matsuda house. Determined to be a good housewife and mother, she hid away her sword, along with everything from her days as a fighter in a faraway country. But with her growing son asking questions about the outside world, the threat of an impending invasion looming across the sea, and her frigid husband grating on her nerves, Misaki finds the fighter in her clawing its way back to the surface. 

Add It To Your Goodreads

Kingshold By D. P Woolliscroft

Why Do I want To Read This Book? A professional drunk, civil unrest and an unlikely band! I like a story that has a mix of characters, and I like a story with sly political machinations even more, throw in some assassinations and that sounds bloody marvellous to me. I have this on my Kindle through Kindle Unlimited but it can be purchase quite cheaply for a nice £3.99.

Amazon Link UK

Synopsis:

Mareth is a bard, a serial under achiever, a professional drunk, and general disappointment to his father. Despite this, Mareth has one thing going for him. He can smell opportunity. The King is dead and an election for the new Lord Protector has been called. If he plays his cards right, if he can sing a story that will put the right person in that chair, his future fame and drinking money is all but assured. But, alas, it turns out Mareth has a conscience after all.

Neenahwi is the daughter to Jyuth, the ancient wizard who founded the Kingdom of Edland and she is not happy. It’s not just that her father was the one who killed the King, or that he didn’t tell her about his plans. She’s not happy because her father is leaving, slinking off into retirement and now she has to clean up his mess.

Alana is a servant at the palace and the unfortunate soul to draw the short straw to attend to Jyuth. Alana knows that intelligence and curiosity aren’t valued in someone of her station, but sometimes she can’t help herself and so finds herself drawn into the Wizard’s schemes, and worst of all, coming up with her own plans.

Chance brings this unlikely band together to battle through civil unrest, assassinations, political machinations, pirates and monsters, all for a common cause that they know, deep down, has no chance of succeeding – bringing hope to the people of Kingshold.

Add It To Your Goodreads

The Jealousy of Jalice by Jesse Nolan Bailey

Why Do I Want To Read This Book? Tribes, corruption and kidnap! The cover first grabbed me for this book because it is beautiful! Then I read the synopsis and I fell deeper into the well! Then I read the reviews and well, I was done for! I have this on my Kindle through Kindle Unlimited at the minute, but I think I may purchase it seen a though it is only £2.31!

Amazon Link UK

Synopsis:

The Realms have split apart, the Stones of Elation have been hidden, and warnings of dokojin drift among the tribes.

The land and its people are corrupted. The Sachem, chief of the Unified Tribes, is to blame.

It is this conviction that drives Annilasia and Delilee to risk their lives. Afraid of the aether magic he wields, they enact a subtler scheme: kidnap his wife. In her place, Delilee will pretend to be the chieftess and spy on the Sachem.

Unaware of this plot against her husband, Jalice is whisked away by Annilasia. Pleading with her captor proves futile, and she rejects Annilasia’s delusional accusations against the chief. After all, the Sachem has brought peace to the land. 

Yet a dangerous truth hides in Jalice’s past. As she and Annilasia flee through a forest of insidious threats, they must confront the evil plaguing the tribes and the events that unleashed it.

Add It To Your Goodreads

The Heart of Stone by Ben Galley

Why Do I Want To Read This Book? Warlords, conquered empires, war and a golem! Golems have always interested me, as an animated creature made often from clay or mud, so to see one be the main character of a story is really interesting. I bought this on Amazon Kindle for £2.99!

Amazon Link UK

Synopsis:

Golems are built for war and little else. In centuries past, they were a terrifying staple of the battlefield. Empires were conquered on the backs of golems. Now, time and fear have whittled their kind down to a precious few, kept only by kings and warlords.

Task of Wind-Cut is one such machine of war.

Task was built to kill. Built to win. Thousands have died at his stone hands. He cared once, perhaps, but far too many years have passed and too much blood has been spilled. Task has become numb to the chaos he wreaks for his masters. A slave to the spells that bind him.

Now, Task has a new master to serve and a new war to endure. In the far reaches of the Realm, Hartlund is in the grip of civil war, tearing itself in two over coin and crown. This time, Task will fight for a boy king and a general bent on victory.

Beneath his formidable stone, Task longs for change. For an end to this cycle of warfare. For proof of light and good amongst the foul darkness of humanity and war. It will take the mind of an unusual stable-girl to change his.

Add It To Your Goodreads

Spit and Song By Travis M. Riddle

Why Do I Want To Read This Book? Black markets, illicit jobs and dessert lands! I haven’t read a huge amount of fantasy in a dessert setting so this paired with its brilliant reviews have caused me to pick this book up. I bought this on Amazon Kindle at an absolute steal being on £0.99! So grab it while you can!

Amazon Link UK

Synopsis:

Kali is a merchant who yearns to leave the harsh deserts of Herrilock and travel across the sea, trading goods and soaking in the sights and cultures. With a new potion on the market undercutting her profits, though, her seabound dreams are put on hold indefinitely. 

Failed musician Puk hits rock bottom after yet another catastrophic performance. Wandering the city streets in search of any sip of booze or whiff of fire-spit he can get his hands on, he resigns to the fact that he’s stuck in the desert with no way back home to Atlua.

Until one day, their paths cross with an illicit job opportunity. With its hefty payday, Kali and Puk could afford to finally escape the desert heat and set sail across the gulf. 

The black market job would see them travel endless dunes on a road made from a massive dead beast’s ribs and out to a mythical city in the sea, scuffling with monsters and thugs in search of a long-lost book that might be the most dangerous object in the world. 

How hard could it really be? 

Add It To Your Goodreads

Thanks for reading everyone, I hope some if not all of these books made it onto your TBR List!


7 STANDALONE FANTASY BOOKS I WANT TO READ

**Quick Note: This was posted early and not on Sunday because WordPress gave up the goods early**

Hello all! I hope your week has been great, but if not don’t worry hopefully my new Sunday feature will cheer you up. Seven books, for the seven days of the week.

This Sunday feature will hence forth be named Sunday’s Seven.

Creative, I know.

To start of Sundays Seven I’m going to treat you to 7 fantasy standalone from my TBR.

THE GOBLIN EMPEROR BY KATHERINE ADDISON

I bought this on Kindle this month, so I actually intend to read this relatively soon, or at least I hope to. I found this gem while reading a post about fantasy books with court intrigue, and it made it to the TBR straight away. I love reading books with crazy politics, and it just so happened that it was also one of the Kindle Deals this month, soooooo, I bought it.

Synopsis:

The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an “accident,” he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.

Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend . . . and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne–or his life.

CIRCE BY MADELINE MILLER

I put this on my TBR not to long after its publish date, and I still haven’t read it and that’s not because I’m not interested! I love Greek mythology and retellings can be done really well but as it is with many books on the TBR they just get forgotten.

Synopsis:

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE BY SAMANTHA SHANNON

Dragons.

That’s it. Dragons.

Synopsis:

A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction – but assassins are getting closer to her door. 

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

DESCENDANT OF THE CRANE BY JOAN HE

It was the cover to this that first drew me in, and then…”tyrants cut out throats. Rulers sacrifice their own” and I was safely sucked in. If the cover is this gorgeous, then I am really hoping that the story is just as stunning.

Synopsis:

Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own.

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death… because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?

In this shimmering Chinese-inspired fantasy, debut author Joan He introduces a determined and vulnerable young heroine struggling to do right in a world brimming with deception.

THE AXE AND THE THRONE BY M. D. IREMAN

I love a good debut, I love reading a book and seeing what it took, what amazed someone enough that they knew it could wow the masses. With a vivid world, savage and ambiguous heroes and raiding northmen it was hard not to put this on my TBR. I’m pretty sure its also on my Kindle too. Also, a little side point I actually appreciate a shorter synopsis, its like when you watch a trailer that tells you the whole film, I mean where are the days when a trailer just teased you with a little something and didn’t show you the end scene of the film in the trailer, but that’s a whole otherrr rant!

Synopsis:

It is a fool’s errand and Tallos knows it, but against his own better judgment and the pleading of his wife, Tallos has committed himself to a voyage north. His lifelong friend’s eldest sons are said to have been taken by Northmen, a raiding people ill-reputed for their savagery. The boys are already dead, Tallos knows, and in that dark place of grim reasoning he wishes only to find their corpses quickly so he can fulfill his promise and return to his wife. Instead, he finds something far worse. 

TALION REVENANT BY MICHAEL STACKPOLE

Described, somewhere, as an intelligent heroic fantasy so I had to look further into this, and then I read the synopsis and was even more intrigued. I’m expecting actions, steel and intriguing plot so I think I may have to move this up the TBR a fair bit.

Also.

Guys. Guys, look. Another short synopsis!

Synopsis:

The man he is sworn to protect is the man who butchered his family.

Justices–the select of the Talion, endowed with fearsome magick and lethal martial skills–roam the Shattered Empire, crushing the lawless and championing the oppressed. Their word is law and their judgement binding on highborn and low.

Nolan is a Justice born in what once was the free nation of Sinjaria. Orphaned in the war of conquest with the nation of Hamis, he traveled to far Talianna and secured the right to become a Justice. Now, years later, the Master of all Talions has a dangerous assignment for Nolan: He is to guard the life of the king who destroyed Sinjaria and slaughtered his family. Alone, Nolan ventures into the political maelstrom that is the court of Hamis to stop an assassin even his Masters think cannot be slain. . . . 

ELANTRIS BY BRANDON SANDERSON

So, I’m pretty sure this is a standalone but I’m not one hundred per cent sure seen as though some say it is and some say it isn’t. But, what can I say, I’m a rebel so I’m still putting it in.

Synopsis:

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

A rare epic fantasy that doesn’t recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It’s also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.

Well, thanks for reading kids.