Fantasy Book Recommendations

I'll get to how-to books in another post.

Lately, I've been buying books like they're going out of style. It's like I can't resist picking up something where a) the cover looks cool and b) the first page or two has me hooked. Although that didn't happen this past Saturday; absolutely nothing grabbed me.

Here, then, are the really good books I've read this year and can heartily recommend (in no particular order).

Poison Study, by Maria V. Snyder (full review is here)

You might think that a story about a food taster in a military-type kingdom (for want of a better word) wouldn't make for a good, fast-paced story. And you'd be wrong. Written in first person, this is the account of Yelena, who murdered a higher-up's son. She doesn't attempt to say she didn't do it, only that she had a good reason to do it. She's taken from the dungeons and passes the test to become a food taster. She's kept there because she needs to take an antidote for the daily poison she's given (one of the stipulations for her life being spared).

She becomes part of the castle and government intrigue--and is somebody trying to murder her? First in a series (this is typical for fantasy, BTW).

Magic Lost, Trouble Found, by Lisa Shearin (full review is here)

This is my favorite book of this year, and it's a debut, to boot. Rather than get more gushy over this story (heh), just read the full review for why I liked it so much and why I think you will, too. First in a series.

And it's not just the fact that two of the goblins are sexy. But that just adds more fun and complications to the story (a good thing, for sure :-)).

The Princes of the Golden Cage, by Nathalie Mallett (full review is here)

Despite question mark problems that irked (Daffy Duck: "Hmm, pronoun trouble!"), this is still a good read. Another one in first person and yet another debut, this has a Middle-Eastern flavor that takes it out of the usual European-type world of fantasy. I especially liked that the MC was a bookhound (kinda like me, heh), but didn't have a jelly spine. First in a series, although the main problem is wrapped up by the end.

Okay, there aren't many here, and I hesitate to recommend Throne of Jade only because you have to read the first in that series (His Majesty's Dragon, although I like better its title in Britain, Temeraire, which is the name given to the dragon). Read the first one before deciding if you'd like to continue with the series.

~Nancy Beck