Tuesday 27 January 2009

My 10 most anticipated 2009 fantasy books - part 1!

There's no doubt that 2009 is going to be a huge year for fantasy, all the more so given that last year was perhaps a little quiet. With so many big releases lined up for the next eleven months, I thought I'd share with you the ones that have got me rubbing my hands (and, uh, drooling) with barely-contained glee...

A Dance With Dragons

George R. R. Martin

(Bantam Spectra, 27 October 2009)

For many fantasy fans this is the most exciting novel slated for release this year. Originally expected to follow hot on the heels of 2005's A Feast For Crows, it's been four long years of waiting (and having to put up with idiots squealing about how Martin is being disrespectful to his fans, how he doesn't care any more, how dare he have a life outside of writing, and other such nonsense).

I was disappointed by A Feast For Crows, but I fully expect GRRM to return to the top of his game with this one. I just hope it doesn't slip back to 2010.

The Republic of Thieves

Scott Lynch

(Gollancz, 19 November 2009)

I loved The Lies of Locke Lamora. I've read it twice and I'd happily read it again. In fact, it would easily make my top 10 list of all-time favourite fantasy novels, perhaps even my top 5. Yet the follow-up, Red Seas Under Red Skies, didn't really work for me - it felt flat and clunky in comparison (though admittedly it had a very tough act to follow).

So, what to expect from the third instalment in the Gentlemen Bastards sequence? I'm looking forward to finding out, but again am worried that this novel might slip off the radar and into 2010. I don't think Lynch has turned the manuscript in yet, fueling one or two rumours as to the reason why. Only time will tell.

Best Served Cold

Joe Abercrombie

(Gollancz, 18 June 2009)

With his First Law trilogy, Abercrombie proved that it is possible to tell an epic story in three volumes (a lesson that some other authors could do with learning...). Plenty of praise was heaped upon this trilogy, and rightly so because it had some great characters, a solid plot and strong dialogue. All in all, it was great entertainment.

The question now, is can Abercrombie's new standalone effort match the quality of his first three novels? Some pretty big characters will probably be absent from this novel, so I'm looking forward to seeing whether the new protagonists are as engaging and entertaining.


Jasper Kent

(Bantam Press, 1 January 2009)

I tried to wangle a review copy of this one, but got only a resounding silence in response from the publisher, so I obtained it the old-fashioned way. Boo! Still, the nerve-wracking experience of having to queue up in a bookshop has not dulled my enthusiasm for what sounds like a very cool novel indeed. The premise - like most good novels - is simple: Napoleonic wars plus vampires. Early reviews have been very promising, so this one is very high up my reading list.

The City and the City

China MiƩville

(Pan Macmillan, 15 May 2009)

MiƩville's The Scar was one of my top five reads of 2008, and I'm looking forward to checking out more of his work. I was intending to read Perdido Street Station, however the sheer size of that novel scared me away (the MMPB version is a monster), so I may wait for this new novel (although at 500 pages in hardback, it's also a bit of a behemoth). Still, it sounds very interesting indeed - even though it's not set in Bas Lag - and promises to be an exciting read.

Right, that's it for part 1 - look out for part 2 in the near future!


Adele said...

Very Very excited about some of this years releases, especially in Urban Fantasy.

Mark Newton said...

China's book is very, very good indeed. I'm 2/3s of the way through it, and it's massively different to the Bas-Lag novels.

Iain said...

Just read Joe Abercrombie's first book which I thoroughly enjoyed. Inquisitor Glotka is a quite fantastic character. So will have to hurry through the other two books in the series.

George RR Martin can take as long as he wants to complete a Dance of Dragons as far as I am concerned. As long as he gets the series back to the heady heights of a Storm of Swords I don't care if he takes a bit longer to get there.

I've never read China Mieville which is something I will have to remedy.

As for me Patrick Rothfuss and Peter V Brett cannot deliver their next books quick enough, in 2009.

The year is shaping up well. I have just been given a copy of R Scott Bakker's first novel. Have you read it? Is it good?

James said...

Hagelrat: Can't say I share your enthusiasm for urban fantasy; what little I've read of it didn't do anything for me. I probably need to give it a proper go at some point...

Mark: You're a tease, Sir. But good to hear that it gets the fan boy's seal of approval! ;)

Iain: Glokta is far and away the star of that trilogy. Agree heartily re GRRM, though doubt he'll ever reach the heights of ASOS - that book is incredible. Yes, definitely read some China. Try The Scar. Not read Rothfuss or Brett, but meaning to. I do have a copy of the first Bakker novel, but haven't read it. More of a literary fantasy, but very popular online.

Anonymous said...

I'd choose The City and the City and Twelve. Not yet had the pleasure of Scott Lynch or Joe Abercrombie though I've bought their debuts to find out what the fuss is all about.

@ Mr Newton stop showing off with The City and the City :P

Anonymous said...

The Scar is my all-time fave China Mieville book and am very much looking forward to it.

As for Jasper Kent's Twelve I WAS able to wrest an advance from his publisher via his agent and I loved it. With enough word of mouth it could really land well here in the US.

And I think just everyone is waiting for Dance With Dragons....even those people who are so angry and deluded about the process GRRM's used here.

And I have to say that Wise Man's Fear from Pat Rothfuss is probably highest on my list right now.