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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Genre Giants: The Best of #Fantasy


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To celebrate Fantasy Month, I’ve put together a list of the fantasy ‘Genre Giants’. These are the books and authors who are topping the best-sellers charts. A round of applause to their achievement, and if you’re looking for a good read, it’s a pretty safe bet you’ll find it here!

The best-seller rankings and descriptions are from Amazon.com as the largest seller of online books. (As of July 1, 2013)

All covers link to Amazon.com


1. The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel, by Neil Gaiman

A brilliantly imaginative and poignant fairy tale from the modern master of wonder and terror, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is Neil Gaiman’s first new novel for adults since his #1 New York Times bestseller Anansi Boys.

This bewitching and harrowing tale of mystery and survival, and memory and magic, makes the impossible all too real...

This novel is currently sitting at #1 on Amazon’s fantasy best-seller list and at the time of writing is #18 in the overall kindle store! Mind you, with an average rating of 4.4 stars it deserves the success!

It looks as though not everyone enjoyed it though; there are a few negative reviews that cite the book’s length and writing style as lacking. However, these are far outweighed by the many people who thoroughly enjoyed the novel. If you feel like a reasonably short contemporary fantasy read- this may be the book for you.




2. Theft of Swords (Riyria Revelations), by Michael J. Sullivan


They killed the king. They pinned it on two men. They chose poorly.
 There's no ancient evil to defeat or orphan destined for greatness, just unlikely heroes and classic adventure. Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, are running for their lives when they're framed for the death of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy that goes beyond the overthrow of a tiny kingdom, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery before it's too late.



When author Michael J. Sullivan self-published the first books of his Riyria Revelations, they rapidly became ebook bestsellers. Now, Orbit is pleased to present the complete series for the first time in bookstores everywhere.

Talk about a self-publishing success story! Michael J. Sullivan initially self-published the first book in this series and now he has been scooped up by Omni. Not only that, but he is currently sitting at #2 in the Fantasy best sellers list and #33 in the Kindle overall best-sellers list.

Theft of Swords is currently rated 4.5 stars and I’ve got to say, just based on the description I’m pretty keen to pick it up myself. As always there are some negative reviews but you can never please everyone!




3. A Lost Witch (A Modern Witch Series: Book 7), by Debora Geary


Hannah Kendrick has spent the last twelve years fighting for her sanity. And the doctor who has stood by her side has run out of options.

A small computer tracking spell will find Hannah - but can Witch Central save her? 



This is the seventh and final book in the bestselling A Modern Witch series, but have no fear - your favorite characters will be back in September with the launch of the Witch Central series. Lots of witchy love, laughter, and tears yet to come :). 

At #3 in the Fantasy best sellers list and #81 in the over Kindle best sellers list this book has been received with open arms. Not long after its release and already it has 134 reviews leading to an average of 4.9 stars.


It seems to have a big following and is one of the top-ranked paranormal/Urban/Contemporary Fantasy books at the moment. It sounds like a fun read and at only $3.99 definitely worth the monetary risk.




4. A Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin 


Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.



Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

Ok, we all knew it was coming, the ever-present best-seller, Game of Thrones. At this moment books from the Game of Throne’s series occupy positions 4, 6 and 8 so I’m going to bunch them all together here.

Now if you haven’t heard of Game of Thrones I’m afraid you must have been living under a rock for the last year or so. The books which have received MASSIVE acclaim have also been made into a HBO series which has also received incredible feedback and ratings. The books were sitting at the #1 spot in Amazon for a while but have dropped down a little now. Still, over 3,000 reviews average to 4.4 stars- that’s a lot of likes!

Personally, I’ve read the first three books (desperately trying to keep ahead of the TV series, but being distracted by other review books) and loved them! Sure, many people will make jokes about the detail which goes into describing the food being served (I think some genius has actually written a Game of Thrones cookbook…). But I think the incredible characters, which are so lifelike, and the heart-wrenching storyline is completely worthy of all of the success Game of Thrones has received.
So, if you haven’t read it yet, do it now


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5. A Charge of Valor (Book #6 in the Sorcerer’s Ring), by Morgan Rice

In A CHARGE OF VALOR (Book #6 in the Sorcerer's Ring), Thor continues on his quest, deeper into the Empire, to retrieve the stolen Destiny Sword and save the Ring. As he and his friends meet unexpected tragedy and lose a member of their close-knit group, Thor and his remaining friends become closer than they ever were, learning that they must face and overcome adversity together. Their journey takes them to new and exotic terrains, including the desolate Salt Fields, the Great Tunnel, and the Mountains of Fire, as they face a host of unexpected monsters at every turn. 



Thor’s skills deepen as he undergoes his most advanced training yet, and he will need to draw on powers greater than he has ever used if he is to survive. They finally discover where the Sword has been taken, and they learn that, to retrieve it, they will have to venture to the most dreaded place in the Empire: the Land of the Dragons.



Back in the Ring, Gwendolyn recovers slowly and grapples with deep depression after her attack. Kendrick and the others vow to fight for her honor, despite the impossible odds. There follows one of the great battles in the history of the Ring, as they struggle to free Silesia and conquer Andronicus.

Meanwhile, Godfrey finds himself in disguise behind enemy lines and begins to come into his own, learning what it means to become a warrior, in his own, unique way. Gareth manages to stay alive, using all his cunning to avert capture by Andronicus, while Erec fights for his life to save Savaria from the oncoming invasion by Andronicus—and to save his love, Alistair. Argon pays a precious price for doing the forbidden: meddling in human affairs. And Gwendolyn must decide if she will give up on life, or take up the secluded life of a nun in the ancient Tower of Refuge.



But not before, in a shocking twist, Thor finally learns who his real father is.

Will Thor and the others survive the quest? Will they retrieve the Destiny Sword? Will the Ring survive Andronicus’ invasion? What will become of Gwendolyn, Kendrick and Erec? And who is Thor’s real father?

Well, I think the description pretty much covers everything but a Charge of Valor is currently sitting at #5 in the fantasy and #122 in the overall best-sellers lists. The reviews are almost all positive, leading to an average of 4.5 stars. It is a children’s book, aimed at pre-teens so don’t pick it up expecting a blood-fuelled noir novel! 




6. A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Five, by George R. R. Martin


In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance—beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind. 

Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys’s claim to Westeros forever.

 

Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone—a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.



From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.





7. Hunted (The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book Six), by Kevin Hearne


For a two-thousand-year-old Druid, Atticus O’Sullivan is a pretty fast runner. Good thing, because he’s being chased by not one but two goddesses of the hunt—Artemis and Diana—for messing with one of their own. Dodging their slings and arrows, Atticus, Granuaile, and his wolfhound Oberon are making a mad dash across modern-day Europe to seek help from a friend of the Tuatha Dé Danann. His usual magical option of shifting planes is blocked, so instead of playing hide-and-seek, the game plan is . . . run like hell.
  


Crashing the pantheon marathon is the Norse god Loki. Killing Atticus is the only loose end he needs to tie up before unleashing Ragnarok—AKA the Apocalypse. Atticus and Granuaile have to outfox the Olympians and contain the god of mischief if they want to go on living—and still have a world to live in.
  

At number #7 in the fantasy and #165 in the overall best-sellers list Hunted is extremely popular, despite the varied reviews. While the average rating is 4.2 stars there is a spread from 1-4 star ratings. Clearly the book didn’t appeal to everyone, but no book can.

I will admit the ranking is a little muddled as Amazon does not appear to sell the Kindle version and yet still lists it in the Kindle best-sellers ranking, so, if you do intend to buy this book it may require a bit of hunting (excuse the pun).




8. A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two, by George R. R. Martin


A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. 

Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel . . . and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.




9. Dead Ever After: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel, by Charlaine Harris


Sookie Stackhouse   finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s. After all, Arlene tried to have Sookie killed. But her relationship with Eric Northman is not so clearcut. He and his vampires are keeping their distance…and a cold silence. And when Sookie learns the reason why, she is devastated. 

Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime. 

But the evidence against Sookie is weak, and she makes bail. Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough…

Who would have thought? Two series which HBO have turned into massive TV successes in the one best-seller list! The Sookie Stackhouse novels were turned into the TV series TrueBlood which has seen international success. Sure, the blood, gore and strangeness of it all doesn’t appeal to everyone but personally I loved it. The Sookie Stackhouse novels are definitely on my ‘to-read’ list.

Clearly, other people have also thoroughly enjoyed them with Dead Ever After sitting at #9 in the fantasy best-seller list and #177 in the overall Kindle best-seller list. Surprisingly the average rating for this book is only 2.9 stars- certainly not the high level you’d expect for a book which is selling so well.

It’s possible that people bought these books expecting a written version of the TV series, and from what I hear the two are quite different. Or perhaps this, the last book in the series, just didn’t live up to reader’s expectations for the series finale; I notice the previous books are rated much better. Either way, I think it’s worth at least picking up the first book and seeing what all the fuss is about!






10. Dead Witch Walking (Hollows), by Kim Harrison


All the creatures of the night gather in "the Hollows" of Cincinnati, to hide, to prowl, to party ... and to feed.

Vampires rule the darkness in a predator-eat-predator world rife with dangers beyond imagining -- and it’s Rachel Morgan's job to keep that world civilized.

A bounty hunter and witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she'll bring 'em back alive, dead ... or undead.

Finally in our Genre Giants count down we have Dead Witch Walking, which is currently #10 in the fantasy best-sellers and #206 in the over Kindle best-sellers. The book has an average rating of 4.1 stars with reviews spread out across the board. Clearly, this sorcery/mystery fantasy doesn’t appeal to all audiences. Still, the cover and description give it great allure.



So there you have it, the 10 books which are currently taking the Fantasy best-sellers list by storm. How many of them have you read? What did you think?


Tune in throughout this month for interviews with some very successful Indie Fantasy Authors.

Next month, we will be featuring the Genre Giants for Mystery, so be sure to check it out!





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