2011 was indeed an amazing year for the fantasy genre. We witnessed numerous high profile releases, including the long awaited “Dance With Dragons”, by George Martin, the blockbuster finale of the amazing, thought provoking Steven Erikson’s Malazan saga , Patrick Rothfus’s eagerly anticipated follow up to his epic “Name Of The Wind” and many more. There were also quite a few amazing debuts that managed to outshine others, like Mark Lawrence’s “Prince Of Thorns” and Douglas Hulick’s “Among Thieves”.
The obvious question is whether 2012 can match the exalted standards set in 2011. Well, looking at the impressive array of books lined up for release, one can safely bet that 2012 will be equally stellar if not better for this category.
City of Dragons (The Rain Wilds Chronicles: Book Three)
After a rather disappointing Soldier’s Son Trilogy, Robin Hobb came roaring back to form with her Rain Wild chronicles. Initially designed to be a duo logy, the third installment of this captivating tale will be released in early 2012.
The Rain Wild Chronicles takes place year after Robin Hob’s Liveship Trader trilogy and runs simultaneously with Tawny Man Trilogy. Although this trilogy is self contained , but to fully appreciate the expanse and richness of the story one is advised to read Liveship Traders first.
Sworn In Steel – Douglas Hulick (Book Two Of Tale Of The Kin)
Douglas Hulick’s debut “Among Thieves” was undoubtedly one of the major high points of this genre last year. Among Thieves was an amazing first person ride that featured an awesome, cavalier main lead who oozes charm and flair that is quite reminiscent of the flamboyant Captain Jack Sparrow. Sworn In Steel also promises to keep its readers hooked and entertained in the same way.
Percepliquis -(Final Book of Ryria Revelations)
Michael Sullivan’s Ryria Revelations is an action filled traditional fantasy romp, that will remind you why you fell in love with this genre in the first place. Sullivan’s world building maybe formulaic, littered with well- known fantasy tropes but he weaves such a magnificent yarn that one will hardly notice these minor shortcomings. If you are a fan of traditional fantasy and love Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and Grey Mouser Series, then this amazing tale of two thieves will surely enthrall you.
Tricked – Michel Sullivan (Iron Druid Chronicles)
The urban fantasy series that can pose a serious challenge to Dresden Files hegemony, is the Iron Druid chronicles. Tricked is the fourth installment in the series, which is fast ramping up its own fan following. The series which is an exciting mix of action, comedy and mythology has deeply enthralled me. With the epic climax in the earlier book Hammered, I am waiting with bated breath to get my hands on this one.
Memory Of Light (Final Book in The Wheel Of Time Series)
Undoubtedly the most popular and inspiring, mainstream fantasy series after Lord of the Rings. Robert Jordan took the mantle from Tolkien and for long carried the cause of this genre forward totally alone. The Wheel Of Time series, for the right reasons, has its detractors. Love it or hate it- one cannot simply ignore the manner the series has molded modern day fantasy. After Jordan’s untimely demise, the onus of completion fell on the able shoulders of Sanderson who, for all intents and purposes, has continued the epic saga with aplomb. The Memory of Light, scheduled to be released in the second half of 2012 will conclude, undeniably one of the biggest and successful fantasy series of all time.
Cold Days (Dresden Files Book 14) –Jim Butcher
It is the kingpin series in the Urban fantasy space against which all the others are measured. After a rather dodgy and convoluted Ghost Story, fans are hoping that Jim Butcher will get it right once again in the 14th installment and keep on thrilling us with his amazing tale of the wizard Harry Dresden.
Forge of Darkness (Kharkanas Trilogy #1) by Steven Erikson
After completing his thought provoking, epic, wondrous tale of Malazan, Steven Erikson will again be back with his Kharkanas Trilogy that explores further the myth of the Malazan world. His latest trilogy will be centred on the mythos of the ancient race of Tiste Andii. The series will prominently feature the Tiste Andii lord, Anomander Rake (a fan favorite and a complete badass). So I, for one just cannot wait to grab hold of the latest offering by an author, considered to be the Neil Gaiman of Fantasy.