Most Anticipated Books of 2014

For two years now, my goal has been to read as many different kinds of novels as I can. I’ve tried out several different genres/subgenres that I normally would not, and the experience has helped me in becoming a better reader and a reviewer. Being a prolific reader and reviewer is all about diversity, in all its different forms. And that’s what I’ve come to value most.

Still, its not that easy, dealing with the diversity, or just the sheer volume of all the reading. When I put together the 2013 list of my most anticipated books (link), I intended to read all of them. But sadly that never happened and somewhere along the way I just lost track. The 2013 list had 51 books on it. The 2014 list has 41 books on it. A much more manageable number I dare say.

We’ll see how the year pans out and whether or not I will indeed be able to get through all them. I remain hopeful as ever. And there will be some more lists going up in the next couple weeks, so stay tuned for those.


More lists from me:


Note: I’ve tried to find as many cover images as I can, but as you can see some of these books don’t have any covers. I’ll update this post as and when I can find them.

Abaddon Books

1. Heirs of a Demon King #1: Uprising by Sarah Cawkwell

Heirs of a Demon King - Uprising Link | Author Blog | Review of “The Gildar Rift” | Review of “Valkia the Bloody” | Review of “Accursed Eternity” | Review of “Skin Deep”

Mathias Eynon’s dreams were small. A dabbler in magic, he expected to live in obscurity in his home in the Welsh hills, not drawing attention to himself. But fate has other plans for him.

It is the Year of Our Lord Fifteen Ninety, and a revolution is quietly brewing, here and further broad. Richard V has overstayed his rule, some say; others whisper that the whole line of Demon Kings must be burned out. Mathias – son of a man executed for the practice of magic – is set to become a symbol, and a leader.

And to do that, he needs champions. A wise woman sends him to the corners of the known world – to the frozen lands of the north, to the pirate-haunted ports of Spain, to the mountains of the German Empire, to the burning sands of the Holy Land – to bring back masters of the four magic arts.

With Richard’s Witch Hunters on his heels, he sets out to gather his allies.

Why is the book on my list?

I’ve said it before on the blog and elsewhere, Sarah is one of the main reasons why I’ve been working on my own fiction for almost three years now. Reading her Black Library work and interacting with her has been an inspiration. It also helps that she writes some really good fiction. I can’t recall anything of hers that I have NOT enjoyed. And this is her first full-length work that is not with Black Library, so I’m doubly excited.

Angry Robot Books

2. The Rage of Kings #1: The Iron Wolves by Andy Remic

The Iron Wolves  Link | Author Blog

Thirty years ago, the Iron Wolves held back mud-orc hordes at the Pass of Splintered Bones, and led a brutal charge that saw the sorcerer Morkagoth slain.

Now, a new terror stalks the realm. Orlana the Changer has escaped from the Chaos Halls and is building an army, twisting horses, lions and bears into terrible, bloody hunters, summoning mud-orcs from the slime and heading north to battle the mighty region of Vagandrak where, it said, the King has gone insane.

General Dalgoran searches to reunite the heroes of old for what he believes will be their final battle. But Dalgoran discovers the Iron Wolves are no longer the heroes of legend, and they might just be more dangerous than the invading hordes.

Why is the book on my list?

I haven’t read any of Andy Remic’s previous novels, but I’ve been interested in his work for quite a while. I have a physical ARC of this book waiting to be read, and I’m quite excited for it. The premise is very promising, and Remic is a fairly popular author among several of my blogger friends.

3. Black Dawn #2: The Book of The Crowman by Joseph D’Lacey

The Book of The Crowman  Link | Author Blog | Review of “Black Feathers

It is the Black Dawn, a time of environmental apocalypse, the earth wracked and dying.

It is the Bright Day, a time long generations hence, when a peace has descended across the world.

The search for the shadowy figure known only as the Crowman continues, as the Green Men prepare to rise up against the forces of the Ward.

The world has been condemned. Only Gordon Black and The Crowman can redeem it.

Why is the book on my list?

The first book in this series, Black Feathers, was a surprise hit for me. It was a book unlike any other I’d read and if I could, I’d have built a time-machine to read this as soon as I finished Black Feathers. As it is, the year is almost up and the book is to be released soon.

4. Majat Code #1: Blades of the Old Empire by Anna Kashina

Blades of the Old Empire  Link | Author Blog

Kara is a mercenary – a Diamond warrior, the best of the best, and a member of the notorious Majat Guild. When her tenure as protector to Prince Kythar comes to an end, custom dictates he accompany her back to her Guild to negotiate her continued protection.

But when they arrive they discover that the Prince’s sworn enemy, the Kaddim, have already paid the Guild to engage her services – to capture and hand over Kythar, himself.

A warrior brought up to respect both duty and honour, what happens when her sworn duty proves dishonourable?

Why is the book on my list?

As far as I’m concerned, Angry Robot has had a fairly good run with debut titles in the last two years. Blades of The Old Empire sounds like a fun title and I like that the setting appears to be atypical of most other fantasy settings which are all Euro-medieval or thereabouts.

5. Last God Standing by Michael Boatman

Last God Standing  Link | Author Blog

Creator. Ruler. Stand-up Comic…

When God decides to quit and join the human race to see what all the fuss is about, all Hell breaks loose.

Sensing his abdication, the other defunct gods of Earth’s vanquished pantheons want a piece of the action He abandoned.

Meanwhile, the newly-humanised deity must discover the whereabouts and intentions of the similarly reincarnated Lucifer, and block the ascension of a murderous new God.

How is he ever going to make it as a stand-up comedian with all of this going on…?

Why is the book on my list?

I normally don’t go for comedy novels, especially not fairly contemporary ones, but this one definitely intrigues me. And its Angry Robot, who have a very successful penchant for subverting expectations.

6. Peacemaker by Marianne de Pierres

Peacemaker  Link | Author Blog

Virgin Jackson is the senior ranger in Birrimun Park – the world’s last natural landscape, overshadowed though it is by a sprawling coastal megacity. She maintains public safety and order in the park, but her bosses have brought out a hotshot cowboy to help her catch some drug runners who are affecting tourism. She senses the company is holding something back from her, and she’s not keen on working with an outsider like Nate Sixkiller.

When an imaginary animal from her troubled teenage years reappears, Virgin takes it to mean one of two things: a breakdown (hers!) or a warning. When the dead bodies start piling up around her and Nate, she decides on the latter.

Something terrible is about to happen in the park and Virgin and her new partner are standing in its path…

Why is the book on my list?

With Angry Robot’s Black Dawn series and a few other books elsewhere, I’m now on sort of a post-apocalyptic kick, and Peacemaker promises to do some really unique things. I’m always up for a bit of unique.

Black Library

7. Black Plague #3: Wolf of Sigmar by C. L. Werner

Wolf of Sigmar  Link | Author Blog | Review of “Age of Legend | Review of “Black Library Games Day 2011 Anthology | Review of “The Siege of Castellax | Review of “Dead Winter | Review of “Blighted Empire” | Guest Post: On Names | Author Interview

The Black Plague has done its work, and the ravaged Empire is ripe for the picking. As the dread armies of the skaven sweep across Sigmar’s realm, each of the great cities looks to its own defence – except Middenheim. As he gathers warriors to his banner and liberates towns and villages from the verminous menace, Graf Mandred begins to embrace his destiny as the future leader of a united Empire – if he can survive the trials to come.

Why is the book on my list?

The first two novels in the series have all been great, and I’m expecting this one to be just as good at the least. The entire political drama nature of this trilogy has worked wonders for me and really gotten me excited about reading Warhammer Fantasy all over again.

8. Gotrek & Felix: The Serpent Queen by Josh Reynolds

Gotrek and Felix - Serpent Queen  Author Blog | Review of “Gotrek & Felix: The Anthology | Review of “The Riddle of Scorpions | Review of “Knight of the Blazing Sun | Review of “Gotrek & Felix: Road of Skulls | Guest Post: On Names | Author Interview

Gotrek and Felix: unsung heroes of the Empire, or nothing more than common thieves and murderers? The truth perhaps lies somewhere in between, and depends entirely upon whom you ask… Travelling to the mysterious south in search of a mighty death, the Slayer Gotrek Gurnisson and his human companion, Felix Jaeger, find themselves caught up in a battle between warring kingdoms. Captured by the sinister Queen Khalida and forced to do her bidding, the adventurers must brave the horrors of the sun-soaked Land of the Dead, where the dead do not rest easy.

Why is the book on my list?

Josh’s first Gotrek & Felix novel, Road of Skulls, was quite excellent. As the first novel in the series after so many years, I was very excited about it and had high expectations of it. Josh impressed me with that novel and I’m hoping for more of the same from this novel.

9. Salamanders #4: Rebirth by Nick Kyme

Salamanders Rebirth  Author Blog | Review of “Nocturne” | Review of “Perfection”Review of “Promethean Sun” | Author Interview

Five Years have passed since war came to Nocturne.Third Company, still feeling its losses, recovers its strength. And though a small party have ventured out in search of a certain errant fire-born, it is the Salamanders of Fifth Company who must wage war. On Heletine, the Black Legion has come in the name of Chaos and only Brother-Captain Drakgaard’s warriors stand in the way of their dark glory. Victory for the Imperium hinges on the alliance between the Salamanders and The Sisters of the Ebon Chalice, warrior zealots and devout servants of the Ecclesiarchy. But there is more to this Promethean War than conquest, and only as the conflict grinds on are the true motives of the enemy revealed…

Why is the book on my list?

The Tome of Fire trilogy is one of my favourite trilogies from Black Library and they instilled in me a love for the Salamanders, who are now one of my favourite Space Marine chapters. I’ve read most of Nick’s Salamanders fiction and I’m very, very excited for this new book, which starts a new trilogy, the Circle of Fire.

10. Legacy of Caliban #2: Master of Sanctity by Gav Thorpe

Author Blog | Review of “Ravenwing” | Review of “Deathwatch: Mission Purge” | Review of “The Raven’s Flight” | Guest Post: On Names | Author Interview

The Legacy of Caliban echoes down through the ages, and the secretive mission of the Dark Angels Space Marines continues. Interrogator-Chaplain Asmodai sees treachery and deceit everywhere he turns – while this serves him well in his hunt for the Fallen, it also strains the Chapter’s relations with their Imperial allies. With their true quarry now seemingly within their grasp, Brothers Annael and Telemenus find themselves at the forefront of a new operation that could shake the Imperium itself to its very core.

Why is the book on my list?

Gav is one of my favourite authors, whether we talk about his extensive work for Black Library, or outside of it, such as his swords and sandals trilogy for Angry Robot. His work with the Dark Angels in Warhammer 40,000 is one of the big reasons why I love the setting so much and this year the first novel in the Legacy of Caliban trilogy got released, and it was pretty good.

11. Horus Heresy: Vengeful Spirit by Graham McNeill

Vengeful Spirit  Author Blog | Review of “Iron Warriors: The Omnibus” | Review of “Priests of Mars” | Review of “Ultramarines: Eye of Vengeance” | Review of “Ultramarines: The Second Omnibus” | Review of “Codex”Review of “Horus Heresy: Angel Exterminatus” | Review of “Horus Heresy: The Outcast Dead”

On the planet of Molech, the Titan Legions go to war against the armies of Horus.

Once the favoured son of the Emperor of Mankind, the name of Horus has become a curse to the loyal defenders of the Imperium, and a rallying call to the traitor forces tearing across the galaxy. While their allies wage war on a thousand different fronts, the XVIth Legion descend upon the Knight World of Molech – home to House Devine and their feudal levies, and a principal seat of Imperial military power. Just what could have drawn Horus to attack such a strongly defended planet, and what might he be willing to sacrifice to fulfill his own dark destiny?

Why is the book on my list?

Its been entirely too long since we had a good long look at Horus, and its time we got back to things good and proper. He is a really fascinating character and I want more, which is what this book is going to do.

12. Time of Legends: The Doom of Dragonback by Gav Thorpe

War with the elves has ended in bloody stalemate, great quakes have broken the peaks, and the enemies of the dwarfs are rising in vast numbers. Far removed from this grief, however, are the dwarfs of Ekrund, great underground city of the Dragonback Mountains, convinced that no foe will ever breach their walls. Amongst them, the Angbok clan continues to mine their gold, until war threatens Dragonback and decisions must be made that could change their way of life forever. Whether by exile or extinction, a great doom is coming…

Why is the book on my list?

Gav’s The Sundering trilogy for Time of Legends is one of the best Warhammer novels I’ve read. They aren’t as good as some of the other ones, but they are definitely in the upper tiers. They do something really different from those other novels and they really go deep into the High Elf/Dark Elf cultures, and how they come about. This new novel seems to tie in to the ongoing War of Vengeance/War of the Beard storyline and I can’t wait to see what Gav does.

Jo Fletcher Books

13. ®Evolution #2: Binary by Stephanie Saulter

Binary  Link | Author Blog | Review of “Gemsigns”

Zavcka Klist has reinvented herself: no longer the ruthless gemtech enforcer determined to keep the gems they created enslaved, she’s now all about transparency and sharing the fruits of Bel’Natur’s research to help gems and norms alike.

Neither Aryel Morningstar nor Dr Eli Walker are convinced that Klist or Bel’Natur can have changed so dramatically, but the gems have problems that only a gemtech can solve. In exchange for their help, digital savant Herran agrees to work on Klist’s latest project: reviving the science that drove mankind to the brink of extinction.

Then confiscated genestock disappears from a secure government facility, and the more DI Varsi investigates, the closer she comes to the dark heart of Bel’Natur and what Zavcka Klist is really after – not to mention the secrets of Aryel Morningstar’s own past…

Why is the book on my list?

A fantastic look at the future of genetic engineering and how society deals with the moral, religions and social implications of that. Stephanie Saulter made me a fan with Gemsigns and I want Binary to be as good as that at least.

14. Black Jewels Trilogy #1: Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop

Daughter of the Blood  Link | Author Blog

The Darkness has had a Prince for a long, long time. Now the Queen is coming.

For years the realm of Terreille has been falling into corruption, as the powerful Queens who rule it have turned to cruelty.

But there is hope – a prophetic vision has revealed the coming of a Queen more powerful than any other. And once the foundations of her power – father, brother, lover – are in place, she will emerge from the darkness, bringing freedom.

For she is the living myth, dreams made flesh; not just any witch, but Witch.

Why is the book on my list?

Much as with Angry Robot, Jo Fletcher too has put out some really interesting books recently. I have a number of their books to read, and this book sounds equally interesting. There are a lot of fantasy books coming out of late that seek to do some different things with the genre while still contextualised in the old trappings and I think it makes for a great combination.

15. Shattered Kingdoms #2: Fortune’s Blight by Evie Manieri

untitled  Link | Author Blog | Review of “Blood’s Pride”

Victory for the Shadari rebels has come at a terrible price. Hardship, superstition and a murderous cabal poison King Daryan’s young regime, but help is nowhere to be found: the mercenary who led their rebellion has vanished, their Nomas allies have troubles of their own, and the Norlanders who returned home to plead – or fight – for the Shadari’s independence have found themselves embroiled in the court politics of an empire about to implode.

As the foundations of the two far-flung countries begin to crack, an enigmatic figure watches from a tower room in Ravindal Castle. She is old, and a prisoner, but her reach is long, and her patience is about to be rewarded…

Why is the book on my list?

The first book in the series was a very interesting book and it was great to start off the year with it. I’ve been waiting for this book for a good long while and the time is finally here, so I’m excited.

16. The Galaxy Game by Karen Lord

GALAXYgame_R.indd  Link | Author Blog

For years, Rafi Delarua saw his family suffer under his father’s unethical use of psionic power. Now the government has Rafi under close watch but, hating their crude attempts to analyse his brain, he escapes to the planet Punartam, where his abilities are the norm, not the exception. Punartam is also the centre for his favourite sport, wallrunning – and thanks to his best friend, he has found a way to train with the elite.

But Rafi soon realises he’s playing quite a different game, for the galaxy is changing; unrest is spreading and the Zhinuvian cartels are plotting, making the stars a far more dangerous place to aim. There may yet be one solution – involving interstellar travel, galactic power and the love of a beautiful game.

Why is the book on my list?

Space opera with a bit of fantasy to it, like something out of Marvel’s/DC’s cosmic comics, and since I’m a sucker for those, I gotta read this.

17. The Shiva Trilogy #3: The Oath of The Vayaputras by Amish Tripathi

untitled  Link | Author Blog

Today, Shiva is a god. But four thousand years ago, he was just a man – until he brought his people to Meluha, a near-perfect empire founded by the great king Lord Ram. There he discovered he was the Neelkanth, a barbarian long prophesied to be Meluha’s saviour.

But in his hour of victory fighting the Chandravanshis – Meluha’s enemy – he discovered they had their own prophecy.

Now he must fight to uncover the treachery within his inner circle, and unmask those who are about to destroy all that he has fought for. Shiva is about to learn that good and evil are two sides of the same coin…

Why is the book on my list?

I read the first two books this year and I found it quite impressive that Amish Tripathi wrote such an entertaining Indian epic fantasy that cleaves close to Hindu mythology. Not the best books so far, but scoring high points for its uniqueness.

Night Shade Books (Skyhorse Publishing)

18. Daedalus #2: The Enceladus Crisis by Michael J. Martinez

The Enceladus Crisis  Goodreads | Author Blog | Review of “The Daedalus Incident”

Two dimensions collided on the rust-red deserts of Mars—and are destined to become entangled once more in this sequel to the critically acclaimed The Daedalus Incident.

Lieutenant Commander Shaila Jain has been given the assignment of her dreams: the first manned mission to Saturn. But there’s competition and complications when she arrives aboard the survey ship Armstrong. The Chinese are vying for control of the critical moon Titan, and the moon Enceladus may harbor secrets deep under its icy crust. And back on Earth, Project DAEDALUS now seeks to defend against other dimensional incursions. But there are other players interested in opening the door between worlds . . . and they’re getting impatient.

For Thomas Weatherby, it’s been nineteen years since he was second lieutenant aboard HMS Daedalus. Now captain of the seventy-four-gun Fortitude, Weatherby helps destroy the French fleet at the Nile and must chase an escaped French ship from Egypt to Saturn, home of the enigmatic and increasingly unstable aliens who call themselves the Xan. Meanwhile, in Egypt, alchemist Andrew Finch has ingratiated himself with Napoleon’s forces . . . and finds the true, horrible reason why the French invaded Egypt in the first place.

The thrilling follow-up to The Daedalus Incident, The Enceladus Crisis continues Martinez’s Daedalus series with a combination of mystery, intrigue, and high adventure spanning two amazing dimensions.

Why is the book on my list?

The release of The Daedalus Incident (review) was marred by Night Shade folding under and eventually being bought in parts by both Skyhorse Publishing and Start Publishing, who dived print and digital rights for NSB’s catalogue between themselves. Somewhat of a shame since it was a really great debut, meshing fantasy and space opera extremely well. I want more of the same greatness from the second novel.

Orbit Books

19. Paradox #2: Honor’s Knight by Rachel Bach

Paradox 02 Honor's Knight  Link | Author Blog | Review of “The Spirit Thief” | Review of “The Spirit Rebellion” | Review of “Fortune’s Pawn”

The rollicking sequel to Fortune’s Pawn — an action packed science fiction novel.

Devi Morris has a lot of problems, and not the fun, easy-to-shoot kind either. After a mysterious attack left her short several memories and one partner, she’d determined to keep her head down, do her job, and get on with her life. But even though Devi’s not actually looking for it this time, trouble keeps finding her. She sees ghostly creatures no one else can, the inexplicable black stain on her hands keeps getting bigger, and she can’t seem to stop getting into compromising situations with a man she’s supposed to hate. But when a deadly crisis exposes far more of the truth than she bargained for, Devi discovers there’s worse fates than being shot, and sometimes the only people you can trust are the ones who want you dead.

Why is the book on my list?

When Rachel Aaron announced that she was going to be putting out the first in a science fiction trilogy this year, I was excited since I really like her fantasy work. Fortune’s Pawn proved to be what I had hoped it would be, and more. And she hasn’t disappointed this reader, so once again I am very excited about this.

20. Paradox #3: Heaven’s Queen by Rachel Bach

œF$¿Æ‘$8Òò¤»däå¸R8BI  Link | Author Blog

From the moment she took a job on Captain Caldswell’s doomed ship, Devi Morris’ life has been one disaster after another: government conspiracies, two alien races out for her blood, an incurable virus that’s eating her alive.

Now, with the captain missing and everyone — even her own government — determined to hunt her down, things are going from bad to impossible. The sensible plan would be to hide and wait for things to blow over, but Devi’s never been one to shy from a fight, and she’s getting mighty sick of running.

It’s time to put this crisis on her terms and do what she knows is right. But with all human life hanging on her actions, the price of taking a stand might be more than she can pay.

Why is the book on my list?

Same as above really!

21. Powder Mage #2: The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan

Powder Mage Trilogy 02 The Crimson Campaign  Link | Author Blog | Review of “Promise of Blood”

When invasion looms…

Tamas’s invasion of Kez ends in disaster when a Kez counter-offensive leaves him cut off behind enemy lines with only a fraction of his army, no supplies, and no hope of reinforcements. Drastically outnumbered and pursued by the enemy’s best, he must lead his men on a reckless march through northern Kez to safety, and back over the mountains so that he can defend his country from an angry god, Kresimir.

But the threats are closer to home…

In Adro, Inspector Adamat only wants to rescue his wife. To do so he must track down and confront the evil Lord Vetas. He has questions for Vetas concerning his enigmatic master, but the answers will lead Adamat on a darker journey.

Who will lead the charge?

Tamas’s generals bicker among themselves, the brigades lose ground every day beneath the Kez onslaught, and Kresimir wants the head of the man who shot him in the eye. With Tamas and his powder cabal presumed dead, Taniel Two-shot finds himself as the last line of defense against Kresimir’s advancing army.

Why is the book on my list?

I read the book earlier this year, as a beta for Brian, and it is as good as the first novel, for sure.

22. Prospero’s War #1: Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells

Dirty Magic  Link | Author Blog | Review of “The Red-Headed Stepchild”

The last thing patrol cop Kate Prospero expected to find on her nightly rounds was a werewolf covered in the blood of his latest victim. But then, she also didn’t expect that shooting him would land her in the crosshairs of a Magic Enforcement Agency task force, who wants to know why she killed their lead snitch.

The more Prospero learns about the dangerous new potion the MEA is investigating, the more she’s convinced that earning a spot on their task force is the career break she’s been wanting. But getting the assignment proves much easier than solving the case. Especially once the investigation reveals their lead suspect is the man she walked away from ten years earlier—on the same day she swore she’d never use dirty magic again.

Kate Prospero’s about to learn the hard way that crossing a wizard will always get you burned, and that when it comes to magic, you should be never say never.

Why is the book on my list?

I’ve only read one Jaye Wells novel before, the first in her Sabina Kane series, The Red-headed Stepchild, and I enjoyed it. I’ll be reading at least one more novel in the series soon and its nice to see that she has already put forward a new series with a new setting and a new characters. It should be interesting to see how she differentiates the two urban fantasy series.

Solaris Books

23. Hive Monkey by Gareth Powell

Hive Monkey  Link | Author Blog | Review of “Ack-Ack Macaque”

n order to hide from his unwanted fame as the spitfire-pilot-monkey who emerged from a computer game to defeat the nefarious corporation that engineered him, the charismatic and dangerous Ack-Ack Macaque is working as a pilot on a world-circling nuclear-powered Zeppelin.

But when the cabin of one of his passengers is invaded by the passenger’s own dying doppelganger, our hirsute hero finds himself thrust into another race to save the world – this time from an aggressive hive mind, time-hopping saboteurs, and an army of homicidal Neanderthal assassins!

Why is the book on my list?

I found the first novel in this series, Ack-Ack Macaque to be a really great novel, with a great premise. World War II flying ace who happens to be a monkey? A disgruntled royal? Corporate conspiracy? Sure thing, sing me right up!

24. Europe In Autumn by Dave Hutchinson

Europe In Autumn  Link | Author Blog

Rudi is a cook in a Kraków restaurant, but when his boss asks Rudi to help a cousin escape from the country he’s trapped in, a new career – part spy, part people-smuggler – begins. Following multiple economic crises and a devastating flu pandemic, Europe has fractured into countless tiny nations, duchies, polities and republics. Recruited by the shadowy organisation Les Coureurs des Bois, Rudi is schooled in espionage, but when a training mission to The Line, a sovereign nation consisting of a trans-Europe railway line, goes wrong, he is arrested and beaten, and Coureur Central must attempt a rescue.

With so many nations to work in, and identities to assume, Rudi is kept busy travelling across Europe. But when he is sent to smuggle someone out of Berlin and finds a severed head inside a locker instead, a conspiracy begins to wind itself around him. With kidnapping, double-crosses and a map that constantly re-draws itself, Europe in Autumn is a science fiction thriller like no other.

Why is the book on my list?

I’ve read a few SF thrillers on and off, but few have been memorable. This one sounds quite promising, more than most others.

25. Age of Shiva by James Lovegrove

Age of Shiva  Link | Author Blog | Review of “Age of Aztec”

A team of godlike super-powered beings based on the ten avatars of Vishnu from Hindu mythology is assembled, but are they in fact a harbinger of apocalypse?

The latest standalone novel in the best selling Pantheon series.

Zachary Bramwell, better known as the comics artist Zak Zap, is pushing forty and wondering why his life isn’t as exciting as the lives of the superheroes he draws. Then he’s shanghaied by black-suited goons and flown to Mount Meru, a vast complex built atop an island in the Maldives. There, Zak meets a trio of billionaire businessmen who put him to work designing costumes for a team of godlike super-powered beings based on the ten avatars of Vishnu from Hindu mythology.

Why is the book on my list?

I’ve read only two of the Pantheon novels to date and my reaction has been a bit mixed, but I won’t deny that James gets really creative with these novels and since this book is based on Hindu Mythology, I am extremely excited with this one.

26. Talus and the Frozen King by Graham Edwards

Talus and the Frozen King  Author Blog |

Meet Talus – the world’s first detective.

A dead warrior king frozen in winter ice. Six grieving sons, each with his own reason to kill. Two weary travellers caught up in a web of suspicion and deceit.

In a distant time long before our own, wandering bard Talus and his companion Bran journey to the island realm of Creyak, where the king has been murdered. From clues scattered among the island’s mysterious barrows and stone circles, they begin their search for his killer. But do the answers lie in this world or the next?

Nobody is above suspicion, from the king’s heir to the tribal shaman, from the servant woman steeped in herb-lore to the visiting warlord whose unexpected arrival throws the whole tribe into confusion. And when death strikes again, Talus and Bran realise nothing is what it seems.

Creyak is place of secrets and spirits, mystery and myth. It will take a clever man indeed to unravel the truth. The kind of man this ancient world has not seen before.

Why is the book on my list?

Another thriller, this time heroic fantasy, and with a really cool premise too.

27. Shanghai Sparrow by Gaie Sebold

Shanghai Sparrow  Author Blog | Review of “Babylon Steel”

Shanghai Sparrow is a Far Eastern steampunk tale of espionage, distant empires and thrilling exploits, with a dynamic heroine.

The British Empire is at war, both within and without.

Eveline Duchen was once a country child, living a life of privilege, touched by the magic that still clings to the woods and fields of Victorian England. Now she is a street urchin in a London where brutal poverty and glittering new inventions exist side by side, living as a thief and con-artist under the wing of the formidable Ma Pether.

Caught in an act of deception, Eveline is faced with Mr Holmforth, a gentleman in the service of Her Majesty’s Government, who offers her a stark choice. Transportation, or an education – and utter commitment to Her Majesty’s Service – at Madam Cairngrim’s school for female spies. The school’s regime is harsh. Eveline has already learned harder lessons. She plans to take advantage of everything they can teach her, then go her own way.

But in the fury of the Opium Wars, the British Empire is about to make a devil’s bargain. Eveline’s choices will change the future of her world, and reveal the truth about the death of her sister Charlotte.

Shanghai Sparrow is set in an alternative England and China. It contains Formidable Devices, Fay, Etheric Science, Espionage, Opium, Murder and Bartitsu and may not be suitable for those of a delicate disposition.

Why is the book on my list?

I didn’t like Babylon Steel that much, but I have to say that this novel sounds much more exciting than that one. Plus it deals with the British Empire during the high times of the Colonial Era, an era that I enjoy reading about so this is one novel I’m most definitely reading this coming year.

28. Jani and The Greater Game by Eric Brown

Jani and the Greater Game  Author Blog | Guest Post: On Names

Jani and the Greater Game is the first book in a rip-roaring, spice-laden, steampunk action adventure series set in an exotic India and featuring a feisty heroine who subverts all the norms…

It’s 1910 and the British rule the subcontinent with an iron fist – and with strange technology fuelled by a power source known as Annapurnite – discovered in the foothills of Mount Annapurna. But they rule but at the constant cost of their enemies, mainly the Russians and the Chinese, attempting to learn the secret of this technology… This political confrontation is known as The Greater Game.

Into this conflict is pitched eighteen year old Janisha Chaterjee who discovers a strange device which leads her into the foothills of the Himalayas. When Russians spies and the evil priest Durja Das find out about the device, the chase is on to apprehend Janisha before she can reach the Himalayas. There she will learn the secret behind Annapurnite, and what she learns will change the destiny of the world for ever…

Jani and the Greater Game is the first book in a rip-roaring, spice-laden, steampunk action adventure series set in an exotic India and featuring a feisty heroine who subverts all the norms…

Why is the book on my list?

Kind of same as the above, and this one too is a steampunk book. I’ve read a few steampunk stories recently, and I’ve enjoyed them, so much so that its a genre that I really want to try more of. Indian subcontinental steampunk fantasy? Oh yes!

29. World of Fire by James Lovegrove

World of Fire  Author Blog

A brand new SF series from the author of the Pantheon series, which included the break-out hits Age and Ra, Age of Zeus and Age of Odin. Dev Harmer wakes in a new body with every mission, and he has woken this time on Alighieri, a planet perpetually in flames, where the world’s wealth lies below the elemental surface, and humanity is not the only race after it.

Dev Harmer, reluctant agent of Interstellar Security Solutions, wakes up in a newly cloned host body on the planet Alighieri, ready for action.

It’s an infernal world, so close to its sun that it surface is regularly baked to 1,000°C, hot enough to turn rock to lava. But deep underground there are networks of tunnels connecting colonies of miners who dig for the precious helium-3 regolith deposits in Alighieri’s crust.

Polis+, the AI race who are humankind’s great galactic rivals, want to claim the fiery planet’s mineral wealth for their own. All that stands between them and this goal is Dev. But as well as Polis+’s agents, there are giant moleworms to contend with, and a spate of mysterious earthquakes, and the perils of the surface where a man can be burned to cinders if he gets caught unprotected on the day side…

Why is the book on my list?

A more through and through SF novel than James’ Pantheon novels? Yeah, I’m interested, that’s a given.

Strange Chemistry

30. Pantomime #2: Shadowplay by Laura Lam

Shadowplay  Link | Author Blog

The circus lies behind Micah Grey in dust and ashes. He and the White Clown, Drystan, have taken refuge in the decaying Kymri Theatre, home to the once-great magician, Jasper Maske.

Though no longer a circus performer, Micah must still conduct a balancing act between his past and his future, while both avoiding the renewed and embittered rivalry of the magicians of Ellada, and the Policiers who are convinced Micah played a part in the death of his old Ringmaster.

A tale of phantom wings, a clockwork hand, and the delicate unfurling of new love, Shadowplay continues Micah Grey’s extraordinary journey.

Why is the book on my list?

I read the first novel in the series, Pantomime (review), last year and I put it in my list of top debuts of 2012, it was that good. With the sequel, I’m expecting a lot of great things and the wait has certainly been a tense one! Sometimes I just dislike the 1-year wait in between novels in a series. Its just too long!

31. Emilie #2: Emilie and the Sky World by Martha Wells

EmilietheSkyWorld  Link | Author Blog

When Emilie and Daniel arrive in Silk Harbor, Professor Abindon, an old colleague of the Marlendes, warns them that she’s observed something strange and potentially deadly in the sky, a disruption in an upper air aether current. But as the Marlendes investigate further, they realize it’s a ship from another aetheric plane. It may be just a friendly explorer, or something far more sinister, but they will have to take an airship into the dangerous air currents to find out.

Emilie joins the expedition and finds herself deep in personal entanglements, with an angry uncle, an interfering brother, and an estranged mother to worry about – not to mention a lost family of explorers, the strange landscapes of the upper air, and the deadly menace that inhabits the sky world.

Why is the book on my list?

The first novel in this new series by Martha, Emilie and the Hollow World (review), was a truly fascinating read, capturing the wonder and excitement of a Jules Verne novel with a somewhat similar yet different concept. And since A Journey To The Center of The Earth is one of my favourite classic SFF novels, I thoroughly enjoyed this one too. Hopefully a copy of this book won’t be along in coming!

32. The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard

The Almost Girl  Link | Author Blog

Seventeen-year-old Riven is as tough as they come. Coming from a world ravaged by a devastating android war, she has to be. There’s no room for softness, no room for emotion, no room for mistakes. A Legion General, she is the right hand of the young Prince of Neospes, a parallel universe to Earth. In Neospes, she has everything: rank, responsibility and respect. But when Prince Cale sends her away to find his long-lost brother, Caden, who has been spirited back to modern day Earth, Riven finds herself in uncharted territory.

Thrown out of her comfort zone but with the mindset of a soldier, Riven has to learn how to be a girl in a realm that is the opposite of what she knows. Riven isn’t prepared for the beauty of a world that is unlike her own in so many ways. Nor is she prepared to feel something more than indifference for the very target she seeks. Caden is nothing like Cale, but he makes something in her come alive, igniting a spark deep down that goes against every cell in her body. For the first time in her life, Riven isn’t sure about her purpose, about her calling. Torn between duty and desire, she must decide whether Caden is simply a target or whether he is something more.

Faced with hideous reanimated Vector soldiers from her own world with agendas of their own, as well as an unexpected reunion with a sister who despises her, it is a race against time to bring Caden back to Neospes. But things aren’t always as they seem, and Riven will have to search for truth. Family betrayals and royal coups are only the tip of the iceberg. Will Riven be able to find the strength to defy her very nature? Or will she become the monstrous soldier she was designed to be?

The Almost Girl is a richly imagined story of defiance, courage, and heart. It is the tale of a girl who finds her own way on her own terms, a girl who won’t let what she is define her, and a girl who will sacrifice everything she is for the ones she loves. It is a story of someone who eclipses her predestined fate to become something more … something extraordinary.

Why is the book on my list?

The premise says it all. Alternate dimensions. Androids. Grand wars. A promising wonderful protagonist. I’m already taken with this novel! And that cover is absolutely memorable too!

33. The Seers by Julianna Scott

The Seers  Link | Author Blog | Review of “The Holders”

After nearly being drained of her ability and betrayed by a man her father trusted, Becca Ingle was left with one clue — Ciaran Shea. He holds the key to the downfall of the power-mad Holder, Darragh, and can ensure the safety of both Holder and Human kind alike… but is he willing to help?

Becca, Alex, Jocelyn, and Cormac set out Adare Manor to meet with the Bhunaidh, an aristocratic group of pure blooded Holders of whom Ciaran is a rumored member. However, when Becca discovers that they might not be the only ones after the information Ciaran has, everyone begins to wonder if Bhunaidh might not be as uninvolved with Darragh as they claim.

A race to uncover Ciaran’s secrets begins, where the line between friend and foe is blurred, and everyone seems to have their own agenda. Becca will have to call on every ability at her disposal to uncover the truth, all the while knowing that sometimes the answer is more dangerous than the question.

 Why is the book on my list?

Julianna’s 2013 debut, The Seers, is one of my favourite debut reads of the year, and I’ve been wanting to read the sequel for a long while now. As with most other sequels on this list, its finally time to get to it!

Tor Books (Macmillan)

34. The Pilgrims by Will Elliott

The Pilgrim  Link | Author Blog

Eric Albright is a twenty-six-year-old journalist living in London. That is to say he would be a journalist if he got off his backside. But this luckless slacker isn’t all bad—he has a soft spot for his sometimes friend Stuart Casey, the homeless old drunk who mostly lives under the railway bridge near his flat. Eric is willing to let his life just drift by…until the day a small red door appears on the graffiti-covered wall of the bridge, and a gang of strange-looking people—Eric’s pretty sure one of them is a giant—dash out of the door and rob the nearby newsagent. From that day on Eric and Case haunt the arch, waiting for the door to reappear.

When it does, both Eric and Case choose to go through…to the land of Levaal. A place where a mountain-sized dragon with the powers of a god lies sleeping beneath a great white castle. In the castle the sinister Lord Vous rules with an iron fist, and the Project, designed to effect his transformation into an immortal spirit, nears completion. But Vous’s growing madness is close to consuming him, together with his fear of an imaginary being named Shadow. And soon Eric may lend substance to that fear. An impossibly vast wall divides Levall, and no one has ever seen what lies beyond. Eric and Casey are called Pilgrims, and may have powers that no one in either world yet understands, and soon the wall may be broken. What will enter from the other side?

Pilgrims is no ordinary alternate-world fantasy; with this first volume in The Pendulum Trilogy, Will Elliott’s brilliantly subversive imagination twists the conventions of the alternate-world fantasy genre, providing an unforgettable visionary experience.

Why is the book on my list?

Alternate worlds? Dragons? Mad rulers? Sign me up!

35. Mentats of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Mentats of Dune  Link | Author Blog – Brian Herbert | Author Blog – Kevin J. Anderson | Review of “Legends of Dune Trilogy” | Reviews of Anderson’s “Terra Incognita” novels

In Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson’s Mentats of Dune, the thinking machines have been defeated but the struggle for humanity’s future continues.

Gilbertus Albans has founded the Mentat School, a place where humans can learn the efficient techniques of thinking machines. But Gilbertus walks an uneasy line between his own convictions and compromises in order to survive the Butlerian fanatics, led by the madman Manford Torondo and his Swordmaster Anari Idaho. Mother Superior Raquella attempts to rebuild her Sisterhood School on Wallach IX, with her most talented and ambitious student, Valya Harkonnen, who also has another goal—to exact revenge on Vorian Atreides, the legendary hero of the Jihad, whom she blames for her family’s downfall.

Meanwhile, Josef Venport conducts his own war against the Butlerians. VenHold Spacing Fleet controls nearly all commerce thanks to the superior mutated Navigators that Venport has created, and he places a ruthless embargo on any planet that accepts Manford Torondo’s anti-technology pledge, hoping to starve them into submission. But fanatics rarely surrender easily . . .

The Mentats, the Navigators, and the Sisterhood all strive to improve the human race, but each group knows that as Butlerian fanaticism grows stronger, the battle will be to choose the path of humanity’s future—whether to embrace civilization, or to plunge into an endless dark age.

Why is the book on my list?

I’m a pretty big fan of the Dune-verse and I mostly love all the novels that Frank Herbert’s son Brian Herbert and one of my favourite SFF authors Kevin J. Anderson have put out over the years. I haven’t kept up with the latest releases, but Mentats is definitely a novel that I’m looking forward to in 2014. I expect some great things from it!

36. The Waking Engine by David Edison

The Waking Engine  Link | Author Blog

Welcome to the City Unspoken, where Gods and Mortals come to die.

Contrary to popular wisdom, death is not the end, nor is it a passage to some transcendent afterlife. Those who die merely awake as themselves on one of a million worlds, where they are fated to live until they die again, and wake up somewhere new. All are born only once, but die many times . . . until they come at last to the City Unspoken, where the gateway to True Death can be found.

Wayfarers and pilgrims are drawn to the City, which is home to murderous aristocrats, disguised gods and goddesses, a sadistic faerie princess, immortal prostitutes and queens, a captive angel, gangs of feral Death Boys and Charnel Girls . . . and one very confused New Yorker.

Late of Manhattan, Cooper finds himself in a City that is not what it once was. The gateway to True Death is failing, so that the City is becoming overrun by the Dying, who clot its byzantine streets and alleys . . . and a spreading madness threatens to engulf the entire metaverse.

Why is the book on my list?

As with some of the other novels here, its the premise that intrigues me most of all, and it sounds like a novel quite off the beaten path for me, which is one of my intentions with my reading, to explore new narratives that I haven’t read before, to read something that hasn’t really been done before. So in that sense, this is right up my alley, so to speak.

37. Three Princes by Ramona Wheeler

The Princes  Link

Lord Scott Oken, a prince of Albion, and Professor-Prince Mikel Mabruke live in a world where the sun never set on the Egyptian Empire. In the year 1877 of Our Lord Julius Caesar, Pharaoh Djoser-George governs a sprawling realm that spans Europe, Africa, and much of Asia. When the European terrorist Otto von Bismarck touches off an international conspiracy, Scott and Mik are charged with exposing the plot against the Empire.

Their adventure takes them from the sands of Memphis to a lush New World, home of the Incan Tawantinsuyu, a rival empire across the glittering Atlantic Ocean. Encompassing Quetzal airships, operas, blood sacrifice and high diplomacy, Ramona Wheeler’s Three Princes is a richly imagined, cinematic vision of a modern Egyptian Empire.

Why is the book on my list?

An alternate history setting? Definitely interested then. My fascination with this subgenre started with Anne Lyle’s fantastic Night’s Masque trilogy last year, and I’ve read a small number of such novels since then, all of which I’ve enjoyed. With that absolutely gorgeous cover, I’m definitely giving this book a try.

38. A Darkling Sea by James L. Cambias

A Darkling Sea  Link | Author Blog

On the planet Ilmatar, under a roof of ice a kilometer thick, a team of deep-sea diving scientists investigates the blind alien race that lives below. The Terran explorers have made an uneasy truce with the Sholen, their first extraterrestrial contact: so long as they don’t disturb the Ilmataran habitat, they’re free to conduct their missions in peace.

But when Henri Kerlerec, media personality and reckless adventurer, ends up sliced open by curious Ilmatarans, tensions between Terran and Sholen erupt, leading to a diplomatic disaster that threatens to escalate to war.

Against the backdrop of deep-sea guerrilla conflict, a new age of human exploration begins as alien cultures collide. Both sides seek the aid of the newly enlightened Ilmatarans. But what this struggle means for the natives—and the future of human exploration—is anything but certain, in A Darkling Sea by James Cambias.

Why is the book on my list?

I’ve been wanting to increasing my science fiction reading for a while now, specifically the space opera subgenre, and this book pretty much meets all my needs for that.

39. Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne #1: The Emperor’s Blade by Brian Staveley

The Emperor's Blades  Link | Author Blog

In The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley, the emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.

Kaden, the heir to the Unhewn Throne, has spent eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, learning the enigmatic discipline of monks devoted to the Blank God. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power he must master before it’s too late.

An ocean away, Valyn endures the brutal training of the Kettral, elite soldiers who fly into battle on gigantic black hawks. But before he can set out to save Kaden, Valyn must survive one horrific final test.

At the heart of the empire, Minister Adare, elevated to her station by one of the emperor’s final acts, is determined to prove herself to her people. But Adare also believes she knows who murdered her father, and she will stop at nothing—and risk everything—to see that justice is meted out.

Why is the book on my list?

The cover. When I first saw it a few months ago, I didn’t like it all that much, but I’ve come around since then. And I’ve heard quite a bit of praise for the book in some blogger circles, so my curiosity is most definitely piqued.

40. Eddie LaCrosse #5: He Drank, And Saw The Spider by Alex Bledsoe

He Darnk, And Saw The Spider  Link | Author Blog

For fans of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files and Glen Cook’s Garrett PI novels, comes the newest installment in Alex Bledsoe’s Eddie LaCrosse series, He Drank and Saw the Spider.

After he fails to save a stranger from being mauled to death by a bear, a young mercenary is saddled with the baby girl the man died to protect. He leaves her with a kindly shepherd family and goes on with his violent life.

Now, sixteen years later, that young mercenary has grown up to become cynical sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse. When his vacation travels bring him back to that same part of the world, he can’t resist trying to discover what has become of the mysterious infant.

He finds that the child, now a lovely young teenager named Isadora, is at the center of complicated web of intrigue involving two feuding kings, a smitten prince, a powerful sorceress, an inhuman monster, and long-buried secrets too shocking to imagine. And once again she needs his help.

They say a spider in your cup will poison you, but only if you see it. Eddie, helped by his smart, resourceful girlfriend Liz, must look through the dregs of the past to find the truth about the present—and risk what might happen if he, too, sees the spider.

Why is the book on my list?

I’ve already read this actually, just a couple weeks ago in fact, and I really liked. Having only read it, I can definitely recommend it as well. Its fun, its a bit action-packed and its easily one of the best books I’ve read in the lat three years.

Small Press

41. Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters by Various

Kaiju Rising  Link

Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters is a collection of 19 stories focused around the theme of strange creatures in the vein of Pacific Rim, Godzilla, Cloverfield, and more. The anthology will open with a foreword by New York Times bestselling author JONATHAN MABERRY, and close with an afterword by JEREMY ROBINSON, author of Project Nemesis, the highest selling Kaiju novel in the United States since the old Godzilla books—and perhaps even more than those.

From New York Times bestsellers to indie darlings we found authors that are perfectly suited for writing such larger than life stories. Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters will honor that proud tradition, while exploring new and exciting ways to experience Kaiju.

(Info taken from the project kickstarter page.)

Why is the book on my list?

Ragnarok is a publishing small press founded by two very good friends of mine and Kaiju Rising is the genius of another friend. Via their first ever kickstarter, which was a huge success by the way, they’ve made this anthology a reality and as someone who had a small hand in putting this project together, I can’t wait to see what kind of stories all the authors have come up with.

Posted on December 23, 2013, in 2014 Reading Challenge, Book Lists, Challenges and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. There are some awesome titles in this list, and I think I’m looking forward to reading at least half of them myself! 2014’s going to be a great year for reading, I declare!


  2. About time Will Elliott got some recognition outside of Australia. He is a truly amazing author. The Pilo Family Circus is one of the best urban fantasy / horror books I’ve read.


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