Okay, let’s start off by saying that maybe you’ve read a few of these. It’s certainly possible. However, let’s face it, the fantasy genre is packed with awesome novels so many of these are left behind so to speak. Is it presumptuous for me to say that these are often missed? Maybe but someone has to say it. So buckle up and let’s get started.
Number one should come as no surprise to those that follow my blog.
The Necromancer Chronicles by Amanda Downum. Three books that follow Isyllt Iskaldur, a royal necromancer that is trained as a spy and tries to solve crimes that could harm the crown. As with many series, book #2 is the best but all three hold a place in the dark fantasy genre.
The interesting thing is that between the three books on Amazon there are a total 91 reviews. Goodreads has more but still well below the several thousands that other books and series get on their pages. For books released eight to eleven years ago, I’d think to see more. Still, the reviews are positive.
The Necromancer Chronicles is a great series with a female lead that bucks the traditional magic system and even the standard tropes. These books forge new paths in the fantasy world are they should be read. Downum has begun a spin off series with The Poison Court, featuring Savedra Severos ( a major character from Book 2, The Bone Palace) plus a few other old favorites and Bone Garden: An Erisinian Intrigue. Both of these continue on with well written fantasy and dark suspense that grip and hold readers throughout.
2. The Gorgon Bride by Galen Surlak-Ramsey comes as the second choice. While this novel is more recent in its release and it already has 145 reviews on Amazon, most very positive, and almost 70 good reviews on Goodreads (not counting the 260 ratings), many still haven’t read it, at least not in the circles I frequent.
The Gorgon Bride is a fun take on Greek Mythology in a modern world.
Maybe that turns some off, can’t please everyone you know, but for me that intrigued me. I found the novel to be funny and heartwarming in the romance aspect of a mortal man and his new bride that happens to be a gorgon. What this novel does is provide a lighthearted fantasy book for a quick read and something that will help to give you a laugh. There is a sequel to enjoy as well.
3. For the third book I’ve chosen Awen Rising: An Urban Fantasy (Awen Trilogy Book 1)by O.J. Barré. This is a futuristic, urban fantasy that uses older traditions and religion to tell a good story. Druids, a reptile race, natural disasters and a mysterious female protagonist really helped move the story along.
While the book is just a year old, little under a year, it only has 6 reviews on Goodreads and 18 on Amazon. Mostly good reviews too. Like the other listed in this post, these are good stories with few reviews because of one reason or another. What you see in Awen Rising is a story that leads up brilliantly towards future installments.
4. For the last entry on this list I’ve gone with a favorite, reread for me. Hellboy: On Earth as it is in Hell by Brian Hodge. Angels attacking the Vatican, secret societies and religious revelations that could turn history on its head! Just another day for BPRD.
Hellboy: On Earth as it is in Hell this is a stand alone novel within the Hellboy universe but it also brings in more depth to the already deep backstory that is the Hellboy universe. Fans of Hellboy will love this novel and the questions it poses while at the same time, they will like that it isn’t dependent on the graphic novels or other books to be enjoyable.
At 21 reviews on Goodreads and Amazon (Goodreads does list just over 2,000 ratings), this novel does seem to have been skimmed over some since it’s release in 2005. Sure the graphic novels have a much bigger pull but this novel, and others in the universe, are amazing works of literature. Author Brian Hodge does have an impressive CV to his name as well and his storytelling skills shine in this novel.
And there you have it. My short list on some of the best fantasy books and one series that you might have missed. There are plenty more and while all of these are traditionally published, that doesn’t mean automatic readers.