High fantasy or epic fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy that is set in invented or imaginary worlds. This is one of Mary's favorite genres to read, and she reads a lot of them. Check out her list of the best epic fantasy books that she has read this year!
Promise of Fire – Amanda Bouchet (Epic Paranormal Romance)
Griffin, a warlord searching for someone to help him hold his newly conquered kingdom, decides on and then kidnaps Cat, a powerful seer/magic user, who sees truth whenever someone lies. In a world where magic is powerful, the gods interfere in everyday life, and creatures of every shape and size can be found, not just a kingdom, but their very survival is on the line.
I loved this book. The characters were flawed, yet engaging. The secondary characters were well developed. The world building was interesting. The romance was entertaining. And, while Cat's "secret" identity is pretty blatant, the story is just so well written that it doesn't matter.
This book is my favorite of the year (so far).
Uprooted – Naomi Novik (Adult Fairy Tale Retelling)
Agnieszka loves her valley home, but only the wizard, Dragon, can keep the corrupted, evil Wood near her home at bay. His price: one of the local women must serve him for ten years… many of whom are never seen again. Soon, the new woman will be chosen, and that choice will change both Agnieszka’s life and the safety of her beloved valley forever.
I loved Uprooted. It was such a different story. Even though it is a fairy tale retelling, as a Polish fairy tale, it is not one I had ever heard before, so the storyline was totally fresh. I have never really read anything quite like it. It was engaging, really well written, and thoroughly enjoyable. It has good characters, great world building, and good pacing.
This is one of my favorite reads of the year.
Emperor’s Arrow - Lauren D.M. Smith (Epic Paranormal Romance)
Summary: Evony of Aureline, archer and warrior, has been sent to compete in a competition designed to find the Emperor a wife.
Mary’s Snarky Summary: Fanatically loyal Amazonian-like warrior is forced to compete in a bachelor-like competition while traitors and rebellion surrounds her (and the emperor) on all sides.
Even though this story line has been done before, this is one of the best iterations I have come across. The main characters are compelling and strong. The world building is fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed this story… and it’s a stand-alone novel, which is rare in epic fantasy. (only available on e-book)
The Novice – by Taran Matharu (Teen)
Fletcher, an orphan and blacksmith apprentice, finds a spell book which shows him how to summon a demon, which is not as horrible as you might think... It also makes him a valuable commodity in the war against the orcs.
While this story did remind me a little of World of Warcraft, the characters and constant action pulled the story together, into a very enjoyable read.
Grave Mercy – Robin LaFevers (Teen)
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from an arranged marriage to the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain where she will be trained as an assassin - and to serve Death Himself. But, how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon targets whom she is not sure deserve it?
The novel is driven by mystery, romance and subtle skullduggery. The characters are well developed and grow throughout the story. This is a story/series well worth reading!