Julia’s Favourite Self Published Fantasy Books – Part 2
So here we go with part 2 of my List of favourite Self Published Fantasy books – this time the focus is on Epic and Dark fantasy. So if the books in the last post were a bit too whimsical or straight-forward for you, these might be more your cup of tea!
If you are following The Fantasy Hive, then you will know this one already – but if not, you definitely might want to take a look at Fortunes’s Fool! It was the Hives highest ranked SPFBO finalist to date and is just all around a great book. It is a slow burn that takes a bit to catch on, but once I got sucked into the story it wouldn’t let me go anymore!
Blade’s Edge is a book I enjoyed a lot! An Asian inspired world with strong characters who are not perfect but humans with weaknesses and flaws they need to overcome.
Kalanon’s Rising was a good mix of fantasy and murder mystery. Even though the characters could have been fleshed out a bit more at times, I enjoyed puzzling together the clues and see what actually happened.
Michael R. Fletcher
This author is for those who like grimdark. Blood, gore, flawed characters and quite some insanity all are to be found in every of his series.
Ghosts of Tomorrow is a dystopian story where the mind can be downloaded, which makes great almost AI weapons out of soldiers.
Black Stone Heart is full of Necromancy and the mystery of the main characters past.
Smoke and Stone takes place in a city full of gods, who need a lot of blood to keep everyone alive. Or do they?
Sword of Kaigen won the SPFBO 5. And it deserved to do so, as it is one incredible book! It’s Asian inspired and has a different moral code to what I am used to.
The characters stretch and grow and I loved seeing them evolve along the way. Bonus – a lot of really well written sword fights and magic! Her other series is YA, but I haven’t read those – yet!
Blood of Heirs starts of like the typical fantasy story, but soon enough it takes a few sharp corners and leaves the beaten track. I enjoyed one POV from the very start, while it took me a while to warm up to the second POV. I did enjoy exploring the world and following the characters and can’t wait to get around to book two!
Rob J. Hayes
This is an author who has a very wide spectrum of styles and books! The three you see here are just a taster – and every one of his books I’ve read so far, I enjoyed. I put him in this post as most books aren’t fluffy, though his “It takes a thief” series definitely would fit the funny and light category…
The Heresy Within is a grim, yet epic story with plenty of politics and a complex plot mixed with well written fight scenes.
Where Loyalties Lie is a story about pirates, betrayal, war and most of all amazing characters you will care about.
It takes a thief to catch a sunrise is an almost playful Steampunk story with a witty duo of thieves as main protagonists, filled with banter, action and plenty of humour.
A grim series with characters I liked to follow and a plot that slowly unfolds. The series starts of a bit shakily, but really finds its footing along the way and by the end of Red Season Rising I was definitely hooked! Also, I can’t ever look at Poppies and not think of this series anymore…
I fell in love with Amra Thetys the moment I started The Thief who pulled on Trouble’s Braids. She is a strong witty no-nonsense character who I immediately clicked with. The pace in this one feels almost like an urban fantasy, and it does takes place within a city mostly, but not a modern one. Combined with a big dose of action, amazing side characters and plenty of magic it was a joy to read the whole series from the first to the last page!
Lee C Conley
I’m not usually into the zombie-type stories, but this one I enjoyed. Some sort of dead – or undead? – plague has been released, in a medievalish sort of world. People have no idea what is happening, or what to do. They have to learn to adapt – the hard way!
It’s a rather grim read, where by far not all the characters make it to the end. Plenty of mystery and different point of view characters kept me hooked all the way through.
Book two A ritual of Flesh is due out soon!
A bit on the grimmer side of life, this one has some nice twists, and best of all – a lot of magic flung about! Lately I have mostly found low fantasy titles, so it felt great to dive into all the power!
Another author who manages to pull of widely different styles!
Fae is more the traditional sort of fantasy, with relatable and well developed characters I liked from the start.
Prometheus is a grim Urban Fantasy series taking place in Kabul and managed to hold my interest even though I am usually not a big fan of modern day conflict areas. For once it is not the typical Wizard in our world, but normal people who have talents they never knew off…
Faithless is also on the grim side of things – and manages to take place within just a tiny part of the world, and yet feel like there’s so much to explore! I especially loved the mining and smithing aspect in this one…
The Stone Road was my first ever read of a self published book! While the first one is not as deep as it could be the series gets better and better the longer you read on. And what I loved right from the start was there not being a right or wrong side to a conflict, just two different sides that you alternately root for… I also enjoyed the Asian inspired setting!
Corin Hayes is near future Dystopia – but it almost reads like an Urban Fantasy as it is just so fast paced and has so much sarcasm and banter in it. I adore the broken man that isn’t a hero, but besides being drunk most of the time he does try to do the right thing. He just mostly manages to fuck things up instead…
This one I liked because it was an interesting blend of fantasy, with different magical powers and SciFi with some modern tech. It was fast paced, and even though the characters could have been a bit more fleshed out at times I did enjoy it!
The Crimson Queen might not be the most unique book I’ve ever read as it had quite some well known tropes in it, but the characters, plot and setting absolutely made up for that in my eyes. And at times I especially enjoy a book that feels a bit like coming home to my old stories!
Another series that has a more classical feel to it. I love the mix of politics, magic, twists and mystical creatures! Combined with good, relatable characters and plentiful action, they are a great read with a classical feeling. Start with Lady of the Helm!
I enjoyed Fionn for the Irish mythology and setting! It felt really different to a lot of the usual fantasy books I’ve read, and I liked exploring a, to me, wholly new culture and world. Add to that a great strong female main character, and an interesting plot, and what is not to love!
This one is another self-pub author with a lot of books already out, and each of them I read were good!
Bloodrush is a weird western setting that combined foul mouthed fae with railroad monsters and an amazing no-nonsense mortician as an aunt. The mix between gore, humour, action, suspense and mystery hit a perfect balance for me!
Heart of Stone has a Golem as a main character, and I am always a sucker for a non human main character. One who doesn’t really understand feelings is even better, and I always enjoy the question – who is the real monster?
Michael R. Miller
I liked how the plot twists away from what you’d expect in Dragon’s Blade! The characters did feel a bit tropey at times, and some of the dialogue a bit stilted. However, I did like them anyway! With an interesting world and a story that had me well entertained, it is a series I fully plan on continuing!
I confess I wasn’t expecting much when I started Gurion Thricebound because the cover didn’t have me hopeful at all. Thankfully sometimes you really shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover – and I ended up really enjoying it! It is a slow burn of a story that starts with a split society and spans over over a long time, from first spouts of rebellion to the end of the bitter fighting. But how will it end? I couldn’t stop reading and devoured this one in a couple of days despite its size!
Dawn of Wonder is rather full of tropes and quite some flaws. And I loved it anyway… I do like a lot of the tropes, so that definitely helped, and I clicked with the characters well enough to make up for some of the genericness. A big plus were details like smithing and bow building, and I always like a school setting… Caution: the sequels will be a while yet!
What I really liked about To Whatever End is the main characters being a married couple. There isn’t much romance or anything in it, but instead the wife goes hunting to rescue her husband who was kidnapped. This change to the usual plot and characters was a great breath of fresh air and combined with a interesting plot, plenty of action and adventure it made for a good story!