Julia’s Favourite Self Published Fantasy Books – Part 3
For my third and last part of favourite Self Published Fantasy Books, here’s some from my TBR, some authors who go the hybrid way, and some authors who started with self-publishing but since have gone the traditionally published route with their books.
To begin with, a few from my TBR, so blurbs for you for even more inspiration:
The world is dying.
The Sunset Lands are broken, torn apart by a war of ideology paid for with the lives of the peasants. Drought holds the east as famine ravages the farmlands. In the west, borders slam shut in the face of waves of refugees, dooming all of those trying to flee to slow starvation, or a future in forced labor camps. There is no salvation.
In the city of Lord’s Reach, Seraphina, a slave with unique talents, sets in motion a series of events that will change everything. In a fight for the soul of the nation, everyone is a player. But something ominous is calling people to Lord’s Reach and the very nature of magic itself is changing. Paths will converge, the battle for the Sunset Lands has shifted, and now humanity itself is at stake.
First, you must break before you can become.
Of Honey and Wildfires
From the moment the first settler dug a well and struck a lode of shine, the world changed. Now, everything revolves around that magical oil.
What began as a simple scouting expedition becomes a life-changing ordeal for Arlen Esco. The son of a powerful mogul, Arlen is kidnapped and forced to confront uncomfortable truths his father has kept hidden. In his hands lies a decision that will determine the fate of everyone he loves—and impact the lives of every person in Shine Territory.
The daughter of an infamous saboteur and outlaw, Cassandra has her own dangerous secrets to protect. When the lives of those she loves are threatened, she realizes that she is uniquely placed to change the balance of power in Shine Territory once and for all.
Secrets breed more secrets. Somehow, Arlen and Cassandra must find their own truths in the middle of a garden of lies.
The Penitent Assassin
Mallor. A man of few words, six knives, and one mission – revenge. He has thirty-six hours, a long list of names, and a serious problem. His daughter is kidnapped by a sadistic magic abuser and the price for her release would ruin all his plans and kill his goddess.
He’s no hero, but could he sacrifice his daughter to save his goddess or will he forsake his faith, risk going to hell and rescue her instead?
The Ill-kept Oath
Two cousins. A dark family secret. A looming rebellion.
In Regency England, a mysterious inheritance draws Prudence Fairfeather and Lady Josephine Weston out of candlelit ballrooms and into the shadows of insurrection.
A newcomer to London society, Prudence longs for the enchantment of love and instead finds real magic in her late mother’s ring. But power brings peril, and strange mishaps culminate in an assassin’s bullet. Ensnared by the web of a malevolent socialite, Prudence forsakes romance to fight for her freedom.
Josephine fears an eternity of confined country life until rampaging trolls, a gang of drunken vigilantes, and a flirtatious officer bring her all the adventure she craves. Compelled by birthright to take up arms, she embraces her newfound, unladylike abilities to shield her loved ones from harm.
As danger drives a wedge through their friendship, Josephine and Prudence must face their magical legacy and the enemy who will kill to control them.
Between the Shade and the Shadow
In the deep heart of the forest, there are places where no light ever shines, where darkness is folded by pale hands and jewel-bright eyes, where the world is ruled by the wicked and kept by the wraiths. This is where the Sprites of the Sihl live.
But Sprites are not born, they are made. On the path to Spritehood, spritelings must first become shades. They do so by binding a shadow: a woodland creature, who guides them through their training. Together, they keep from the light and learn to enchant living things, to bind them, and, eventually, to kill them.
Yet, not all spritelings are born with malice—they must earn it or they are condemned. What happens then to the spriteling who finds a shadow where she shouldn’t? What happens if that particular spriteling wasn’t born with malice at all?
Ahraia was that spriteling. She ran too close to the light and bound herself to a wolf, a more powerful shadow than any that came before it. Now a shade, her shadow marks her for greatness. But a test is coming, and the further they wander out of the darkness, the deeper they wander into danger. Ahraia’s time is coming and what awaits her at the end of her test will either make her or kill her . . .
Authors who go ‘hybrid’:
This is an author who started out traditionally published with his Sorcery Ascendant series, but went the self publishing way with later books because he wanted to keep the audiobook rights.
I enjoyed all three of these, with Revenant Winds being rather grim and with a Demon as one main protagonist.
Inquisitor was a great SciFi and Mystery blend that had me hooked by the plot as well as the characters.
Incursion is his latest book that takes part in the same world as Revenant Winds, but is more in the vein of Sword and Sorcery.
McClellan is most well known for his Flintlock Powder Mage series which is traditionally published, but he also has a later Urban Fantasy series that he self published.
I enjoyed the humour and banter, even if it could have had a little more depth for my own liking.
His main series is published by 47 North, but the author also self publishes some tie-in novellas. I love his books for the banter, wit, divers cast and amazing characters who do feel like actual friends and enemies to me.
To conclude, a few examples of books I discovered when they were self published, but have since been snatched up by publishers:
Dark, gritty and realistic fantasy in a non-western setting. I loved to explore different cultures and see fresh new parts of a brand new world! Combined with great characters this was a joy to read.
Epic series that starts off rather traditional, but evolves into a rather complex plot with many twists and turns. Especially loved it for just how much magic there is.
One of the most unique series I’ve ever read! At the start I was wondering if it would appeal to me – a boring schoolmaster and his new wife on a honeymoon? Sounds sleep-inducing at best. But within just a few pages I was somehow hooked anyway. And then we get to the tower of Babel, and things get weird. Really weird. At first, I once again wondered if it was for me – a story with things like a “beer me go round”? But all those little puzzle pieces slot into place all the way through the story and start to show the picture of a fantastic world that is well thought out and utterly new. I loved it as much as the characters, despite them not being my usual cup of tea at all!
And one for those who like it on the grimdark side, with plenty of swearing, action, and a big dose of humour. Special bonus – the non-Human characters!
As you can see there is an incredible amount of talent out there, I always hope the stigma of self published books will keep shrinking until it is finally gone.
Yes, there surely are rather bad self published books, but I have also read awful traditionally published books. Usually it only takes just a glance at the cover or the first few pages to quickly recognize the ones that not much effort went into, editing wise. So I do hope a lot more people will give these hidden gems a chance!