My Musings

My Top Ten Books of 2017.

My Top Ten Books of 2017

Today I bring to you all my Top Ten Books of 2017 list! This is my second year of creating a top ten list after venturing into the world of blogging early in 2016 and you can find my list for the previous year (with some outstanding books on it) at the link below:

It was a tough choice this year as there has been lots and lots of fantastic books released that I have had the pleasure of reading. Some amazing fantasy debuts, some killer final books in series and some awesome new series too, it has been a veritable treasure trove of great books!

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But, I have finally managed to narrow my choice down to ten outstanding reads and in no particular order here is the list:

Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle #2) by Jay Kristoff.

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A snippet from my review:

Oftentimes Godsgrave isn’t nuanced or subtle, it’s bold, brash, loud and what I’d call ‘in your face‘ fantasy. It’s a book that is chock-full of ‘holy shit‘ moments and it’s fucking enjoyable for it!

Or if you prefer the clean and child-friendly highly quote-worthy version:

Oftentimes Godsgrave isn’t nuanced or subtle, it’s bold, brash, loud and what I’d call ‘in your face‘ fantasy. It’s a book that is chock-full of ‘oh my God‘ moments and it’s tremendously enjoyable for it!

The Ninth Rain (The Winnowing Flame #1) by Jen Williams.

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A snippet from my review:

There’s plenty of unique and original ideas sprinkled throughout the pages of The Ninth Rain, along with the unorthodox Vintage, you have the vampiresque Eborans, the Jure’lia, the parasite spirits with their lights, fronds and shifting gelatinous shapes that haunt the Behemoth remains and giant flying bats!

Lots of stand-out moments are found in The Ninth Rain and one of my favourites had to be the reveal of the true origins of the parasite spirits late on in the book. While reading I hadn’t guessed it, with what had occurred in the story I was unsure about the intentions of certain presences and when they did finally come to light, I thought the resulting disclosure was sublimely done by Williams.

Great pacing, top-notch writing, quality characterisation, plenty of action, fire – burn baby burn! Emotion, humour with a smidgen of romance added to the equation all make The Ninth Rain a truly enjoyable and absorbing read, come the final page you are left wanting more.

Fueled by winnowfire, The Ninth Rain is a flame that burns brightly as an exceptional start to a brand new fantasy trilogy.

The Fourth Monkey (a 4MK Thriller #1) by J.D. Barker.

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A snippet from my review:

The story plays out over three days with chapters taking place through various PoV across different times over the period. Time is an important issue as the team try and puzzle out where the 4MK has taken Emory before it’s too late. The often short chapters move along at a quick pace and with his writing, Barker does a great job of building and maintaining the tension and suspense throughout the duration of the 400-page book.

I loved The Fourth Monkey and devoured it over this past weekend finding it to be a phenomenal and gripping read and that oh so stereotypical and eye rolling phrase a ‘page turner of a book‘.

4MK truly is a fantastic thriller and it’s a testament to how great the book is that someone who isn’t a fan of the genre was so fully engrossed by it! I can’t wait for the sequel and can definitely see 4MK being turned into a film!

Defender (The Voices #1) by G. X. Todd.

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A snippet from my review:

I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent reading Defender and I’m looking forward to continuing the trilogy with Hunted releasing next year. For fans of the post-apocalyptic genre, I definitely urge you to give Todd and Defender a read. I feel that it should be firmly placed in the upper echelons of the genre and you won’t be disappointed.👌

And now, the highly quotable bit:

Defender is a fantastic debut, an accomplished book and an outstanding addition to the post-apocalyptic genre. Simply put, it deserves to take its place next to the genre greats and is a modern classic.

Age of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom #1) by R. J. Barker.

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A snippet from my review:

In a few of my previous reviews, I’ve mentioned a number of great fantasy debuts that have been released in 2017. Unfortunately for all of you, I’m going to be repeating myself with this one. Like a parrot proclaiming over and over again, ‘Polly wanna cracker.’ Drew is once more proclaiming ‘awesome fantasy debut!‘ And, you know what is great about it for all us fantasy fans?! No?? Well, I shall enlighten you, dear readers! Whilst all these debuts have been top quality, they have also all been completely different! It’s a great time to be a fantasy fan!

With Age of Assassins, Barker hasn’t written just a standard fantasy book he has also added elements of mystery, intrigue, sleuthing and espionage to make for an exceptional book that demands to be read.

The Fall of Dragons (The Traitor Son Cycle #5) by Miles Cameron.

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A snippet from my review:

When you come to the final book in a series it’s always with a slight sense of melancholy. You have followed the story and the characters from the very beginning and now you are reaching the conclusion. Yes, the author might revisit the world in future series and we might also get some short stories focusing on certain characters but you will never again be able to look forward to the ‘next‘ book being released and the series that you have come to love having spent hours and hours and pages and pages reading and becoming invested in will sadly, all be over. You also have to ask yourself was the expenditure worth it?! For The Traitor Son Cycle the answer is emphatically, hell yes it was worth it!

The Traitor Son Cycle is top tier fantasy at it’s finest and Cameron deserves to be acknowledged as one of the great modern fantasy writers. Read it!

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1) by Mark Lawrence.

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A snippet from my review:

The world world building in Red Sister is quite subtle with the majority of the book taking place within the confines of the Convent of Sweet Mercy. With the sun slowly dying the vast majority of Abeth itself has frozen over, ice on either side shrouding and encompassing most of the world with only a corridor around the centre still habitable. Your given enough to tantalise and titillate – (sniggers, I wrote tit, better not laugh the PC brigade might take offence) and you never feel overwhelmed with useless information, everything pertaining to the world is relevant to the story and you are given greater scope and depth of Abeth through various flashbacks.

I don’t feel that there’s much I can say about the writing as for me it was nigh on perfect, the pacing, the chapter lengths, the book length, the action and emotion were all bang on when reading and the pages just flew by.

Jorg Ancrath and his brothers in The Broken Empire and Jalan and Snorri in The Red Queen’s War are two trilogies that along with their respective characters hold a place in my heart as two of the finest grimdark fantasy trilogies there is. Now Red Sister, with its cast of captivating characters, story, setting, magic and cliffhanger ending that leaves you wanting more should broaden the appeal of Lawrence from just grimdark fantasy fans to a wider audience of readers.

By the years end, I fully expect Red Sister to be included in the lion’s share of top ten fantasy books of the year lists and fully deserving of that accolade it most certainly will be. With Red Sister, Lawrence not only gives us his best book yet but also his most accessible.

You will find Nona’s story to be one of the best coming of age tales that you will ever read.

Blackwing (Raven’s Mark #1) by Ed McDonald.

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A snippet from my review:

Blackwing is a compelling and gritty story, it’s not grimdark as such but it’s definitely a dark tale. There’s plenty of believable characters, violence, action, betrayal, political machinations, secrets and revelations found within the pages and you will often find yourself having to read that stereotypical ‘just one more chapter‘ simply so that you can find out what happens next.

Blackwing is an outstanding debut and a must-read for any self-respecting fantasy fan. From the first page all the way through to the very last I found myself captivated by the story, world and characters created by McDonald in this absolutely exceptional read.

Simply put, Blackwing is one of the books of 2017. Do yourself a favour and read it!

Tyrant’s Throne (The Greatcoats #4) by Sebastien de Castell.

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A snippet from my review:

From the very start to the final pages, the core of the series has been the relationship between the trio of main characters in Falcio, Kest and Brasti. The banter and camaraderie between them are second to none, Brasti, the comic relief shows his occasional serious and emotional side, Kest, stoic and analytical shows the very occasional glimpses of humour, it’s a privilege to see that, adding little extra to the characters we know and love. Through friendship, courage, loss, heartbreak to overcoming constant adversity the three are more than just friends, more even than brothers or blood, they share an unshakeable bond and you truly believe that they would die for each other.

It’s a term that has been used before by many various people, myself included but it’s true, The Greatcoats are a fantasy version of The Three Musketeers. Falcio, Brasti and Kest fit in perfectly well with the modern fantasy hero image but they also harken back to the olden days, having similarities to the old-fashioned heroes of yesteryear who were just out to save the day in a fun adventure yarn.

When we get to the end of the year, I fully expect to see Tyrant’s Throne gracing many fantasy best of the year book lists and with its conclusion, The Greatcoats deserves to take its place in the upper echelons of finished fantasy series.

There has been a lot of various Saint’s of Tristia mentioned throughout the entire Greatcoats series, but there hasn’t been a Saint of books?! Talk about craziness!

And so, I humbly give to you all, the Saint of amazing books, Saint Sebastian-who-weaves-magical-words.

Both the book and the series are highly recommended. If you haven’t yet joined The Greatcoats, then why the hell not?!?!

Kings of the Wyld (The Band #1) by Nicholas Eames.

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A snippet from my review:

There’s also some musical easter eggs scattered across the length of the book and when it’s added to the mix, the sentiment works really well and though sparse, the poignant moments are like melodic interludes offering you emotion on the scale of waving your lighters in the air balladry. The humour is also on par, both the in your face loud and brash jokes and the more subtle little nods and hints that also make you smile.

The characterisation throughout Kings of the Wyld is great, Saga, particularly Gabriel and Clay who are at the core of the book are deep and layered characters and the band on a whole are a group that you really get behind and pull for. The camaraderie and brotherhood shown between them is tremendous, at times each character is given their own virtuoso chance to shine but it’s when they all come together that they really rock out.

Gabriel is the frontman of Saga and while the story revolves around him getting the band back together and attempting to rescue his daughter, Clay Cooper is with him from the beginning of the book and as much as Kings of the Wyld is the story of how Saga reunited to try to save Rose the book for me is also Clay’s tale.

A conclusion that is fitting, fulfilling and has the emotional pull that just feels right. With the chance for the younger bands to take centre stage and headline the sequel and hopefully the possibility from Eames of some prequel novellas in the future regaling us with some of the legendary adventures and crazy exploits of Saga from days gone by.

Eames builds Kings of the Wyld up to a soaring crescendo with a breathtaking final track, culminating in one epic battle that cranks the volume all the way ‘up to eleven!’

Kings of the Wyld is an action movie with heart in the guise of a fantasy book and is an outstanding debut from Eames. Quality writing and pacing throughout, core characters you care about, crazy scenarios, action, action and more action with plenty of humour and a side helping of emotion all make Kings of the Wyld one hellacious and entertainingly wyld ride!

So there you have it my top ten books of the year for 2017! 🙂

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45 thoughts on “My Top Ten Books of 2017.

  1. Great post Drew! My other half is half way through Oathbringer by Sanderson and will need to find another author to fill the gap once he’s finished! Which of these would you recommend or any other fantasy author for that matter? (He’s tried Patrick Rothfuss and Robin Hobb and wasn’t keen)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Eurgh, Sanderson!😂 I’d recommend The Faithful and the Fallen series by John Gwynne. From this list The Greatcoats series by Sebastian de Castell or The Traitor Son Cycle series by Miles Cameron or try both Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames and Blackwing by Ed Mcdonald first.👌📚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s a big help, thank you. And what’s this eurgh about Sanderson eh lol? You not like his stuff? Our bookshelves are ruled by him and the sheer size of his tomes!😮 (I’m reading Mistborn at some point this year, just to shut him up!!)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. We had one in common! 4MK!! That was my #2 read of the year- I loved it!! Your review for the new Nora Roberts got me interested in that one. I thought all she wrote was romance! I’m waiting on the audiobook from the library for that one!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Of course you know Red Sister and Kings of the Wyld made top reads for me as well 🤗 Outstanding books! I admit, I have not read these others. But several are on my list and since they made your top ten, I am super excited! Fantastic post!

    Like

      1. Thank you! 🙂 I hope to read a great deal of them this year (I have a project about reading more fantasy this year, but I would write a proper post one of these days) and I’m going forward to it because they all seem great!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy to report that I was the 100th “like” on this post 🙂 I’ve never read a Jay Kristoff book, but I do follow him on twitter and I have a feeling you two would get along very well lol I heard Nevernight has lots of footnotes… does the second book follow suit? Did you find it added to the book or distracted from it?

    AND I’ve heard so many good things about Red Sister. I know it was a favorite of Danielle’s (@Books, Vertigo, & Tea) too… and a few other blogger friends. I don’t have much experience in high fantasy… would it be a good book for a “beginner”?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes!😀 Whoop, 100 likes, yay!🤘

      Ha, yeah, Danielle and Lilly both loved Red Sister, I believe it was me that kept telling them to read Lawrence and they enjoyed it.

      I’ve read all his books and he gets better with each book and Red Sister is definitely his most accessible book to date. It really is a great read and yeah, from his original grimdark origins he’s come a long way and for someone like you who doesn’t read much adult fantasy I’d definitely say yes, read it. It’s accessible, a great story, quality characters and I think you’ll really enjoy it.

      Ha!😂 I don’t know what you mean!😉 Kristoff is crazy and fun on Twitter!

      Yes, the footnotes are of the readable variety and yes, there are a lot! A LOT! There’s more in Nevernight but there’s still a lot in Godsgrave though not as many and they aren’t as long either (I can remember a few in Nevernight that took up most of the page.😂).

      They do add to the book though, some in books don’t and as you say distract from the book but in Nevernight/Godsgrave Kristoff uses them for backstory to characters, the history of the world and just as additional little insights and they are interesting, funny as f#ck and add a lot to the overall read and are a great addition.👌

      I think the thing with footnotes though is that on a Kindle/e-Reader they are very annoying, having to keep swapping back and forth, etc so it’d be best if you did pick up either book to buy a proper copy and not an e-book version.

      Like

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