Epic fantasy / heroic fantasy

The Final Strife

The Final Strife

Author: Saara El-Arifi Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/06/2022

A debut that sings, in fact roars with strong vibrant themes, beautiful storytelling, and fabulous characters. Three women sit centre stage as the trials begin to find the next rulers of the Empire, each has different coloured blood and were born to very different roles. This is the first in the The Final Strife series, and Author Saara El-Arifi has created the most compelling world with roots in Ghanian folklore and Arabian myths. A vivid energy crackles into life from the start. The sense of place is immense, I saw, I felt, I believed. The three very different young women who lead in the story, in such different ways, have fascinating characters. The story flows through some thought-provoking topics, from oppression and rebellion through to drug addiction. Love can be found in its many guises including friendship as well as romance. While tyranny rules, this in an inclusive land in terms of relationships and diversity. I would say this is definitely not for younger teens due to content, but is suitable for those heading towards their twenties as well as adults. This first book sets up the continuing story rather wonderfully and I can’t wait to see where we head next. A LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month, The Final Strife, so very clever, bold and provocative has set aflame a new world that promises much, highly recommended.

Star Books
Against All Gods

Against All Gods

Author: Miles Cameron Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/06/2022

The tyranny of the gods is absolute, and they are capricious, malevolent and almost all-powerful, playing cruel games with the fates of mortals for their own ends . . . A vibrant and powerful epic set against an alternate Bronze Age, this tale of gods, men and monsters, conspiracy and war, is a rich, compelling and original read from a master of the historical and fantasy genres. The people caught up in toils of the gods are merely trying to survive. Victims of vicious whims, trapped by their circumstances or pushed beyond what the mortal frame can bear, a handful of god-touched mortals - a scribe, a warlord, a dancer and a child - are about to be brought together in a conspiracy of their own. A conspiracy to reach the heavens, and take down the corrupt and aging gods . . . who are already facing troubles of their own . . . An epic that draws on a wide variety of myths and legends, gods and heroes, this new trilogy is a must read for fans of Dan Simmons and Madeline Miller alike. 

A River Enchanted

A River Enchanted

Author: Rebecca Ross Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/02/2022

Sarah J Maas's Crescent City meets Uprooted in acclaimed YA author Rebecca Ross's brilliant first adult fantasy. Enchantments run deep on the magical Isle of Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armour, and the smallest cut of a knife can instil fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that live there find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home, but that mischief turns to malevolence as girls begin to go missing. Adaira, heiress of the east, knows the spirits only answer to a bard's music, enticing them to return the missing girls. But there's only one bard capable of drawing the spirits forth by song: her childhood enemy Jack Tamerlaine. He hasn't stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university, but as Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than first thought and an older, darker secret lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.

Daughter of the Moon Goddess

Daughter of the Moon Goddess

Author: Sue Lynn Tan Format: Audiobook Release Date: 20/01/2022

A captivating debut fantasy inspired by the legend of the Chinese moon goddess. A young woman's quest to free her mother pits her against the most powerful immortal in the realm, setting her on a dangerous path where those she loves are not the only ones at risk... Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the powerful Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when her magic flares and her existence is discovered, Xingyin is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind. Alone, powerless, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to train in the Crown Prince's service, learning to master archery and magic, despite the passion which flames between her and the emperor's son. To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies, across the earth and skies. But when treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream -striking a dangerous bargain, where she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos. Daughter of the Moon Goddess begins an enchanting, romantic duology which weaves ancient Chinese mythology into a sweeping adventure of immortals and magic, of loss and sacrifice - where love vies with honour, dreams are fraught with betrayal, and hope emerges triumphant.

Audiobooks of the Month
The Ivory Key

The Ivory Key

Author: Akshaya Raman Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/01/2022

Riveting and richly realised, Akshaya Raman’s The Ivory Key (the first in a duology) presents readers with a thrilling opportunity for utter immersion. Set in a sumptuously conjured world in which magic is the ultimate resource, and driven by relatable characters that leap from the page with exhilarating verve, this is YA fantasy as its most inventive. What’s more, The Ivory Key is underpinned by the pertinent belief that resources should be equally, universally accessible. “Magic was woven into the very fabric of Ashokan society... It was even Ashoka’s biggest export… Or it had been”. So begins this story of four estranged royal siblings whose lives have taken very different paths. Four siblings who must find a way to repair their fractured relationships as they embark on a quest to find the Ivory Key that’s said to possess the power to provide the magic their land so desperately needs. Reeling with family drama, the thrill of a treacherous treasure hunt, and a smouldering romance, this is an undeniable dazzler of a debut.

The Eye of the World

The Eye of the World

Author: Robert Jordan Format: Audiobook Release Date: 16/11/2021

The Wheel of Time is now an original series on Prime Video, starring Rosamund Pike as Moiraine! This program is read by narrator Rosamund Pike, star of the hit Prime Video original series. The Eye of the World, the first novel in Robert Jordan's #1 New York Times bestselling epic fantasy series, The Wheel of Time®, follows Moiraine Damodred as she arrives in Emond's Field on a quest to find the one prophesized to stand against The Dark One. The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. When a vicious band of half-men, half beasts invade the Two Rivers seeking their master's enemy, Moiraine persuades Rand al'Thor and his friends to leave their home and enter a larger unimaginable world filled with dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light. Since its debut in 1990, The Wheel of Time® has captivated millions of readers around the globe with its scope, originality, and compelling characters. The last six books in series were all instant #1 New York Times bestsellers, and The Eye of the World was named one of America's best-loved novels by PBS's The Great American Read.

Audiobooks of the Month
The Sandman: Act II

The Sandman: Act II

Author: Neil Gaiman, Dirk Maggs Format: Audiobook Release Date: 22/09/2021

Please note: This content is not for kids. It is for mature audiences only. Just like the original graphic novels, this audio adaptation contains explicit language and graphic violence, as well as strong sexual content and themes. Discretion is advised. Enter the Dreaming again as the blockbuster audio adaptation of “the greatest epic in the history of comic books” continues in The Sandman: Act II. James McAvoy returns to voice Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, in this sequel to the number-one New York Times audio best seller. Journey into a world of myths, imagination, and terror based on the best-selling DC comic books and graphic novels written by Neil Gaiman (returning as the Narrator), and lose yourself in another groundbreaking, immersive drama adapted and directed by the award-winning audio master Dirk Maggs. In the absolutely packed Act II, the dark fantasy resumes and the Sandman expands into the French Revolution, ancient Rome, 19th-century San Francisco, eighth-century Baghdad, and beyond. New and familiar characters abound, voiced by a bright mix of performers, including Kat Dennings, Regé-Jean Page, Emma Corrin, Michael Sheen, Kristen Schaal, Brian Cox, John Lithgow, Jeffrey Wright, and so many more, including fan-favorite narrators Simon Vance and Ray Porter. Just close your eyes and listen again as the greatest epic continues. Act II of the audio series The Sandman adapts collected volumes four (Season of Mists) and five (A Game of You) of the comics in their entirety, and most of volume six (Fables & Reflections).

The Coward

The Coward

Author: Stephen Aryan Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/06/2021

A thoroughly entertaining and epic slice of heroic fantasy fiction with battles and heroes aplenty, yet there is more to focus on here than initially meets the eye. With reluctance legend Kell Kressia, who for ten years has been tending his farm, sets out on a quest to save the land from an icy terror. Author Stephen Aryan’s debut was a finalist in the David Gemmell Morningstar Award, and The Coward definitely put me in mind of the late and great author. There is a solid backbone of decency, with the traditional action, adventure and swordplay on offer, this book also looks at cowardice, heroism, friendship, and love. Set in a world that I felt on the edge of already knowing, the landscape is almost recognisable, yet different enough to create interest. The characters have some depth while still being larger than life. This is a lively yet simple tale, one that you can wholeheartedly throw yourself into, and there are some unexpected moments to help you along the way. The plot sings along and makes this a read you can roar through. It’s a thundering introduction to a new series, and you can sign me up for book two already! A heady hit of escapism, The Coward is rollicking-good read.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Author: Marlon James Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/02/2020

Tracker is a hunter. Known throughout the thirteen kingdoms as one who has a nose, he always works alone. But he breaks his own rule when, hired to find a lost child, he finds himself part of a group of hunters, each stranger and more dangerous than the last. As the mismatched gang follow the boy's scent from perfumed citadels to enchanted darklands, Tracker starts to wonder: Who really is this mysterious boy? Why do so many people want to stop him from being found? And, most important of all, who is telling the truth and who is lying? Marlon James weaves a breathtaking tapestry - at once ancient and startlingly modern - exploring the fundamentals of truth, limits of power, excesses of ambition, and our need to understand them all. Chronicling the same events but telling a very different story - who will you believe? Read THE DARK STAR TRILOGY in any order! 

Equal Rites

Equal Rites

Author: Terry Pratchett Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/06/2012

The first book in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series to feature the witches in a starring role, Equal Rites is a wonderful introduction to Granny Weatherwax. While Witches Abroad is perhaps my favourite in the Witches series within a series, there is much to cackle and ponder over in this, the third Discworld novel. Her character develops quite beautifully through the books, and Granny is perhaps my most beloved character (ever) to appear in print. I am an admirer of her use of headology, and adore her relationship with Nanny, Magrat, Tiffany, and of course Death. If you’ve not yet met the totally fabulous Granny, do introduce yourself, I’m sure she would be delighted to greet you.