Over the past year, I’ve becoming increasingly conscious that I’ve getting into the habit of plunging into a series with a book that has caught my eye and simply not getting any further. Given my go-to genres heavily feature series books, which are always part of a longer narrative, this is a habit I’d like to break. So this year, I’ve decided to make myself more accountable by recording my progress with series that I have either completed, or brought right up to date – hence this post now that we’re more than halfway through this year.
The Tide Dragons duology by Sarah Ash
The Flood Dragon’s Sacrifice and Emperor of the Fireflies
This delightful fantasy series is strongly influenced by Japanese mythology and culture, so as well as the wonderful dragons of the title, there are kitsume and demons, emperors and generals and a formidable goddess all weaving through this richly textured world. I loved it and Emperor of the Fireflies is one of my outstanding books of the year so far.
The Wayfarers by Becky Chambers
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and A Closed and Common Orbit
This science fiction space opera series made a big impact with the hit debut book which had a real vibe of the hit TV show Firefly as an ensemble piece, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The second book featured one of the ship’s crew and a waif who needed refuge and while it is set in the same world as the first book, you don’t need to have read it to appreciate what is going on. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed these two books and am keen to discover where Chambers next takes this series.
The Witchlands by Susan Dennard
Truthwitch and Windwitch
This epic fantasy initially features two young witches, Safi and Iseult, who manage to get themselves into an almighty scrape at the start of the first book, entangling them in a major plot. I like the fact that their friendship is one of the main emotional drivers throughout the story so far and that the magical system is structured with clear rules and involves a high price from magic-users. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for the third book, Bloodwitch, due to come out next year.
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Rebel of the Sands and Traitor to the Throne
I love this sand and sorcery adventure! Hamilton’s punchy writing style and vivid scene setting means both of these books have stayed with me as memorably enjoyable, exciting reads and I’m very much looking forward to the next book, which will hopefully arrive next year.
Echoes of the Fall by Adrian Tchaikovsky
The Tiger and the Wolf and The Bear and the Serpent
This epic fantasy adventure takes place in a pre-agrarian world where clans divide depending on what animal they shape-shift into. Both books are full of incident and tension, along with splashes of humour as Tchaikovsky’s vivid, three-dimensional characters leapt off the page and into my heart. I’m very much hoping there is going to be more of this amazing story…
The Falconer trilogy by Elizabeth May
The Falconer; The Vanishing Throne and The Fallen Kingdom
This riveting series features a young, well-bred woman, Lady Aileana, who leads a double life – by day she is the wealthy heiress in an alternate Victorian society, while by night she hunts and kills the fae after witnessing her mother’s brutal murder. Violent and enthralling, this trilogy is one of the reading highlights of the year so far.
The Song of the Shattered Sands by Bradley Beaulieu
Twelve Kings and Blood Upon the Sand
This sand and sorcery epic fantasy is set in a brutal world ruled by twelve kings possessing great magical power – and the efforts of one lowly-born girl to overturn their stranglehold on the desert city-state. I loved the story so far and will be looking out for the third book, A Veil of Spears, due to be published next year.
Planetfall by Emma Newman
Planetfall and After Atlas
This dystopian science fiction series is amazing. Both books are set in the same world, but on different planets and can be read as standalones – I loved each one, though the tone and mood were quite different. After Atlas is my book of the year so far and I will be pouncing on the next book, Before Mars, just as soon as I can get my hands on it.
Luna by Ian McDonald
New Moon and Wolf Moon
This duology envisages that the industrialisation of the Moon has been divided between five families, all ruthless entrepreneurs who have taken capitalism to the extreme as they continue vying for yet more power – with shocking consequences. McDonald has called this series ‘a game of domes’. I loved the brutal, detailed world and the charismatic characters.
Penric and Desdemona novella series by Lois McMaster Bujold
Penric and the Demon; Penric and the Shaman; Penric’s Mission; Mira’s Last Dance
This series is a joy. Each one of these engrossing, beautifully written stories gives us another slice of Penric’s adventures as he copes with the demon he accidentally acquired while helping an elderly woman at the side of the road. Fortunately, Himself is also a serious fan and immediately buys up these gems as soon as they published. Quite right, too.
Peri Reed Chronicles by Kim Harrison
The Drafter and The Operator
Harrison explores a fascinating premise in this military science fiction thriller, where black ops agents are able to shift small amounts of time to kill or dodge attacks. The snag is that as they alter the timeline, they forget chunks of their lives with the aid of a drafter who helps them avoid a catastrophic neural overload that occurs if they remember more than one version of reality. This is really well done and I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining duology.
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes
This lush, eastern-influenced classic fantasy duology is another one of those which is set in the same world with a few linking characters, but follows different storylines. Each one is a delight, full of incident and beautiful descriptions that pinged off the page and lit up cold rainy days as I read.
The Manifold Worlds series by Foz Meadows
An Accident of Stars and A Tyranny of Queens
This delightful portal worlds adventure is gritty, wise and astonishing. It is one of my favourite series with its emphasis on a number of nuanced, feisty female characters of all ages. This one has lodged in my head and won’t leave – particularly the poignant ending…
There are more to come – but I’ll be rounding up the others in another article.
Some great series on there and a few I have to confess I haven’t heard of. I also feel like I have more and more series I’m partway through. There are some where I look out for the next book but more than a few that have been kind of abandoned. I really need to decide whether I’m continuing or not.
Yes – that’s exactly how I felt, Ali. So I decided to use the blog to keep me honest. I see a yummy-looking book that catches my eye and request it on Netgalley and before I know where I am – a number of series that I’d intended to read do nothing but gather dust on my TBR. I’m quite pleased at the difference it has made – and it also makes me think more carefully about other series which I simply don’t feel enthusiastic about continuing.
I’m hoping to get to The Fallen Kingdom sometime in August or September. I say that only because I know that as soon as The Stone Sky (N.K. Jemisin’s last Broken Earth book) arrives in a few weeks, I’ll probably drop whatever I’m reading and finish that series. Gosh, I don’t think I’ve been so excited yet terrified of how a series could end. Are you feeling that way about it, too?
As for other series, I’m going to wrap up Victoria Schwab’s Monsters of Verity duology next, since I’m planning to start its finale, Our Dark Duet, tonight.
I think you’ll thoroughly enjoy The Fallen Kingdom – I thought May did a cracking job of bringing the trilogy safely home. Yes – like you, I am very much looking forward to reading The Stone Sky.
Ahh – series. I love them! And yet there are so many that I need to continue with.
I really want ot try The Witchlands series and now knowing that friendship is a huge part of the plot AND that the magic system is so well thought out – I must get onto this.
Rebel of the Sands I read earlier this year with full intentions of picking up the sequel straight after and yet it’s still just sitting there on my TBR pile! I loved the first book though so I need to carry on.
Echoes of the Fall sounds AMAZING!!!!!!!! How did I not know about that series? It’s now on my TBR and I’ll be looking for it.
The Falconer has also been on my TBR for ages and I’m not sure why I haven’t managed to get to it yet. I’m sure it’s straight up my alley and I really need to find time for this one, especially since I’ve heard the finale is a good one.
Star Touched is again, on my TBR. I was supposed to read it early this year but was so far behind on my reading schedule it got dropped. I will get to it though!
Aargh! So many good books, so little time!
I know! There are SO many series out there that I need to continue – which is why I’ve started posting about them. Traitor to the Throne is awesome – I thought it was better than Rebel of the Sands, so I’d love to get your opinion on this one… And yes – The Witchlands series has a romantic element, but the bedrock relationship is one of friendship, which I thought was very refreshing:)
Oh, I remember most of the reviews of your books. Some are even on my TBR list! 🙂
And it’s good that you’re trying to follow the series you’ve liked. I’m hoping to find series like that too, so I can be excited about new books coming out, but so far most “book one-s” I read, fail to engage me enough. But I’m sure I’ll eventually come across something.
That’s always disappointing, isn’t it? I’ve been very lucky this year as I have come across some really enjoyable series. But I am trying to curb my instinct to grab first books that catch my eye without continuing perfectly enjoyable series I have already started – so this is trying to keep me honest…