For anyone familiar with my Top 50 Fantasy list, you would know that my Top 10 are what I consider my ‘Must-Reads’, so it’s a little difficult as time goes by to see my opinions on what my readers must and must not read shift slightly.
In order to make such an important transition go smoothly, I thought would do a post explaining why I’m adding, removing, and shifting some of these books, and so I don’t confuse people, I’ll start with the ones I’ve recently removed and added.
There is a condition for Kingkiller’s removal, and if met, it may return to my top 10. That condition is a 2020 release date for book 3. If not, bon voyage. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder… until it doesn’t and it instead grows bitter and apathetic. I read Wise Man’s Fear in 2012, with which it shot to 3rd place in my “must-reads” list, but has lost a rank every year Rothfuss has failed to produce the final book. However, if book 3 comes out in 2020 and is decent, who knows? I may return it to its rightful place.
Ever since winning the David Gemmel award for Book 2, it has been all downhill for this series. Talk about blowing your load early, not only did the later books have difficulty holding my attention, I barely cared at all when I heard that the last book, The Blinding White, is being released in October. You know your series has lost relevance when it’s readers reaction to its final book is “Meh.” But because I can’t see into the future, there is also a condition for this removal. It all hinges on the quality of book 5.
As I covered in my review of this series, I was rather impressed with the level of depth and thought that went into the world and characters. In that review, I said this book wouldn’t be in my top 10, but that it would be very close. However, until I have read the final books in the series above, this will be the place holder until they have met the conditions or I read another book that outdoes it. For this reason, Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne holds an extremely tentative #10 spot.
As I said in my Best Sequels post, although book 1 felt like multiple premises crammed into one novel, the second book was so good it shot straight to #9. By the time I was reading the third book I was really enjoying myself, and with how high the stakes were in book 3 was dubious about the final in the series. Once again, it’s surprised me, still out-doing the first by increasing the stakes for the characters internally rather than externally as all great stories involving escalating conflicts should. An easy MUST-READ.
Honestly, for my 8-4 rankings, these five books have been shuffled about these spots for the past 3 years and can shift at a dime depending on my mood. So, given my mood now, here’s how they hold up (which could change at seconds notice):
8. Vicious (as a standalone, not a series)
7. The Lies of Locke Lamora (as a standalone, not a series)
6. The Book of Words (as a whole series)
5. The Dagger and the Coin (as a whole series)
4. The Dresden Files (as a whole series)
[Shifted] The Way of Kings
If you would just click the link of the book title you would quickly catch on to the fact that I had been experiencing a little of the Brandon Sanderson mania. I mean seriously? 10/10 for Words of Radiance, what was I thinking? My illusion was shattered thankfully by book 3 in the Stormlight Archive, which although still great, awakened me to a few of the issues I had with the rest of the series, mainly that it is a series with the quality of each book being completely reliant on the sequels, with book 3 ironically bringing to #3.
[NEW TOP FANTASY]
Clearly, this is Heroes Die and The First Law Series. However, where Heroes Die is a shoo-in for my #1, being that, in my mind, it’s standalone with completely optional sequels that one is free to ignore, I am terrified of the next book in The First Law Series, A Little Hatred. So far I have enjoyed every Joe Abercrombie book I have read and if this happens to be the exception, changing my list now might have all been a waste. This is why I’m writing this post now, to record this to myself to help future me to Update the list given the conditions above and whether or not A Little Hatred is good or not.
Only time will tell.