5. Vicious by V E Schwab
Vicious is the story of two lonely yet ambitious college students, Victor and Eliot, who together discover that under just the right near-death conditions, the possibility exists for individuals to develop superpowers. But when their research moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Fast-forward to ten years later and Victor has now escaped from prison, determined to take his revenge of the man who put him there.
With an adrenaline-filled plot, razor-sharp writing and well-developed characters, Vicious displays Schwab’s masterful storytelling skills at their very best. There’s good news, too, for anyone who’s already read and loved it. The sequel,Vengeful, is out later in the year.
4. The Fate of the Tearling by Erkia Johansen
This is actually the third book in The Queen of the Tearling series. As a whole, the series performs brilliantly on Bookaxe but this is the book that readers say is the best of the bunch!
Set in a grim distant-future world where sickness, hunger, misery and despotism reign, the books follow nineteen-year-old Princess Kelsea as she returns from exile and tries to reclaim her rightful place on thrown from her wicked family and save the world as she goes - and of course, stay alive.
With captivating characters, a plot that twists and turns increasingly unexpected ways, and a fully-realised and terrifying world, this is accessible, engaging fantasy with broad appeal.
3. The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
The first book in Sanderson’s hugely successful Mistborn series is an epic fantasy stuffed with political intrigue, love and loss, and magical martial arts. The setting is a world blackened by ash, where society is feudal, divided between nobility and slaves. Here, one man is destined to attempt the biggest heist in history and readers are forced to ask a simple question - what happens if the hero of the prophecy fails?
Sanderson is widely recognised as one the best voices is fantasy today. His writing is wildly imaginative and highly original, driven by ideas and a desire to turn traditional tropes of the genre on their head. All in all that makes this not just a book to read but to devour.
2. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
Rivers of London is the first book in a series by the same name that follows Peter Grant, a young officer in London’s Metropolitan Police who, following an unexpected encounter with a ghost, is recruited into the small and elite branch of the Met that deals with the supernatural. As a wave of brutal and bizarre murders grips the city, he finds himself plunged into a world where gods mix with mortals and the long-dead are on their way back.
This is part inventive urban fantasy and part gripping thriller, with more than a smattering of humour to boot. No doubt that explains why it’s become such an enormously successful book across the world.
1. Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb
Ship of Magic is Book One of the Liveship Traders series, and set in the same world as Hobb’s stunning Farseer trilogy but otherwise unrelated.
In this world, Wizardwood - a sentient type of wood - is the most precious commodity. But it’s as hard as anything to come by - you can only sail to get it on a ship made from it - and even then, three members from successive generations of the same family must die aboard that ship to truly awaken it. Althea’s father is about to die on the deck of their liveship, Vivica, and transform it forever, and whilst Althea waits to take the helm of the vessel she loves more than anything, her family plot her alternative fate.
This is a complex, epic tale of pirates, talking ships, magic, sea serpents, slave revolts, dashing heroes and bloody battles that has won the heart of Bookaxe’s most ardent fantasy fans, and is definitely the one you should all be setting sail to pick up first!Click here for more great bookish articles, and to find books you’ll love and readers like you.