Reflecting on last year’s top mysteries made me curious to take a look at the fantasy novels of 2014. What were the most popular? Perhaps you may be surprised to learn that #1 was published over a decade ago!
Now, this top 10 list includes a mix of high fantasy and urban/paranormal fantasy titles, all of which are shelved in the Fantasy section at the library where I work. Based on circulation figures, these were the most checked out fantasies in 2014.
10. The Necromancer’s House by Christopher Buehlman & The Grim Company by Luke Schull — There was as tie for 10th place. Buehlman’s The Necromancer’s House is about nonconformist warlock—and recovering alcoholic—Andrew Ranulf Blankenship. His house is sitting on a treasury of stolen Russian magic and a creature of folklore is coming to claim it. Schull’s The Grim Company is about “a ragtag band of old warriors, a crippled Halfmage, two orphans, and an oddly capable manservant.” In this series opener, the company are drawn into a conflict that threatens to bring war to a land where Magelords have killed the old gods and set themselves up as tyrannical overlords.
9. Bastion by Mercedes Lackey — Book Five of the Collegium Chronicles is set in the beloved world of Valdemar and its Heralds. Mags returns briefly to the Collegium before realizing that his path leads elsewhere. He and his allies will journey to Bastion, a place in the hills where Mags was found and answers to his origins may be discovered.
8. Shifter’s Wolf by Patricia Briggs — This reprint brings Brigg’s debut novel and its sequel together in one volume. The first two books in the Sianim Series establish the story of shapeshifting mercenary Aralorn. In Masques, Aralorn has fled her birthright and become a spy tasked with gathering intelligence on a dangerous sorcerer armed with the power of illusions. In Wolfsbane, Aralorn returns home on the occasion of her father’s passing, but a darkness hangs over her family.
7. Cold Days by Jim Butcher — Harry Dresden returns to life in this 14th novel in the popular series. As the faery queen Mab’s Winter Knight, Harry has been tasked to kill an immortal while there is a growing apocalyptic threat involving the source of magic.
6. Charming by Elliott James — This urban fantasy debut presents a new twist on Prince Charming’s tale. Trained by modern day Templars, John Charming was one of the best hunters of monsters until a curse made him one. Now a fugitive living under an assumed name, John leads a quiet life tending bar until an encounter with a Valkyrie.
5. God Save the Queen by Kate Locke — This 2012 steampunk debut novel continued to be popular. In the modern era, Queen Victoria still rules … as an immortal vampire. Xandra Vardan, an elite Royal Guard, is duty-bound to protect the Queen and the Aristocracy. When her sister goes missing, Xandra will discover “a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire” and her own beliefs.
4. Between by Kerry Schafer — Vivian Maylor had dismissed her mother’s ramblings about Dreamworlds, but now her dreams “have started to bleed through into her waking hours.” Then a chance encounter with a man, one she’s only met in her dreams, will lead her to “a world that seems strange and familiar.”
3. Written in Red by Anne Bishop — Bishop takes a break from her Black Jewels series for this dark fantasy where supernatural Others prey on humans. One such human, Meg Corbyn, escapes to the sanctuary of the Lakeside Courtyard. There she begins working for a shifter, who is “puzzled because she doesn’t smell like prey”, but a spy for the mysterious Bigwig brings yet more trouble to Meg’s life.
2. A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin — The fifth of seven books—and the most recent—in the Song of Ice and Fire series nearly topped the list. “In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance—beset by newly emerging threats from every direction.” Daenerys Targaryen rules in the east, Tyrion Lannister is fleeing to her, and in the north, Jon Snow will face his greatest challenge.
And the Number One Fantasy Novel of the Year is …
1. A Game of Thrones by Geroge R.R. Martin — This 1996 novel launched the series, A Song of Ice and Fire, which exploded in popularity with the HBO adaptation beginning in 2011. The complexity of Martin’s tome makes it difficult to recap the story succinctly, but here goes… In this compelling epic, winter lasts four decades, an army of the dead threatens war, and kings and queens fight for control of the Iron Throne and the Seven Kingdoms.
And there you have it, the most popular fantasies read in 2014. Delighted or disappointed? How many have you read? And which books would make your list of the top ten fantasies of 2014?