2015 Favorite Books.

Now that the year 2015 is over, I’m going to talk about the books I enjoyed the most during the year. Not like certain places that have voting for the best books in October or November…

I’ve broken the books down into two categories for 2015’s reading. The first are the books I enjoyed reading more than any other, which were released in 2015. The second category is books that were not released in 2015—or books in series where only the latest book was released, but include the entire series. I realize the division is a little arbitrary, but it’s how the books break down in my mind, so it’s how I’m going to list them here. Also, note that I’m not including rereads here—all of these are books that I read for the first time in 2015, else the list would be pretty much the same (and almost completely Sanderson) every year.


5. Gemini Cell.


I don’t read a ton of SF books, but my 5th place for 2015 is actually a tie between two SF novels. The first, Gemini Cell, is a brilliantly paced, brutal, and exciting military SF/fantasy tale that I absolutely devoured. It’s an excellent starting place for Myke’s universe if you’ve never read any of his books before, so check it out!

5. Time Salvager.


This was my first Wesley Chu book, which I read because 1) I had it, 2) Chu was nominated for the Campbell Award, and 3) I was going to get to see him twice in 2015 (ArmadilloCon and WorldCon). It earned him my Campbell vote, and is probably my favorite time travel novel. It’s a very dark book, but has beautiful glimmers of hope, and I’m really looking forward to Time Siege next year.

4. The Autumn Republic.


The concluding volume of Brian McClellan’s Powder Mage trilogy, which is a series I’ve been following from the beginning. McClellan has a real talent for battle scenes and rough, gritty fantasy without being grimdark (in my opinion), and it really shines here, when everything is going wrong, and the gods themselves are waging war across the planet. If you’ve not read any of his work, go check out some of his short fiction—it’s an excellent and quick starting point at a good price-point, and will hopefully convince you to pick up Promise of Blood.

3. The Providence of Fire.


Staveley’s another author I’ve been following since his first book came out—and even before. The Providence of Fire is slightly longer, and perhaps a little slower paced than The Emperor’s Blades, but is also a more satisfying and epic read, and I thoroughly enjoyed how it is unabashedly straight up epic fantasy, done right. I am eagerly anticipating the last volume, out in March.

2. A Darker Shade of Magic.

A Darker Shade final for Irene

After Vicious (see below) was my first read of the year in 2015, I immediately preordered this one, and it is not a decision that I regret. I enjoyed the parallel Londons and the amazing characters that Schwab presents in the book, and how easy, fast, and thrilling the book was to read.

1. Sanderson.

Surprise, surprise, right? Well, Sanderson continued to not disappoint in 2015, with not 1, but 2, absolutely stunning novels full of everything awesome.

1-1. Firefight.


As the second volume in a strict trilogy, this one should have been a bit longer, slower, and more boring than the first one. Even in my favorite series, this happens, and I don’t complain.

Someone forgot to give Sanderson the note about that, though, and Firefight was, in my opinion, better than Steelheart, and it has the distinction of being one of two books I read (probably since The Princess Bride, certainly of 2015) where I thoroughly enjoyed and cheered for the romance.

1-2. Shadows of Self.


Cosmere! Mistborn! Wax and Wayne! Steris! Marasi! [SPOILER]! What isn’t to love? Shadows of Self was easily my favorite book released in 2015, and I can only imagine how entertaining it must have been for the people riding in the car with me while I finished the book on my way to the Sanderson signing. So many amazing, unexpected, surprising, and downright mindblowing moments. If you’ve never picked up a Sanderson book before, I might have to start recommending the Era 2 (1.5?) books as another starting point now.

Other new reads/Authors:

This list is 7 books long because the last 3 spots were more or less a tie—I thoroughly enjoyed all of these books, though they were all quite different, and they all earned their spot on my list.

5. The Goblin Emperor.


The Goblin Emperor was a book I read last year because it was on the Hugo nominees list—and it is the book that ended up getting my vote. It’s just so much fun and happiness. This book has been described as anti-grimdark, and it fits the label. If you need an uplifting fantasy novel, check this one out!

5. Robin Hobb.

Assassin's Apprentice

I only managed to read Robin Hobb’s first trilogy, The Farseer Trilogy, last year. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and while it’s not flashy, it is still powerful, and her writing has a way of making things compelling, and she puts her characters through intense torture without resorting to tactics such as chopping off hands or other bits. I’m definitely aiming to read more of her books in the coming year, though I don’t know if I’ll have time to catch up to the latest books she’s written or not—but I’ll certainly try!

4. Jaime Lee Moyer.


Now, this one is a little bit of cheating, since I’m talking about the Delia trilogy, the last book of which, Against a Brightening Sky, came out in October. However, I decided to consider the series as a group, and so I placed it on this list, because the first two books came out before last year. I only managed to review the first book, Delia’s Shadow, before school overwhelmed me and I had to take a break for a few months from blogging, but I read and loved the entire trilogy. Set in an alternate San Francisco, the books fall largely into an alternate history setting. The characters are such good people, the mysteries are intriguing, the magic is exciting, and the endings were exciting, even if they left questions unanswered.

4. Dan Wells.


This one is also cheating a little bit, since I’m talking about Dan’s John Cleaver books, the latest of which, The Devil’s Only Friend, was released in 2015. Also, the series in ongoing. But… This is my list, so I get to do what I want with it. While I felt the first book got off to a slightly rocky start—it foreshadowed the supernatural elements a little too heavily for my tastes—they ended up being really good, quick, exciting reads, even though horror is not usually my genre of choice.

3. City of Stairs.


I’ve talked about this one a lot—it was a surprisingly good read, and I am so glad that I made the time to read it. I really enjoyed Shara, and Saypur and the continent, the worldbuilding, the way political issues were handled, and Sigurd. I can’t talk about Sigurd enough… I think the most convincing recommendation I can give for this book is that when I was about 100 pages from the end, and forgot my copy at home, I bought the eBook so I could finish reading it on my phone on the train to work.

2. Vicious.


I keep talking about how Schwab is one of my new favorite authors from last year, and this is the book that did it for me. My first read of 2015, it set the tone for the rest of the year, and I am so glad to hear that we are going to get a sequel! Seriously fun tale of superheroes and supervillains—and of people. Also, it has a really cool time-line structure that I’ve never seen any other book pull off successfully.

1. Ready Player One.


I read this book for the first time last spring. Upon finishing the book, I turned it back over and started from the beginning, not even pausing to have something to drink. I don’t think I’ve done that since Harry Potter.

Since then, I’ve listened to the audiobook. And reread the book. So yes, I’ve been through it 4 times last year, something else I’m not sure I’ve done since I was reading Harry Potter, back in the days when I wasn’t in college and had a lot more free time.

This book scratched every itch I didn’t even know I had. Gaming, nerd-dom, geekery, virtual reality goodness, some absolutely awesome characters and twists, as big of an epic battle of good against evil as you can imagine, and the other romance that I cheered for. It was perfect, and in the grand scheme of books I’ve read, the only ones I’ve loved more are the Stormlight Archive.

It’s that good.

I realize that I haven’t posted a review of it yet—that’s because I haven’t figured out how to hack Goodreads to give it 6 stars. (I’m working on it, though.)


So that was my year in books… What did y’all enjoy reading last year, new or old?

Richard Anderson: An Appreciation




Badass covers, right? Everyone’s heard the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” It holds true a lot of the time. I’ve seen books with amazing covers that sucked, and I’ve seen the reverse even more often. (Take the first paperback cover for Mistborn as an example.) Regardless, however, I admire beautiful cover art, and I will still occasionally pick up a book just because it looks amazing. Right now, that means I’ll try anything with a Richard Anderson cover. So far, he has not lead me wrong. But even if he somehow does, I will likely keep picking up the covers and hoping that I can, some day, get posters of some of his art. What makes me say that? Well, let’s look at a few more of his covers.




What I really like about Anderson’s art is that he not only paints awesome pictures, but he also matches them evocatively with the book’s material. He draws the characters from the book, and they are often in situations that occur during the book—situations which are instantly recognizable and memorable. The exception to this is, I think, the TEB cover above which represents the three main characters and the feel of the novel so perfectly that the fact that the scene never occurs in the book is more than excusable.

His covers aren’t for every book, of course. I can’t see his cover on something like The Last Unicorn, for example. It has to be the right pairing of artist and subject matter. I feel that he is usually perfectly matched for the covers I’ve seen. In addition to the above badassery (I mean, blood magic portals to alternate evil doppleganger universes…[Mirror Empire] Come on. That oozes awesome.), he painted the first cover that made me immediately go out and preorder the book based on the title and the cover alone, without knowing anything else. I’ve since obtained a copy of this book through mostly legitimate methods, and I really enjoyed it. Here’s the cover.


I’ll pause for a moment before I conclude so that you can go order that one. Go on, I’ll be here when you get back.

I’m going to end this post with one more picture, one of the latest covers revealed in Richard Anderson’s ever-growing collection of amazing art, which is the cover to what is perhaps my most anticipated book of next year behind the only the next Stormlight book (When will Sanderson get a Richard Anderson cover? I would buy the heck out of that.). Badass birds, awesome red-heads, dual-wielding axes, a lovely dark color scheme with a hint of red, this is just so amazing.


ARC Review: The Providence of Fire



I don’t like the official summary for the book. It spoils about half of it, and I’m honestly a little annoyed that I read it before I picked up the book itself. In fact, this is the summary that has made me try to stop reading summaries for books before reading the books. From here on out, I would like to try to not read them at all. But, in the interest of all of you who came here looking, I’m going to try to write a less spoilery back cover copy myself. You can skip over it if you want.

Adare has discovered that her lover is a traitor who helped to kill her father. A traitor who now holds more power than perhaps anyone else in the empire of Annur. She knows she is no longer safe in the Dawn Palace, but to escape she must first avoid her ever-present guards, guards she does not know if she can still trust.

Adare’s brother, Kaden, is the heir to their father’s throne. Before he can take the throne, however, he must travel safely home—a journey he has no idea how he will make when all those he might have called friend for the past ten years have been slaughtered. He is far away in the mountains with one of the strangest groups he has ever found himself part of, and he knows he can no longer trust those who are assigned to project him.

Valyn, the third child, made some incredibly dangerous enemies when he turned his back on the Kettral, the most elite fighting force in the world, to rescue his brother. Now, he must simultaneously try to keep himself and his brother alive, and find a way to get them to safety, all while learning to trust a mysterious warrior monk and submit to his brother’s commands—for Kaden is the Emperor now, and Valyn has spent years determining the course of his own life among some of the harshest fighters in the world.

And none of them can see of the darker, more powerful forces that move in the shadows, twisting empires to their wills and willing to tear the world apart to get what they want.

The Emperor’s Blades was my favorite novel from a new author in 2014, and one of the most intensely paced books I’ve ever read. Staveley has a brilliant sense of the epic yet intensely personal saga that grips with breathtaking action from the first page to the last.

So, I had very high expectations of The Providence of Fire, expectations that it was going to have to work very, very hard to live up to. Higher expectations, perhaps, than I place on any book except a Sanderson, and higher than I place on some Sanderson novels–The Providence of Fire actually outranked a Sanderson novel on my most anticipated list for this year. When I got an ARC in November, I was anxious to see what happened in the world—and if the book lived up to my expectations.

It did.

(I should be able to leave that alone as my review, but… Okay. I’ll elaborate.)

The Providence of Fire did not, for me, quite match the incredible pacing that Staveley achieved in The Emperor’s Blades. And that’s fine with me. While The Emperor’s Blades came in at around 475 pages, The Providence of Fire is about 600, a good bit longer. I don’t think I could handle quite the same pace throughout the entire thing and come out alive. But that does not mean in any way that the book is slow or boring. It’s still much, much faster paced and more intense all the way through than much of the other fantasy I read—even the really good stuff. I’m not entirely sure how Brian does it—I’ve never been able to step back far enough from the story to really examine the craft behind it. It’s just too intensely good and readable.

The Providence of Fire is a much more political novel too, especially with Adare’s plot-line. Probably my biggest complaint with the first book was that it didn’t have enough female viewpoints or character balance. This book definitely fixes that, both with a much more expanded role for Adare, and the inclusion of at least two more important female characters I won’t name because it would be a spoiler. Adare’s plot, her dealings with the traitor and the religions of the people, could easily have become bogged down in politics. But Staveley manages to keep the tension high and the excitement flowing, even in the scenes that could easily have become travelogues. Kaden and Valyn have very interesting plots as well, and saying much of anything about them is a spoiler.

Staveley quickly reached the point where he was flipping between all three characters, always making me not wanting to leave the character whose chapter I had just finished, yet always looking forward to the next one. While the pacing allows for occasional moments where you can actually breathe, it’s always nearly impossible to physically put the book down and go about your life. Even when you do, it sticks with you, making you want to know what happened next.

And there are plenty of twists—it’s not just an action book. There are several really powerful revelations that I didn’t see coming, and some I wonder exactly how long Staveley has been plotting and planning to unleash on us. There were several times where I had to stop reading, hard though it was, and simply sit there for a moment to process exactly what had happened and what I had just learned.

(Seriously, Brian, how long did you have the Hendran line coming?)

The viewpoints begin to diversify later in the book, giving the trilogy more of an epic feel. But Staveley manages to keep the cast under control and the plot moving forward, in some places by trimming characters… Be prepared for a few scenes that will hit hard. The ending, in particular, is brutal and massive, and simultaneously has me clapping and demanding the next book. I’ve been following Staveley on Twitter, and I’m really glad to know that the first draft is done and off into edits. I’ll be watching closely for updates and any way I can get my hands on an early copy.

I have to take a moment here to stop and once again admire Richard Anderson’s amazing cover art, as well as the incredible map inside by Isaac Stewart (both of which were included in the ARC I read). They really provide the finishing touches to make this book a work of art, and it’s always nice to see such an accurate depiction on the front cover that really represents the events of a book. Also, I’m really hoping to see some amazing Adare cosplay—you’ll know what I’m talking about once you’ve read it.

In summary: The Providence of Fire is a longer, slightly less insanely paced book than The Emperor’s Blades, but it is nevertheless an incredible, epic read that leaves me hungering for more, as soon as I can get my grubby paws on it. Five of five stars without a question.

Brian’s Website.

TPoF on Amazon.

TPoF on Goodreads.

Solving the “The Last Abbot” Riddle

Brian Staveley, who is one of my favorite authors, set up a scavenger hunt this past year. He hid 20 copies of his first book, The Emperor’s Blades, around the world for people to find—each special copy had a letter inside that would allow you to unlock a portion of a short story that was hidden on his website. You can read more here.

Unfortunately, none of the copies were near enough for me to make a trip and retrieve them, so I didn’t end up with one myself. 19 of the 20 copies were found over the course of about six months or so, up until December when Brian revealed that the final copy, numbered 1/20, was hidden in an epic special location, the source of which was encoded in a riddle. I managed, with the help of a few of the other hunters, to crack the code and discover the location. It was too far away for me to retrieve myself, and so I didn’t try, but I had an incredible amount of fun (and lack of sleep) solving the riddle. What follows is a brief account of what I actually did when solving the riddle, the challenges it posed, and what ended up being the final solution. You can see most of it play out in the comments of the article linked above, but I simply had too much fun to not tell the story on my own blog. (And Brian, I’m totally getting that shirt for WorldCon.)

The riddle:

A whole world, older than memory, younger than old women, old men,

Vast as the ocean, small enough to hold in a hand,

A gift of the daughter of the watchers of women and men,

A gift of Parnassus, spread in dozens of tongues,

It whispers to us:

Your name is not your name.

You can’t escape.

The shadow is the self.


99 3 6 21    9 10 26 22.

21 10 24 68   4 26 5 18 9 3   1 75 22   63 24 1 1 3 26   23 7 43 6 22   26 18 26 1 3 22 26   43 7 67 3 5   26 26 99   10 37   23 16 9 7 23 3   5 75 22 63 63 4 5   67 7 5 1 21 22.


I quickly came to the assumption that the numbers were a substitution cipher of some sort, with each number representing a letter. My main reason for making this assumption was because of the specific formatting—there appeared to be 2 sentences, each of which end with a period and are broken into distinct words with letters. There are also only 23 distinct numbers, fewer than the 26 letters of the alphabet. I operated under this assumption pretty much the entire time. My efforts on the first day of solving the puzzle focused almost exclusively on the numerical cipher, because I could not make heads nor tails of the riddle itself.

My first attempts focused on using the riddle itself as the key to the cipher, attempting to use the first letter as 1, second letter as 2, and so on. This did not work, even though I tried many, many variations, including working backwards, using syllable numbers, and treating the lines like an array.

Then I spent some time staring at the numbers, and came to the conclusion that the first line/sentence was quite probably a congratulatory message—well done, or nice work. I grabbed the back of an envelope and tried these out. The solution of “well done” produced some interesting results, which you can see below. I discarded it because I couldn’t make any more progress, and because it didn’t make sense to my rational mind for multiple numbers to translate to the same letter.


I then switched over to using a program I had written a year ago in one of my computer science courses, which takes the string and attempts to run a frequency analysis on it, then create a key for decryption. It then presents the solution, and allows you to change the key 1 letter at a time, always giving you the newly decrypted message so that you can fix any mistakes you make. By the time I gave up on this method, it was almost 4 AM, and I had intended to go to bed at midnight, so I was a bit depressed and frustrated.

I was able to mostly put the riddle out of my mind for a few days, mostly due to my perceived lack of progress on it, and the fact that I was out of town, helping my Grandma with technical issues that I had really not been anticipating. (It was hell. NEVER LOSE YOUR ADMIN PASSWORD.) But then Brian was a meanie. He taunted me with this tweet:

Aaaaand there was no way I wasn’t going to solve the riddle, plus I never really got the thing out of my head; it just sat there staring at me while I didn’t have time to look at it.

I cursed. I complained. But I got back to it as soon as I got home. I posted my work so far in the comments of the riddle, with more detail than given above, in hopes that it could help spur someone else on to solving the riddle—I wanted to at least be a part of the solution. Brian said I had made some really good progress. I also looked at other people’s various answers; they had focused largely on the words themselves. They had interesting conjectures; 1 took the riddle to simply mean a novel, any novel, another tried to interpret them to mean a particular song from Lord of the Rings. Brian had chimed in telling them they were both making progress, but missing something, and so I memorized the riddle and thought about it all evening/night the first day when I had returned home. I’m sure I got some sleep in there somewhere, but it was restless, to say the least.

When I woke up in the morning, I’d had a slight bit of a revelation. The riddle meant some kind of book, yes, but a specific one. And the author was female, so it couldn’t be Lord of the Rings. (You can find my detailed analysis of the riddle in the comments on the original article.) I offhandedly mentioned A Wizard of Earthsea in my analysis because of the word “ocean” used to describe the world inside the novel, and some of the other hunters ran with it, digging up other quite interesting connections, nicely connecting LeGuin’s parents as archaeologists to the “watchers of women and men”, but the kicker was when someone noticed that the book was originally published by Parnassus Press. Previously, we had all assumed that the Parnassus line meant that it was a book simply because the muses lived on Parnassus.

With this revelation, I dug out my dad’s copy of A Wizard of Earthsea and thumbed through it, trying various things before I hit upon the solution. There were other similarities I noticed too, chiefly that the plot matches the last three lines of the riddle quite well. It took a few tries, but I found the solution fairly quickly at that point. The key to the riddle was the first words of the text itself, with the first letter being 1, the second letter being 2, and so on. With the message cracked, I quickly checked the location and determined that I would not be able to make it myself (It’s somewhere in NH…). Thus, I posted the solution, which is below:

Well done.

Look inside the rotten maple nineteen paces NNW of madame Sherri’s castle.

Brian was right that this was an epic location—it’s an abandoned castle in the middle of the woods.

Patrick, whose adventures you can also read in the comments of the blog, hopped in his car literally 3 minutes after I had posted the solution to the riddle, and drove 5 hours to retrieve the book, which is now in his possession. Congratulations, Patrick!

I was amazed at how close I had come to solving the riddle in my earlier attempts. If you look at the picture I posted above, I had almost cracked the code on my own, without the key. My biggest problem was that I was tired, doubling letters didn’t make sense with the rules of codes I had been taught, and I had the “maple nineteen” portion squished up and missing a letter or two. I’m pretty sure if I’d taken a closer look at the envelope above during the day, I would have been able to solve the riddle without the key, but I managed it anyway, a fact that makes me incredibly happy. I was also incredibly lucky with my guess of “A Wizard of Earthsea”, something I had thrown out almost as an afterthought when analyzing the riddle. Thanks to everyone who helped, especially those who pointed out how well the riddle fit with the solution being a novel, and those who found the clues that confirmed that we should look in A Wizard of Earthsea.

Overall, it was a fun, challenging, and rewarding experience. It reminded me why I love going to school and learning—I enjoy the feeling I get when I tackle a seemingly insurmountable problem, conquer it, and learn an incredible amount along the way, and the more and more I get into upper division classes, the more I experience this feeling. I would really like to thank Brian again for a great experience and a fun riddle, and I’m looking forward to meeting him at some point in the future! I also hope he continues to do these riddles, and that, perhaps, if he does this again, there will be a copy that I can find.

Brian is an amazingly fun person and a really good author. His first book, The Emperor’s Blades, came out last January, and was my favorite debut novel of the entire year! If you’ve not read it yet, you’re really missing out, and you should go fix that, especially since his second novel, The Providence of Fire, comes out tomorrow! And if you enjoyed The Emperor’s Blades, you should get The Providence of Fire, because it’s just as good as the first one.

Most Anticipated Books of 2015

It’s that time of year again, and I’m going to name my top 5 most anticipated books of 2015, and tell you why I’m so excited about them. I’m going to restrict myself only to books with a confirmed or highly likely 2015 release date. This means that Winds of Winter, Doors of Stone, and Stones Unhallowed, though they would unseat any book on this list, are not eligible.

Before I start the list, I’ve got two books I’m going to talk about. You’ll see why.

First, The Dinosaur Lords. This book didn’t quite make the cut for the top 5, but I felt I had to list it anyway. Even before I read anything about it, just from the title and that cover, I knew I was going to have to buy it. I mean, look at this cover, by Richard Anderson!


You can read an official synopsis over here, and even though it’s seven months out, it’s already received quite high praise from no less than George R. R. Martin himself. I’m pretty much immediately sold on anything he recommends. I want to get my hands on this as soon as I can.

I also just received and finished reading an ARC of Gemini Cell by Myke Cole. It was utterly amazing, and I would definitely give it a place on this list (And it may have a place on 2015’s year-end, best-of list.), but it’s not one I was anticipating highly before I read it, and so I’m not going to give it a place on the official list. You should still check it out, because it’s amazing.


5th most anticipated: Empire Ascendant by Kameron Hurley. (No cover released.)

I read Mirror Empire earlier this year, and I loved it. Oh, I felt that it had rough spots here and there, but the book lived up to a large part of its incredible potential, and I have every confidence that Hurley will continue to improve as a writer. Her world beats out many of Sanderson’s creations for its chilling inventiveness, and that is not praise that I give lightly. I have high hopes that, with the confusing overhead of introducing her characters and world out of the way, the second book in the trilogy will improve on the first and be an incredible read.

4th most anticipated: The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan


I read and enjoyed McClellan’s Promise of Blood. I read and loved his Crimson Campaign. As the final volume of the trilogy, this book has a lot of threads to juggle, and some absolutely massive conflicts to resolve. It handles them all very, very well. Yes, I’ve read it already. It lived up to my quite high expectations, finishing out the trilogy in a satisfying way, while still leaving plenty of threads open for the next trilogy in the Powder Mage universe. McClellan, who writes at a rate to rival that of Sanderson, whom he once took writing classes from and is friends with, is an author to watch for years to come. His short fiction is quite excellent as well, but The Autumn Republic is a real Tour de Force.

3rd most anticipated: Firefight by Brandon Sanderson


You were wondering when the Sanderson would appear, wouldn’t you? Well, here it is. I’ve read this one too, and it is absolutely stunning. Steelheart was good. Someone forgot to tell Sanderson that the second book in a trilogy is supposed to be set-up for the third, and kinda boring. Firefight knocks it out of the park. I can’t say too much more without spoiling this one, but it’s Sanderson, and not only that, it’s Sanderson YA, so hopefully it’ll reach an even wider audience. Okay. I’ll say one more thing. This is the only book on the list (and one of very few ever) where I actually have a ship that I really like. That alone should tell you how good it is.

2nd most anticipated: The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley


(Richard Anderson really does some amazing art.)

I managed to get an ARC of Staveley’s debut novel, The Emperor’s Blades, last year, and it was absolutely AMAZING. The pacing was the best I think I’ve ever seen in an epic fantasy novel. This was, perhaps, the hardest book to put down that I have ever read. The sequel promises to be even better, even longer, and it delivers. Yes, I’ve read this one too. I had to go to some lengths to secure an ARC of this one, but it was completely and utterly worth it. While it slows down a hair from Emperor’s Blades, Providence still has some of the best pacing in epic fantasy. The characters grow even more, and even the inconsequential characters become surprisingly relevant. One of my biggest complaints with the first novel, the lack of female viewpoint characters, is remedied in this novel: Adare becomes even more important, as do several other characters you wouldn’t expect. A note: Don’t read the blurb that is on the back of the book. It spoils half of the book. And yes, this book beat out a Sanderson for the 2nd spot on the list. It’s that good.

Most Anticipated: Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson. (No cover yet.)

It’s Sanderson. It’s Cosmere. It’s Wax and Wayne, Mistborn world, etc. How can I not want it more than anything else? Let me put it this way. I have received and read ARCs of #4, #3, and #2 on my list, and I’m scheduled to receive one for #5 as well. I think I would trade all of them for an ARC of Shadows. I want it that badly. (If you know of any way to read this early, let me know. I will do whatever it takes.) I’ve gotten even more excited about this one lately, with the announcement of the sequel, Bands of Mourning, for January 2016. It’s amazing how quickly Sanderson writes these things. Also, if you’ve not read the Mistborn trilogy yet, they are absolutely amazing.

So, that’s what I’m looking forward to in 2015. It’s a very epic fantasy heavy list, but then, that’s what I love. I also apparently love trilogies, as every book on the list is either the second or third book in a trilogy. I have no problem with this; longer forms of storytelling allow for more build-up, more character growth, and, ultimately, more payoff in these stories. I love it, and I’m not ashamed of it.

What are you looking forward to (And by extension, should I be looking forward to) reading in 2015?