Since I don’t want my website to be a barrage of shameless plugs for my own book(s), I thought I’d create a section to share some similarly unique takes on the fantasy genre I’ve particularly enjoyed.
These are all from independent authors like me – in fact, a couple are friends of mine (although I’ll make it very clear now: I get no sort of commission for this and they’ve not asked me to recommend their works. Actually, they don’t even know).
If you want more recommendations, I regularly include other indie authors’ work in my email newsletter. You can sign up to my mailing list here.
New Century Multiverse
Let’s start with the big one. My friend Alex Shaw is working on a fantasy series on a scale unlike anything I’ve come across in fiction. Taking a leaf out of Marvel’s cinematic book, the New Century Multiverse series tells the stories of different characters who then join forces in later books.
The core novels are set in an alternative 1880s America that is not only recovering from the Civil War but also a mysterious plague that turns people into vicious beasts. Accompanying these tales are books set in different dimensions, including a planet dominated by sentient cats, and a Victorian London where multiple fantasy races have converged.
It sounds chaotic, but he pulls it together nicely in SteamHeart, the book that caps off Phase One, and Phase Two is already off to a great start with Uncivil Outlaw.
If you’re still unsure, he releases chapters as podcasts with a full audio cast. Once you decide to dive in, you can start with any Phase One book, but I’d recommend the in-world textbook The Cartographer’s Handbook, Secret Rooms or the shorter but well-paced Let Them Go.
Find out more about the New Century Multiverse series here.
The Descendents of Thor trilogy
Another friend of mine, Sofia, has written a superb urban fantasy trilogy that has something for everyone. Vampires, secret societies, Norse mythology – there’s an impressive mix here. In fact, she manages to link myths and stories from several cultures and religions into one cohesive world. And the most impressive part is it primarily takes place in a single town in Somerset.
The story centres around Theo Clemensen, who on his 21st birthday takes on a burden passed down his family for generations: he becomes the living embodiment of magic. While this gives him incredible power, it also puts him incredible danger; there are multiple factions out there who want to use that power for their own ends, or kill him to unleash the magic and destroy the world.
Along the way he’ll befriend vampires, find the girl of his dreams, makes deals with goddesses, meet a coven of witches and more. The revelations come thick and fast, which kept me turning pages.
You can find the trilogy, and other S. A. Ashdown books, on Amazon.
Guild of Tokens
Jon Auerbach offers a really fresh take on the LitRPG genre. The story is set in New York, where select people complete quests (kills five rats, for example) in exchange for tokens – but this is no video game, this is real.
The prospect of this secret contest being held throughout one of the world’s most famous cities is intriguing, but as you learn more about the mysteries behind this centuries-old game, there’s a more intriguing story to uncover.
The Guild of Tokens books are relatively short and fast-paced, and broken up by shorter stories that explore events from the view of the antagonist.
You can out find out more at the author’s website.
Okay, this one isn’t a fantasy one but I thought I’d throw it in here because (full disclosure) I helped publish it.
Bored Beagle is the diary of my friend Fiona’s beagle, Russell. It chronicles the mischief he gets up to while everyone’s at work, as well as all the family dramas that happen when they’re not. It’s all written from his point of view, and it is absolutely hilarious.
This volume collects the first six months of the Bored Beagle blog she/Russell writes, so if you find yourself wanting more, there are regular additions online. And proceeds from every copy sold go to Great Ormond’s Street Hospital.
You can buy Bored Beagle in paperback here.