If it’s Going to be Another Five Years, What Do I Read in the Meantime?

Whew! You’ve finished A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin and you’re emotionally drained and maybe a little sated—at least for a few days, maybe even a few weeks. Inevitably though, you want more. More heartbreak, more swordplay, more sinister dealings and shady bedfellows. What do you do now? After-all, it may be a while before the sixth book. It may not be five years, but after reveling in Martin’s worlds for a little while, you realize that you can’t wait that long. You’re already having trouble waiting until Sunday evening for the new episode of True Blood, how on earth are you going to wait however long it’s going to be for Winds of Winter. Withdrawal is a sure bet I’m sorry to say. Science fiction & fantasy can be just as addictive as any other opiate, so what to do? And surely you’re not going to flood Mr. Martin’s blog (or Not A blog as the case may be) begging for advanced pages of the new book. And you’re not going to criticize or berate him for delays because they inevitably happen with large fantasy series such as this. Where does that leave you then? Well, it leaves you with a dragon-sized hole to fill in your reading life. I’m here to help. I’m offering this 10-step program to help you get through these tough times. You can do this without Ice and Fire—at least until your next fix.

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Book 1 of the Gentleman Bastard’s Sequence) by Scott Lynch

An orphan’s life is harsh—and often short—in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains–a man who is neither blind nor a priest. A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans–a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.

In this stunning debut, author Scott Lynch delivers the wonderfully thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his band of confidence tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part Robin Hood, one part Ocean’s Eleven, and entirely enthralling.

The adventures continues in Red Seas Under Red Skies. Be forewarned, the third book in this seven book series, The Republic of Thieves, has been delayed several times.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Book 1 of The Inheritance Trilogy) by N.K. Jemisin

Locus Award Winner for Best First Novel

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle with cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother’s death and her family’s bloody history.

The series continues with The Broken Kingdoms.

The Name of the Wind (Day One of the Kingkiller Chronicles) by Patrick Rothfuss

The riveting first-person narrative of a young man who grows to be the most notorious magician his world has ever seen. From his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime- ridden city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that transports readers into the body and mind of a wizard. It is a high-action novel written with a poet’s hand, a powerful coming-of-age story of a magically gifted young man, told through his eyes: to read this book is to be the hero.

The chronicles continue with The Wise Man’s Fear (Day Two). This is yet another series in which delays have frustrated readers, but most think it worth the wait.

Acacia: The War with the Mein (Book 1 of the Acacia Trilogy) by David Anthony Durham

Born into generations of prosperity, the four royal children of the Akaran dynasty know little of the world outside their opulent island paradise. But when an assassin strikes at the heart of their power, their lives are changed forever. Forced to flee to distant corners and separated against their will, the children must navigate a web of hidden allegiances, ancient magic, foreign invaders, and illicit trade that will challenge their very notion of who they are. As they come to understand their true purpose in life, the fate of the world lies in their hands.

The trilogy continues with The Other Lands and The Sacred Band (Coming in October).

The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett

As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.

The series continues with The Desert Spear.

Gardens of the Moon (Book One of the Malazan Book of the Fallen) by Steven Erikson

The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting and bloody confrontations with ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.

For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, their lone surviving mage, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.

However, the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand…

Conceived and written on a panoramic scale, Gardens of the Moon is epic fantasy of the highest order—an enthralling adventure by an outstanding voice.

The epic adventure continues with Deadhouse Gates. The 10 book series has just concluded, so no waiting!

Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook

Darkness wars with darkness as the hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must. They bury their doubts with their dead.

Then comes the prophecy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more….

This omnibus edition comprises The Black Company, Shadows Linger, and The White Rose.

“With the Black Company series Glen Cook single-handedly changed the face of fantasy—something a lot of people didn’t notice and maybe still don’t. He brought the story down to a human level, dispensing with the cliché archetypes of princes, kings, and evil sorcerers. Reading his stuff was like reading Vietnam War fiction on peyote.” -Steven Erikson, author of Gardens of the Moon

The chronicles continue with The Books of the South: Tales of the Black Company, The Return of the Black Company, and The Many Deaths of the Black Company.

Lord Foul’s Bane (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever) by Stephen R. Donaldson

The first book in one of the most remarkable epic fantasies ever written, the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever.

He called himself Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever because he dared not believe in the strange alternate world in which he suddenly found himself. Yet he was tempted to believe, to fight for the Land, to be the reincarnation of its greatest hero…

The chronicles continue with The Illearth War and The Power that Preserves. The series does continue beyond the original trilogy with seven more books making up the second chronicles and the last chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

The Blade Itself (The First Law Book One) by Joe Abercrombie

Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he’s on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian – leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies.

Nobleman, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, Captain Jezal dan Luthar has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle. But war is brewing, and on the battlefields of the frozen North they fight by altogether bloodier rules.

Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer, would like nothing better than to see Jezal come home in a box. But then Glokta hates everyone: cutting treason out of the Union one confession at a time leaves little room for friendship. His latest trail of corpses may lead him right to the rotten heart of government, if he can stay alive long enough to follow it.

Enter the wizard, Bayaz. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he’s about to make the lives of Logen, Jezal, and Glotka a whole lot more difficult.

Murderous conspiracies rise to the surface, old scores are ready to be settled, and the line between hero and villain is sharp enough to draw blood. Unpredictable, compelling, wickedly funny, and packed with unforgettable characters, The Blade Itself is noir fantasy with a real cutting edge.

The law continues with Before They Are Hanged and Last Argument of Kings.

For the 10th step we recommend going back to your roots with a beloved children’s series…

The Book of Three (Chronicles of Prydain Book One) by Lloyd Alexander

Since The Book of Three was first published in 1964, young readers have been enthralled by the adventures of Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper and his quest to become a hero. Taran is joined by an engaging cast of characters that includes Eilonwy, the strong-willed and sharp-tongued princess; Fflewddur Fflam, the hyperbole-prone bard; the ever-faithful Gurgi; and the curmudgeonly Doli—all of whom have become involved in an epic struggle between good and evil that shapes the fate of the legendary land of Prydain. Released over a period of five years, Lloyd Alexander’s beautifully written tales not only captured children’s imaginations but also garnered the highest critical praise.

The chronicles continue with The Black Cauldron.

See, now doesn’t that feel better? No? Well, you can always go back and reread that one story about that little furry-footed creature that finds a fetching piece of jewelry and the subsequent trilogy about that creature’s nephew that wants to destroy that jewelry. Also, you could reread (or read for the first time—you know you’re out there) that other story about that bespectacled lad with the wicked tattooed forehead and magical powers that runs afoul of some guy you’re not supposed to name.

Whichever literary journey you decide to embark upon, enjoy and…may the force be with you (crap, that’s not even from a book).

Casey S.

All reviews courtesy of IndieBound and Pyr.

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3 thoughts on “If it’s Going to be Another Five Years, What Do I Read in the Meantime?

  1. I was wondering what I was going to do. Finished the Martin, moved on to the Rothfuss (Day 2) and have The Hundred Thousand Kingsdoms waiting. Thanks for adding to the list!

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