Banks ended up victorious, but it was a very close race. So I guess I'll be reading Consider Phlebas in the near future. . .
Receiving hundreds of review copies every year means that there is no chance in hell I can read even a quarter of the books I get in my mailbox. I have a multitude of "books to read" piles, and some titles have been lying there for months, even years, awaiting my attention. Hence, this new poll will feature SFF books that have been lying around for quite some time, even though I've been meaning to read them at some point. Let's see which novel will take the cake!
The nominees are:
Set in an alternate Europe, a world where bloody conflicts rage and sorcery holds sway, both human and other-than-human forces vie for supremacy. In this land, Alain, a young man seeking the destiny promised him by the Lady of Battles, and Liath, a young woman gifted with a power that can alter the course of history, are about the be swept up in a world-shaking conflict for the survival of humanity.
For centuries the Forelands were disputed by several tribes. Then came the magically gifted Qirsi--physically no match for their foes, but capable of mindsight, creating and controlling mists and fire, and bending solid matter to their purpose. After a Qirsi traitor betrayed his race to save himself, the Qirsi were defeated and dispersed among the seven realms of the Forelands. Those specially endowed Qirsi capable of multiple powers, the Weavers, were all put to death.
For centuries the Forelands enjoyed relative peace. But when Tavis, the heir to the Kingdom of Curgh, is wrongfully blamed for the murder of a noble, the accusation sets in motion a series of events culminating in civil war. The ensuing chaos topples the throne in Eibithar and threatens to rain chaos on all the realms of the Forelands. Tavis, thrust into the center of deadly controversy and stripped of the protection of his family's nobility, turns to the Qirsi, his last remaining hope for redemption. But another Qirsi traitor, secretly fomenting fear and mistrust among the Dukedoms, seeks to destroy Tavis. Tavis must survive long enough to clear his name and save an entire kingdom. A powerful, compelling tale set in an unforgettable land, rules of Ascension will capture your heart and fire your imagination.
In the kingdom of Crotheny, two young girls play in the tangled gardens of the sacred city of the dead. Fleeing an imaginary attacker, the girls-one of whom is the reckless young daughter of the king-discover the unknown crypt of the legendary, ancestral queen, Virgenya Dare.
In the wilds of the forest, while investigating the slaughter of an innocent family, king's holter Aspar White weaves his way through a maze of ancient willows-and comes face-to-face with a monstrous beast found only in folk tales and nightmares. Meanwhile, traveling the same road, a scholarly young priest begins an education in the nature of evil, found festering just beneath the surface of the seemingly peaceful land.
The royal family itself comes under siege, facing betrayal that only sorcery could accomplish. Now-for three beautiful sisters, for a young man made suddenly into a knight, and for a woman in love with a roguish adventurer-a rising darkness appears, shattering what was once certain, familiar, and good. These destinies and more will be linked when malevolent forces walk the land. For Crotheny, the most powerful nation in the world, is shaken at its core. And the Briar King, harbinger of death, has awakened from his slumber.
Imbuing his tale with richness, pathos, action, and passion, Greg Keyes begins an amazing new epic that takes fantasy fiction to a new level. At the heart of the story, Keyes has placed a remarkable young woman, Anne Dare, the youngest daughter of a royal family . . . and the one person upon whom the fate of this world may depend.
When Michael Moorcock began chronicling the adventures of the albino sorcerer Elric, last king of decadent Melniboné, and his sentient vampiric sword, Stormbringer, he set out to create a new kind of fantasy adventure, one that broke with tradition and reflected a more up-to-date sophistication of theme and style. The result was a bold and unique hero'"weak in body, subtle in mind, dependent on drugs for the vitality to sustain himself'"with great crimes behind him and a greater destiny ahead: a rock-and-roll antihero who would channel all the violent excesses of the sixties into one enduring archetype.
Now, with a major film in development, here is the first volume of a dazzling collection of stories containing the seminal appearances of Elric and lavishly illustrated by award-winning artist John Picacio'"plus essays, letters, maps, and other material. Adventures include 'The Dreaming City,' 'While the Gods Laugh,' 'Kings in Darkness,' 'Dead God's Homecoming,' 'Black Sword's Brothers,' and 'Sad Giant's Shield.'
Though best known for his epic series, Tad Williams is also an accomplished practitioner of the short form. Rite: Short Work gives ample evidence of this, as it contains a knockout novella later expanded to novel length (”Child of an Ancient City”); riffs on the great fantasist Michael Moorcock (”The Author at the End of Time,” “Go Ask Elric”), along with excursions into some of his most popular creations and beyond. At over 140,000 words, Rite is essential for every Tad Williams fan and fantasy aficianado. Each tale features a full-page black-and-while illustration by Mark A. Nelson.