I read a lot of great books this year. It makes it exceedingly hard for me to choose one or even do a top five like I am prone to doing. Of course, then it’d be just as easy to name one of my own books as book of the year, I mean I am rather partial to those…
But over the course of all of my reading, one book really stood out to me. Even though it’s been about 6 months since I read it, the book is fresh in my mind. The characterizations were so visceral, the worldbuilding so tight. It opened in a very unique battle sequence which was very intense, where unlike most fantasy/mil-sf I read, I felt the characters were in overwhelming danger and not going to get out of it. The book took such a brave 180 as it got further into it, transitioning to another kind of battle — the battle for the main character’s heart.
Just the pure breadth and depth of this story meant it had so much to offer. The author has such a depth of connecting with character that it makes it hard to put it down once I started reading, all of which is positive.
And so… I decree the book of the year 2017 to be Wandfasted by Laurie Forest. It’s billed as a novella, but it’s really about the length of a short novel.
It’s a prequel to The Black Witch, and actually I believe was released more as a promotional tool for that book. It really stands on its own and I feel is superior to the main book it’s meant to support. Where I felt TBW bogged down with some pacing issues in the middle, this book was about perfect on that level. I keep saying Laurie is someone to pay attention to as THE NEXT BIG NAME IN FANTASY. If she keeps up work like this, she may be hailed as one of the greats sooner rather than later.
Wandfasted is available only via ebook, though I think her publisher should look into doing a limited edition hardbound run. Check it out here: https://www.amazon.com/Wandfasted-Black-Chronicles-Laurie-Forest-ebook/dp/B01N00Y9X9