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I know I’ve already talked a bit about first novels and how they usually disappoint but I’ve also said about a couple of the books I’ve reviewed, that they were excellent first novels and did not seem like debuts. Well, I think I need to say it again for Servant of a Dark God. John Brown’s first published book is simply delicious for the reader.

I have decided to include the blurb from now on for the “official” story outline instead of my own premises which I didn’t really like….so here it goes: Young Talen lives in a world where the days of a person’s life can be harvested, bought and stolen. Only the great Divines, who rule every land, and the human soul-eaters, dark ones who steal from man and beast, know the secrets of this power.

If you’ve read my previous reviews on Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadows of the Apt series then you know what my current opinion on them is. The third book in the series, Blood of the Mantis had one thing that I immediately noticed when I bought it: it was much shorter than the previous two. Now I don’t know exactly why that is, if it’s that the author signed on for more books than he had story for and shortened this one or if this is exactly how he wanted this book to be in it just happened to be shorter, all I know is that it’s uncommon, if not unknown, that a sequel is shorter than preceding novel or novels. Whatever may be, Blood of the Mantis does not disappoint.

It builds directly on where we left off with Dragonfly Falling. Our main cast of characters is spread out across the Lowlands and their environs. Archaeos the moth has located the Shadow Box in a city of the Empire.

I jumped into the Well of Ascension without any fear as to whether I was going to be entertained. Brandon Sanderson hits the mark once more with the second novel in his Mistborn Trilogy, leading us even deeper into the mysteries of the Final Empire and its characters.

We start off in this novel a year or so after the events of the Final Empire. During that time, the political stage has changed quite a bit. Elend Venture, Vin’s lover, is now the king of the Central Dominance and Luthadel. His father, the Lord Straff Venture, has taken control of the Northern Dominance and is marching on Luthadel with the intent of conquering it. From the Western Dominance comes Lord Cett, a previously unknown lord, also attempting to seize Elend’s kingdom. The Well of Ascension is essentially the story of political decisions and plotting to ensure that the Central Dominance stays out of enemy hands.

After having read Empire in Black and Gold I went to my local bookstore as soon as I possibly could to get Dragonfly Falling. The second book in the Shadow of the Apt series by Adrian Tchaikovsky, it was published for the UK in February 2009. I was in a hurry to get back to the Lowlands, considering how Empire in Black and Gold ended and was relieved to find that Dragonfly Falling ups the ante in essentially all aspects.

This is the first book I read from Brandon Sanderson and actually, the only reason I was interested in reading him was because I had heard that he was the author chosen to finish the Wheel Of Time. Since I live in Europe, I had some problems getting hold of a copy of the book until last October when The Final Empire was finally published in the UK (with better cover art than that of the US versions I might add). Once I got my copy a couple of days before its release, after waiting months to get it, you can understand that I devoured it, and it most definitely was worth the wait.

I picked up Empire in Black and Gold on discount in my local bookstore on sort of a whim. Once I’d gotten it however I didn’t hurry to read it as I had other good books and I’d never heard about Adrian Tchaikovsky or his books. Once I began reading however, I found myself in a state I don't often do: I couldn’t put the book down.

The Blade Itself was Joe Abercrombie’s first book as well as being the first installment in his First Law Trilogy. The book was first published in the UK way back in March 2007. I’ve only recently come across the book and so I read it not too long ago (obviously). Once again, I find myself in awe in front of a debut novel that really does not appear, when reading, to be one.

In the Union there is constant political scheming for power, but now there are outside forces threatening to change things. Bethod has recently united the North and now plans to invade the Union’s province of Angland. In the south the Gurkhul Empire has recently seen the rise of a new emperor who lusts for power and is planning to take the Union owned city of Dagoska. Yet even with these ominous threats, the Union’s leaders in Adua, prefer not to act but instead keep selfishly concentrating on their advancement.

Brandon Sanderson is one of the biggest newcomers to the fantasy genre. Most notably, he was chosen by Robert Jordan’s wife and editor to finish the Wheel of Time. But prior to that he was obviously writing his own books and stories. He wrote: the Mistborn Trilogy (which I’ll most likely review very soon), Warbreaker (his most recent novel which I will also review shortly) and his debut novel, back in 2005, Elantris. This, I have to say, is probably one the best first novels I have ever read. It is entrancing, captivating, thrilling and just downright awesome. To his credit, I have heard that Sanderson wrote something like 12 novels before first getting Elantris published so we can safely assume he had some practice, but still.

I Am Not a Serial Killer was published in the UK in March 2009 (will be published in the US in March 2010) and unfortunately I have not been able to get to it until now. This is author Dan Wells’ first published novel, and what a read it is.

The book follows the life of 15-year-old John Cleaver who possesses an obsession with serial killers. He is anti-social, just plain bizarre, and it probably doesn’t help that he often joins his mother and aunt working in the in the family mortuary. John is scared of becoming a serial killer and so he has set up a number of rules to keep himself in check. His limits are tested, however, when a series of bestial murders are committed in his small hometown and John cannot resist the impulse to investigate.

I’d like to start by saying that Robin Hobb is one of the greatest fantasy writers out there. Not only that but she is also one of my favorite authors. She has quite a few books published, mostly in the form of trilogies, and they are all, with the possible exception of the Soldier Son Trilogy, some amazing books. Her two first trilogies: The Farseer Trilogy and the Liveship Traders are in fact widely considered epitomes of the fantasy genre. Now with that in mind let’s look at her last book, The Dragon Keeper, which was published back in June 2009 (in the UK, will be released in the US on January 26th , 2010). The book is a continuation of Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings, and follows more closely the events following those of the Liveship Traders.

Joe Abercrombie’s Best Served Cold is his latest gritty fantasy novel, published in June 2009. This standalone novel is set in the same imaginary world as Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, but concentrates on the region of the Free Cities of Styria.

The story is that of the mercenary general Monza Murcatto, until recently in the employ of the Duke Orso of Talins as she sets out seeking revenge on those responsible for her brother’s death and for throwing her down a mountain. To attain her goal she picks up a strange group of companions, or employees, as she is hiring them, and travels across all of Styria, chasing her future victims while at same time dabbling in the decade-long war between the independent cities of Styria.