Top Ten Fantasy Books of 2015

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We had a fun time choosing our top ten fantasy novels of 2015, not least because it got us into a lot of do you remember...? conversations! It took quite a while to whittle our choices down to ten, particularly as we've excluded any books which are part of a series where you need to have read earlier books to appreciate this one. Here they are, in alphabetical order by author:

Battlemage by Stephen Aryan

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Vargus has milked the legend of the Gath, an avenging man of violence for hire, for as long as possible. Being the Gath has had its benefits but time to move on. As it happens a war is brewing in Seveldrom so Vargus is going to fight on the side of right against the evil that is King Taikon. For Balfruss Seveldrom is home so he's honoured to be one of the six Battlemages King Mattias has selected to be the backbone of his defence now that Taikon has Zecorria. As fate unfolds the future, Mattias' daughter Talandra will also play her part as the King's spymaster. Vargus can kill an armed gang singlehanded. Balfruss can summon fire, command storms and unmake stone. Talandra? She just hopes she can help save her country but as yet she doesn't realise quite how much it will cost her. Full review...

Of Bone and Thunder by Chris Evans

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The conscripted men and women of the Kingdom's military forces are battling the Slyts in Luitox. The Kingdom's might may include the latest weaponry and the ability to thaum but the Slyts are elusive and have their own ways. The jungle is as hot as hell which is apt as they will all face their own hells and some may even survive. The odds aren’t good though; if the enemy doesn't get them, their own flying craft may. Nobody wants to be on the back of an overheated rag! Full review...

The Good, the Bad and the Smug by Tom Holt

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Mordak, award winning goblin king, is on a quest for truth. His companion Efluviel is a journalist whom he'd sacked and who is elf – that's two counts against her, without taking the smugness into account. Meanwhile a little man spins gold from straw, offering benefits as well as a riddle. He may sound familiar, but forget the fairy tale; this Rumplerimp… Rumpski… bloke has a more sophisticated strategy. Oh and have you heard about the two chaps who pre-invented the Hadron Collider in their garden shed? No? Well, stay tuned. Full review...

Slade House by David Mitchell

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Once every nine years Jonah and Norah Greyer entertain a guest; each time a different person… or persons. Each visitor walks through the small black door of Slade House for various reasons of their own. Or at least they think they know why they're there but only Jonah and Norah know the real reason – the only reason. Full review...

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

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Many years ago, in a village deep in Eastern Europe, the locals live a life of relative peace and happiness - knowing to always avoid the wood that borders their land, and safe in the knowledge that they are guarded by a powerful wizard - the Dragon. Aware that he is the one thing keeping them safe from the dangers of the wood, the villagers take part in a ritual called 'The Choosing' every ten years - when a young girl is sent to serve the wizard for a decade. Full review...

The Table Of Less Valued Knights by Marie Phillips

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Sir Humphrey has been demoted from King Arthur's Round Table to the Table of Lesser Valued Knights. The only way to get his comfier seat back is to redeem himself via a quest. Therefore when damsel Elaine seeks help to find her kidnapped fiancé, Humphrey and his ward, the teenage giant Conrad, eagerly set forth. Meanwhile in the kingdom of Tuft, new Queen Martha has run away after a disastrous wedding to… a… well… disastrous Prince Edwin. She may not realise it yet, but she too will have a job for Humphrey! Full review...

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

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London 1883: Thaniel Steepleton, a telegraphist in a government office, finds himself living and working in a city at siege during a Clan na Gael bombing campaign. It's around this time that he also realises that his pocket watch seems to have some odd, previously unnoticed functions. Grace Carrow, a 'bluestocking' physics student also owns such a watch. The two total strangers may think their watches odd, but 'odd' takes on a new meaning when they meet Mr Mori, the Japanese watchmaker. His clockwork pet octopus is only a small measure of the oddity ahead. Full review...

The Chimes by Anna Smaill

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Writing is outlawed and no one remembers how to read. In fact memory itself is at a premium; people carry their memories around with them in their hands or any way they're able as each day their minds empty of so much. The world now answers to the music of The Chimes summoning all to daily observance. The music is all. It lays aural paths for navigation, identifies people like a musical signature – the music is everywhere. The music is what brings young Simon to London after the death of his parents. How did they die? Why is Simon here? Why is Lucien, one of his fellow River Thames mud larks so significant? Would Simon really want to know? Full review...

The Mechanical (Alchemy War) by Ian Tregillis

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There is a truce between New France and the Dutch; a truce during which the Vicomtesse Berenice wants to learn the secrets of the Clakkers. These are robotic slaves that power everything Dutch just beyond the New French border: culture, industry, domestic duties, transport and they're also the most dangerous, relentless kind of soldier the world has ever known. Common knowledge confirms they're incapable of free will, thought, communication or freedom. Common knowledge is wrong: Clakkers' free will is suppressed by pain, their thoughts and communication are only shared between themselves and their freedom? Jax may be a Clakker, but he's working on freedom. Full review...

The Boy Who Killed Demons by Dave Zeltserman

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Henry Dudlow is 15½ and has had a hidden gift since he was 13. It was then he discovered that some people are in fact demons and – what's worse - he can see their real demonic form. How, after two years of knowing what Mr Hanley a couple of doors down is really like and hearing that children are going missing under under the most bizarre circumstances, it's time to do something about it. Full review...

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