In the year since she cast her sunbolt, Hitomi has recovered only a handful of memories. But the truths of the past have a tendency to come calling, and an isolated mountain fastness can offer only so much shelter. When the High Council of Mages summons Brigit Stormwind to stand trial for treason, Hitomi knows her mentor won’t return—not with Arch Mage Blackflame behind the charges.
Armed only with her magic and her wits, Hitomi vows to free her mentor from unjust imprisonment. She must traverse spell-cursed lands and barren deserts, facing powerful ancient enchantments and navigating bitter enmities, as she races to reach the High Council. There, she reunites with old friends, planning a rescue equal parts magic and trickery.
If she succeeds, Hitomi will be hunted the rest of her life. If she fails, she’ll face the ultimate punishment: enslavement to the High Council, her magic slowly drained until she dies.
I love reading indie fantasy, and not just because I’m a fantasy author myself. Indie books are where you’ll find authors taking chances, trying out fantastic new takes on old stories, and going places traditional publishers fear to tread.
I have a hard time making top five lists—I’m more of a top 50 kinda gal—so I narrowed things down for today. These are my Top Five indie fantasy stories that I read in the last year, in no particular order, because how could I possible decide?
Mourning Cloak by Rabia Gale - Kato Vorsok was once the Chosen One, and now he mixes drinks for theater-goers. He is bitter, and broken, and soul-weary, and then a demon creature (a mourning cloak) speaks his name and looks at him with human eyes. Between the fantastic premise, an amazingly rich world, and Gale’s gift for description and language generally, I can pretty much guarantee you will love this science fantasy novella.
Twelve Days of Faery by W.R. Gingell - A fun, intriguing, puzzle-box of a story. King Markon is about ready to wall his only son and heir off from the world because every girl the boy so much as smiles at suffers a terrible fate. Enter Althea, an enchantress with a brilliant mind and a tendency to take (considered) risks, intent on figuring out exactly where this curse is coming from, and you have the making of a great story.
The Seventh Magpie by Nancy Chase – A lyrically-told fairy tale, poignant and bittersweet to the end, The Seventh Magpie is an exquisite debut by author Nancy Chase. Billed as a tale of "loss and renewal," this novel offers a story of hope and despair, life and death, intertwined and inseparable by their very nature.
Stray (The Touchstone Trilogy) by Andrea Höst - I usually find diary-style books somewhat underwhelming, but it worked fantastically in this sci-fi / fantasy / psychic space ninja story. Can I say that again? Psychic space ninja story. I loved the many commentaries layered into this story, but don't get me wrong, this isn't a heavy read. It's fast and enjoyable and the issues raised are dealt with using a touch of humor and left for the reader to think about (or not).
The Pygmy Dragon by March Secchia – This story takes a while to start, but I couldn’t put it down. It follows the story of Pip, a Pygmy girl who is enslaved—and put in a zoo. This book is about a person of color, a girl coming of age, someone whose humanity is routinely and disgustingly denied them, and she has to deal with short people jokes too. And you know what? Pip is awesome. But it gets better, because just when you think you know where this story is going… dragons! And dragon shifters!
And that’s my Top Five! I hope you’ve discovered someone new reads to check out here. What have you read recently that you loved? It seems like there are always so many more amazing authors to discover!
About the Author
Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She first remembers seeing snow on a wintry street in Zurich, Switzerland, and vaguely recollects having breakfast with the orangutans at the Singapore Zoo when she was five. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters. Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. Intisar's next two projects include a companion trilogy to Thorn, following the heroine introduced in her short story The Bone Knife, and The Sunbolt Chronicles, a novella serial following a young mage with a propensity to play hero, and her nemesis, a dark mage intent on taking over the Eleven Kingdoms.