Missing Game of Thrones? Try the Steelhaven series

So it's finally happened, after eight seasons Game of Thrones has reached its conclusion - the television conclusion that is; there's still no telling what path the books will take and what, if any, differences there will be. 

Perhaps you now feel a gaping void in your life? A void that for all intents and purposes looks like there would be nothing in the world of fictionalised storytelling that could fill it?

Well Christchurch City Libraries is here to help you!

The best way forward for you and your plight is to check out our Fantasy Genre Guide. Here you'll find all kinds of fantasy fiction, from epic and high fantasy, to grimdark, and fairy-tale retellings. And because Fantasy is such an expansive genre, within these Genre Guide pages you will also find fantasy authors, plus sub-genre title lists each with an annotation on every title so you can judge whether the story will be a good fit for your tastes.

An amazing tool to help set up your reading for the next while!

But if you've no time to browse, here's a short fantasy series (a trilogy) that just might see you right. 'Herald of the Storm' is the first book in the 'Steelhaven' series and this just might be the best of fantasy fiction produced recently - 2013 to be precise. Herald Of The Storm

So let's look at the ingredients in this series...We have:

  • An empire with a young, untried, and vulnerable leader, under threat inside and out
  • A street-rat thief who dreams of something more to life and hatches a plan
  • An old battle-weary veteran with nothing left to lose
  • A warrior priestess with a fixed moral compass and a short temper (not necessarily a good thing in these times)
  • A young man studying the magick arts but riddled with self-loathing and doubt
  • A legendary foe pressing ever closer to inevitable bloody conflict

All of the ingredients are there; the world building is simple and solid, the characters are flawed and engaging and with enough unspoken history to be interesting and allow for surprises, and the writing is straightforward with great voices and dialogue driving big portions of the story - and that means a quick pace. Each character’s storyline is also brilliantly enhanced by some biting and humorous inner dialogue within the text, a great method to build purpose and context.

It's definitely a page turner, but what makes this series so special is the author's ability to put his pieces in place, set them up, and then cross their storylines with one another. He's an expert at it! Another advantage of this series is that it’s less grandiose in its descriptive text than most big fantasy series. It centres on one city during a period of turmoil and uncertainty, and a small cast of players who will all have significant roles to play in the upcoming chaos. In the manner of good Grimdark Fantasy stories, you’ll smell the muddy streets and the metallic tang of blood in the air, and hear the war cries of the fighting warriors. 

And while the battle for survival and jostling for power occurs in all quarters of the city, it is mirrored by the manoeuvrings in the palace as the young princess rises to lead in the absence of her father - he's off trying to prevent the invasion that is brewing in his lands. And then there's the magisters and their disciples. Immense powers are beginning to stir and all of our characters will be central to the outcome as the story surges towards the inescapable battle-to-end-all-battles, and it's going to be a seriously intense encounter.

So lots of focus on life in the muck to balance out the mysteries and intrigue of palatial politics and the ways of magick, and a gripping and adventurous read with each book being under 400 pages - it truly flies by and will have you turning pages into the wee hours.

If you're wanting for more fantastical stories with memorable characters and that are as intriguing as they are action packed, then look no further. The 'Steelhaven' series is your next read, and if you like 'Steelhaven' check out our Grimdark Fantasy Genre Guide for more amazing titles with similar appeal.

Happy fantastical reading, 


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