Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy. I run this segment in conjunction with the Can’t-Wait Wednesday meme that is currently running at Wishful Endings. Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them. For this latest Waiting on Wednesday I highlight two impressive sounding upcoming fantasy debuts that I think have a lot of potential.
Here at The Unseen Library, I am always looking for great new debuts or unfamiliar authors to add to my reading lists each year. Not only is it great to have some variety amongst the established series and writers that I already enjoy, but debuting authors routinely produce some truly epic and enjoyable novels. For example, some of my favourite books from last year were debuts (The Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell and The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman), while several other debut books proved to be extremely enjoyable (I am planning to do a Top Ten Debuts of 2020 list in a few weeks). As a result, I have been on the lookout for intriguing 2021 debut novels and two fantasy books in particular caught my eye.
The first of these books is The Councillor by Australian author E. J. Beaton, an awesome-sounding release that looks set to blend together a compelling fantasy story with intrigue, politics and the hunt for a regicide.
The Councillor Synopsis:
This Machiavellian fantasy follows a scholar’s quest to choose the next ruler of her kingdom amidst lies, conspiracy, and assassination
When the death of Iron Queen Sarelin Brey fractures the realm of Elira, Lysande Prior, the palace scholar and the queen’s closest friend, is appointed Councillor. Publically, Lysande must choose the next monarch from amongst the city-rulers vying for the throne. Privately, she seeks to discover which ruler murdered the queen, suspecting the use of magic.
Resourceful, analytical, and quiet, Lysande appears to embody the motto she was raised with: everything in its place. Yet while she hides her drug addiction from her new associates, she cannot hide her growing interest in power. She becomes locked in a game of strategy with the city-rulers – especially the erudite prince Luca Fontaine, who seems to shift between ally and rival.
Further from home, an old enemy is stirring: the magic-wielding White Queen is on the move again, and her alliance with a traitor among the royal milieu poses a danger not just to the peace of the realm, but to the survival of everything that Lysande cares about.
In a world where the low-born keep their heads down, Lysande must learn to fight an enemy who wears many guises… even as she wages her own battle between ambition and restraint.
Now, this sounds like it is going to be a very fun and clever novel. I love the idea of a group of dangerous and powerful politicians fighting for the throne and that can only lead to some great betrayals, intrigue and plots. Throw in a murder investigation, rival nations marching to war and a complex central character who is granted her first taste of real power, and you have the makings of a rather epic book. I have been hearing some great buzz already about The Councillor and I am really looking forward to seeing how the palace scholar protagonist will endure and overcome the desperate odds that are seemingly stacked against her. The Councillor is currently set for release on 2 March 2021 and I look forward to grabbing a copy when it comes out. I think I may end up getting The Councillor on audiobook, especially as it is apparently going to be narrated by Moira Quirk, whose excellent voice work on Harrow the Ninth I enjoyed so much last year.
The other upcoming fantasy debut that I am really excited for is The Unbroken by C. L. Clark. The Unbroken is a really cool and intriguing novel (with a great cover) that will follow two different women, one a soldier stolen from her family as a child, the other an ambitious princess, as they struggle for the fate of their empire.
The Unbroken Synopsis:
Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.
Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne.
Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.
This is another book that is getting some early praise from some reviewers, and I personally really like the sound of it. The Unbroken will be released in late March 2021, and I have to say that I am rather impressed by the intriguing plot premise provided above. These two very different characters should prove to be a fantastic set of protagonists, and I look forward to seeing how they deal with their respective storylines, especially all the warfare, politics and intrigue. The Unbroken will be the first entry in Clark’s planned Magic of the Lost series, and I will be interested in seeing how this enthralling new series starts and what cool elements the author adds to the plot.
With these two awesome upcoming fantasy books, 2021 is looking extremely positive for debuts. I am extremely excited to read both of these novels, both of which have captivating stories loaded with complex characters in intriguing new fantasy landscapes. I have high hopes for both of these novels and cannot wait to see how they turn out.