To celebrate Indie April, I’ve decided to share some of my favorite independently published books. I hope you’ll support some of these amazing authors and maybe find a new favorite!
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro and The Ikessar Falcon by K.S. Villoso
These books had a lot of elements I don’t see often in fantasy: historic Asian setting, a warrior-queen protagonist and a series of twists I can’t talk about without giving away too much of the plot. Queen Talyien’s struggles feel real, not just the physical challenges of her journey, but also the emotional one. How does one balance the ruling of a kingdom against an absent husband while raising a child? I am currently anxiously awaiting the third book in this series.
Sufficiently Advanced Magic and On the Shoulders of Titans by Andrew Rowe
For someone who grew up on anime and video games, these books are like a magical blending of the two. The characters are fun and relatable while also powerful and intriguing. The magic system is reminiscent of a Final Fantasy game. And the towers that bestow magic upon the people that climb them are like every Zelda dungeon you’ve ever cursed. It’s an adventure mixed with an academic setting and so much fun to get lost in.
In keeping with the LitRPG theme:
Death March by Phil Tucker
Virtual reality has advanced to the point that you can literally die in real life if you die in this game. But if you survive, supposedly the rewards are well worth the risk. Reading this brought me back to my World of Warcraft days and the main character’s struggles were akin to a level one player getting dropped in the middle of the Western Plaguelands. If that gives you the same heart-stopping fear it gives me, then I think you’ll enjoy this one!
On the other end of the fantasy spectrum:
Kings of Paradise by Richard Nell
I haven’t gotten to the sequel of this one yet (which is Kings of Ash) but I can say the first one was unlike anything I had ever read before. The narrative is told in two different settings, one a cold, barren wasteland governed by an ancient, restrictive religion, while the other is a near paradise on the ocean. It’s a balance of grimdark and noblebright, almost, and while the two main characters don’t meet in the first book, I’m really hoping they do in book two. (Also hoping my favorite character isn’t dead. You hear me, Nell??)
And one more for the road:
Kingshold and Tales of Kingshold by D.P. Woolliscroft
This is the story of how a kingdom goes from being a monarchy into a democracy almost overnight (more like a month, if I remember correctly). It’s told from varying perspectives, which is interesting because it shows the reader how the change in leadership affects the nobility as well as the merchants, commoners, foreign countries and even pirates. While I feel like there are a few identifiable “main” characters, I could almost say that the city of Kingshold itself is the true protagonist. The follow-up book, notated as book 1.5 in the series, is a series of short stories featuring the characters we met in Kingshold and allows the reader to see different parts of the realm in more detail, as well as give a bit of detail to some of the character’s pasts. If you enjoy a story with a lot of political intrigue, you’re going to enjoy these!
Have any favorite books by indie authors? Let me know in the comments!