Best Fantasy Books of 2006

Below you will find a list of the fantasy books published in 2006 that we enjoyed most. Click on a book title to read the full review.

The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson (A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 6)

The Bonehunters sees us rejoining the Malazan Fourteenth Army, under the command of Adjunct Tavore Paran. Sha’ik is supposedly dead, the army of the Whirlwind in tatters, and the last survivors making for the refuge fortress city of Y’Ghatan under the leadership of Leoman of the Flails.

Published: 2006

Soul Eater by Michelle Paver (The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness: Book 3)

Soul Eater is set 6,000 years ago in Northern Europe, after the end of the last ice age, the novel takes place along a wooded coastline, inhabited by wandering clans whose cultures revolve around totemic animals or trees: the Raven Clan, the Wolf Clan, the Willow Clan and so on.

Published: 2006

Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett (The Discworld Series: Book 35)

One of the things that I have found as I have read fantasy book after fantasy book, is that life is different in those books. Of course it is, ya daftie, I hear you cry, but bear with me. I obviously know that life is different, that’s why I read them: when you are a freelance writer, you look for any chance possible to jump out of the real world. But you have to remember that if a bit of the book is different, then it is all different from your reality.

Published: 2006

Percy Jackson and the Sea Of Monsters by Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson: Book 2)

Rick Riordan has not only made these characters instant classics, he also has woven an intricately layered story and collision of worlds and cultures and created a sequel worthy of its predecessor. Maintaining your interest and imagination with action, romance, family and comedy Percy Jackson once again is an accomplishment in young adults fiction.

Published: 2006

The Crown of Stars by Kate Elliott (Crown of Stars: Book 7)

King Henry's kingdom has been ravaged by internecine warfare, in a conflict that has been both long and bloody. Furthermore, the spell holding the exiled Ashioi from the world has failed, and the land, ravaged by the fury of their return, is only now showing signs of recovery. Sanglant is struggling to legitimise his leadership as the returned Ashioi are planning war, and Stronghand has begun a march of conquest into the heart of Sanglant's realm. Adelheid and Antonia have made an unholy alliance, and Sabella and Duke Conrad are moving to seize Sanglant's crown.

"Elliott's barely disguised early-medieval world that draws heavily on that social, geographical and religious structure is delightful drawn, excellently characterized and possessing of a heavily built plot in a Jordan-esque fashion. Effortlessly building suspense and engendering real empathy in her characters with Hugh, Alain and Liath the stand-out people, the author has created a fantasy world that resides in the top echelons of the genre."

Published: 2006

The Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliott

You have two days to pass your audition. You better pass it, feller. You’re joining the circus. Ain’t that the best news you ever got? Delivered by a trio of psychotic clowns, this ultimatum plunges Jamie into the horrific alternate universe that is the centuries-old Pilo Family Circus, a borderline world between Hell and Earth from which humankind’s greatest tragedies have been perpetrated. Yet in this place—peopled by the gruesome, grotesque, and monstrous—where violence and savagery are the norm, Jamie finds that his worst enemy is himself. When he applies the white face paint, he is transformed into JJ, the most vicious clown of all. And JJ wants Jamie dead!

"The Pilo Family Circus is a bizarre exploration of a fantastical world full of killer clowns, highly strung acrobats, and morbidly depressed people who have been sculpted into freaks. I highly recommend this to horror fans, but also to fantasy fans who are looking for something outside of the box." Fantasy Book Review

Published: 2006

Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton

Who or what is Endymion Spring? A power for good, or for evil... A legendary book that holds the secret to a world of knowledge... A young boy without a voice - whose five-hundred-year-old story is about to explode in the twenty-first century... Set in present-day Oxford and Germany at the dawn of printing, one magical book sets two boys’ worlds alight – bringing them unimaginable danger, excitement and power...

"Endymion Spring is a very, very good book; the characters, particularly those in Mainz, are brought vividly to life and the skillfully described locations are a real highlight. There are, however, times when the feel is more that of a screenplay than a book (there is not doubt that this would, and possibly may, make a very good film) but this is a minor grievance that in no way detracts from what is a fascinating and highly rewarding story." Fantasy Book Review

Published: 2006

The Spook's Secret by Joseph Delaney (The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 3)

As the weather gets colder, the Spook announces that it’s time to move to his winter house on Anglezarke – a bleak, forbidding place, close to the dark with a deep cellar full of bound witches and boggarts. Once there, Tom finds himself discovering more and more about his master’s past and the identity of a mysterious visitor who, it seems, is the Spook’s sworn enemy. Is the Spook’s past catching up with him? And how much danger will Tom be in if his master’s secrets are revealed?

"The third book in Joseph Delaney’s Spook’s series. The first book was excellent, so too was the second – can Delaney keep it going or will the things begin to tail off? I began to read The Spook’s Secret the very same day that I finished The Spook’s Curse; this is a fine testament to the quality of the series, as I often like to take a break before once again continuing with a series."

Published: 2006

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson: Book 1)

Kudos to Patricia Briggs for bringing werewolves into a new light, for offering up a believable and relatable female author, and for an over all quite interesting story that had me guessing till the very end. Bravo.

Published: 2006

Forest Mage by Robin Hobb (The Soldier Son Trilogy: Book 2)

At times I became very angry with the book, not with how the author has written it but at the characters themselves and how they were treating poor Nevare. And this is exactly what a book should do and Forest Mage does it amazingly well. Nevare's father, plus his former fiancée Carsina, really made my blood boil and I realised that only excellent writing can provoke such a response in me as a reader. So I find myself unhesitatingly recommending the first two books in the Soldier Son Trilogy. There is a lot of suffering and unhappiness, and many of the characters are simply surviving, which I found an interesting and powerful contrast to the ambitions and hopes that were so important  to Nevare in the first book.

Published: 2006

Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris (Southern Vampire Series: Book 6)

Sookie doesn't have that many relations, so she hated to lose one - but of all the people to go, she didn't expect it to be her cousin Hadley, a consort of New Orleans' vampire queen - after all, Hadley was technically already dead. But she is gone, beyond recall, and she's left Sookie an inheritance - one that comes with a bit of a risk - not least because someone doesn't want Sookie digging too deep into Hadley's past - or her possessions. Sookie's life is once again on the line, and this time the suspects range from the rogue werewolves who have rejected Sookie as a friend of the pack to her first love, the vampire Bill. Sookie's got a lot to do if she's going to keep herself alive . . . The Sookie Stackhouse books are delightful Southern Gothic supernatural mysteries, starring Sookie, the telepathic cocktail waitress, and a cast of increasingly colourful characters, including vampires, werewolves and things that really do go bump in the night.

Published: 2006

The Wrath of Mulgarath by Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles: Book 5)

Twists and turns abound in the final installment of the Spiderwick Chronicles. Bruised and battered, Jared, Simon and Mallory return home to find their house completely ransacked and discover that Mulgarath has made off with their mother and Spiderwick's Guide. Its up to the Grace kids, with only the help of Thimbletack, Hogsqueal and Byron, to defeat the evil Mulgarath and his goblin army. But first they have to rescue Arthur Spiderwick from Lorengorm and the elves!

Published: 2006

The Pinhoe Egg by Diana Wynne Jones (The Chrestomanci Series: Book 7)

Spells always have consequences and it's Chrestomanci's job to make sure everything is safely under control. Even so, in the village around Chrestomanci Castle, all sorts of secret magical misuse is going on. And when Cat Chant finds the Pinhoe egg, chaos is just the beginning! A masterpiece of magic, mayhem and mirth!

Published: 2006

Kushiel's Scion by Jacqueline Carey (Treason�s Heir: Book 1)

In the darkness their will always be light. In Phedre’s journey to save the land she loved so dearly and free her friend from a curse proved to be more than Phedre had envisioned. Melisande still lurks around the corners, but Imriel de la Courcels is the only one who can bring the memory of his beautiful and malicious mother’s treachery to an end. Third in line for the throne of Terre d’Ange and the adopted son of Phedre and Josceline, Kushiel’s Scion is the tale of a young man trying to make his own mark on the world that is so dead set against him because of his mother’s ambitions.

Published: 2006

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn: Book 1)

In his Mistborn series Brandon Sanderson has written one of the seminal fantasy stories of his generation. Compelling and flawlessly executed with exquisite skill, the enormous magnitude of the story being told showcases the breathtaking imagination at work here. Themes like religion and death are dealt with, power and helplessness, corruption and goodness. Weaved together like a master basket maker, this story lets you grow attached too, love, and lose, characters that you never thought would be lost.

Published: 2006

My Swordhand is Singing by Marcus Sedgwick

In the bitter cold of an unrelenting winter Tomas and his son, Peter, arrive in Chust and despite the inhospitability of the villagers settle there as woodcutters. Tomas digs a channel of fast-flowing waters around their hut so they have their own little island kingdom. Peter doesn't understand why his father has done this, nor why his father carries a long battered box everywhere they go, and why he is forbidden to know its contents. But when a band of gypsies comes to the village Peter's drab existence is turned upside down. He is infatuated by the beautiful gypsy princess, Sofia, intoxicated by their love of life and drawn into their deadly quest. For these travellers are Vampire Slayers and Chust is a dying community - where the dead come back to wreak revenge on the living. Amidst the terrifying events that follow, Peter is stunned to see his father change from a disillusioned man to the warrior hero he once was. Marcus draws on his extensive research of the vampire legend and sets his story in the forbidding and remote landscapes of the 17th century. Written in his usual distinctive voice, this is also the story of a father and his son, of loss, redemption and resolution.

Published: 2006

Monster Blood Tattoo: Lamplighter by DM Cornish (Monster Blood Tattoo: Book 2)

Unlike the first book, this book isn’t slow to get into and leaves you desperate to finish the page just so you can read the next. Although it would seem Rossamund is safe it soon becomes evident that he is not as you are introduced to the ever inspired characters of DM Cornish’s imagination. This book will leave you within its pages even when you’re not reading it. Monster Blood Tattoo: Lamplighter is another outstanding book in an equally outstanding series, leaving you shocked by its outcome, and longing to read the next book.

Published: 2006

Nightlife by Rob Thurman (Cal Leandros series: Book 1)

This story worked for me because Cal and his brother Niko go through hell. They are spared nothing and have almost everything against them while still fighting on. There is a perfect balance between the chapters plus rapid action, fast paced sword-gun fights, humour, emotion and romance. This is a story that grasps you and compels you to read on late into the night.

Published: 2006

Larklight by Philip Reeve (Larklight Trilogy: Book 1)

I particularly enjoyed the interwoven tale of Jack Havock and how his childhood - and ultimately, destiny - entwines with that of the Mumby siblings giving depth, character and a damn, good story to tell. Philip Reeve conjures up an assortment of steampunk inventions, my favorite of which are the hoverhogs who are technically pigs that clean the air by taking it in and… well… letting it out! There’s even a clever illustration by David Wyatt incase the subtlety eludes you!

Published: 2006

Dreaming the Serpent Spear by MC Scott (Boudica #4)

AD 60: The flame of rebellion that has been smouldering for twenty years of Roman occupation has flared into a conflagration that will consume the land and all who live in it. There is no going back. The Boudica has been flogged and her daughters raped, and her son has burned a Roman watchtower in an act of blatant insurgency.This is the time to act: the Roman governor has marched his legions west to destroy the druidic stronghold of Mona, leaving his capital and a vital port hopelessly undefended in the face of twenty thousand warriors aching for vengeance.But to crush the legions for all time, Boudica must do more than lead her army in the greatest rebellion Britain has ever known. She must find healing for herself, for the land - and for Graine, her eight-year-old daughter, who has taken refuge on Mona.Is revenge worth it under any circumstances, or is the cost more than anyone can bear?Colchester is burning and London is lost without hope. Amidst fire and bloody revolution, the Boudica and those around her must find what matters most, now and for ever.

"My review of the opening novel in this quartet found it lacking and fantastical. That view remains. However, from the second novel through to the end Scott delivers a series that packs an massive emotional punch, crisp subplots, vibrant language and a colourful sense of humanity that ensures the pages keep turning faster and faster. It will appeal to readers wanting to gain a sense of the violence and raw battles that define the period, it will appeal to readers trying to gain a sense of the Celtic druids and the otherworlds they walked. But, above all, it will appeal to the reader who wants to pick up a series and wish it never stopped."

Published: 2006