The Award-Winning Fantasy Novels of 2017

It might seem a bit late to be looking back at 2017, but as I mentioned in last week’s post, I’ve decided to start doing yearly round-ups of the award-winning fantasy books from the various awards of the past year. Since last year wasn’t all that long ago and had some intriguing prize-winning novels, I figured better late than never!

In this post, I’ll generally only be listing the novel-length fantasy works for adults or young adults that won an award in 2017 (I do make one exception for a novella at the end of this list). The other finalists are certainly also well-deserving of attention, as are the graphic novels, comics, short stories, novellas, science fiction novels, children’s books and other forms of work that won, but if I tried to include them all this list would get very long and overwhelming. If you’re interested in seeing other finalists and categories, the links below each book will take you to the full list of finalists and winners for the related award.

The book blurbs are from Goodreads (to go to the Goodreads page, click on the book cover). I’ve also briefly included my impressions and thoughts on whether I’ll read the each book – these are obviously just based on my own personal tastes and reading habits, and not an indication of whether other people should pick them up or not!

A note on publication dates: Most of these books were published in 2016, since almost all awards judge books published in the previous year. This can get confusing because a few call themselves ‘2016’ awards since they judge books from 2016, even though they were run in 2017. I’m going to keep things simple and call them all 2017 awards.

The Obelisk Gate

Book Cover: The Obelisk GateHugo Awards – Best Novel

by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit Books), book #2 of The Broken Earth Series

The season of endings grows darker as civilization fades into the long cold night. Alabaster Tenring – madman, world-crusher, savior – has returned with a mission: to train his successor, Essun, and thus seal the fate of the Stillness forever.

It continues with a lost daughter, found by the enemy.

It continues with the obelisks, and an ancient mystery converging on answers at last.

The Stillness is the wall which stands against the flow of tradition, the spark of hope long buried under the thickening ashfall. And it will not be broken.

My thoughts: I haven’t read this one yet – I’ve read a book in a different series by Jemisin, and didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d hoped to, however I’ve heard great things about the Fifth Season (book #1 in this series) and to see the Obelisk Gate winning a Hugo makes me think I’ll give this series a go after all.

See the other Hugo 2017 finalists and winners >

All the Birds in the Sky

Book Cover: All the Birds in the SkyNebula & Locus Awards – Best Novel

by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor)

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.

But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca of San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s ever-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together–to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse.

My thoughts: I’d seen this cover around a lot, but it didn’t look like a fantasy book so I confess I kind of ignored it (oops). Now that I see it’s won not one but two major fantasy awards, and I’ve read the blurb, I’m intrigued. I’ll definitely check this one out.

See the other Nebula 2017 finalists and winners >

See the other Locus 2017 finalists and winners >

The Tiger and the Wolf

Book Cover: The Tiger and the WolfBritish Fantasy Awards – Best Fantasy Novel

by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Pan Macmillan)

In the bleak northern crown of the world, war is coming

Maniye’s father is the Wolf clan’s chieftain, but she’s an outcast. Her mother was queen of the Tiger and these tribes have been enemies for generations. Maniye also hides a deadly secret. All can shift into their clan’s animal form, but Maniye can take on tiger and wolf shapes. She can’t disown half her soul, so escapes – with the killer Broken Axe in pursuit.

Maniye’s father plots to rule the north, and controlling his daughter is crucial to his schemes. However, other tribes also prepare for strife. It’s a season for omens as priests foresee danger, a time of testing and broken laws. Some say a great war is coming, overshadowing even Wolf ambitions. But what spark will set the world ablaze?

My thoughts: What a beautiful cover! And an intriguing blurb. I’d heard of this author before but not the book. I’m not quite sure how I missed it, because it sounds interesting and seems to feature a shapeshifter main character (and as I’ve said before, I love shapeshifters).

See the other British Fantasy Awards 2017 finalists and winners>

The Sudden Appearance of Hope

Book Cover: The Sudden Appearance of HopeWorld Fantasy Award – Best Novel

by Claire North (Orbit)

My name is Hope Arden, and you won’t know who I am. We’ve met before – a thousand times. But I am the girl the world forgets.

It started when I was sixteen years old. A slow declining, an isolation, one piece at a time. A father forgetting to drive me to school. A mother setting the table for three, not four. A teacher who forgets to chase my missing homework. A friend who looks straight through me and sees a stranger.

No matter what I do, the words I say, the people I hurt, the crimes I commit – you will never remember who I am.

That makes my life tricky. But it also makes me dangerous . . .

The Sudden Appearance of Hope is the tale of the girl no one remembers. But this gripping story – of love and loss, of hope and despair, of living in the moment and dying to leave a mark – is novel that will stay with you for ever.

My thoughts: This has a really awesome concept. I’m very curious, but I think I’ll have to read an excerpt for this one to see if it’s my kind of thing (the blurb is making me wonder if it’s literary fantasy, which isn’t always a style I enjoy, but I suppose I won’t really know until I try it).

See the other World Fantasy Award 2017 finalists and winners >

Nevernight

Book Cover: NevernightAurealis Awards – Best Fantasy Novel

by Jay Kristoff (Harper Voyager)

Destined to destroy empires, Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student.

The shadows love her. And they drink her fear.

My thoughts: This is actually the only book on this list I have read. I’m sorry to say I didn’t love it as much as others (I didn’t get drawn in to the story till about halfway though the book, and the tone grated a little bit, though I started skipping the footnotes and that helped) but it had some very suspenseful parts and creative elements, so I can see why other people love it and why it won this award. I may still read the sequel to see where it goes.

See other Aurealis Award 2017 finalists and winners >

Lady Helen and the Dark Days Pact

Book Cover: The Dark Days PactAurealis Awards – Best Young Adult Novel

by Alison Goodman (HarperCollins Publishers), book #2 of the Lady Helen Series

June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen Wrexhall—now disowned by her uncle—is a full member of the demon-hunting Dark Days Club. Her mentor, Lord Carlston, has arranged for Helen to spend the summer season in Brighton so that he can train her new Reclaimer powers. However, the long-term effects of Carlston’s Reclaimer work have taken hold, and his sanity is beginning to slip. At the same time, Carlston’s Dark Days Club colleague and nemesis will stop at nothing to bring Helen over to his side—and the Duke of Selburn is determined to marry her. The stakes are even higher for Helen as she struggles to become the warrior that everyone expects her to be.

My thoughts: This reminds me that I’ve been meaning to read something by Alison Goodman for a while now, but I’ve been wondering whether to start with Eon or with this series. Both have won Aurealis Awards so that isn’t really a decider. I guess I’ll have to think about it some more.

See other Aurealis Award 2017 finalists and winners >

Warbeast

Book Cover: WarbeastGemmell Awards – Legend Award for Best Fantasy Novel

Gav Thorpe (Black Library), The Realmgate Wars #6

Lord-Celestant Arkas Warbeast of the Celestial Vindicators returns to restore order to the lands that he ruled in his mortal life, lands now befouled by the verminous hordes of the skaven Clans Pestilens.

The once noble tribes of Ursungorod in Ghur have almost entirely fallen to Chaos, and an infestation of Clans Pestilens skaven has amassed in the caverns beneath the snowy tundra. There, Poxmaster Felk is on the brink of opening a vital realmgate – but Sigmar intends to seize this portal for himself. Arkas Warbeast, Lord-Celestant of the Celestial Vindicators, was once a mortal ruler of these lands. Now, with the aid of the Knights Excelsior, he has returned to free his kingdom from the clutches of Chaos and claim the realmgate in his God-King’s name. But first he must vanquish the ghosts of his past and overcome his own conflicted nature, in order to unleash the beast within.

My thoughts: Heroic sword & sorcery fantasy isn’t generally my thing, so any Gemmell winner is probably going to have a hard time wooing me, this one included. But I definitely respect the sub-genre and its history, so I encourage anyone who loves this kind of fantasy to check it out.

See other Gemmell Award 2017 finalists and winners >

Kingfisher

Book Cover: KingfisherMythopoeic Awards – Best Novel

by Patricia A. McKillip (Ace)

Hidden away from the world by his mother, the powerful sorceress Heloise Oliver, Pierce has grown up working in her restaurant in Desolation Point. One day, Heloise tells her son the truth about his father, a knight in King Arden’s court; about an older brother he never knew existed; about his father’s destructive love for King Arden’s queen; and, Heloise’s decision to raise her younger son alone.

As Pierce journeys to Severluna, he learns that things are changing in that kingdom. Ancient magic is on the rise. The immensely powerful artifact of an ancient god has come to light, and the king is gathering his knights to quest for this profound mystery, which may restore the kingdom to legendary glory—or destroy it.

My thoughts: I read McKillip’s Riddlemaster of Hed and it wasn’t my cup of tea, however I’m keen to try something else by her to see if it’s more to my liking. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is very popular and won a World Fantasy Award, and I haven’t read it, so I think I’ll probably try that before I try this one.

See other Mythopoeic Awards 2017 finalists and winners >

The Grey Bastards

Book Cover: The Grey BastardsSPFBO 2 Winner

by Jonathan French

Such is the creed of the half-orcs dwelling in the Lot Lands. Sworn to hardened brotherhoods known as hoofs, these former slaves patrol their unforgiving country astride massive swine bred for war. They are all that stand between the decadent heart of noble Hispartha and marauding bands of full-blood orcs.

Jackal rides with the Grey Bastards, one of eight hoofs that have survived the harsh embrace of the Lots. Young, cunning and ambitious, he schemes to unseat the increasingly tyrannical founder of the Bastards, a plague-ridden warlord called the Claymaster. Supporting Jackal’s dangerous bid for leadership are Oats, a hulking mongrel with more orc than human blood, and Fetching, the only female rider in all the hoofs.

When the troubling appearance of a foreign sorcerer comes upon the heels of a faceless betrayal, Jackal’s plans are thrown into turmoil. He finds himself saddled with a captive elf girl whose very presence begins to unravel his alliances. With the anarchic blood rite of the Betrayer Moon close at hand, Jackal must decide where his loyalties truly lie, and carve out his place in a world that rewards only the vicious.

My thoughts: This looks like heroic sword & sorcery style fantasy, which isn’t always my thing, however I’m inclined to try it anyway since I’m keen to read an SPFBO winner and to see what the judging bloggers liked about it. Even if I don’t, I’ll certainly be giving other finalists that seem up my alley a look in. For example, this book, which was close to being selected as Fantasy Faction’s finalist, seems to have been eliminated in large part due to it being a fantasy romance, but I love fantasy romance, so I plan to read it (I tried to buy it but it turns out it’s been taken on by a publisher and is due to be re-published this year, so I’m waiting for a hard copy or audiobook to become available).

See other SPFBO 2 Finalists >

Fantastic Beasts: The Original Screenplay

Book Cover: Fantastic Beasts ScreenplayGoodreads Choice Awards – Best Fantasy

by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic)

When Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt’s fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone…

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them marks the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, author of the beloved and internationally bestselling Harry Potter books. Featuring a cast of remarkable characters, this is epic, adventure-packed storytelling at its very best.

Whether an existing fan or new to the wizarding world, this is a perfect addition to any reader’s bookshelf.

My thoughts: Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I feel like screenplays are meant to be turned into movies and watched, not read, and a cynical part of me wonders if this is just benefitting from the giant fan base. Don’t get me wrong, I also love all things Harry Potter, it’s just that if this were a novel I could understand the win more. I haven’t read it though, only seen the movie, so I suppose I can’t really comment from experience.

See other Goodreads Choice 2017 finalists and winners >

A Court of Wings and Ruin

Book Cover: Court of Wings and RuinGoodreads Choice Awards – Best Young Adult Fantasy

by Sarah J Maas (Bloomsbury), Court of Thorns and Roses series #3

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

My thoughts: I love Maas’s Throne of Glass series, but I wasn’t so into the first book of this series. However, I’ve heard it improves in the sequels, and it’s certainly very popular, so maybe one day I’ll return to it.

See other Goodreads Choice 2017 finalists and winners >

The Hike

Book Cover: The HikeAudies – Best Fantasy Audiobook

by Drew Magary (Brilliance Audio), Narrated by Christopher Lane

When Ben, a suburban family man, takes a business trip to rural Pennsylvania, he decides to spend the afternoon before his dinner meeting on a short hike. Once he sets out into the woods behind his hotel, he quickly comes to realize that the path he has chosen cannot be given up easily. With no choice but to move forward, Ben finds himself falling deeper and deeper into a world of man-eating giants, bizarre demons, and colossal insects.

On a quest of epic, life-or-death proportions, Ben finds help comes in some of the most unexpected forms, including a profane crustacean and a variety of magical objects, tools, and potions. Desperate to return to his family, Ben is determined to track down the “Producer,” the creator of the world in which he is being held hostage and the only one who can free him from the path.

At once bitingly funny and emotionally absorbing, Magary’s novel is a remarkably unique addition to the contemporary fantasy genre, one that draws as easily from the world of classic folk tales as it does from video games.

“Narrator Christopher Lane keeps to crisp enunciation and a tongue-in-cheek tone throughout this weird adventure, which is by turns heartwarming, bone chilling, and utterly absurd.” – AudioFile Review 2016

My thoughts: this sounds very quirky and unique, and I do love a well-read audiobook. For some reason it doesn’t seem to be available on Audible in my region, which is a bit of a hurdle, but I’ll keep an eye out to see if that changes.

See other Audie Awards 2017 finalists and winners >

Every Heart a Doorway

Book Cover: Every Heart a Doorway

Hugo Awards, Nebula Awards & Locus Awards – Best Novella 

by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com)

No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else. But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter. No matter the cost.

My thoughts: I know I said I wouldn’t include novellas, but I’m breaking my own rules and making an exception, since this novella won no less than three different awards last year. I don’t often read novellas, but this one has me intrigued.

See the other Hugo 2017 finalists and winners >

See the other Nebula 2017 finalists and winners >

See the other Locus 2017 finalists and winners >

________________

As I said, I couldn’t include all the award-winners as I didn’t want this list getting any longer, but I hope I’ve given a significant selection at least.

Have you read any of these books? Or do you plan to read any because of their win?

14 thoughts on “The Award-Winning Fantasy Novels of 2017

  1. I’ve read three on the list and plan to read another three as well. I was surprised at All the Birds in the Sky being a fantasy book but unfortunately, I really didn’t enjoy it. Nice premise, just not executed terribly well. I’ve heard so many good things about The Sudden Appearance of Hope and I can’t wait to read it too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah that’s a shame about All the Birds in the Sky – I’m still curious to give it a try it but I guess I’ll find out if it’ll be the kind of book I enjoy or not. That’s cool you’ve heard good things about The Sudden Appearance of Hope, that one has me very intrigued – such an interesting premise!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lots of these I’d love to read too, especially NK Jemisin’s book and anything by Adrian Tchaikovsky, who makes me think of big spiders anytime I see his name. I’ve never read anything by either author before.
    I liked Alison Goodman’s Eon, so I recommend it but the story does drag a bit in its middle. I thought Eon was good and I need to read its sequel Eona (it’s a duology) and of course try Lady Helen and the Dark Days Pact.
    A lot of folks love The Grey Bastard but I didn’t. I ended up DNF-ing it. I just wasn’t interested in the story though I really wanted to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha yes I’ve heard mention of those big spiders when it comes to Tchaikovsky too! I bought Children of Time as an audiobook but haven’t listened to it yet (I think that’s the one with the spiders) – I’m looking forward to it though as I’ve heard good things.

      Cool you’ve read Eon and liked it, even if it did drag a little in the middle – I might start with that one then! Esp. now I know it’s a duology (I like duologies). That’s a shame about The Grey Bastards – I guess it’s not going to be for everyone, looking at the blurb it does seem like it’d appeal to some readers more than others. I’m not sure if it’ll be for me either but I might give it a try anyway.

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      • Yes, that’s the one! I’d love to read it and I’ve had it on my TBR ever since I read a review of the book. The big spiders just sould creepily fantastic.

        There are dragons in Eon, btw, and they are some of my fav type of dragons, but that’s all I’ll say about it. I hope you’ll enjoy the book too.
        Grey Bastards just didn’t keep my interest. But totally try it n see if it works for you.

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  3. It’s NEVER too late to look back on last year! I’m still trying to get to a few of these books… I REALLY want to read “the Hike” that one has been on my list for too long! If you didn’t reflect back on last year, I may have forgotten about it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great I could remind you of The Hike!! That’s really interesting you’ve had that one on your list for a while – I’d somehow never even heard of it or seen it till I looked up the Audie prize-winners. Sounds like a great read (or listen) though! Will have to get my hands on it soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Awesome round up! I’ve been curious about All the Birds in the Sky, so it’s cool to see it won the Nebula award. The Tiger and the Wolf does have a gorgeous cover. Shame you didn’t like Nevernight as much (good to know about skipping footnotes- I often skip them tbh) Sword and sorcery fantasy aren’t my usual type of fantasy either. And I prefer to watch too- I’ve got to admit I was disappointed to see Fantastic Beasts won this year all things considered (especially considering some of the other books it was up against). I did quite like ACOWAR (not as much as ACOMAF) but again, I wanted something else to win. I’m actually really keen for Every Heart a Doorway!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Yes I’m curious about that one too now. With Nevernight the footnotes are basically all worldbuilding stuff so unless you want extra info about the world I found it was fine to skip them (also the slightly smart-alecky tone that didn’t appeal to me was mostly concentrated in the footnotes so I enjoyed the story more once I started skipping them) – but I guess you’ll see what you think when you read it!

      Yes Fantastic Beasts was up against some impressive contenders, so I was also kind of disappointed by the win. Actually tbh I am almost always disappointed with the GRC fantasy winner because it feels like either Rowling or Gaiman win by default when they release something, regardless of what it is, so it’s no competition really. But I guess it’s one of those ones where you can still check out the finalists and discover some more unexpected books by different authors.

      I’m excited for Every Heart a Doorway too!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome! Oh that’s really good to know- because I’m never into that stuff very much (and that would annoy me too!) I usually skip a lot of footnotes in books after I try a couple- so it’s a good tip to just not bother with them!

        Yeah it was, it was really disappointing and I’m glad I’m not the only one that felt that way. I think it’s the same really- which is a shame because there’s some other books that could do with more love. I just hope people were checking out the finalists as well!

        Me too!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Okay well I think I’ll definitely read it then, it sounds like it was a favourite for a lot of people and I think I may have the gotten the wrong impression of what it’s like from the blurb/cover. Great that you’ve read so many of the entries and like that one the most, sounds like it deserved the win!

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