Anita Blake: Guilty Pleasures, by Laurell K Hamilton
First of a long standing series, Anita Blake is a necromancer who solves gruesome, supernatural murders for the police while fighting off the supernatural mobster leaders of St Louis, Missouri.
I really enjoyed this book as it has massive character setup and world building with plot lines that run throughout the entire series. It has great descriptions of practically everything to really throw you into the situation the characters find themselves in.
Heir to the Empire, by Timothy Zahn
The first of a three book series based in the Star Wars world, and following the original post-Return of the Jedi storyline. It’s the story of the Imperial Warlord, Grand Admiral Thrawn, as he attempts to bring the shattered fragments of the Empire together following its major defeat at the Battle of Endor.
I was really disappointed in the sequel trilogy for Star Wars, so I started reading the original legends saga. This is a fantastic story that shows the brilliance of the character, and provides an effective how-to guide for writing the aftermath of the destruction of the big bad and what happens to those who thought they were in the right.
The Pale Horseman, by Bernard Cornwell
The second of the Last Kingdom series that dramatises the Great Heathen Army’s invasion of Britain in the 9th century. Following his heroic actions on the battlefield, Utred Ragnarson faces against the invincible hordes of Viking warriors and the hatable intrigues of Saxon court.
This is amongst one of my favourite historical series of all time. The story gets right up into the claustrophobic nature of fighting. The utter despicableness of the traitorous characters makes you celebrate their downfalls as you read them, while celebrating the characters who are honest and uncaring in the vocabulary. The grittiness and brutality of the combat shows a level of knowledge that could only be described as the writer was there and is writing from experience. A must read for anyone writing anything with swords, fantasy or historical.
Bonus review: Supernatural
The US hit features two brothers battling against monsters, demons, ghosts and angels, providing the only line of defence against the forces of the other worlds. Spanning a 15-year story arc, the two brothers face Armageddon after Armageddon, as well as brotherly squabbles about who gets to pick the music when in the car.
This is well and truly one of the greats. The level of detail that goes into every single piece of information in every type of monster is staggering and yet not at all info-dumpy. Every monster has its strengths and weaknesses, along with desires and needs. This is an absolute must for anyone wanting to write a monster series.