As some of you may know, although my first love is crime fiction, I am also a devotee of fantasy and science fiction. A friend gave me 'The Hobbit' to read when I was twelve, I became a fan of the amazing alternate worlds that can be found in these books and love the sense of escapism they offer.
One of the very best series of novels is Robert Jordan's 'Wheel Of Time'. It is possibly the grandest fantasy vision ever created, spanning an incredible fourteen novels with a cast of hundreds, it is truly epic fiction. When Mr Jordan passed away in 2007 with three books incomplete, his family chose Brandon Sanderson to finish the story from notes left by the author.
Before that I knew little of Brandon Sanderson or his work but I was intrigued to see why he had been given this mammoth task.
The three books 'The Final Empire'; 'The Well Of Ascension' and 'The Hero Of Ages' represent some of the most original fantasy fiction I have read in years.
The magic system in the books is based on people who can use metals to achieve certain feats. The metals are paired with one balancing the other and as the story progresses the reader discovers all the ways they have been used to control and change people.
Without spoiling it too much for you, the first book is the story of the overthrow of the Lord Ruler, a dark dictator who runs the world with the help of the obligators - magicians with metal spikes driven through their eyes. The following two books deal with the aftermath of the overthrow of a tyrant and the faith required by the main protagonists to overcome the problems that they have created by killing him. They discover that there was more than evil behind the Lord Ruler's actions and the consequences of overthrowing him are far reaching. As the story unravels you realise that despite the oppression, he had been a force for good within the land and now that he is gone the world seems doomed.
There are creatures born of magic like nothing else I have ever read, the characters are diverse and interesting with many of the fantasy cliches being turned on their head. The storytelling is wonderful and my only regret was that it finished too soon.
If you are looking for a new take on the fantasy genre, I can thoroughly recommend these books.