#IndieApril Fantasy Round-Up

Posted on April 26th 2021 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Reviews

For this last Monday in #IndieApril I wanted to highlight the best of the best Indie new releases that I’ve read this year. I wanted to do this by genre, but quickly realized that the overwhelming majority of what I read is fantasy. And then to my dismay, I realized that the overwhelming majority of that could be classified as Fantasy Romance. Oops. So I will be making recommendations in these fantasy subcategories:

  • Fairytale Retellings
  • Fantasy Romance
  • Misc. Fantasy

To qualify for this list, a book must have been released between April 2020 and April 2021. Now through April of next year, I’m going to try to do a better job of getting some variation into my TBR pile so I can do more categories. Or maaaaybe I’ll get a panel together for this next year. That’d be fun, right? Ahem. Anyway, without further ado, here are my favorite books for #IndieApril:

Fairytale Retellings

To qualify for this category the novel or anthology had to be explicitly described and marketed as a fairytale retelling.

Top Pick – Villainous

I have to give this one to Villainous, hands down. This anthology is packed with awesome, and sometimes twisted, retellings of some of your favorite classics, and some stories that don’t see as much love. My personal favorites were the Bluebeard’s Wife and Piped Piper retellings.

Runner Up – A Song of Sea and Shore by Katherine Macdonald

I did a full review on this one that you can read here, so I won’t dwell too long. Macdonald does an amazing job of keeping the haunting beauty of Anderson’s original tale while ramping up the stakes. As with many of Macdonald’s books, it is advisable to keep the tissues handy.

Fantasy Romance

Rather than a Top Pick and a Runner Up in this category, I have decided to give a Spicy pick and a Sweet pick. Spicy obviously has some smut in it, so read at your own discretion. 😉

Spicy Pick – Queen of the Wild by E.M. Howell

Again, there’s a full review that you can read here. This one has lots of action and laugh out loud moments paired with some delectably steamy romance.

Sweet Pick – The Searching Songbird by E.P. Stavs

This one is definitely my favorite in The Shendri Series (so far). You can read my full review on it and book 1 here. Lily is just a delightful protagonist, and Draven is just perfect for her. The pacing and the writing style make it a quick, fun read.

Misc Fantasy

Okay, I know this isn’t really a sub-genre, but I haven’t really read enough books in any other subgenera to justify more categories. So, everything that isn’t a fairytale retelling or romance was considered.

Top Pick – The Shield Road by Dewi Hargreaves

This is another book with a full review, which you can find here. This short story collection blew me away. The amount of worldbuilding crammed into these stories is breathtaking.

Runner Up – Birthright by M.A. Vice

Birthright is the beginning of what is gearing up to be an epic series. Some of the descriptions and prose are just absolutely haunting. You can read my full review here.

Other Honorable Mentions

  • The Fires of Treason by Michele Quirke – Historical Fantasy
  • Of Goblins and Gold by Emma Hamm – Fantasy Romance
  • Six-Gun Sorcery by Andrew Slinde – Fantasy (I haven’t finished reading this one yet, but I’m enjoying it so much I wanted to make sure it got a mention).

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