My Auto-buy Authors: The 2013 Fantasy Edition

Auto-buy Authors definition: You don’t have to know anything about their latest book, you just buy.  As soon as the release hits the shelves.

It’s been a while since I last wrote about my auto-buy authors (in the romance genre), but here’s the fantasy edition.  Even before I was a romance reader (and by that, I really mean before I was allowed into the Romance aisles in the bookstores), you would find me camped out in the SF/F section (and yes, it’s arguable whether some of the books in this section were more age-appropriate than those in the Romance section).  I pondered whether to tackle the two genres together, but decided to give each of them their own page time.

My auto-buy authors in the fantasy genre:

Urban fantasy

This post would have been very different had it been written when I first started my blog back in 2006.  Back then, it would have been all about Laurell K Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, Kelley Armstrong…  Now the latter two are wrapping up the main series that made them bestselling authors (and while I’m sad to say goodbye to their characters, it’s the right time IMO).  As for LKH – well, I’m not quite sure where she’s going with the Anita Blake series, but it’s probably crossed over into erotica.

But then again, back in those days, vampires/werewolves/[name your paranormal creature of choice] was so rare that having them in a book pretty much guaranteed I would read it.  Talk about change.

Untitled-2Back to my current autobuy authors – I have the obvious ones: Seanan McGuire, Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews, Jim Butcher.  Or should I say Toby Daye, Mercy Thompson, Kate Daniels, Harry Dresden. Long-running series are obviously the way to go in urban fantasy – not that I’m complaining, as I’m hooked on the various series arcs and completely invested in the outcome.

13023039Less frequently mentioned online (though I may just be hanging out in the wrong places), but very much auto-buy authors for me: Karen Chance, Kalayna Price, Eileen Wilks.  All three have created worlds that stand out from the many other UF series out there, whether it’s by having a time-travelling seer as a protagonist, a rather sexy Death as a love interest, or a Chinese-American heroine and a werewolf figuring out how their lives fit together.

I don’t think I read a lot of YA UF, with the exception of Sarah Rees Brennan – I find her writing hilarious (in a good way!) plus I really loved her Demon’s Lexicon trilogy.


Traditional fantasy

I kind of steer away from the bigger names in this genre – I’ve not read any of George RR Martin’s books and while I like Brandon Sanderson’s works well enough, I’m no die-hard fan (and I haven’t read Wheel of Time either).  Raymond Feist and Terry Brooks were on my bookshelves when I was growing up, but I’ve a feeling I DNF’d their latest releases that I borrowed from the library.

My fantasy credentials (or lack of) established – here are my auto-buy authors:

12594400Andrea K Höst*: The newest addition to my list of autobuy authors, but two of her books made my top favourites of 2012 (plus I cheated and counted omnibuses as one book).  I really enjoy her refreshing take on fantasy tropes.

Juliet Marillier*: Lyrical, captivating, and romantic historical fantasy.  I adore her Sevenwaters books.

Jacqueline Carey: Her Kushiel series leans towards dark fantasy and captured my imagination.  She’s just ventured into urban fantasy (which I’m also liking).

Kristin Cashore*: I wasn’t convinced by GRACELING (*ducks*), but FIRE and BITTERBLUE made her very much an auto-buy author.

Megan Whalen Turner*: Smart, clever, twisty writing.

13515074Tanya Huff: I fell in love with her latest releaseTHE SILVERED, though I also like her urban fantasy books (most recently, the Gale Family books, though her Blood books are probably better known).  And her high fantasy books were mainstays on my bookshelves when I was a teenager.

Sharon Shinn*: I’ve loved pretty much all of her fantasy books – I first started with her Samaria books (reading them well out of order and ruining the twist, but never mind), then devoured her standalones, and finally fell in love with her Twelve Houses books. Like some of the other authors, she’s started writing in the urban fantasy genre – it’s a trend.

9708616Sherwood Smith*: Like many other readers out there, her YA fantasy CROWN DUEL was my introduction to Sherwood Smith’s writing, but I quickly collected her backlist.

Tamora Pierce*: Unlike the other YA authors in this list, I actually did read Tamora Pierce when I was a teen.  Her Alanna books are on my favourite-series-of-all-time list, and her other books aren’t far behind.  I love how her females totally hold their own – Alanna was doing the kick-ass heroine thing before UF made an appearance on the block.

I debated whether to include Mercedes Lackey in the list above, and reluctantly decided not to.  I loved all her Valdemar books when I was a teenager, but I’m a lot more selective about which of her recent releases I buy nowadays.  And when I do buy, it’s more out of nostalgia than anything else.

Also, the asterisks indicate if the author writes YA as well (or exclusively).  I actually had the YA authors in a separate list, but then realised there was so much overlap that it didn’t make any sense.



13151638I know.  The categories I’m using is somewhat arbitrary (okay, very), but hey, my blog.  So other authors that don’t fit into my urban/traditional categorisation are Diana Gabaldon (I don’t know – time-travel?  Historical?) – her last Jamie/Claire book was so heavy that I had to read it with the book propped up on pillows, but she is very definitely an auto-buy for me.

And  Wen Spencer – I came across her when someone recommended her Ukiah Oregon books (which are urban fantasy and which I glommed), but her more recent Tinker books are this hybrid of elves-technology-magic which somehow totally works.

I think that’s it for me – tell me your auto-buy authors writing fantasy today?

7 thoughts on “My Auto-buy Authors: The 2013 Fantasy Edition

  1. True auto-buy authors are few. There are quite a lot of authors whose new release I will look to reviews for or read the blurb and then decide whether I buy it.

    Urban fantasy/Paranormal romance auto-buy:
    Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Eileen Wilks, Meljean Brook – and so far the Hunter Kiss series by Marjorie Liu (she lost me with her latest Dirk & Steele books), although the last novel had a lot of plot manipulations for my taste. I’ve caught up on Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changelings, but find the books much more uneven than, say, the Kate Daniels series.

    Traditional fantasy/epic fantasy/science fiction:
    Michelle Sagara West, Sherwood Smith, Andrea K. Höst, Martha Wells, P.C. Hodgell, Lois McMaster Bujold, C.J. Cherryh’s Atevi series

    • Thanks for listing yours!

      I never got into Marjorie Liu’s Dirk & Steele books though I’ve tried a couple of times, so passed on the Hunter Kiss books – may look them up now if you like them. I think of Nalini Singh as being more PNR than UF, though it is debatable.

      Martha Wells – I have her latest trilogy sitting unread on my reader (yes, all three), thanks for the reminder!

      PC Hodgell – I think I mentioned to you I’m still in the middle of the first book. I’ve seen Laura’s positive GR updates though, so am determined to continue.

      And I’ve not read much Cherryh, but I probably should.

  2. Hmmmm, let see. My list of autobuy authors for UF is very similar to yours, Li: Ilona Andrews, Kelley Armstrong, Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, Meljean Brook (her Guardian series), Jennifer Estep, Nalini Singh and Rob Thurman. Gotta add Karen Chance now for her Dorina Basarab series. Not sure though about her main Cassie Palmer, although I’ll probably give it another try now 😛

    Fantasy, well I don’t read the genre as much. Like you, I tend to stay away from mainstream ones… So romantic fantasy authors that comes to mind are Maria V. Snyder – not all her books work, but I still buy them. I’m hoping she recaptures the magic of Poison Study. And Elizabeth Vaughan. Megan Whalen Turner of course! Love, love, love her book… When is the next one coming out? and Rick Riordan. I found I really enjoyed his Percy Jackson series 😛 Guess that’s the most mainstream I’ve read LOL.

    • Thanks Nath! Jennifer Estep and Rob Thurman – I’ve never read Estep (not sure why, actually – I’m certainly familiar with her name) and only one of Rob Thurman’s, I think. I’m glad you’re liking Karen Chance’s Dory books 🙂

      Rick Riordan – I really need to read his books, I know you sent me one! I’m lukewarm on Maria Snyder books – they’ve never quite worked for me, not even POISON STUDY, which pretty much everyone else loved. And yes to Elizabeth Vaughan – I don’t know if she’s quite autobuy status for me, but I certainly keep an eye out for her books.

      MWT – NO idea when the next book is out, she is keeping us in suspense. Though Holly did blog about her MWT signing, and the most she got was that the next book was being rewritten from 3rd to 1st…

      • Hmmm, I’m not sure how much you’d enjoy the Jennifer Estep series, Li. Her books are very readable, but when it comes to UF, I think perhaps they’re a bit too predictable… I don’t mind, but not sure if you could overlook it. Still, you should give it a try 🙂

        Rob Thurman, you gotta read more than the first one. The series really does get better. Kind of like the Dresden Files series, but not as drastic 😛

        I did, really? LOL, then what are you waiting for? They’re just real fun 🙂

        Ahhh, too bad Maria V. Snyder doesn’t work for you, Li. It happens. As for Elizabeth Vaughan, another author whose next book I’m waiting for. I got a newsletter at the end of 2012 saying she had news for 2013, but so far, still haven’t heard.

        Well the good news about MWT is that, I guess she has the story nailed down!! Yay! How long do you think it takes to re-write a book? I don’t know, I think 2014 sounds more probable since the last one came out in 2010. Sigh, so long ago already… However, we know it’s worth it 🙂

      • So Estep remains in my Maybe pile – I think she’s been writing YA recently, hasn’t she? I haven’t really found a YA UF that captures my imagination.

        You’re such a Rob Thurman pusher 😉 I think she started a new series recently? Maybe I’ll give that one a go.

        Yes, you did send me a Rick Riordan. At least, I swear it was you! LOL.

        It will be interesting to see what Elizabeth Vaughan writes next. She does some short stories for the Mercedes Lackey Dec anthologies, and I always like them.

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