I’m not a huge fan of fantasy novels, but I don’t ignore them either. Every now and then I come across exceptional stories I truly love. Michael Swanwick is one author who writes extraordinary fantasy on a regular basis. Jim Butcher produced an amazing novel in the world of Cinder Spires.

The Iron Dragon's Daughter by fantasy author Michael Swanwick

The Iron Dragon’s Daughter

This is an old novel, the first of a trilogy Swanwick spent 25 years completing. Age is just a number, as this book proves in spectacular fashion. Read it here (affiliate link).

Jane is a changeling, trapped in an industrialized Faerie world ruled by aristocratic high elves and populated by ogres, dwarves, night-gaunts, and hags. She is the only human in a factory where underage forced labor builds cybernetic, magical dragons that are weaponized and sent off to war. When the damaged dragon Melanchthon tempts Jane with promises of freedom, the stage is set for a daring escape that will shake the foundations of existence.

Combining alchemy and technology, a coming-of-age story like no other, The Iron Dragon’s Daughter takes place against a dystopic mindscape of dark challenges and class struggles that force Jane to make costly decisions at every turn.

A finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, and the 1994 Locus Award, The Iron Dragon’s Daughter is a one-of-a-kind melding of grimdark fantasy and cyberpunk grit from the Nebula Award–winning author of Stations of the Tide. It engages the reader in a nihilistic world in which nothing is as it seems and everything comes at a steep and often horrific price.

The Aeronaut's Windlass by fantasy author Jim Butcher

The Aeronaut’s Windlass

Jim Butcher has created a fabulous world of magic, crystals, tech, and engaging characters. A rip-roaring fun fantasy read. Available at Amazon now (affiliate link).

Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity. Within their halls, the ruling aristocratic houses develop scientific marvels, foster trade alliances, and maintain fleets of airships to keep the peace.

Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship Predator. Loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy’s shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is damaged in combat, Grimm joins a team of Albion agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring his ship.

And as Grimm undertakes this task, he learns that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake…