It’s a bold statement, but I wouldn’t be here saying it if I didn’t believe it. And yes, I know I ended the title with a preposition. I’m a professional writer. We’re allowed to do that. It’s in our union agreement.
The series is a trilogy called On the Bones of Gods, by K. Eason, and it starts with ENEMY.
You might ask yourself, as I would at this point, if it’s so good, why haven’t I heard of it?
There are a few reasons, but most of them tie back to one thing. It was published by 47 North. For those who don’t know, 47 North is the publishing company owned by Amazon. That doesn’t sound great, but they pay well, and they put out some fine books.
But in the case of Enemy, they gave it away. They included it in one of those free Prime giveaways that they used to do every month where you could pick one book and get it for free if you had Prime. And a lot of people got it. The problem is, when you get something for free, you don’t always value it. And a lot of people got it only because it was free, but they weren’t really fantasy fans, so if they did read it, maybe it didn’t fit their style. For reference, book one in the series had a 3.9 rating on Amazon, which isn’t great. But book two in the series, which was probably only read by people who seriously enjoy fantasy, has an average rating of 4.5. Which shows that the people who know—the people who the book is for—really loved it.
Another aspect of being published by 47 North meant that it wasn’t in many physical stores. You only found it on Amazon, which, as most of us know, is sort of hit and miss. Amazon is a big place, and often you only find what you go looking for, and since there was no concerted ad campaign for the book, it slid past a lot of people who would probably like it.
Lastly, the first fifteen pages or so of book one are a bit hard to get into. Eason jumps straight into the story, and the voice of the main character, Snowdenalik (called Snow) has a unique voice that takes a minute to understand. Think of Logan Ninefingers in Joe Abercrombie’s books, with his unique voice, or NK Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, where you’re not quite sure where you’re at early in the book. It’s like that. So it’s not for everybody. But for the experienced fantasy reader, it’s absolutely worth the time.
So what makes this the greatest fantasy you’ve never heard of? I’m glad you asked.
First, there’s the writing. K. Eason is just remarkable with words. How do I know? I just do, okay? I’m a professional writer. I do this for a living. How about you just trust me when I tell you that she’s got more pure craft talent than many of your favorites?
No? I get it. It’s hard to trust these days. A little hurtful, but I get it.
Let me start with pace. These books are fast, and I love that. There’s no journey here where everyone is stopping for stew. No offense to books where there’s stew. Some people like that. Me? I like a story that moves faster than that.
Second, there’s great world building. There’s a Roman underpinning to both the military and political systems, and the mix of both of those is just excellent. It has the politics and the action, and it’s all interwoven with a unique magic system and interesting non-human creatures that feel really original. Snow is a conjuror (and a smuggler, among other things) and Veiko is a clanless outcast warrior who hears the dead speak, and not always in a good way.
And the dynamics between the characters? Chef’s kiss. Perfect. It’s one of the best combinations I can think of, with their relationship growing so naturally with ups and downs that ride the currents of the story without ever overshadowing it.
Lastly, it’s fully complete. That’s not something I worry about, but I know it matters to some people. Eason has finished the trilogy and moved on to writing great science fiction. Maybe she’ll return to fantasy someday, but either way, the story of Snow and Veiko is all right there on the page, complete with satisfying ending.
You can check out ENEMY today for $3.99 for the eBook. It’s also available for free via Kindle Unlimited, if that’s how you roll. I hope you enjoy the series as much as I did. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016WM6ME2
About the blog post author:
Michael Mammay is the author of the Planetside series. His next book, THE MISFIT SOLDIER, is a humorous military science fiction heist novel coming on 2/22/22 from Harper Voyager.