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Top 10 Fantasy and Horror Books Of 2011
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Top 10 Fantasy and Horror Books of 2011

2011 was a big year for doorstopper-sized fantasy novels, particularly A Dance of Dragons by George R.R. Martin, which is a whopping 1,040 pages. It sold 298,000 copies on its first day alone, which included 170,000 hardcovers, 110,000 eBooks, and 18,000 audiobooks, proving that although ebook sales are catching up, print is still ahead for big releases like this.

Another major series that got a hugely anticipated sequel came in the form of Patrick Rothfuss’ The Wise Man’s Fear, which continues the events of The Name of the Wind and propels Kvothe into an even more compelling situations. Canadian horror also got a few notable entries with Enter, Night and Dead of Winter, both historical fiction novels and both superbly written. Small and mid-sized presses continue to produce some of the best genre fiction out there, and this year proved no exception.

Here’s my picks for the Top 10 Fantasy and Horror Books of 2011.

The Night Eternal

10. The Night Eternal

By Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle Edition

The final volume in a vampire fiction series, this entry in the Strain trilogy features the non-sparkling variety of our fanged foes in all their violent glory. The Master, a powerful and ancient vamp, is carrying out his plan for human extermination, keeping only those who serve his purposes, and it’s up to an unlikely band of rebels to do him in.

A Dance with Dragons

9. A Dance With Dragons

By George R.R. Martin
Hardcover | Kindle Edition

The television premiere of A Game of Thrones, the massively popular HBO series, sparked even more fervor and interest in George R.R. Martin’s already beloved fantasy novels in A Song of Ice and Fire volumes. The fate of the Seven Kingdoms is still unclear as battles rage, betrayals abound, and characters face new dangers, this entry focusing on Daenrys Targaryen and Jon Snow for the most part.

Dead Of Night: A Zombie Novel

8) Dead of Night: A Zombie Novel

By Jonathan Maberry
Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle Edition

One of the best authors who writes zombies in a compelling and chilling way, Jonathan Maberry is gaining new readers who would normally never touch this type of fiction simply because he’s a master storyteller. And he proves this again in Dead of Night, which sees a prison doctor inject an inmate with a substance that gives his mind consciousness while his body decomposes, but before his entombment, he turns into something much worse and Armageddon goes viral.

The Wise Mans Fear: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two

7. The Wise Man’s Fear

By Patrick Rothfuss
Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle Edition

Kvothe’s story continues in this much-anticipated sequel to Name of the Wind, in which he explains the first third of his adventures in a day (he has to tell them in three days) and this time around, the wily protagonist makes good on his promise to the Chronicler, a scribe for the king of the land, and this volume picks up with day two. Fans are waiting with even more fervor for the third entry into the series.

The Night Circus

6. The Night Circus

By Erin Morgenstern
Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle Edition

More of a magic realism book with the same feel as Lev Grossman’s novels, this enchanting novel is about a circus that comes from out of nowhere featuring Le Cirque des Reves, which only opens at night. The characters are well fleshed out in a story that starts off with a duel between two magicians but sees them falling in love. The book is one many people’s Top Fiction lists for a good reason, and I urge people to pick this one up.

A Discovery of Witches

5. A Discovery of Witches

By Deborah E. Harkness
Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle Edition

An Oxford scholar with a secret witch bloodline that she wants nothing to do with finds a rare manuscript that leads to a world of demons, witches, and vampires and one vampire in particular, geneticist Matthew Clairmont, who is her equal. It has the same appeal as Rice’s Vampire Chronicles but updated with a Twilight sensibility that infuses historical fiction in the mix.

Bleed By Ed Kurtz

4. Bleed

By Ed Kurtz
Paperback | Kindle Edition

The novel is about much more than just the creature that grows out of a stain in an old house and drives its owner to delirium. It’s one of the more powerfully written horror novels in recent years, and a throwback to the great small town horror novels of the 70s. The creature is definitely one of the most unique I’ve ever encountered, and the reader is left with a powerful impact when the protagonist, Walt, transforms from an ordinary guy into something far worse than the monster.

Dead Of Winter

3. Dead of Winter

By Brian Moreland
Paperback | Kindle Edition

Set in the Ontario wilderness in the late 1800s while a cannibal plague ravages the hinterlands, the Cannery Cannibal from Montreal provides the gateway for an evil far worse than he could ever be on his own to ravage the isolated township of Fort Pendleton. Far from a zombie disaster novel, Dead of Winter combines Ojibwa myths and legends with traditional demons to create an even worse enemy. Horror fans who enjoy stories set in the past will dig this well-crafted tale.

Aloha from Hell: A Sandman Slim Novel

2. Aloha from Hell: A Sandman Slim Novel

By Richard Kadrey
Hardcover | Kindle Edition

Continuing the adventures of supernatural badass Stark, this volume sees Sandman Slim go back to Hell to rescue his lost love, stop an insane serial killer, rain on the demonic Kissi’s parade, and hold everything together while Lucifer goes to Heaven and God is on vacation right when the killer ignites a celestial battle. It has all the humor and kickass elements of the first two books amped up even more, and I’m elated that there will be more Sandman Slim books in the future.

Enter, Night By Michael Rowe

1. Enter, Night

By Michael Rowe
Paperback | Kindle Edition

Parr’s Landing, a small town in Ontario, bears witness first-hand to the emergence of an evil inside the caves near Bradley Lake that holds its sway, beginning for its escape. Like Let the Right One In before it, I truly believe that horror writer and fellow Canuck Michael Rowe’s debut novel has provided another much-needed breath of fresh air in the overcrowded vampire genre that stands out above the rest. The author has restored my faith in the belief that it is possible to present vampires uniquely and at times, the book feels like a love letter to fans of the bloodsuckers who miss the days when vampires used to eat their prey instead of braiding its hair and going vegan.

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