I knew this day was going to come eventually! A game inspired (or rather a fanfiction inspired) TBR list!
A few weeks ago, I had just finished reading a fanfiction for the game: Fire Emblem Rekka No Ken (Blazing Sword). It’s a game I never got to physically play and so, through words, I let Fanfiction and Ao3 authors guide and take me through the story, settings, and characters; an immersion into a game that I’ve never even touched! (I’ll admit, visuals-wise, for games I’ve never played, Youtube playthroughs and “Let’s Plays” were the MVP 😎)
I love fanfictions because I get to live through the things I’ve never got to experience and for things I have read/watched/played, it just helps bring it to life! Game plots are amazing on their own (sometimes) but when someone takes the dialogue and expands it into a full retelling, everything just feels so real!
Well the one I read was phenomenal and I loved it to bits and pieces. If you’re interested, the link to the fanfiction is right here: (Love, Life, and Peril by LiamReyas).
However, it ended abruptly and it’s been a long time (last updated 3 years ago). I finished feeling empty and sad (and I totally understand if stories become “DNF’d” by their authors or are on hiatus). Maybe I needed closure or maybe I just craved for books that gave off the same feelings as the fic, but I ended up on a Googling spree.
The player/avatar of Blazing Sword is the group’s tactician. He had limited customization (name, birth month, and gender but no face), was never physically playable and you couldn’t control him as a fighter the same way you could control the other units, but he represented you as you moved your units around the stage map. After all, you are the tactician behind the Gameboy screen; who was to fight who, who needed healing, who needed to retreat to the back line, which units are meant to go up front, etc. By the end, the fanfic put me in the mood for tactics/strategy/small army/newfound family/genius protagonists (or side characters) books.
And so…cue the Googling spree. Here are a few books I ran into that I ended up shelving as TBR or To-Read on Goodreads. Some series had books I have previously heard of or even read myself!
((If you have any books fitting the descriptions…do let me know!!))
The Shadow Campaigns Series by Django Wexler
(Goodreads Link to the first book)
During my search across a few Reddit posts, Goodreads lists, and other question sites this was one of the most recommended series. While he is not the main protagonist, he is an important and major supporting character and essential to the books; our genius tactician here is Colonel Janus bet Vhalnich!
Enter an epic fantasy world that echoes with the thunder of muskets and the clang of steel—but where the real battle is against a subtle and sinister magic….
Captain Marcus d’Ivoire, commander of one of the Vordanai empire’s colonial garrisons, was resigned to serving out his days in a sleepy, remote outpost. But that was before a rebellion upended his life. And once the powder smoke settled, he was left in charge of a demoralized force clinging tenuously to a small fortress at the edge of the desert.
To flee from her past, Winter Ihernglass masqueraded as a man and enlisted as a ranker in the Vordanai Colonials, hoping only to avoid notice. But when chance sees her promoted to command, she must win the hearts of her men and lead them into battle against impossible odds.
The fates of both these soldiers and all the men they lead depend on the newly arrived Colonel Janus bet Vhalnich, who has been sent by the ailing king to restore order. His military genius seems to know no bounds, and under his command, Marcus and Winter can feel the tide turning. But their allegiance will be tested as they begin to suspect that the enigmatic Janus’s ambitions extend beyond the battlefield and into the realm of the supernatural—a realm with the power to ignite a meteoric rise, reshape the known world, and change the lives of everyone in its path.
Powder Mage Series by Brian McClellan
(Goodreads Link to the first book)
The first book, Promise of Blood (book 1), is actually a book I’ve read in my 2nd (1st?) year of college. It was a fantastic book that I thoroughly enjoyed. The plot slips away from my memories so I’d have to reread this book if I wanted to get back into the series, but I loved the first book and their characters were written very well. The plot was an interesting mix of fantasy, technology, and sci-fi (gunpowder). Our tactician in this book is Field Marshall Tamas!
The Age of Kings is dead . . . and I have killed it.
It’s a bloody business overthrowing a king…
Field Marshal Tamas’ coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and the greedy to scramble for money and power by Tamas’s supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces.
Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail.
But when gods are involved…
Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should…
In a rich, distinctive world that mixes magic with technology, who could stand against mages that control gunpowder and bullets?
The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan
(Goodreads Link to the first book)
Here’s a book I admit to have “judged by the cover”! While I’ve never actually heard of anyone talking about this series, I have passed by the entire set, sitting on the shelves of Barnes and Nobles, oh so countless many times! I had always taken a look at the cover, went “Eh. Looks like some dated 1990s Dungeons and Dragons RPG game” and put it back on the shelf (which is hilarious because I have had R.A. Salvatore’s Homeland book on my Kindle, still TBR, for the longest time ever and one of the listed genres for the book on GR was literally “Dungeons and Dragons” so I don’t know what was my actual reason for not liking the cover to this book was as the Homeland purchase had been based off of how much I loved one of his other books…which was also a Dungeons and Dragons book!) The mentioned “tactician that fits the bill” in this series was mostly Matrim Cauthon but someone had debated that Rodel was a better fit? Of course, I’d have to read it myself to judge. So…WOT series…I’m sorry I judged you on your cover 🥺 I must give you a try!
The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
Runner Ups and Relative Similarities [To What I’m Looking For]
The above three books are the top three series I am hoping to get into at least in the near future of this year. However, I have a couple of other TBR books and series that I added to my GR shelf as books that are relatively near what I was looking for; two of which I have read and one that is already on my Kindle (and has been sitting there for a while…)
Master and Commander of the Aubrey & Maturin Series by Patrick O’Brian
GR Summary: As the Royal Navy takes part in the wars against Napoleonic France, young Jack Aubrey receives his first command, the small, old, and slow HMS Sophie. Accompanied by his eccentric new friend, the physician and naturalist Stephen Maturin, Aubrey does battle with the naval hierarchy, with his own tendency to make social blunders, and with the challenges of forging an effective crew — before ultimately taking on enemy ships in a vivid, intricately detailed series of sea battles.
The Lies of Locke Lamora of the Gentleman Bastard Series by Scott Lynch [Book 1 Read](Not really for the tactics per say but just crazy schemes and crazy adventures in general. I loved book one.)
GR Summary: An orphan’s life is harsh—and often short—in the mysterious island city of Camorr. But young Locke Lamora dodges death and slavery, becoming a thief under the tutelage of a gifted con artist. As leader of the band of light-fingered brothers known as the Gentleman Bastards, Locke is soon infamous, fooling even the underworld’s most feared ruler. But in the shadows lurks someone still more ambitious and deadly. Faced with a bloody coup that threatens to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the enemy at his own brutal game—or die trying.
The Red Knight of The Traitor Son Cycle Series by Miles Cameron
GR Summary: Twenty eight florins a month is a huge price to pay, for a man to stand between you and the Wild.
Twenty eight florins a month is nowhere near enough when a wyvern’s jaws snap shut on your helmet in the hot stink of battle, and the beast starts to rip the head from your shoulders. But if standing and fighting is hard, leading a company of men – or worse, a company of mercenaries – against the smart, deadly creatures of the Wild is even harder.
It takes all the advantages of birth, training, and the luck of the devil to do it.
The Red Knight has all three, he has youth on his side, and he’s determined to turn a profit. So when he hires his company out to protect an Abbess and her nunnery, it’s just another job. The abby is rich, the nuns are pretty and the monster preying on them is nothing he can’t deal with.
Only it’s not just a job. It’s going to be a war…
Gardens of the Moon of the Malazan Book of the Fallen Series by Steven Erikson
(This is a book I’ve had on my Kindle for forever. I chose it for its genre [fantasy] and I believe the first time I came across it was in Barnes and Nobles too. I keep meaning to start it, but I’ve read that it’s overwhelmingly complex and tons of names are thrown at you so I’ve been pushing it off with the excuse of “It’s intimidating” but I do mean to get to it…eventually.)
GR Summary: The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting and bloody confrontations with the formidable Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.
For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.
However, it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand…
Conceived and written on a panoramic scale, Gardens of the Moon is epic fantasy of the highest order–an enthralling adventure by an outstanding new voice.
The Black Company of The Chronicles of the Black Company Series by Glen Cook (Read?? But I can’t recall the plot at all??)
(I read through this book to the end, but for some very odd reason, I couldn’t make much sense of it. Technically…I finished this book, but I didn’t process it? Much of my time spent with it felt like those textbooks you read once, blindly regurgitate during the exam, and promptly forgot the context. However, people keep referring back to this book for being a father of sorts to the Grim/Dark Fantasy subgenre so I mean to revisit this book or maybe purchase the physical book as sometimes I process paper better than Kindle. It deserves a reread.)
GR Summary: Some feel the Lady, newly risen from centuries in thrall, stands between humankind and evil. Some feel she is evil itself. The hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must, burying their doubts with their dead. Until the prophesy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more. There must be a way for the Black Company to find her… So begins one of the greatest fantasy epics of our age—Glen Cook’s Chronicles of the Black Company.
Disclaimer: All of the above pictures are found on and from their [book’s] Goodreads page.