By Brazen Edwards

As the new year approaches, now is an exciting time to curl up under the covers and sink into newly released literary escapes by some of the best-selling writers of our time.

Here are five of the best reads for 2023.

Fairy Tale By Stephen King

Author Stephen King mixes it up a little with his new release, Fairy Tale. It tells the tale of a 17-year-old high school student who discovers his neighbour has a gateway to another world in the shed behind his house. It’s apparently a passion project he wrote during the pandemic set somewhere in the overlapping territories of fantasy, horror, and science fiction. 

During the turbulent time of lockdowns, King asked himself what he could write that’d make him happy. According to his website, it was “As if my imagination had been waiting for the question to be asked, I saw a vast deserted city—deserted but alive. I saw the empty streets, the haunted buildings, a gargoyle head lying overturned in the street… I saw a huge, sprawling palace with glass towers so high their tips pierced the clouds. Those images released the story I wanted to tell.” As an Author of more than 60 worldwide bestsellers, this is bound to be a spellbinding adventure.

We Spread By Iain Reid

A leader in the spooky story business Iain Reid’s acclaimed debut novel, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, is now a Netflix film. His new book, We Spread, plays in a similar key of slow dread. It follows ageing artist Penny, who has just moved into a residential care facility where initially, all is well. She is surrounded by peers, conversing, eating, sleeping, and looking out at the beautiful woods. She even begins to paint again. But as the days start to blur together, Penny, with a growing sense of unrest, starts to lose her grip on the passage of time and her place in the world. 

No one quite captures the loneliness and terror of everyday life the way Iain Reid does. It’s compassionate and uncanny, told in spare, hypnotic prose, exploring questions on conformity, art, productivity, and relationships. It ultimately defines the indignities of old age.

The Winners By Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman (A Man Called Ove) concludes his popular series with this final instalment of life and loss in small-town Sweden. A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door. Ove is a curmudgeon with staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. He’s the kind of man who points at people he dislikes and is not so fondly referred to as the neighbour from hell. But is Ove bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile all the time? 

In this final instalment, the residents of hard-luck, hockey-obsessed Beartown grapple with change, pain, hope, and redemption. They have experienced triumph and tragedy, and now the concluding chapters are playing out dramatically. You don’t have to be a hockey fan to appreciate this book; it is epic for its writing and tale. 

The Soulmate By Sally Hepworth

Get ready for a thrilling and engrossing novel about marriage, betrayal, and the secrets that push us to the edge in Sally Hepworth’s new book. Gabe and Pippa move into their dream home, a cottage on a cliff, but their perfect house hides something sinister. The tall cliffs have become an infamous place for suicide. 

Night after night, Gabe comes to the rescue, literally talking people off the ledge. Until one time, he doesn’t. It turns out Gabe knew the latest victim, so the questions and lies start forming cracks in their seemingly perfect marriage. 

The Way of Kings By Brandon Sanderson

An incredible sage, book one of The Stormlight Archive begins a tale of epic proportions. For thousands of years, the Heralds have waged war against a race of monsters called the Voidbringers to protect humanity. They appear in a regular cycle called Desolations, and the Heralds battle against them. It has been centuries since the fall of the Knights Radiant. Still, their Shardblades and Shardplate remain, the mystical swords and suits of armour that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Kingdoms are built upon the rarity of these items, and wars are fought over them.

Sanderson has proven himself to be the master of creating worlds out of words. In this case, Roshar is built with intricate descriptions, ranging from the turbulent weather to the vastly different cultures that make up this narrative. Combined with brilliant yet simple and fluid writing, it’s so vivid you will feel like you’re really there, joining each character’s adventures. His 5th instalment in the series is expected to land in autumn 2023, so if you haven’t had a chance to read the series yet, you’ll have plenty of time to catch up.

So there you go, 5 epic books to take you through 2023. Happy reading!