I'm currently reading a book called The Fifth Sorceress which is part one of a trilogy called The Chronicles of Blood and Stone written by Robert Newcomb. I've had the three books for ages sitting in my spare room with a lot of others that I've gathered from various sources, ie sales and used book stores etc. Most of them have never been opened because I frequent the public library as books are too expensive especially as I've mentioned I never read one twice. I picked this one up out of the box and became instantly hooked.
It's the story of a prince who is about to become king on his 30th birthday when his father the current king abdicates by tradition and necessity. Although it's the last thing he wants, circumstances dictate his future and his choices are taken from him by a prophecy and tragedy.
Many fantasy novels have very similar premises and almost preset formulas, but this one surprised me with it's original story and depth of character. It's very different and imaginative even though it does have the "prophecy" and the prince's life is predetermined by it, but I'd have to say this has a very nice sense of originality to it that immediately grabbed my attention.
This is the first novel by this author and a few things seem a bit inconsistent to me as far as the style of writing but the way the world and the people who inhabit it are described, as well as the horrors and tragedies that befall them lends an immersion into the story that keeps me reading.
Robert Newcomb has been compared to Terry Goodkind in his style and development of a believable and engrossing world of magic and betrayal.
Since I found his website I see there are further volumes in the series which I'm going to see if I can locate when I finish the first trilogy.
Update: May 1st 2011: Well, I've finished the second volume and am now half way through the third and already feeling a sense of loss that I won't be entering the lives and the vibrant, but dangerous world of the characters in this series. That is unless I can get hold of the next three books featuring the same characters.
I feel lucky to have been able to read this trilogy because it's so different and imaginative. I love how the author has brought the world alive with it's mysteries, magic and sometimes very violent reality.