Welcome to the April and May YA SpecFic round up! Over the last two months we’ve had a total of 17 reviews submitted, for 16 YA Speculative Fiction books.
On remote Rollrock Island, the sea-witch Misskaella discovers she can draw a girl from the heart of a seal. So, for a price, any man might buy himself a bride; an irresistibly enchanting sea-wife. But what cost will be borne by the people of Rollrock – the men, the women, the children – once Misskaella sets her heart on doing such a thing?
Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan was reviewed twice in April and May. Emma @ My Book Corner describes it as “a hauntingly beautiful novel” and Tsana highly recommends it to all fantasy fans. I’m waiting for a copy to become available at my library – it’s certainly a popular book! Sea Hearts has garnered a lot of acclaim since its release:
- Winner of the 2013 Independent Booksellers of Australia Award for Best Children’s & YA Book
- Winner of the 2012 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel
- Winner of the 2012 Aurealis Awards for Best Young Adult Novel
- Winner of the 2013 Norma K Hemming Award
- Winner of the 2013 Ditmar Awards for Best Novel
- Shortlisted (1 of only 6 books) for the 2013 Stella Prize
The other author that has been reviewed twice over the two month period for AWW is Andrea K. Höst. Her standalone fantasy novel by Hunting has been reviewed by Dave Versace, who says that it’s “an adventurous romp with plenty of derring-do, peril and romance, flavoured with the odd splashes of darkness to settle the froth”. Höst’s Lab Rat One, the second book in the Touchstone trilogy, has been reviewed by Tsana. She gives it her highest rating (5/5), commenting that “[t]he writing has gotten tighter in this volume. Whereas in [Stray] I felt there were some slow bits, I didn’t get that feeling in Lab Rat One, where everything moved things along or was hilarious.” However, she finds the Young Adult label a tad misleading and would perhaps consider it New Adult due to the subject matter and age of the protagonist.
Describing it as “a delightful and intriguing fantasy adventure”, Rochelle Sharpe has enthusiastically reviewed Museum of Thieves (The Keepers #3) by Lian Tanner. Although it’s technically a book for younger readers (Middle Grade), she recommends it to adventurers of all ages.
Museum of Thieves was a thrilling fantasy with heart pumping action that would be enjoyed by both girls and boys. It is set in a world much like our own except that children are the most precious commodity and therefore always chained to an adult or one of the Blessed Guardians, never able to really be children.
Melina Marchetta’s Finnikin of the Rock, the first in her Fantasy series The Chronicles of Lumatere, is one of my favourite YA Fantasy books. Heidi @ Bunbury in the Stacks writes a thoughtful review in which she calls the book a “gem in fantasy”. In particular, she commends the world building – “We learn about this world, its countries, politics, and Lumatere’s cursed past organically, our horror and compassion building with each new story of Lumatere’s past and present.” – but found Evangaline, one of the protagonists, difficult to like and the romance unbalanced.
Mercy is an angel with a shattered memory, exiled from heaven for a crime she can’t remember committing. So when she ‘wakes’ inside the body and life of eighteen-year-old Lela Neill, Mercy has only limited recall of her past life. Her strongest memories are of Ryan, the mortal boy who’d begun to fall for her – and she for him.
Exile is the second book in Rebecca Lim’s angel-inspired series following Mercy, an angel who is forced to hide by inhabiting the unknowing bodies of other teenaged girls. The Eclectic Reader reviews Exile –
Exile builds on the complex mythology glimpsed in Mercy and Mercy’s splintered memories become more tangible. The search for answers continues. There’s still so much we don’t know …
For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she Shifts to her ‘other’ life – a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she’s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she’s considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other. With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments which bring her dangerously close to the life she’s always wanted…But just what – and who – is she really risking?
Jessica Shirvington’s stand-alone contemporary-come-fantasy novel Between the Lives is one of the most thoughtful, heart-wrenching books I have read in a long time. I heartily recommend it to everyone in my review.
This novel is a sensitive, thought-provoking examination of life and what it means, and Shirvington explores the human psyche delicately and with a sense of reverence. Between the Lives is full of elegant prose and vivid imagery, it’s easy to love Sabine and imagine ourselves in her shoes. The worlds she lives in are our own, her fears are buried within us, her dreams colour ours at night.
The other books that were reviewed in April and May are (some of these are technically children’s titles, but I wanted to share them anyway):
- Song of the Jikhoshi by Katie W. Stewart – reviewed by Leonie Rogers
- Trapped in Gondwana (Book 2) by J. B. Rowley – reviewed by Brenda
- Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near – reviewed by Tsana
- Angel Arias by Marianne de Pierres – reviewed by Rochelle Sharpe
- The Cloud Road by Isobelle Carmody – reviewed by Nalini Haynes
- Ruby Coral Carnelian by Mary Borsellino – reviewed by Narrelle M Harris
- Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks – reviewed by Emma @ My Book Corner
- The Grimstones: Hatched by Asphyxia – reviewed by writereaderly
- Hidden by Marianne Curley – reviewed by me
Hi! I’m Shaheen from Speculating on SpecFic, a book blog dedicated to works of speculative fiction – fantasy, science fiction, magic realism, paranormal romance and much more. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love reading and use my blog to peddle my love to others. When not reading (rare times indeed), I can be found completing my PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics.