Hello readers! Welcome to the speculative fiction wrap-up for 2015. In the past year, we have 260 reviews submitted that were tagged as speculative fiction. That represented 176 distinct books and 118 distinct authors. A nice effort! That’s more reviews than in 2014. Well done to everyone who contributed!
About two thirds of the reviewed books were tagged as being for adult readers, with the remaining third being YA (and one lonely children’s book). You can see the breakdown in the pie chart I’ve included below.
And because I like pie charts, let’s talk about the publication years of the reviewed books. Almost exactly half of the spec fic reviews submitted to AWW last year were for books published in 2015. Just under a quarter were published in 2014. This clearly tells us that newer books get the most attention. This is perhaps not surprising when considering bloggers trying to keep up with new releases, but I hope it doesn’t also mean that there are slightly older books falling through the cracks. We had only twelve books reviewed with publication dates of 2010 or earlier. The full break-down can be seen in the pie chart below.
If you’re stuck for something to read, there are a lot of not-very-old gems out there if you look beyond the new releases.
On to the most popular books of 2015! The most reviewed author was Juliet Marillier, who garnered thirteen reviews across four books. It probably helped that Dreamer’s Pool won the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel in April and that it’s sequel, Tower of Thorns, came out later in the year. Why not check out some reviews of Dreamer’s Pool from Glaiza – Paper Wanderer, Faith, Ellen Gregory, Folly Gleeson, or Ju Transcendancing? Or of Tower of Thorns from Sheree Christoffersen 26 Letters, Tien @ Tien’s Blurb, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Glaiza – Paper Wanderer, Faith, or Ju Transcendancing?
The most reviewed single book of the year was The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth, which was reviewed nine times. Kate Forsyth was also the second most reviewed author of the year, with twelve reviews overall. If you’re after a review of The Beast’s Garden, which is a Beauty and the Beast retelling set in Nazi Germany, you could check out one of the reviews from Sean The Bookonaut, Tracey Carpe Librum, Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out, Jo @ Booklover Book Reviews, Sam Still Reading, Kathryn @ Book Date, Tien @ Tien’s Blurb, Sheree Christoffersen 26 Letters, or Ju Transcendancing.
The third most popular authors were a draw between Amberlin Kwaymullina with eight reviews spread over three books, and CS Pacat, with eight reviews spread over two books. CS Pacat’s Captive Prince was the second most reviewed book overall, with six reviews in total. Check out one of them from Glaiza – Paper Wanderer, Bree (1 Girl), Coffee2words/Lynxie, Ellen Gregory, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, or Michelle-Beauty and Lace. Amberlin Kwaymullina’s reviews were spread over all three of her YA books: The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf (reviewed by Shaheen @ Speculating On Specfic, Glaiza – Paper Wanderer, and Shannon (giraffe Days)), The Disappearance of Ember Crow (reviewed by Shannon (giraffe Days) and Ju Transcendancing), and The Foretelling of Georgie Spider (reviewed by Ju Transcendancing, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, and Rochelle Sharpe).
There were two authors who garnered six reviews each: Gillian Polack, spread over four books, and Jane Rawson, spread over two books. See what others thought of Gillian Polack’s books, The Art of Effective Dreaming (reviewed by Elizabeth Fitzgerald and Jennifer Cameron-smith), Illuminations (reviewed by Elizabeth Fitzgerald), Langue[dot]doc (reviewed by Julanne, Jennifer Cameron-smith), and Ms Cellophane (reviewed by Jennifer Cameron-smith). Jane Rawson’s A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists, which won the Most Underrated Book Award and was shortlisted for an Aurealis Award, both in 2014, is now getting the attention it deserves with five reviews from Kelly @ Orange Pekoe, Whispering Gums, Julianne Negri, Faith, and Julanne.
There were a handful of authors with five reviews each. In alphabetic order, they were:
- Amanda Bridgeman, 5 reviews, 5 books, all reviewed by Elizabeth Fitzgerald who went through the entire series from Aurora: Darwin, to Aurora: Eden.
- Rinelle Grey, 5 reviews, 5 novellas, all reviewed by Brenda, who went through the series from Waking the Dragon to Healing the Dragon.
- Glenda Larke, 5 reviews, for the 2 books currently out in The Forsaken Lands trilogy, The Lascar’s Dagger (reviewed by Mark Webb) and The Dagger’s Path (reviewed by Helen Venn, Tsana, Mark Webb, and Tehani Wessely).
- Susan May, 5 reviews, all for Deadly Messengers, which was reviewed by Brenda, Debbish, Carolyn, Veronica Joy, and Carol@reading Writing And Riesling.
- Tansy Rayner Roberts, 5 reviews, 5 books, which isn’t counting Cranky Ladies of History, an anthology which she edited with Tehani Wessely and which garnered an additional three reviews (from Sean The Bookonaut, Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out, and Tsana).
- Jo Spurrier, 5 reviews, 3 books or her entire trilogy: Winter Be My Shield (reviewed by Shannon (giraffe Days), Brad Adams, and Julanne), Black Sun Light My Way (reviewed by Mark Webb) and North Star Guide Me Home (also reviewed by Mark Webb).
So those were the most popular authors and books. But who were the most prolific reviewers?
The most prolific, by far, was Brenda, who submitted thirty spec fic reviews in 2015. Well done Brenda!
Of course, this post could be much longer if I included every single review contributed to the AWW Challenge. But that would be impractical. If you want to check out all of the books reviewed in 2015, check out our review search page, where you can filter by date and genre or a bunch of other parameters if you like.
Happy reviewing in 2016!
Tsana Dolichva is a Ditmar Award-nominated book blogger who has been reading and enjoying Australian speculative fiction since she first started reading “grown up” books. She blogs her book reviews over at the creatively titled Tsana’s Reads. Along with Holly Kench, she is editing Defying Doomsday, an anthology showing that people with disability and chronic illness also have stories to tell, even when the world is ending (out in a few months).