Another month, another batch of reviews. Sixteen speculative fiction reviews, in fact, were submitted to us in the past month, including YA titles. Once again, no horror titles were reviewed in the past month, which makes me sad (and is going to muck up my flow if it persists next month).
The most popular science fiction book reviewed this month was actually one that doesn’t come out until May. Peacemaker by Marianne de Pierres was reviewed by both Jason Nahrung and Stephanie Gunn (both of whom obviously received advanced copies for review). I’m not sure we’ve had such early publicity for a book on AWW yet, well not in spec fic, anyway. Stephanie writes of the Australian western:
Virgin Jackson is a heroine that science fiction needs to see more of. She is real – she hesitates sometimes, and other times she tumbles head over heels into situations that the reader will fairly be screaming at her to run away from. She gets beaten up a lot, and yet she always gets up again. She breaks gender roles in a multitude of ways, and yet de Pierres hasn’t fallen back on any tropes in making her strong in this sense. She can stand with any of them men in this world, and yet she also possesses a softness and vulnerability that the reader is allowed glimpses of.
On a completely different note, Sam Still Reading reviewed White Christmas, a sci-fi romance novella by Ros Baxter. She writes:
Ros Baxter is an excellent writer in that she can develop a whole other world involving ice, space ships and aliens and make it believable in so few pages. It didn’t take long for me to picture the alien planet Tabi, our heroine, had crashed on.
And finally, in a month which saw more science fiction reviews than usual (four times as many as last month!) I reviewed Carrier, a short novel by Vanessa Garden. Although it’s marketed as YA, I think many adults who enjoy Australian post-apocalyptic stories will find much to like. It deals with some heavy issues and the ending was not quite what I expected.
Carpe Librum reviewed Hindsight by Melanie Casey, which sounds like a bit of a paranormal thriller, from her review. She calls it an “outstanding début”. Brenda also read and reviewed Twin Curse by Rinelle Grey, about which she writes
A romance with a difference, with magic and illusions; strength, courage and determination – the characters are excellent, the emotions real.
Sean the Bookonaut read and reviewed The Back of the Back of Beyond by Edwina Harvey, a collection of linked humorous short stories. He writes:
Edwina hasn’t written your run of the mill urban fantasy. It’s a cross between the tone of Cyrano de Bergerac’s proto-science fiction and something like The Secret Life of Us, only with role-players instead of trendy 20-somethings living in Saint Kilda. The stories trace the fantastical life of the author from living in share house to moving to the back of the back of beyond.
On a similarly comedic note, Stephanie Gunn reviewed The Other Tree by DK Mok. She enjoyed that the author avoided several tropes — for example there’s no romance between the two leads — and writes
It would be very easy for an author to lose any character development against the background of such an enormous plot, and Mok never does – these characters remain vivid and real the whole way through
Finally, on what I gather is a more literary note, Random Alex reviewed Midnight and Moonshine by Angela Slatter and Lisa L Hannett. She gushes about it, writing in her opening
It took me a few months to read this collection, this mosaic novel. This is no reflection on the quality of the book. Well, actually it is, but not the way you might think. See, I’d read a story, and then I’d be forced to close the book, sigh, and stare into space in order to wallow in the beauty of the prose. And then I’d have to go read something else, because (like with me and Gwyneth Jones’ Bold as Love series) sometimes too much beauty is painful and you need a break.
I think I’ll have to get my hands on this one.
I’m Tsana Dolichva and I’ve been reading and enjoying Australian speculative fiction since I first started reading “grown up” books (back before YA was its own genre). More recently, I’ve been blogging my reviews over at the creatively titled Tsana’s Reads. I irregularly blog about science in science fiction over at the Science Fiction Writers’ Guide to Space. When not reading or writing, I’m probably working towards my PhD in astrophysics.