Welcome to the June and July round up of YA Speculative Fiction!
The setting: Razorhurst, 1932. The fragile peace between two competing mob bosses — Gloriana Nelson and Mr Davidson — is crumbling. Loyalties are shifting. Betrayals threaten.
Kelpie knows the dangers of the Sydney streets. Ghosts have kept her alive, steering her to food and safety, but they are also her torment.
The most popular book during June and July, with four reviews, was Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier. Dark Matter Zine says “Homelessness, violence, morality – what makes you good or bad – are features of this 24-hour tale, which is far superior to the 24 of television. Engaging characters walk into the lion’s den while I hold my breath, anticipating ghosts bearing witness or cold dead-eyed killers extracting razors.”
Tsana @ Tsana’s Reads and Reviews also loved the book, saying “Larbalestier has a way of revealing information gradually that worked really well for me … I highly recommend Razorhurst to pretty much everyone. Well, not younger-than-YA readers, since there’s several short bursts of acute violence”
Similarly, my review reads: “Razorhurst is a brilliantly crafted story that will keep you flipping pages until the wee hours of the morning, despite being slightly lighter in speculative fiction elements than what I usually read.”
Dark Matter Zine also recapped the launch of Razorhurst, which looked like a lot of fun!
What if you achieve everything you’ve dreamed of – and it turns into a nightmare?
The conclusion to the Chasing the Valley trilogy will reveal explosive surprises and terrifying new dangers.
Skye Melki-Wegner’s books have also been popular this month. Skyfire (Chasing the Valley #3) was released in July, and Tsana reviewed Skyfire by Skye Melki-Wegner, and said “Chasing the Valley is an excellent series. All three books have been very close to being five stars.” while The Opal Octopus praises it: “a ripping adventure with excellent pacing. The lively stakes-raising gives momentum to the story that persists to the last page. I love the worldbuilding in this series, and the slow elaboration of the magic system.”
The second book of this series, Borderlands, was also reviewed by Tsana, who pronounced it as “Unputdownable”! She continues, “As soon as I started reading Borderlands, I was wondering why I hadn’t picked it up sooner (it’s been out for 6 months). Oh well, at least I don’t have to wait to read the third book, which has just come out.”
Neryn has made a long journey to perfect her skills as a Caller. She has learned the wisdom of water and of earth; she has journeyed to the remote isles of the west and the forbidding mountains of the north. Now, Neryn must travel in Alban’s freezing winter to seek the mysterious White Lady, Guardian of Air. For only when Neryn has been trained by all four Guardians will she be ready to play her role in toppling the tyrannical King Keldec.
The Shadowfell series by Juliet Marillier also finished recently with the publication of The Caller. Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out calls it a “rewarding conclusion”, citing that “[o]ne of the strengths of this series has been Marillier’s characterisation of the principles, Neryn and Flint and their struggle to reconcile their own conscience and behaviour with their need to serve the greater good.” I also sing praises of this series in my review, lamenting that “[w]hen I turned the last page of this book, I couldn’t help but be sad. I’ve grown to love the characters in the Shadowfell series and the world they live in, and I’ve found it hard to say goodbye.”
The first book in this series, Shadowfell, was also reviewed by Faith @ Beyond the Dreamline, who unfortunately did not enjoy it as much as Marillier’s other works but did enjoy “Marillier’s attention to everyday detail”.
Gaby thought her life couldn’t get more complicated.
She’s almost used to the idea that she’s not the nineteen-year-old backpacker she thought she was. She can just about cope with being one of the Rephaim – a 140-year-old half-angel – whose memories have been stolen. She’s even coming to grips with the fact that Jude, the brother she’s mourned for a year, didn’t die at all.
But now Rafa—sexy, infuriating Rafa—is being held, and hurt, by Gatekeeper demons. And Gaby has to get the bitterly divided Rephaim to work together, or Rafa has no chance at all.
It’s a race against time – and history. And it may already be too late.
The third book in Paula Weston’s The Rephaim series was also released recently, and it’s been getting some good buzz. Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity said “I loved the Australian-ness of the book. I loved reading that Gaby missed the eucalypts outside of her home in Pan Beach. For some reason, it just makes me feel a lot closer to the characters.” I also loved it: “Paula Weston is the queen of cliff-hanger endings, and this one’s going to blow your mind! I have absolutely loved reading Shimmer, and can’t praise The Rephaim series highly enough. This book won’t disappoint fans of the vivid world that Weston has created with an Australian backdrop!”
16 year old Lena has lived all her life on a property in outback Western Australia. She’s never been outside the fence, and has never met anyone other than her overbearing mother, and late father and cousin. Life on the property is lonely, and Lena decides it’s time to leave, just for a little while, to see what’s on the other side of the fence. The only problem is that “out there” is the Y-Carrier disease. Carried by men, their only ill effect is a raised, red rash. Women however, die in the most painful way possible. Some speculate that the disease was introduced by a foreign power wanting to weaken Australia’s population before invading. Others think it’s extra-terrestrial in origin. Wherever it came from, there is no cure and cities and towns across Australia have been decimated.
Vanessa Garden’s Carrier was reviewed by Nicole @ Reading Lark, so said “At only 174 pages, Carrier is quite a short book, but it still packs quite a punch. Even the side characters are well developed … Carrier is a highly enjoyable stand-alone novel, and while the door is left open for a sequel, the story is complete in itself.”
Nicole also reviewed Captivate by Vanessa Garden, saying “this is an incredibly enjoyable read with an ending that will leave you shouting, No! I need more!!”
- Enmity by E.J. Andrews – reviewed by Nicole @ Reading Lark
- Enmity by E.J. Andrews – reviewed by Shaheen @ Speculating on SpecFic
- Obernewtyn by Isobelle CARMODY – reviewed by Nicole @ Reading Lark
- Small Shen by Kylie Chan – reviewed by Shaheen @ Speculating on SpecFic
- Broken by Marianne Curley – reviewed by Rochelle Sharpe
- Masquerade by Kylie Fornasier – reviewed by Dark Matter Zine
- Reckless Recon by Rinelle Grey – reviewed by Brenda
- My Sister Sif by Ruth Park – reviewed by Faith @ Beyond the Dreamline
- Disruption by Jessica Shirvington – reviewed by Tien
And that’s it for this month! I’ll be back in October with the August and September round-up 🙂 Happy reading!
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.