Hello all! It looks like some of you took my ongoing admonishments to write more AWW spec fic reviews to heart. We’ve got a massive haul this month!
Despite the large review haul, the proportion of reviews for books in each subgenre has not much changed. We’ve had one horror novella reviewed, Springtime by Michelle de Krester. In the review Lou Murphy writes:
Reading Springtime is like peering through the lock of a closed door. Not everything is immediate or apparent. As with all good ghost stories, some things are obscured from view. Without shying away from the banalities of domestic life, the poetic nature of the writing captures small moments poignantly, imbuing them with meaning.
The most popular science fiction book this past month was The Ark by Annabel Smith, an epistolary novel set in a post-apocalyptic Australia. It garnered two reviews from Whispering Gums and myself and Amanda Curtin ran an interview with Annabel. Whispering Gums wrote:
It’s well worth a read if you like dystopian fiction and/or if you are interested in experiencing different ways of telling stories in our digital world. I’d never want straight prose novels to disappear – and I don’t believe they will – but the arts should also be about experimenting and playing with boundaries, and this is what Smith has done here. Good for her.
On a different note, I reviewed Gillian Polack’s new novel Langue[dot]doc 1305 about a time travel expedition to France in the year 1305. It’s a thoughtful novel, full of office politics and a whole lot of no one listening to the historian. Not your usual time travel book.
Finally, and on another completely different note, I reviewed Nicole Murphy’s Loving the Prince, a science fiction romance novel with a strong plot and a sizzling romance element. I enjoyed it more than I expected to.
As has been the norm, fantasy was the most popular genre this month. The book which garnered the most reviews was the newly released The Falcon Throne by Karen Miller, the start of a new BFF (big fat fantasy) series. It was reviewed by Shaheen, Rochelle Sharpe and Random Alex. Shaheen writes:
Another thing I love about this book is the variety of the characters. I loved them all! There isn’t a protagonist or antagonist in the story … There just people, with hopes and dreams, who sometimes did things I liked, and more often did things that I didn’t agree with. But every character is well realised and amazingly crafted.
The second most popular author, with two reviews for different books, was Juliet Marillier. Helen Venn reviewed Raven Flight, which is the sequel to Shadowfell. She enjoyed it and can’t wait for the last book in the trilogy. The other Juliet Marillier novel reviewed was Dreamer’s Pool, reviewed by Nalini of Dark Matter Zine, which she thoroughly enjoyed. It was the first Marillier book she’d read and she reports that she’s looking forward to the rest of the series.
For serious fantasy in smaller portions, I read and reviewed Phantazein, an anthology edited by Tehani Wessely. It’s heavily fairytale and folklore themed with lots of different takes on fairytales (without being straight fairytale retellings). Highly recommended for fans of twisty fairytales.
Back on the BFF theme, Shaheen also reviewed The Lascar’s Dagger by Glenda Larke, the start of a new trilogy. She writes:
My favourite aspect of The Lascars Dagger is definitely its plotting and the complexity of the world it is set in. I bring those two up together because they are intertwined in this story. At its heart this is a story about a handful of people with their own fears and motivations, but their positions in society and histories mean that their every thought and action has the potential to shape the future of entire countries.
On a completely different note, I reviewed Small Shen by Kylie Chan and illustrated by Queenie Chan. It’s a short novel with sections illustrated in a manga style, interspersed with text. It’s a really interesting meeting of media and also an interesting story which is a prequel to Kylie Chan’s White Tiger.
- Power and Majesty by Tansy Rayner Roberts reviewed by Leonie Rogers
- The Other Shore by Hoa Pham reviewed by Jane Rawson
- In Strange Worlds by Brenda Cheers reviewed by Helen
- The Amethyst Curse by Chantelle Thomson reviewed by Faith
- The Awakening by Adina West reviewed by Shaheen
- Secret Lives by Rosaleen Love reviewed by me
And finally, not a review but an interview of Jo Anderton, author of the Veiled Worlds trilogy.
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 very 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.