Well, the year is over and it’s time for a new one, hopefully, a better one for most of us. In 2020 there were 135 books reviewed in the Speculative Fiction category which is half the amount reviewed in 2019. I don’t know if this is because there were fewer books published in this category or if people just aren’t reading spec fiction books, but hopefully, 2021 brings us more books being read in this category. A quick look at the most read books in 2020 before looking at December’s reads.
The Slik House by Kayte Nunn was the most read book in 2020 closely followed by –
The Mother Fault by Kate Mildenhall
A Lifetime of IMpossible Days by Tabitha Bird
Euphoria KIds by Alison Evans
Jane in Love by Rachel Givney
The Last Migration by Charlotte McConaghy
The Animals in That Country by Laura Jean Mckay
The Erasure Initiative by Lili Wilkinson
Ashleigh @The Book Muse reviewed the highest number of spec fiction books with 26, the majority of which were middle grade reads. Veronica Strachan (16), Brenda Telford (14), Eleni Konstantine (11), Jennifer Cameron-Smith (10), Cass Moriarty (10), Rebecca Bowyer (8), were the other top reviewers. The rest of us weren’t far behind.
In December there were 21 books linked to the AWW database.
The Lost Soul Atlas by Zana Fraillon was reviewed by Ashleigh @The Book Muse, she says “ It is thought-provoking and moving, and one of those books that should be studied in school, in universities and shared widely, and discussed. Zana has a talent at taking a topic that isn’t happy, and that people might not think about, and creates an in to talk about it in a sensitive and heartening way that stays with the reader in a powerful and moving way.” I have been keen to read this and after reading Ashleigh’s review I’m even keener.
The Other Side of the Sky by Aime Kaufman was reviewed by Marianne who says “What a marvelous adventure! Kaufman and Spooner craft their story so well, with subtle world-building, interesting characters, riveting action and an enticing cliff-hanger ending, that it is easy for the reader to immerse themselves therein. And who would expect a cat that occasionally (helpfully) bites an ankle to become a favourite?
Their protagonists spend time talking at crossed purposes and it is interesting to watch as two cultures with common ancestors, separated by centuries, meet: Nimh puts her faith in magic, North relies on science. Fans can only hope that the second installment won’t be too long in coming. It may be billed as young adult, but that doesn’t mean that older fantasy fans won’t be equally enthralled.”
Little Jiang by Shirley Marr was reviewed by Jess @Underground writers who says “Little Jiang is an easy read, a great introduction to some of the Chinese folklore and mythology that exists, and it encourages all the qualities we’d hope to see in kids: kindness, empathy, resilience and a desire to understand. It’s perfect for kids who want to read alone but has elements to keep the parents entertained as well. Katy Jiang’s illustrations break up the book beautifully and help give kids an extra visual for some of the elements they may not be able to picture themselves.”
Helen read The Erasure Initiative by Lili Wilkinson and says “The Erasure Initiative is an overwhelming, staggering psychological mind warp by Aussie author Lili Wilkinson and it blew me away! Inventive, imaginative, astounding! What a ride! A YA novel with more twists and turns than you can poke a stick at, thrills and chills and what an ending! It’s a novel I’ll be thinking about for a while to come. Highly recommended.”
Lighthouse – An Anthology by Bianca Milroy (editor) was reviewed by Cass Moriarty who says “Lighthouse is a multi-genre cornucopia of stories that all feature lighthouses, some in a tangential way but most using the lighthouse as the focus of the story, either as the setting or even as a character. There is something for everyone – fantasy, romance, historical fiction, paranormal, horror, sci-fi and dystopian stories that will delight, intrigue, frighten, bemuse, amuse, sadden and enlighten readers. This fantastic collection is an example of writers getting together, talking through an idea, having a vision and then actually working hard to make it a reality. Each of these emerging or established authors navigated the theme of the lighthouse in a unique and interesting way, and despite the many different genres and styles, by the end of the anthology, I felt I knew a lot more about lighthouses generally than I had before, partly due to some physical, visual, tactile descriptions of lighthouses, but also because of the cohesive mystery of lighthouses, their role and responsibility, their history, their strange, uncommon and yet essential reason for being. Lighthouses seem now to have personalities; this collection has made them characters themselves.”
So, thank you all for a fabulous year of reviews, I can’t wait to see what 2021 brings to the Speculative Fiction showcase. To see all the books reviewed in December 2020 go here and to see all the books in the spec fiction category for the year go here.
Until February, happy reading.