The winner will be announced during the Ditmar ceremony at Conflux this weekend. In the meantime, here's the shortlist. Links go to my reviews. Also, you can read some of the judges' comments here.
- Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
- Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan
- The trilogy The Outcast Chronicles (comprising the novels Besieged, Exile and Sanctuary) by Rowena Corey Daniells
- Winter Be My Shield by Jo Spurrier
I'm quite pleased that I've already read all but one of the books. It's also nice to see a trilogy being treated as one work (and the fact that all three books were released in the same year definitely helps with that).
Of the books I've read, I particularly liked the way disabling injuries were dealt with in Winter Be My Shield and the Outcast Chronicles. It's also difficult to go past the detailed exploration of gender politics in the Outcast Chronicles (and on a smaller scale Sea Hearts). All the books were really great reads.
Also, I don't think Winter Be My Shield has gotten as much reader attention as it deserves, so hopefully it's inclusion on this shortlist as well as the Aurealis will help with that.
It's a strong shortlist and I wish all the authors luck.