Monday, 6 May 2013

My First Twenty #AWW2013 Challenge Reads

The time has come when I've read my first twenty books for the Australian Women Writers Challenge this year. (Well, actually, I've read 21, but let's just look at the first 20 for now.)

It's been quite a mixed bag. I've been actively trying to read more horror and science fiction from Australian writers so the list is skewed a bit in those directions. In fact, looking at it now, there's only one Big Fat Fantasy (BFF) series on there, where those sorts of books used to dominate my reading. Part of that is because of intentionally branching out, part of it more annoying factors I won't go into right now. And I think there are probably more short stories than I would read if left to my own devices without challenges to motivate me.

The full list is at the bottom, with review links, in the order I read them. I've already highlighted the horror books I've read, in this post. Of the novels there was After the Darkness by Honey Brown, a contemporary novel with nothing supernatural in it but with an excellent sense of creeping dread, and Perfections by Kirstyn McDermott, a tale of two sisters and something that's not quite right in their relationships.



Of the fantasy I read, the Fallen Moon Trilogy trilogy by KJ Taylor is the aforementioned BFF. The trilogy, consisting of The Dark Griffin, The Griffin's Flight and The Griffin's War deals with griffins (shockingly) and racism, oppression and discrimination. Highly recommended and worth a read for all fantasy fans.



I also read the YA fantasy book Wolfborn by Sue Bursztynski, set in a more traditional fantasy world, but with a YA protagonist. And werewolves. And the multi-award winning Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan, with selkies.



On the urban/suburban fantasy front, I read Narrelle M Harris's two Melbourne vampire books, The Opposite of Life and Walking Shadows. They're an excellent read if the idea of a librarian teaming up with a geeky vampire appeals to you. I also read the YA (sub)urban fantasy Rise of the Fallen by Teagan Chilcott which treated angels and demons in a way that didn't irritate me, in a way that angel books often do.



The Australian science fiction I read will soonish be summarised in its own post (I'm only two books away from my first milestone of the), but briefly, I read a novella, Rayessa and the Space Pirates by Donna Maree Hanson, a verse novel, The Sunlit Zone by Lisa Jacobson (which was shortlisted for a Stella Award), and an excellent trilogy by Andrea K Höst — Stray, Lab Rat One and Caszandra — in which a Sydney girl accidentally wanders though a portal onto an alien planet.





On the short story/collected works front I read two collections in the Twelve Planets series, Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren, containing three creepy short stories and a disturbing novella, and Asymmetry by Thoraiya Dyer, containing four diverse and incredibly well crafted stories. There was also Ishtar edited by Amanda Pillar and KV Taylor, a collection of three horror novellas all dealing with the Assyrian/Babylonian goddess Ishtar in the past, present and future. And finally, I read a collection and an anthologyfrom FableCroft Publishing, The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories by Joanne Anderton, which was wonderful and disturbing, and One Small Step edited by Tehani Wessely, a diverse collection of what Australian female spec fic writers can do.




All the reviews:
  1. After the Darkness by Honey Brown (review)
  2. Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren (review)
  3. The Dark Griffin by KJ Taylor (review)
  4. The Griffin's Flight by KJ Taylor (review)
  5. Wolfborn by Sue Bursztynski (review)
  6. Rayessa and the Space Pirates by Donna Maree Hanson (review)
  7. The Griffin's War by KJ Taylor (review)
  8. Walking Shadows by Narrelle M Harris (review)
  9. The Opposite of Life by Narrelle M Harris (review)
  10. The Sunlit Zone by Lisa Jacobson (review)
  11. Ishtar edited by Amanda Pillar and KV Taylor (review)
  12. Asymmetry by Thoraiya Dyer (review)
  13. Stray by Andrea K Höst (review)
  14. Rise of the Fallen by Teagan Chilcott (review)
  15. Lab Rat One by Andrea K Höst (review)
  16. Caszandra by Andrea K Höst (review)
  17. Perfections by Kirstyn McDermott (review)
  18. The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories by Joanne Anderton (review)
  19. Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan (review)
  20. One Small Step edited by Tehani Wessely (review)

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