(Well, seven at the moment until I can find time to write three new reviews/blurbs.)
Australian Speculative Fiction
If you want a list of Australian authors to try, or have an interest in the history of Australian speculative fiction, this a great book. A page is dedicated to each author, providing bio information and works written. There is also a short colour section featuring illustrators and information on magazines, anthologies and up-and-coming authors. It was published in 2005, I think. You’ll probably have to search around to find it, but the last time I looked it was still available through online bookstores.
Debris is an amazing debut novel. The exact genre it is is hard to define. I’d have called it fantasy, but I’ve seen it referred to as science fiction. It would appeal to readers of both. It’s like a cross between Bladerunner and Dark City. The idea behind the technology/magic is unique and brilliantly thought out, the characters are complex, and the plot is full of mystery and tension. I can’t wait for the next book.
In Medalon, Joyhinia is First Sister of the oppressive Sisters of the Blade and not one to cross, not even by her own children. When R’sheil and Tarja, her half-brother, defy their mother they find themselves cast from their home to face imprisonment, heathen cults, interfering gods and a legend of a demon child who is destined to save the lost race of Harshini.
The story continues in Treason Keep and Harshini. Appealing and amusing characters, and interesting contrasts between the different cultures and religions, add up to three very enjoyable books in this Demon Child Trilogy.
Jenny followed this with the Second Sons trilogy, a fast paced political thriller sort of fantasy that is very hard to put down. Then she returned to the world of the Demon Child Trilogy in The Hythrum Chronicles, a prequel trilogy that is gripping and addictive! Her Tide Lords series was even bigger and better and I know I’ll always be looking forward to Jenny’s next book.
Alison first impressed me with her young adult novel, Singing the Dogstar Blues, way back in the 90s, and I remember thinking that if she ever wrote a grand fantasy story it would be amazing. Well, she did, and it is. Eon, also known as The Two Pearls of Wisdom is the tale of a young woman disguised as a boy who competes to become a Dragoneye – powerful magicians bonded to invisible (except to them) dragons based on Chinese mythology – and is drawn into a struggle for the Imperial Throne. Eona the second of the duology, is also known as The Necklace of the Gods.
Glenda won me over from the first page of The Aware. I was given a manuscript of this book before it was released and liked it so much I rang the editor and offered to provide a quote for the book. At the Australian National Convention in 2004 Glenda stirred more than a few people to tears reading an extract from Gilfeather. The Tainted is a fine finish to a fabulous series.
You’re introduced first to Blaze, a woman and a halfbreed, which works to her disadvantage in this highly prejudiced society, but she is also a fine swordswoman with the ability to see magic – both the beneficial Silvmagic and the corrupt Dunmagic – and that makes her useful to the powers that be: the sorcerous Keepers. Hired to find an enslaved woman, Blaze ends up embroiled in more than just a rescue mission as she faces dangers that test all her abilities.
Glenda’s first published book, Havenstar is very difficult to find these days. It was published in the late 90s but went out of print soon after due to the demise of her publishing company, despite high sales figures. If you can find it, treasure it, as it is (in my opinion) even better than The Isles of Glory trilogy.
A Dark Winter, A Dark Journey and A Dark Victory form The Tenebran Trilogy. You get the impression Dave Luckett really knows what he’s talking about from these books, and it’s not just because of the diagrams of weapons and armour at the beginning. There’s a refreshing realism to them. Horses don’t keep going without rest, feed and proper care, and the wearing of armour has a serious down side. Yet this is a fast- paced, exciting tale, with strong characters and some chillingly dark magic.
When the first of this series appeared I have to admit my first thought was, “Not another book based on Celtic folklore”. But Daughter of the Forest was a very pleasant surprise indeed. I read it in three sittings, only stopping late at night when I just couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. The writing is both rich and compelling, the characters unique and the magic well handled.
Son of the Shadows was just as enthralling. Child of the Prophecy completes the series, and is written through the unique perspective of a character who is not sure whose side she is on.
Sabriel won two Aurealis Awards in 1995 for Best Fantasy Novel and Best Young Adult Novel. I still consider it one of the most innovative fantasy books I’ve ever read. Sabriel receives a set of bells and the news that her father, the Mage Abhorsen, is missing. The bells are the tools of necromancy, and are used to return the creatures of Death to their own realm, should they escape or be freed. The cat is wonderful, and almost steals the show.
Lirael is set several years later. Lirael struggles to find a sense of belonging among the Charter Mages, eventually finding her place in the Library. But there’s more to this library than just books, and more to her destiny than being a sword-wielding librarian. Though the book comes to a conclusion of sorts, we don’t see the completion of Lirael’s tale. Her story continues in the next book…
Abhorsen is a tale of a race against time as Lirael, Sameth, Mogget and the Disreputable Dog rush to stop a malignant force from returning to the world.