Aurealis Award judging has started once more – last year I listed them separately but this year I think I’ll just leave them off – it’s not like I can discuss them at all.
This year I’ll be judging the first year of the Sara Douglass Series Award, which shall try to determine the BEST series that was finalised between the years 2011 and 2014. Sara Douglass was an amazing Australian author who sadly passed in 2011 (and we can’t believe it was so long ago already), and we are very glad to have been able to name the award for her, as her series got countless people into speculative fiction.
At an estimate we’ll be reading more than 80 series, and as most series have three-five books… it’s going to be an incredibly fun, exhausting feat I’m sure!
Onto the novels read in July!
The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton was brilliant. Utterly brilliant. I still love the first book more, however this was truly a joy to read. I’m so glad I was slack on reviewing the preview that was available on NetGalley so I only had to wait a day or so for the full book to come out!
You can read my short review of the preview here.
The Night They Stormed Eureka by Jackie French was quite enjoyable – not my favourite of this series Jackie does telling Australian history in short snippets, but it was quite good. I like how she turns usually dull or unlikable characters into someone you care about, by making them well-rounded and understandable. Once you see their view they’re suddenly human, and hence, easier to like!
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan was a re-read because I wanted to get the series done. I remember really, really loving this book, so you can imagine my sorrow when the suck-fairy seems to have visited since. The dialogue is still fun and wacky, but overall the book was disappointing. Especially since I was looking forward to reading it so much.
Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan was a quick read, at least.
Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan was very disappointing. Never has a love-triangle seemed so forced. Moving on!
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson was a book gifted to me by my partner – I forget where we were at the time (probably somewhere in England, unless it was during the Melbourne holiday…) where he had to try to find a book I didn’t already own that I should read. And this would have been back in 2011 or something. Finally it came up for book club, so I jumped at the chance to finally read it! And it was really, really good! It somehow seems to have been written long before it actually was, making the leaps of guesses at technology seem amazing – yet it wasn’t written all that long ago, really. Props to making Y. T. an excellent and engaging character, and if only Hiro had remained as interesting as he was initially.
Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson was an enjoyable, quick read. A few elements of the female character were disappointing, but I wasn’t expecting much better, to be honest. Also annoying when you get a book that says it’s however many pages long, then a whole chunk of them turn out to be not-book pages.
Cloudwish by Fiona Wood was another book I’ve been waiting a long time for – having read her second while judging the Children’s Book of Aust Awards and then devouring her first because of the excellence that is the second… so as soon as I saw this was out for review I jumped on it.
You can read my review of it here or you can just pre-order it now and save time. And also ‘Wildlife’ and ‘Six Impossible Things’, her previous books which aren’t a series but involve the same characters. DO IT NOW!
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin was a book friend-River went nuts for, so when I saw it was available to review I jumped at the chance. Even though I really do have far too many books to read for Aurealis right now (28 which have arrived ready to be read, 116 in total entered that have either been read or haven’t yet arrived….eek!) but I just couldn’t help myself. Historical fiction is my weak spot (as is alt-history) and anything involving the second world war (and then bonus Japanese aspect) and add kick-ass female characters and whoa. Recommended for fans of Ian Tregillis’ Milkweed Triptych series kinda.
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison was a very slow but very enjoyable read. I think it took me over a month for some reason, even though I loved it throughout – I could read for an hour and somehow only get through 4% at a time. Strange! But it’s an excellent book, and I have high hopes it’ll win the Hugo this year.