I don’t usually participate in the Top Ten Tuesday meme, but I really loved the theme of this list. Not all of these authors had debut books published this year, but they’re all authors whose work I encountered for the first time this year. I would highly suggest all of them, and I look forward to reading more by them!
Karin Lowachee is critically under known. Her book Warchild was hands down the best book I read all year, a stunning science fiction novel that delves into the psychology of its young and traumatized protagonist. While not a book that’s easy to read, Warchild is a novel that deserves to be a classic. The sequels only impressed upon me just how phenomenal of a writer Karin Lowachee is. I’m begging you, please read her books! It looks like the series has been dropped by the publisher, and the fourth book can only come about by reader support.
Yoon Ha Lee
I first encountered Yoon Ha Lee through a collection of his short fiction, The Fox’s Tower and Other Tales. I loved the beautiful, original fairy tales and ended up requesting an ARC of his debut novel, Ninefox Gambit. Ninefox Gambit is a military science fiction novel, very different from his short stories. I’ll admit, I struggled with it at first. The book drops you straight into an intense far future society, and it took me awhile to find my feet. However, I ended up loving Ninefox Gambit for its vast imagination and brilliant characterization. I can’t wait to read whatever else Yoon Ha Lee writes.
I have been following Foz Meadow’s essays and reviews for a while, but the first fiction I ever read by her was this year’s debut An Accident of Stars. I loved how she constructed her fantasy societies with clear thought to gender roles, and something about her world just felt so amazingly real to me. Since reading An Accident of Stars, I’ve started to read some of her short fiction, and I haven’t been disappointed.
I’ll admit, I was skeptical of Erin Bow’s work. The Scorpion Rules didn’t have the best of ratings on Goodreads, and it was YA dystopia to boot, a genre which I’m growing more and more tired of. Then I read her YA fantasy novel Plain Kate and was crushed by the emotional wallop it packed. This gave me the encouragement I needed to give her dystopian books a go. And I’m glad I did! While I don’t think they contain as much emotional pain as Plain Kate, Erin Bow certainly has a knack for getting an emotional response out of me. Plus, I loved the steely heroine, Greta.
I heard good things about Archivist Wasp when it was released back in 2015, but I didn’t get around to reading it until this spring. Now I wish I hadn’t waited. Archivist Wasp not only lived up to its buzz, it surpassed my expectations. It’s a strange book that, while undoubtedly speculative fiction, doesn’t fit neatly into any subgenres. At heart its about a ghost hunter trying to regain her humanity in the ruins of a world. I haven’t yet gotten the chance to read anything else by Nicole Kornher-Stace, but I’m excited for the opportunity.
I’d seen some good reviews regard Indra Das’s debut novel, The Devourers, so when it was due to be published in the states, I managed to snag an ARC. I was blown away! I had a rough start with The Devourers – it’s a dark book largely centering around a rape and I was uncertain of the treatment the narrative would take. However, the book ultimately won me over. This tale of Indian werewolves was unlike anything else I have ever read, and I don’t doubt Indra Das’s ability to wow me with whatever he writes next.
I think Mishell Baker’s had some short fiction published before Borderline, but I don’t think I’ve read any of it. Borderline, her debut novel, was an urban fantasy novel that swoared its way into my heart on the strength of its unlikable but utterly compelling anti-heroic protagonist. Millie is a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder who’s also a double amputee after a failed suicide attempt. Now she’s also involved with the fae. The sequel to Borderline comes out in 2017, and I couldn’t be more excited!
I’m not sure where I’d heard of B.R. Sander’s novel Ariah. I think I had the confused impression that it was a graphic novel (it wasn’t). Maybe I’d heard that it had won the Bisexual Book Award (it did). Whatever the reason, I ended up requesting it on Netgalley and could not have been more delighted with the fantasy coming of age story I found. I haven’t yet read anything else they’ve written, but I know that they wrote another book set in the same world as Ariah but with a female protagonist. That’s something I’ll have to get to come 2017.
Roses and Rot is another book that it took me a while to be sold on. I picked it up on the strength of a blurb by Neil Gaiman, but upon starting it began to be worried that it be too much “artistic people are magical” for my taste. However, that while it toed the line, that didn’t turn out to be the case. I loved this modern fairy tale about the love between two sisters, and since then I’ve read some of the short fiction Kat Howard got a name for. I plan to keep going through her back list of short stories, and I’ll read whatever novel she writes next!
Tenea D. Johnson
Tenea D. Johnson is a little known author with a big imagination. I’ve currently read two works by her, the fantastical dystopian novel Smoketown and the rather bleaker dystopian novella R/evolution. I enjoyed both, although Smoketown edges out R/evolution as my favorite of the two. However, both works are from several years ago and I have no idea what she’s up to now. I saw a post saying that there’s a sequel to R/evolution that was supposed to be out sometime winter 2016, but I haven’t seen any more information.
Are you familiar with any of the authors on this list? Are there any you want to read but haven’t gotten to yet? Let me know in the comments!