Welcome to Smugglivus 2011! Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2011, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2012.
Who: Heather Tomlinson, author of wonderful YA fantasy! Thea discovered Heather Tomlinson this year after stumbling across a copy of The Swan Maiden in her local independent bookstore. And she loved it, internets. She LOVED it.
Recent Work: The truly awesome Toads and Diamonds, a retelling of Charles Perrault’s fairy tale “Les Fées” set in an alternate fantasy world similar to pre-colonial India.
Please give a warm welcome to Heather!
Thanks ever so much for inviting me to join the Smugglivus festivities. You people are evil. I’m torn between delight and despair about exactly how many Delicious-Sounding Books I Have Yet To Read And Many Of Which I Never Heard Of Before have jumped out at me from the posts contributed so far.
For 2011: Alas, I mostly read nonfiction this year, researching the Spanish-American War and the California Gold Rush for works-in-progress. Unless you’re enthusiastic to discover, say, how advances in military hygiene saved lives in Cuba (and for that, I’d highly recommend Vincent Cirillo’s Bullets and Bacilli), here are the (mostly) YA titles I enjoyed and would recommend:
Black Ships, by Jo Graham: A retelling of events from The Aeneid, from the point of view of Gull, an oracle for the Lady of the Dead. Spare, elegant prose that you could eat with a spoon. If prose was served that way. Also check out Hand of Isis, about Cleopatra. (Not published as YA, but I think it would totally work for teens.)
Corbenic, by Catherine Fisher. (Reread) Her Incarceron books rode the dystopia train to fame and—I’m hoping—fortune, but this is an earlier gem of a Grail retelling, intensely dreamy and atmospheric.
Huntress, by Malinda Lo: A lovely, fresh take on the classic quest-style fantasy novel, in which characters you care about change and grow and fall in love and discover their own unexpected strengths and fight the good fight against a wicked magical opponent.
Paranormalcy, by Kiersten White: True confession: I started and never finished over a dozen YA paranormal novels this year. This one kept me turning the pages without being tempted to skip the middle chapters and catch up at the end. Amusing and heartfelt by turns, great pacing. Sequel Supernaturally is available too (and on the TBR pile).
The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater: I was fortunate enough to hear her talk recently about writing this book, and the several attempts, over many years, it took to get the story to gel. So worth the wait. You want both protagonists to win, but it’s a race, right, so only one jockey can take first prize. Plus, the horses are trying to eat their riders. Excellent.
Looking forward to 2012 (yes, OK, technically a couple are available now. But the way December’s shaping up, I’ll be reading them next year):
Born Wicked, by Jessica Spotswood. I’ve heard great things about this title, available February. From the publisher’s description: “Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches.”
Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer, available January. Cyborg Cinderella. And the bestest cover featuring a shoe that I’ve seen in a long time.
Liar’s Moon, by Elizabeth Bunce, available now. The further adventures of Digger, sequel to Starcrossed. C’mon. You know you want to find out how our favorite pickpocket will get herself out of trouble this time.
The Sleeping Partner, by Madeleine Robins, available now. What, you haven’t discovered the alternate Regency mysteries featuring Sarah Tolerance, Fallen Woman and Agent of Inquiry? Lucky you! Start with Petty Treason, and follow with A Point of Honor. Another not-officially-YA title.
The Unnaturalists, by Tiffany Trent, available August (no cover art yet). From the publisher’s description: “In an alternate London where magical creatures are preserved in a museum, two teens find themselves caught in a web of intrigue, deception, and danger.” Steampunk, yesssssss.
And one bonus title that’ll be another year in the making: Robin McKinley’s contemporary fantasy Shadows, now due in 2013. Apparently, the Story Council authorities decided this one needed to be shared with her fans before Pegasus II (currently scheduled for 2014). We’ll be waiting!
Smuggle on, book friends…
Thank you, Heather!