This year I signed up for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2017 (#aww2017). The AWW challenge was set up to help overcome gender bias in the reviewing of books by Australian women. The challenge encourages avid readers and book bloggers, male and female, living in or outside Australia, to read and review books by Australian women throughout the year.
On this page I’ll add my reviews as I go. Hope you enjoy 🙂
‘Heart of the Mirage’ by Glenda Larke
I first read this book almost ten years ago, and picked it up again recently when I was in the mood for a good high fantasy read. Just like last time, I was engaged in this book from page 1 and enjoyed it even more on the second read. Larke’s characters are flawed and compelling, and her skill with world-building allows you to become completely immersed in the story. Her main character- Ligea Gayed- is a tough, kick-ass woman, and Larke writes her in such a way that even when she’s not necessarily doing the right thing, you want to get behind her anyway.
I dived straight into book two – The Shadow of Tyr – after reading the final page, and am already devouring it as quickly as The Heart of the Mirage. In my opinion, there’s no better indicator for how good a book is! A highly recommended read!
‘The Dry’ by Jane Harper
As an Aussie reader, I loved diving into the world of rural Australia in this book—both the good and the bad—I really enjoyed having that instinctive familiarity with the setting, language and characters (we really do say ‘mate’ a lot!). The story is a wonderfully crafted murder-mystery that had me compulsively turning pages right from the first.
Harper isn’t doing anything new with the genre, but she masters the key things that hook me in a crime/murder mystery novel: a complex but entirely believable plot, engaging characters, and a setting that evokes creepiness when it needs to (there were definitely a couple of occasions I read late into the night, and then wished I hadn’t when I subsequently tried to sleep ?).
Harper paints enough ‘dubiousness’ around several characters so that even if you’re suspicious of one of them, you can’t be entirely confident you’ve picked the culprit. All in all, a highly enjoyable read, and I definitely recommend it!
‘Bitter Greens’ by Kate Forsyth
Historical fantasy isn’t normally my genre of choice, but when Kate Forsyth is the author, you really can’t turn anything down. Bitter Greens is a a beautifully researched and written novel that immerses you completely in its setting.
For those that that love historical fantasy, this is for you. The three female characters are delightful, each with their own strengths and stories that blend together wonderfully. I read it easily, the pages flying by as I became absorbed in the world of France in the time of Sun King Louis XIV.
Definitely a recommended read.
‘The Dying Flame’ by R.L. Sanderson
This was the first time I’ve done the AWW challenge, and I’ve tried to do something a little different with each of my four reads. The first was an old favourite by one of my all time favourite Australian fantasy authors; the second a thrilling crime novel; the third a little out of my usual range with historical fantasy, but written by another of my favourite Australian writers.
For my final read, I chose The Dying Flame by fellow Canberran indie author, R.L. Sanderson. Her book did not disappoint. This was a really enjoyable read! Sanderson’s world is layered and complex but she doesn’t drown you with too much detail or ‘info dumping’. Orla is a great main character, a tough but scared girl with an understandable need for vengeance. I had no trouble continuing to turn the pages on this one, and am super excited to read the next book!! It really goes to show that indie authors can put out stories just as wonderful as those traditionally published.
I can’t wait to sign up for AWW2018!