It’s that time of year when I get to shout about my favourites!
In this case, my NEW favourites 😌👌🏻 I do love discovering authors I hadn’t tried before, and realising I need to read absolutely everything they’ve ever written. I mean, some are debuters and have written but one mere book (slackers 😪) but when you find a new author with an incredible backlist? [chef’s kiss] Life gets infinitely better.
So for 2020, I did try a ton of new authors! I also…..reread a lot of old comfort favourites. But the year called for it, alright. I’m going to highlight 10 of my new favourites (all authors I haven’t tried till this year).
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Right so first order of business is: MY NEW FAVOURITE SERIES OBSESSION. I read The Ruin of Kings in January and followed up with the sequel The Name of All Things, and I’m currently reading The Memory of Souls and dyinggggg with complete and utter adoration. It’s epic fantasy but deliciously complex (reincarnation, complex magic systems, soul-swapping, and rich and lush history) but it also has….okay fine 😂 it basically tumblr style humour at times. Kihrin is our favourite disaster queer himbo and cannot be stopped. This is the kind of series that’s ranking right up with The Raven Cycle and All For The Game for me okay 🥺
I actually read his books out of order! I read Be Dazzled (out January 2021!) early and then I read his 2019 debut Reverie and um!!! I love these!! They’re so glamorous and absolutely and utterly wild. Reverie was bizarre in beautiful ways?! Be Dazzled was like an ode to crafting and cosplay, and I am like an ex-crafter (though not this level 😂) so this made me really happy!! I just thoroughly enjoyed myself.
No I haven’t read Night Circus yet so The Starless Sea was my first read by her, and 😭I just lost my heart to it. It’s beautiful, but it just fit my whole soul’s aesthetic with reluctant antisocial queer bookworms and underground secret society libraries and gorgeous ethereal fairytales and stories within stories within stories. I think of this book and just SIGH. I loved it so deeply.
Just when I was worried I was falling out of love with YA epic fantasy….Raybearer appeared to light up my WORLD (sorry the puns will stay 😪). It’s such a complex world, full of lore and magic systems and history, and it’s utterly compelling as well as so much fun. (Also there’s a side-character who’s ace!) The whole book is about friendship before romance too. And Tarisai is the kind of heroine you can’t help but adore. I’m obsessed okay and keenly waiting on the sequel.
Only Mostly Devastated was my first read of 2020 and I LOVED it!! So funny with the best quips, but also dealt with grief and family illness, so it packed a punch 🥺Then I also read Sophie Gonzales’ second book (which is out January 2021) Perfect On Paper which I adored too! Both are queer and romcoms and delightful. Also she’s an Australian author, so we are winning here.
Okay The Mermaid, The Witch, and the Sea was DARK and I freaking adored it. It’s fantasy that doesn’t hold back with brutal pirates and trauma and blood soaked decks. Lady Evelyn Hasegawa is queer and sailing to her arranged despised marriage, while Flora is living as Florian aboard The Dove (a masked pirate ship) and fated to be Evelyn’s enemy. But before that happens 😩💛LOVE HAPPENS. Also it is so unapologetically queer with several nonbinary characters (including Flora!) and the writing is just absolutely dark and whimsical.
The Fascinators read like a contemporary with complex friendship dynamics, panicked gay feels, and highschool angst…but also magic is a part of everyone’s everyday life. I LOVED THIS. I adore “this is our world, but different” stories, and the magic system was so fantastic (dare I say…fascinating 😌) and the messy friendship group was one of my favourites.
Please Don’t Hug Me was SO special to me, not just because it’s an Australian book by an Australian author — but it’s also #ownvoices autistic and actually gets what autism even is. It really captures the isolating and lonely part, the feeling that you’re behind a glass wall hoping someone notices…and care. It also dealt with grief and YEAH okay I teared up. How dare it.
The Henna Wars was SO good, I am still thinking about it months later! It had a sister relationship that honestly made my heart squish into shapes that defy my persona of being tough 😭😪 Thanks for that. And it took a good firm look at cultural appropriation and how it can be both overt and subtle. Nishat is a Bangladeshi living in Ireland, Muslim, and lesbian, and the story has some seriously hard moments but also the softest romance and captivating writing.
Sci-fi is one of my least read genres and we must ask ourselves WHY right now, because Crownchasers was absolutely brilliant! It has the classic dysfunctional team dynamics of shenanigans and sass and using humour to deflect FEELING things, plus a paperchase style plot (but with rocket ships and death) and Alyssa’s sidekick is literally named Hell Monkey. I mean. It was perfect. Plus the ending managed to puncture a hole in my lung and leave me to suffer for a year until the sequel? So 10/10 for that kindness.