Another short list of CBA SF/F I have enjoyed over the past couple of years. Notice that I leave out Bryan Davis and Donita K. Paul. These go without saying at the top of the list of new classics, on the YA side and even perhaps with adult SF/F.
This is also not an exhaustive list, or impressive in any way. I’m a homeschooling mother of eight, who also writes. I have a To Be Read stack as tall as myself. But like last week’s list, this is a sampling, a teaser for those who might otherwise pass over a particular title
Linda Wichman: Legend of the Emerald Rose: a new spin on the Arthur/Merlin legend. Faintly reminiscent of Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave and sequels, but with a splash of modern sass and bounce. The story bears the marks of some too-hasty editing (and yes, I told Linda as much last year … I’m so cheeky), but I love, love, LOVE many aspects of the book, and could hardly put it down either time I read it. (I went through it carefully a second time while judging for the 2005 ACFW Book of the Year.) This book also definitely falls into the category of fantasy that reads suspiciously like romance, for those who don’t care for that sort.
Kathleen Morgan, Giver of Roses: Another fantasy-romance, or is that epic fantasy-romance? Except that it doesn’t end the way one expects. The author stridently maintained that although she did take some elements of her premise from Homer, in no way did she intend the opening scene of the book to sound/look/feel like it was lifted from the movie “Troy.” But actually, this increased its appeal for me. What if … Hector fought Achilles, but didn’t die? And what if his forbidden marriage to a beautiful Elven princess was a doomed one? And what if …
The world is richly textured and borrows heavily from ancient Armenian language and culture, also something new, and very nifty. Some things I liked very much, but others irked me. Many people have given this book glowing reviews, however, and if you like historical romance with all its conventions, chances are you’ll love this one.
R.K. Mortenson, Landon Snow and the Auctor’s Riddle: A bookish young boy on the eve of his eleventh birthday, troubled over the meaning of life, is drawn into a fantastical adventure where he discovers the answers to his questions. Deep philosophical truth handled in a very low-key way. Randy has a delightful writer’s voice!
Miles Owens, Daughter of Prophecy: My full review is at Christian Fandom, but basically, I expected this to be just another tiresome spin on the warrior maid motif (once my favorite thing in fantasy), but was delightfully shocked to find otherwise. The “romance” takes unexpected turns, yet the two main characters’ lives are entwined. I especially liked what Miles does with Welsh names and words … of course, it might have something to do with the fact that I have a good dose of Welsh blood myself.
R.E. Bartlett, The Personifid Project: A futuristic tale capitalizing on mankind’s desire for immortality, and at the least to micromanage every detail of life. I liked this one, though I tend to not be a SF person, and one of the secondary characters very nearly steals the show with his dynamic personality. A fun read!
T.L. Higley, Fallen from Babel: Time travel—a professor from the modern world is thrown back into ancient Babylon, where he is literally thrown into the identity of a pagan priest, right down to wearing the man’s body. There he is confronted with issues of faith and belief that he has until now been able to brush off. This story is an interesting exercise in apologetics, and the romantic thread is understated, with a nice twist.