I’m late, again – what’re you gonna do? But I did complete my bingo card this year, and I have the receipts to prove it!
Links go to my reviews where applicable!
Five Short Stories – The Fox’s Tower by Yoon Ha Lee
This was one of my favourite reads of the entire year! Such incredibly beautiful, very short stories – like snippets of dreams. Very queer, very magical, with gorgeous prose and imagination. A genuinely perfect book.
Set in Asia – Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard
A solid three stars book: I didn’t love it, but it’s objectively quite good and I definitely see why it’s so beloved.
A Selection From the A-Z Genre Guide – The Last Sun by K.D. Edwards
The r/Fantasy bingo allows you onereread, and I spent mine on The Last Sun, because of course I did!
Found Family – The Sunken Mall by K.D. Edwards
Feel free to be appalled it took one so long to get to The Sunken Mall – I am! This is a fantastic addition to the series, and personally I consider it necessary reading – there are some conversations, and emotional development, here that are vital if you want to get everything out of, and fully appreciate, The Hanged Man.
Plus it’s just ridiculously fun and funny??? And the plot is literally ‘how do we convince the teenager we accidentally adopted that we want him here?’ so it nails the Found Family prompt!
First Person POV – In The Eyes Of Mr Fury by Philip Ridley
This is an odd one that became very precious to me; a kind of urban fantasy/magical realism mix about a young man discovering the history of the street he lives on and his own sexuality – except there are also magic crows, ghost biscuits, and impossible movie reels! I ended up unexpectedly adoring this one.
Book Club or Readalong Book – The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry by C.M. Waggoner
I reviewed this one! Very, very clever and sharp, with a cast you can’t help but fall in love with and wonderful worldbuilding. Plus a haunted mouse skeleton!
New To You Author – The Dawnhounds by Sascha Stronach
I bought my copy just days before it was unpublished so it could be readied for a trad publishing deal – talk about cutting it close! But it’s SO outside-the-box, strange and wonderful and one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. I’m incredibly excited for the new (and expanded!) edition!
Gothic Fantasy – Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson
A queer Dracula reimagining from the perspective of one of his wives??? This is decadent and delicious and I adored it so much!
Backlist Book – Travel Light by Naomi Mitchison
This has a beautiful fairytale vibe – the main character is a princess who is raised by bears, and then by dragons – but it was also very clever and thoughtful, and I enjoyed it immensely. I’m only sorry it took me so long to hear about this author!
Revenge-Seeking Character – Blackheart Knights by Laure Eve
King Arthur reimagining with knights on motorbikes??? Sign me the HELL up!!! This was even more excellent than it sounds, and surprised me by also being queer. The blend of magic and technology was wonderful.
Mystery Plot – The Helm of Midnight by Marina Lostetter
Definitely some of the most original, and interesting, magic I’ve seen in a while – like storing emotions in gemstones, and memories+skills of the dead in masks that can confer those skills to the wearer. Plus, untrustworthy narrators not in the sense that the characters are lying to you, but that they are the ones being lied to. Which is a twist I don’t see often and massively appreciated. I can’t wait for book two!
Comfort Read – Three Twins at the Crater School by Chaz Brenchley
Another one I reviewed! Cozy British boarding school-esque story, but set on Mars with some really cool worldbuilding. Much love!
Published in 2021 – The Unbroken by C. L. Clark
I found The Unbroken massively compelling, but I’m still not sure if I enjoyed it? The worldbuilding was a bit simplistic for my tastes, although the take on colonialism was amazingly apt and powerful. Clark’s prose is a bit dry and blunt for me, I guess. I’d still recommend it, though.
Cat Squasher (500+ pages) – The Hands of the Emperor by Victoria Goddard
Pure perfection. I hope I can carve out time this year to reread it, because I want to try and take proper notes this time so I can review it. Which I have not managed to do so far, because it is genuinely beyond the power of words to describe.
SFF-Related Nonfiction – Eating Authors by Lawrence M. Schoen
As a literary foodie, I absolutely loved this – it was a lot of fun, and I loved how incredibly wide-ranging the authors’ most memorable meals were!
Latinx or Latin American Author – And What Can We Offer You Tonight by Premee Mohamed
I didn’t feel like this lived up to the beautiful cover, but it’s more a case of me and it not getting on, rather than this being objectively bad. You know?
Self Published – Heart of Stone by Johannes T. Evans
Another super-sweet, cozy read! This is another one I hope I can review properly at some point; it’s a M/M slow-burn between a vampire with ADHD and an autistic secretary, and I loved every second of it. Although I do feel like it was unfair that Evans sprung some seriously incredible worldbuilding on us in the final pages! I hope we get more stories in this setting some day.
Forest Setting – Bee Sting Cake by Victoria Goddard
Bee Sting Cake is all about Jemis claiming his inheritance, which very much involves a very important forest, and also some bees. This whole series is like sinking into a warm bath, honestly – one with some fizzy, glittering bath-bomb!
Genre Mashup – The Charmed Wife by Olga Grushin
Cinderella after the marriage! Only it slowly changed from obvious fantasy to contemporary fiction? It was weird, but personally I adored it, especially the long footnotes about the lives of Cinderella’s mice-friends!
Has Chapter Titles – The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik
The Last Graduate took all the bleakness of book one and turned it into hopepunk, which I was absolutely not expecting, but massively appreciated! Although the ending made me SHRIEK, and I need book three immediately!
Title: _ of _ – The Library of the Dead by T. L. Huchu
This surprised me in all sorts of ways that utterly delighted me, and is a very good start to what I suspect is going to be one of my favourite urban fantasy series!
First Contact – Artifact Space by Miles Cameron
Squid-aliens who live in ammonia! And make incredible glass that the whole human economy relies on! Like most of Cameron’s books, this is technically quite slow and very obsessed with logistics, but for some reason I always find it really soothing and enjoyable??? I don’t know, but I loved it.
Trans or Nonbinary Character – Gifting Fire by Alina Boyden
I really enjoyed book one of this duology; I freaking loved Gifting Fire!!! It had me on the edge of the seat every single second, damn it, and I regret none of it!
Debut Author – The Councillor by E. J. Beaton
*happy sigh* This hit pretty much all of my buttons; political intrigue, beautiful worldbuilding, queerness all over the place, magic, and the value of books and knowledge. Perfection!
Witches – The Midnight Girls by Alicia Jasinska
This was lovely, though once again Jasinska frustrated me by not really wrapping things up by the ending. I still hold out hope for a sequel for Dark Tide.
Now it’s just making sure my r/Fantasy bingo reads for 2022 overlap as much as possible with the Subjective Chaos Awards!
Have you read any of these? Do you want to? Let me know!