Wednesday, March 28, 2012


The speculative fiction category in the Whitney Awards is divided into two categories--an adult section and a youth section.  This is not my favorite area and I tend to avoid the books in this area as long as possible.  I found the adult section pretty much the same as in other years with only one new author, but I was pleasantly surprised by the youth category.   

Science fiction, fantasy, dystopia, occult, horror, last days or afterlife, pre-history, fairy tales, and all of the other sub genres that fall under the umbrella of "speculative fiction" are highly popular with many readers and LDS writers contribute heavily to this type of novel.  All of these writers write well and are exceptionally talented at holding an audience. Here's the list of adult finalists: 

The Alloy of Law: A Mistborn Novel by Brandon Sanderson

I Don't Want to Kill You by Dan Wells

The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card

A Night of Blacker Darkness by Dan Wells

No Angel by Theresa Sneed 

I didn't take very good notes on these books, but I did jot down a sentence or two on each. Instead of giving a brief synopsis of each I think I'll share my brief notes with apologies to the authors and their many fans. Did I mention I'm not a fan of speculative fiction? 

The Alloy of Law -  A Western? No, same old story of people running around chugging down copious amounts of drugs called metals.

I Don't Want to Kill You - Continuation of self-absorbed, bratty, rude kid with fascination for dead bodies

The Lost Gate - More YA than adult, new series, intriguing

A Night of Blacker Darkness - unedited rough draft?

No Angel - not my idea of the afterlife, but interesting and almost believable.  Original, even fun in spots 

Okay, before I get myself in more trouble I'll move on to the Youth portion of this contest. To my utter shock I enjoyed all of them and ranking them for the contest was as hard as ranking the Mystery/Suspense category.  Here's the list: 

My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison - Tansy is caught with a can of spray paint in her hand at an awkward moment.  Her fairy godmother comes to her rescue in her own inept way, tossing the teenager back to the middle ages and into the middle of the Rumplestiltskin story. 

Shifting by Bethany Wiggins - A foster child who is in trouble is shipped to a new foster home to finish the last few months of her senior year of high school. Trouble follows her.  She discovers she has the ability to change into an animal, someone knows her secret and is trying to kill her.  

Slayers by C. J. Hill - A unique group of teenagers are drawn to a summer camp where they learn they each have special powers, dragons are real, and only they can stop the takeover of the country by the man who controls the dragons.

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George - This fast paced adventure has a different twist. The castle is the main character with magical powers. Children left behind while their parents the king and queen make a state visit find themselves struggling to keep the kingdom out of the hands of usurpers while they wait for word concerning the fate of their parents who don't return when expected. 

Variant by Robison Wells - Students at an unusual boarding school find they are actually prisoners.  Some are determined to escape and some are equally determined not to invite retribution by attempting to escape.  The various factions fight each other and no one knows who can be trusted or why some students who break a rule mysteriously disappear.  As usually happens in dystopian novels, there's always a new disaster waiting around the corner.

This is the last of the Whitney finalists.  Rank them one to five with one the highest or just leave a comment concerning the ones you've read.  You can go back and add comments or ranks to previous posts and each comment will be counted as an entry in the contest.  Same rules as previously stated.  The contest runs until midnight Saturday, March 31.  I'll post the winners on Monday, April 2.


Janice Sperry said...

I read only one of the adult speculative fiction books. I usually enjoy Orson Scott Card.

YA is really hard because every book is so good. I'm guessing Variant will win.

Primarymary said...

I have only read 1 of the books in this category. Its not usually type of book I would pick up.
I loved No Angel by Theresa Sneed. I found it well written and entertaining.
Ihave Variant by Ronison Wells on Kindle, but I haven't read it yet.

Karey said...

I, too, liked every book in the youth category. As far as the adult category, I thought a couple were interesting. The biggest surprise I had was that after not liking I am Not a Serial Killer, I thought the third book was a pretty good wrap-up to the series. I thought the youth category was much stronger than the adult category.