When I heard that the first theme for #LoveOzYaBloggers for 2018 was ‘Country’, four clear recommendations came to mind. The first two I chose for the obvious reason that they are set in rural Australia. Not just that, but the flavour and feel of those settings are intrinsically woven throughout the plot and the characters.
Cassandra – Kathryn Gossow
Is the future set like concrete, or a piece of clay we can mould and change?
On a remote farm in Queensland, Cassie Shultz feels useless. Her perfect brother Alex has an uncanny ability to predict the weather, and the fortunes of the entire family hinge upon his forecasts. However, her own gift for prophecy remains frustratingly obscure. Attempts to help her family usually result in failure.
After meeting with her new genius neighbour Athena, Cassie thinks she has unlocked the secret of her powers. But as her visions grow more vivid, she learns that the cost of honing her gift may be her sanity.
With her family breaking apart, the future hurtles towards Cassie faster than she can comprehend it.
Kathryn Gossow is a writer and sometimes gardener living in a two acre garden in a pocket of the Brisbane River. When she is writing, her garden is a mess. When she is gardening, she forgets to write. It seems she cannot have both. She writes for that elusive feeling when she gets into the zone and there is nothing else in the world but her and the words that tumble onto the page. Kathryn has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, won a commendation in the Australian Horror Writers’ Association Flash Fiction Competition and has a number of published stories out in the world.
ISBN: 978-1-922200-78-5 (pbk) | 978-1-922200-79-2 (ebook)
Category: Young Adult Fiction
Trade paperback: 262 pages
Publication Date: 6 February 2017
RRP: AU $22.95 (pbk) | $4.99 (ebook)
Author website: https://kathryngossow.net
Heart of Brass – Felicity Banks
Emmeline Muchamore is a well-bred young lady hiding explosive family secrets. She needs to marry well, and quickly, in order to keep her family respectable. But when her brass heart malfunctions, she makes a desperate choice to steal the parts she needs to repair it and survive.
She is unable to explain her actions without revealing she has a steam-powered heart, so she is arrested for theft and transported to Victoria, Australia – right in the midst of the Gold Rush.
Now that she’s escaped the bounds of high society, iron manacles cannot hold her for long.
The only metal that really matters is gold.
Felicity Banks is a Canberra author specialising in fantasy and interactive fiction, including several Choose Your Own Adventure-style stories that take place in the same magical steampunk universe as Heart of Brass. All her interactive fiction is listed under “Felicity Banks” at http://ifdb.tads.org and most of her interactive fiction can be read as an app.
Heart of Brass is her thirteenth completed novel, her third novel accepted for publication, and her first novel to be published.
The Antipodean Queen Series facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/Antipodean-Queen-Fantasy-Steampunk-Books-1123139861084253
ISBN: 978-1-922200-58-7 (pbk) | 978-1-922200-59-4 (ebook)
Category: Fiction – Steampunk
Trade paperback: 306 pages
Publication Date: 29 July 2016
RRP: AU $23.95 (pbk) | $4.99 (ebook)
The next two novels I chose more out of an exploration of how a person’s origin relates to their sense of identity. Draekora – the third book in Lynette Noni’s Medoran Chronicles, delves into the journey of someone who thought she understood who she was and where her place was in the world. Then she has it all thrown out the window as she undergoes actual physical transformations which link her to two entirely new races. How much does a connection to Country play a part in your choices and values?
Draekora – Lynette Noni
Book Three: The Medoran Chronicles
“I swear by the stars that you and the others slain tonight will be the first of many. Of that you have my word.”
With Aven Dalmarta now hiding in the shadows of Meya, Alex is desperate to save Jordan and keep the Rebel Prince from taking more lives.
Training day and night to master the enhanced immortal blood in her veins, Alex undertakes a dangerous Meyarin warrior trial that separates her from those she loves and leaves her stranded in a place where nothing is as it should be.
As friends become enemies and enemies become friends, Alex must decide who to trust as powerful new allies—and adversaries—push her towards a future of either light… or darkness.
One way or another, the world will change…
The last book takes this exploration even further, as Finnikin of the Rock struggles to decide whether it’s better for his exiled people to fight to return to their country, or leave the painful past behind them and work towards a new future. Again, that connection between country and identity drives every choice the characters make. This book does a brilliant job of highlighting how easy it is for assumptions and prejudices to be made about someone according to their country of origin.
Finnikin of the Rock – Melina Marchetta
Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.
Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.
But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin’s faith in her . . . but in himself.
Do you have any other recommendations? Let me know. After all, it’s a new year. My TBR just hit a reset button so there’s plenty of room…for now!
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