I love The Discriminating Fangirl because it is my type of place – dedicated to all things geek-oriented. This includes speculative fiction book reviews, but it also extends to television and movies (especially superhero movies), comic books, and video games. They also have a few podcasts that cover everything from banned books to some of the latest movies in the Marvel universe. It is the perfect place to hang out if you’re into the usual geeky things in addition to reading science fiction and fantasy.
Pamela is telling us about two of her favorite authors today. They’re both authors I’ve read, and I have to say, I give a big thumbs up to both the authors she’s selected and her reasons for choosing them!
First, huge thanks to Kristen for inviting me to be part of her Women in SF/F month! I went back and forth on what to write today, and I decided that since I love giving my opinion, I’m going to talk about two authors who write in my favorite SF/F subgenre: urban fantasy.
I love pretty much any subgenre of speculative fiction. I cut my reading teeth on science fiction and fantasy and was attacking hard SF and high fantasy by the time I was ten. When urban fantasy started to surface in bookstores, I found myself immediately drawn to it. I love the idea of the fantastic hiding in plain sight in a contemporary setting. And I quickly realized that the vast majority of the UF that I was reading was written by women, which was a major plus to me. I’m all about promoting women’s participation in geekdom, and I’m proud to read female authors in the geeky realm.
So! Who are my two favorite female urban fantasy authors? Actually, I shouldn’t even qualify that with “female.” These are my two favorite UF authors, period, and they’re two of my favorite authors in any genre. Let’s go!
Ms. Aguirre first came on my radar with the first novel in her Sirantha Jax series, Grimspace, and boy, do I love that series. I love character-driven science fiction, and Grimspace is right up my alley, led by a tough female lead who grows and changes over the course of the series. LOVE IT.
So when I saw that Ms. Aguirre was coming out with an urban fantasy series, I jumped aboard as fast as I could. The Corinne Solomon series has quickly turned into one of my favorites, and Ms. Aguirre is proving herself an expert at creating the kind of character that I love. Corinne, like Sirantha Jax, is tough and intelligent, but she is ultimately a flawed human being, and that’s what makes her so fascinating. She does the wrong thing while trying to do the right thing, and she tries desperately to learn from those missteps, and really, I can’t ask for better character development than that. At the end of the third book in the series, Shady Lady, I actually cried for Corinne. I may be a sap, but I don’t often cry over books (Harry Potter is the exception here), so this is high praise from me.
The fourth Corinne Solomon book, Devil’s Punch, came out April 3, and it’s sitting in iBooks waiting for me to crack its metaphorical spine. If you haven’t checked out Ms. Aguirre’s series (she also has a dystopian young adult series, Razorland, which I also love), you should definitely pick one up.
If there’s an author that will make me jump off of my butt and run to buy a book the second it comes out, it’s Seanan McGuire. Her October Daye series is hands-down my favorite urban fantasy. It just encapsulates everything I love about the genre, from magic hiding in plain sight to a snarky, self-aware main character to absolutely gorgeous incorporation of mythology and folklore into the “real” world. I love good world-building, and Ms. McGuire builds one seriously amazing world.
Much like my love of Ms. Aguirre’s characters, the thing that keeps me hooked on the October Daye series is the amazing cast of characters. October herself is near the top of my list of favorite fictional characters. She’s flawed–oh my goodness, does she have issues–but she ultimately tries to do what’s good and right. She feels a sense of duty, but she also has a well-developed idea of her own personal ethics, and while those ethics may adapt to situations, I never feel like she’s acting out of character. Toby is never stagnant as a character, and with each new book in the series, I feel like she grows and adapts and becomes even better.
To put it succinctly, I freaking love Toby.
But Toby isn’t the only amazing character in the series. I’ve seen so many series get weighed down under an enormous cast of characters, and the problem with that stems from not fleshing out those characters enough. I don’t want to read about cardboard cutouts who interact with the main character but don’t really have personalities beyond “handsome love interest” or “sassy best friend.”
The October Daye series boasts the best cast of supporting characters I’ve seen. I love them all, even the ones I hate. No one is just tossed in there to fill a role, and I’ve even fallen head over heels for a few of them (Tybalt, Luideag, Quentin, I’m looking at you). I cried like a baby when a supporting character died in the fifth book, One Salt Sea.
I could ramble on forever about how much I love this series, but I should probably cut myself off here. Ms. McGuire has managed to write an addictive series that’s alternately serious, funny, and heartbreaking, and I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for the next book to come out.
She also writes the InCryptid series, another urban fantasy, which I actually haven’t read yet. I just bought the first ebook, Discount Armageddon, so I’ll be reading it soon. Under the name Mira Grant, she’s also written the Newsflesh series, which is actually the first zombie horror books I’ve read. I’m not into zombies, guys, so it’s a sign of how awesome those books are that I absolutely loved the first two and can’t wait for the third, which comes out in May.