When I look at the fantasy I’ve read, the majority of authors I’ve read are from the UK and North America. There are so many authors, from so many other countries, I’m missing out on – and how much the English-speaking world misses out on thanks to books not being translated is a whole other discussion – but I continue to be surprised by how little fantasy I’ve read from authors from Australia, and I don’t think they’re authors we tend to see discussed a lot in general.
There are, of course, exceptions. From what I’ve seen the Australian authors that do well do really well – just look at how much of a triumph Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor series has been, and there’s a certain other Australian author who continues to be very popular even though he’s incapable of taking criticism from the minorities he incorporates into his fiction.
One of the first fantasy series I fell in love with was Garth Nix’s The Old Kingdom – in fact with the release of Terciel and Elinor on the horizon this autumn, it’s a series I’d like to re-read and continue this year – and both Sabriel and Lirael are two of my favourite women in fantasy. Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor series is one of my more recent favourites, I’m re-reading the series so far this year via audiobook and falling even more in love with it, and my favourite read of 2021 so far is Shelley Parker-Chan’s debut, She Who Became the Sun.
I clearly enjoy fantasy by Australian authors, so it’s about time I read more!
The Magicians’ Guild by Trudi Canavan
“We should expect this young woman to be more powerful than our average novice, possibly even more powerful than the average magician.”
This year, like every other, the magicians of Imardin gather to purge the city of undesirables. Cloaked in the protection of their sorcery, they move with no fear of the vagrants and miscreants who despise them and their work-—until one enraged girl, barely more than a child, hurls a stone at the hated invaders…and effortlessly penetrates their magical shield.
What the Magicians’ Guild has long dreaded has finally come to pass. There is someone outside their ranks who possesses a raw power beyond imagining, an untrained mage who must be found and schooled before she destroys herself and her city with a force she cannot yet control.
The Councillor by E.J. Beaton
When the death of Iron Queen Sarelin Brey fractures the realm of Elira, Lysande Prior, the palace scholar and the queen’s closest friend, is appointed Councillor. Publically, Lysande must choose the next monarch from amongst the city-rulers vying for the throne. Privately, she seeks to discover which ruler murdered the queen, suspecting the use of magic.
Resourceful, analytical, and quiet, Lysande appears to embody the motto she was raised with: everything in its place. Yet while she hides her drug addiction from her new associates, she cannot hide her growing interest in power. She becomes locked in a game of strategy with the city-rulers – especially the erudite prince Luca Fontaine, who seems to shift between ally and rival.
Further from home, an old enemy is stirring: the magic-wielding White Queen is on the move again, and her alliance with a traitor among the royal milieu poses a danger not just to the peace of the realm, but to the survival of everything that Lysande cares about.
In a world where the low-born keep their heads down, Lysande must learn to fight an enemy who wears many guises… even as she wages her own battle between ambition and restraint.
All the Murmuring Bones by A.G. Slatter
Long ago Miren O’Malley’s family prospered due to a deal struck with the mer: safety for their ships in return for a child of each generation. But for many years the family have been unable to keep their side of the bargain and have fallen into decline. Miren’s grandmother is determined to restore their glory, even at the price of Miren’s freedom.
A spellbinding tale of dark family secrets, magic and witches, and creatures of myth and the sea; of strong women and the men who seek to control them.
The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
London, April 1812.
On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?
Australia also has an Indigenous population whose voices I would love to come across more frequently within the fantasy genre. In fact the only Indigenous Australian SFF authors I’ve come across are Alexis Wright, Claire G. Coleman and Ambelin Kwaymullina, but their books seem to fall more into the sci-fi genre than the fantasy genre. I’m still very interested in giving their work a try, but I would love to find some Indigenous Australian authors who specifically write fantasy. If you have any recommendations, please leave them below!