Illustrator and Laya Mutton-Rogers with two of the books she illustrated in the NZ Children’s Book Awards.
OPINION: I’m a big reader of science fiction and fantasy and I always have a lot of books of this genre on the go. I just finished Firewall of Nicole Kornher-Stace, who has a much more predictable capitalist future than most dystopias. Firewall is partly in a world of virtual reality games, but is very much grounded in the real world. He has strong friendships, is not distracted by unnecessary romance, and has some ties to the author’s previous book, Vespa Archive (another one of my favorites!), which made me cry absolutely.
I wanted to read the Broken earth NK Jemisin trilogy for years and I’m so glad I finally did. It is a science fiction / fantasy set in a world with a magical system based on geology / seismology, which is going through periods of catastrophic climate change. It takes a while to get into the world, but once I did I was so invested in the complex characters and relationships and in building the interesting world. I haven’t read book three yet, but so far the series absolutely deserves the hype.
I recently liked it The ones we have to find by Joan He. It is a young adult science fiction (YA) set in a climate-devastated future. But these are really two separated sisters trying to meet, and the mystery of the plot is slowly revealed around them in a captivating way. One of the girls can relate to me in a way I don’t often see in the protagonists.
An urban fantasy from YA that I loved recently is TastedBy Darcie Little Badger, set in another USA. This is a young Lipan Apache who can summon animal ghosts. He is investigating the death of his cousin, who he suspects was a murder. It is so charming and emotional, with beautiful illustrations by Rovina Cai. Definitely one of my all time favorite books.
Illustrator Laya Mutton-Rogers is a finalist for the New Zealand Book Awards 2021 for children and young people for Ngātoroirangi National Park. Two more books he illustrated, Ngake and Whātaitai i Ngātoroirangi Land Reserve, are eligible for the Wright Family Foundation’s Te Kura Pounamu Award for work on te reo Māori.