Year end review #1: Best Discoveries

Today in the first part of my review of the year, I’m going to highlight the new to me authors that have made themselves must-reads for the future.

My first is a Frenchman. In fact, I discovered several new Frenchmen in 2016, including Frédéric Dard and Jean-Paul Didierlaurent, and wonderful as they both are from the single books I’ve read by each of them, I loved this gentilhomme’s books the most:

Antoine Laurain

Antoine-Laurain with hatI tip my hat Antoine (and his translators at Gallic Books).

I read The President’s Hat for Paris in July and ADORED it for its gentle humour and positive outlook and utter Frenchness of course.

I then reviewed his third novel French Rhapsody for Shiny New Books and possibly loved that even more –  it had the same gentle humour, but with an underlying harder edge that examines the state of the French nation.

I am looking forward to reading his second novel, The Red Notebook, which also comes highly recommended soon.


Becky Chambers

becky-chambersI was hearing a lot of things about her debut novel – the long way to a small angry planet, mostly good, some not so good, which was perplexing as the book was shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Award. I read it. I loved it. I could instantly see why some folk were disparaging it too…

Why?  Because it’s *FUN* and the purists couldn’t cope with that.  It read like Star Trek crossed with Red Dwarf and I wanted to become a member of the Wayfarer’s crew.

I reviewed the sequel, a closed and common orbit, for Shiny which takes two of the subsidiary characters from the first book and runs with them. Again, it was pure joy to read.

More science fiction should be FUN don’t you think?


Louise O’Neill

louise-oneillO’Neill’s second novel, Asking For It, was the first book I read this year – and it has stayed with me. A YA novel about teenagers, rape, sexting/social media shaming and its consequences, it really hit home. We see what happens through the eyes of the eighteen year old victim, and O’Neill is uncompromising and not afraid of breaking taboos as well as giving a controversial ending. Very powerful indeed.

I then had to read her first novel Only Ever Yours – which is equally challenging in its approach to emerging womanhood in teenaged girls. However it is very different in its dystopian tone.  Billed as The Handmaid’s Tale meets Mean Girls – that’s a very apt tag-line.

Louise O’Neill is a young Irish author to watch. Can’t wait to see what she does next.


Those are the three new to me authors that I so enjoyed on first reading, that I went back soon after to read more.

Which authors did you discover this year?

8 thoughts on “Year end review #1: Best Discoveries

  1. Frédéric Dard has been a recent discovery for me as well and I’m looking forward to reading more of him in the future. An excellent addition to the Pushkin Vertigo line-up.

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