CSFF—2006 Best Books

Well, I feel like a bit of a fraud making up a list because, of course, I haven’t read all there is to offer. For instance, I didn’t find out until sometime this summer that Tyndale had a fantasy author—Chris Walley. What with my fall schedule, I have not taken time to check out The Shadow and the Night (October, 2006).

Austin Boyd is another example. I think he has a winning premise, and I want very much for his trilogy to succeed. Problem is, if I have the choice to read fantasy or science fiction, the latter inevitably takes a back seat. So I am not choosing his latest Mars Hill book simply because I haven’t read it, or the earlier ones, yet.

There are also numerous self-published authors, some belonging to CSFF Blog Tour and some I’ve only heard of through review sources, whose books I haven’t explored.

All that to create this disclaimer: the list is my opinion based only on what I like and what I’ve been able to read. Given that I’m a slow reader, that means, not much. Also given the fact that I’ve read a number of books NOT released in 2006, the number of great CSFF books I’d heartily recommend is not what I wish it were. So, without further adieu, here are my top three, in reverse order.

  • Number Three: Landon Snow and the Island of Arcanum by R. K. Mortenson (Barbour). To be honest, if I had read Wayne Thomas Batson’s The Final Storm I have a sneaking suspicion that it might beat out Landon Snow, but I haven’t had the opportunity yet.

    Snow wins over Rise of the Wyrm Lord (Tommy Nelson), also a Batson 2006 release. Both books are wonderfully packaged. Their publishers took time to find out what appeals to kids and did a superb job creating attractive products. This third book in the Landon Snow series, from an author who is a real wordsmith, is definitely Mortenson’s most complete story. I can only wish for more of it.

  • Number Two: Trackers by Kathryn Mackel (WestBow). I can only wish that I had read Outriders first. I had friends recommend that I do so, but I was slow to it. This is flat out one of the more inventive, well-written stories with all elements—characters, setting, plot, and theme—well-crafted. My only regret is the report that there will be no book three. And that is a SIGNIFICANT loss to the CSFF collection.
  • Number One: DragonKnight by Donita Paul (Water Brook). This is simply Paul writing better and better, in my opinion. The characters, strong and interesting in her earlier works, become engaging and memorable in this third in her DragonKeeper Chronicles. The plot is focused, not wandering, and it is my kind of story. I love journeying and questing that feels fresh. This certainly does. Not a “Must Read,” (except for fantasy fans) but just a tick below it.
  • The really good news is that there should be an even stronger lineup of CSFF books in 2007. Karen Hancock’s final Guardian-King book is due to release as is Sharon Hinck’s debut Restorer book, Paul’s fourth DKC, Harvest House author George Bryan Polika’s first novel in the Trophy Chase Trilogy, Chris Walley’s next installment and more.

    The genre is showing signs of promise.

    Published in: on December 26, 2006 at 12:12 pm  Comments (4)  
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