Thoughtful Thursday: The 2018 Locus Awards: Novels

The 2018 Locus Awards Weekend will be held in Seattle, Washington next weekend (June 22-24). The Locus Award finalists are chosen by a poll of readers. A couple of weeks ago we discussed the finalists for the Short Fiction categories, so this week let’s look at the novels.

City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett epic fantasy book reviews

Click the title links below to read our reviews and on the author links to visit our page for the author. I’ve included the cover art for our favorites. We loved many of these novels. The Locus Award list is always fascinating, almost always very different from the Nebula and Hugo lists.

How many of these finalists have you read? Who do you think will win the Locus Award in these categories? Answer below for a chance to win a book from our stacks.

BEST FANTASY NOVEL

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVELSpoonbenders by Daryl Gregory fantasy book reviewsPersepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin fantasy book reviewsProvenance by Ann LeckieBorne by Jeff VanderMeer

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVELShadowhouse Fall by Daniel José Older

BEST FIRST NOVEL

The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel (Winternight Trilogy) by Katherine ArdenAmberlough by Lara Elena DonnellyThe Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora GossLincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

BEST HORROR NOVEL

How many of these finalists have you read? Who do you think will win the Locus Award in these categories? Answer below for a chance to win a book from our stacks.


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MARION DEEDS, with us since March 2011, is retired from a 35-year career with county government, where she met enough interesting characters and heard enough zany stories to inspire at least two trilogies’ worth of fantasy fiction. Currently she spends part of her time working at a local used bookstore. She is an aspiring writer herself and, in the 1990s, had short fiction published in small magazines like Night Terrors, Aberrations, and in the cross-genre anthology The Magic Within. On her blog Deeds & Words, she reviews many types of books and follows developments in food policy and other topics.

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19 comments

  1. Gosh, there are so many of these that we loved. I haven’t read them all, but I am rooting for SPOONBENDERS and BORNE!

  2. Haven’t read them all, but City of Miracles (and that whole series) is so good, I’d vote for it in categories it isn’t nominated for . . . :)

    But Borne was so good in a different way

    And Persepolis Rising was so good in a different different way

    And Lincoln In the Bardo was so good in a different way than Persepolis’s different way from Borne’s different way

    Just read ’em all

  3. I have to root for Spoonbenders and The Bear and the Nightingale in particular. I’ve read a few others, but I wish I’d read more of the books on this list. This does give me some good ideas for future reads, though!

  4. Even though I’ve read more in the past year than ever before, I still fall short of reading enough of these to make an informed choice. I am reading The Stone Sky at the moment, only other fantasy title I’ve read is City of Miracles, which I loved, loved, loved.

    For SF titles, I’ve read four, the best of which was New York 2140.

    YA, only one, Shadowhouse Fall, which I liked a lot.

    Four of the 1st Novels, any of which deserve an award for something. Autonomous, Strange Case of Alchemist’s Daughter, Lincoln in the Bardo, and An Unkindness of Ghosts.

    Only one in horror, The Changeling, which was very good.

  5. If the books nominated for awards thrill you, and you need more recommended books, the annual Locus Recommended Reading List is a good source! https://locusmag.com/2018/02/2017-locus-recommended-reading-list/

  6. Sethia /

    I really enjoyed The Stone Sky and City of Miricals so I’m torn there, but am going for Born in syfy.

  7. Mike /

    Of the two I’ve read under Fantasy, I’d easily pick Ruin of Angels over The Stone Sky, although I suspect the latter is much more likely to win (despite all of the awards and platitudes, I’ve felt the entire Broken Earth trilogy is a bit overrated…very good, but not necessarily the best works every year).

    Out of the three from SF, I’d probably rank them (1) Persepolis Rising, (2) Provenance, and (3) The Collapsing Empire, although I’d consider swapping the first two since both were excellent (The Collapsing Empire is good, just not as good as the other two).

  8. I’m glad to see I’ve been able to read a few of these! I’m rooting for The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Akata Warrior, The Stone Sky, and Provenance.

  9. Fee Roberts /

    I’ve read The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear, but I’m so far behind on my TBR that I haven’t had a chance to read any others.

  10. It’s kinda interesting that they split “Science Fiction” and “Fantasy” into separate categories; sometimes that makes sense, but what about the squishy middle? (Book of the New Sun, Lord of Light etc.)

    I liked New York 2140 and would be fine with it winning, but I like Jeff van der Meer’s work a lot–so I’ll have to try out Borne, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up being my choice.

  11. John Smith /

    “Borne” may win for best science fiction novel!

  12. Noneofyourbusiness /

    I think The Ruin of Angels has a good chance. Making your own gods is a fascinating concept, which I’ve seen touched on before by a graphic novel and the video game Torment: Tides of Numenera.

    I have Borne, of course, and Jeff VanderMeer is always the king of the new weird. Ka is another iconoclastic selection.

  13. A Guy in Denver /

    On the science fiction books – a very strong field and I liked many of them. Would give give New York 2140 a slight nod over Bourne. How can you not love a book that has polar bears on an airship, “de-exticnted” mammoths, and the ghost of Melville!

    Having said that, I have a sneaking suspicion that Seven Surrenders is the only one that people will be reading a hundred years from now

  14. I’m going to go with The Stone Sky and The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage.

  15. April /

    I haven’t read any of these. There are a couple that I started and didn’t finish because they just weren’t my type of story. There are a couple of them on my to read list though, so I’ll probably get to them. Eventually.

  16. The Distinguished Professor /

    So many to choose from here! Philip Pullman’s continuation of His Dark Materials with The Book of Dust should be another hit, and The Stone Sky is the conclusion to a great trilogy. I’ve found the world of The Broken Earth both painful and engrossing.

    Autonomous is a timely and well-thought-of book, and anything by Garth Nix is worth checking out (Frogkisser!).

  17. Cjamiller /

    Book of Dust! Phillip Pullman is a magical writer.

  18. Leland Eaves /

    Jade City, New York 2140, Akata Warrior, The Bear and the Nightingale, and The Night Ocean are my picks.

  19. Lady Morar /

    We got “Luna: Wolf Moon” relatively recently and it looks good. “Amberlough” is a fascinating alternate real world, “The Changeling” will rightfully be adapted into a TV series soonish. Then in a similar vein there are classic fairy tales like “The Bear and the Nightingale” and gothic stories like “The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter” still kicking around in new forms. Spoiled for choice this year, really.

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