Monday, February 11, 2008

My favorite books that didn't make the Cybils shortlist

I love the Cybils Fantasy and Science Fiction shortlist. It's a beautiful list of ten amazing books that I think all deserve to be on the list. But, to come up with the list, we all had to make compromises, and each of us on the nominating committee had to sacrifice some of our favorite books. While we're waiting for the announcement of the winners on February 14, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite Fantasy and Science Fiction Cybils nominees that didn't make the shortlist:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
by J. K. Rowling
I know that a lot of people thought that there were problems with this book: too much time in the tent, and the darn epilogue that either was unnecessary or didn't go far enough, depending on your point of view. But, I loved it. It affected me so strongly that I had some kind of post-reading emotional reaction. For days after I finished it, I was moody, irritable, and weepy. Part of that was just because it was the last book in the series, but part of it was a reaction to the powerful themes, events, and character development. Camping notwithstanding, I really thought this was one of the best books of the year.

Alfred Kropp: The Seal of Solomon
by Rick Yancey
This is a fast-paced book with an "everyman" hero and a healthy dose of humor. With fast cars and demons from hell, it's a great book for reluctant readers who love action movies. Read my review of The Seal of Solomon.

Wildwood Dancing
by Juliet Marillier
Based loosely on the fairy tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, this book is no fairy tale: it's a richly textured, fully developed fantasy that draws on Transylvanian folklore. Jena is a strong heroine, fighting to protect her family and all she loves in a world where women are powerless. Read my review of Wildwood Dancing.

Through the Eyes of a Raptor
by Julie Hahnke
When American Kelly MacBride's mother dies, she's sent to live with her grandmother in Scotland. Kelly is a stranger in a strange land, as she learns to adjust to the customs of her new land. But things are stranger than she realizes at first, as Kelly begins to suspect that there are supernatural forces at work.

I'll admit it: this book caught me by surprise. I didn't expect to love it as much as I did. I found it a well-written novel which drew me in and held my interest. I engaged with the main character and felt her pain over the loss of her mother. I liked the fact that it kept surprising me, and that good and evil aren't always clear-cut or black and white. I hope to publish a longer review soon.

Dragon Slippers
by Jessica Day George
The best thing about this book is the dragons: each dragon has a distinctive personality, and you can't help but like them. This is a must read for dragon lovers. Read my review of Dragon Slippers.

First Light
by Rebecca Stead
Although superficially similar to City of Ember, First Light is very different in a lot of ways. It's a compelling, character-driven story about two children facing challenges in the context of their environment. Read my review of First Light.

What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy
by Gregory Maguire
This was another book that caught me by surprise. I didn't have any interest in reading a book about a tooth fairy, but once I started, I was totally captivated by the twin stories: one of a family trying to survive a natural disaster, and the other of a lonely skibbereen seeking his place in the world. Read my review of What-the-Dickens.


Erin said...

I too LOVED Wildwood Dancing, Dragon Slippers, and of course HP#7. The latter affected me emotionally more than any other book I've ever read. It was incredible.

I can't wait to see what wins - I must confess I'm hoping for Book of a Thousand Days...

Unknown said...

Knowing what a Shannon Hale fan you are, I'm not surprised that you're rooting for Book of a Thousand Days! I think it's a strong shortlist and it'll be interesting seeing what the judges decide!

By the way, I just noticed yesterday that there is a sequel to Dragon Slippers coming out in April: Dragon Flight

Anonymous said...

Loved your idea! I put my own list of favorite books on my live journal blog!

Kim Baccellia

Unknown said...

Thanks, Kim. I just looked at your list, and you've got some more books that I loved on your list. There were so many great books this year.

Kim didn't leave her address, so if anyone is interested in seeing her list of fave books that didn't make the shortlist, you can find it at:

Camille said...

I have got to read the Alfred Kropp books. I've had several guys tell me how good they are.

Unknown said...

Definitely check them out, Camille!

Anonymous said...

Since 2005, I have become quite accustomed to long-lists, beginning with the Carnegie Medal in the UK. I like to consider the Kropp books as the Long-List Champion, the always-a-bridesmaid award for books-that-almost-won-something-really-impressive. It fits my hero to a tee. Thanks for the mention. Rick Yancey

Unknown said...

Thanks for stopping by, Rick. I'm sorry that the books keep almost winning something impressive, but you're right, it does seem appropriate for Alfred. I love them, though, and I hope to see more entries in the series!

Traci said...

Well, I had to do some pretty rough therapy on myself to get over HP #7 (;D)

But besides that and Alfred Kropp, I LOVE our shortlist!

Unknown said...

I know, Traci, I know. I think I'll go curl up now with my copy of Deathly Hallows.