Blog Archive

View My Stats
Saturday, January 4, 2020

2019 Review/2020 Preview - Sarah Ash


2019 SF/F Favourites

Wearing my Reviews Editor hat for Anime UK News, I’m going to enthuse about some amazing fantasy manga that I’ve had the pleasure to review this year. Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama (Kodansha) tells the story of young Coco, a girl born in a world where only witches can wield magic, according to strict laws. A tragic occurrence leads Coco to the atelier of kindly Master Qifrey where she becomes one of his student apprentices and learns some very surprising secrets about magic (and gains a witch hat of her own!).


The story is lively and engaging, the magic systems well worked-out and the intricate artwork is exquisite, reminding this reader of the drawings of H.R. Millar for the E. Nesbit books like Five Children and It and The Story of the Amulet. (The talented mangaka also draws for Marvel and DC Comics.)



Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare by Yuhki Kamatami (Seven Seas) is a four-volume LGBTQ+ tale that can loosely be described as magic realism but is painful, relevant, thought-provoking and ultimately life-enhancing. It’s set in the here and now, it’s beautifully drawn, and impossible to read without being moved to tears.

And just to mention ongoing two fantasy series: The Ancient Magus’ Bride by Kore Yamazaki (Seven Seas) which currently has heroine and Sleigh Beggy Chise attending a school for mages beneath the British Library – and the chilling The Girl From The Other Side by Nagabe (also Seven Seas). Both come highly recommended for their distinctive art and an imaginative approach to the way magic, fairytale and folklore are woven into the narrative.

On the anime front, Sarazanmai (from Kunihiko Ikuhara of Mawaru Penguindrum and Utena fame) achieved a bewilderingly bonkers blend of folklore (cucumber-obsessed kappa!) screen musical (there are song and dance numbers!) humour, LGBTQ+ themes, all bound together by fluid, colourful animation.

Looking Forward to in 2020


Top of my list is The Lost Future of Pepperharrow, Natasha Pulley’s third novel, due out in February. I loved The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and The Bedlam Stacks, so I’m inevitably impatient to read her third, especially as it moves the central narrative to Japan. The presence of a certain octopus on the front cover image is a tantalising hint for fans (like me) of the first novel. I’d love to mention lots of upcoming SFF works by friends and relations but will restrict myself to looking forward to Teresa Frohock’s next Los Nefilim novel Carved from Stone and Dream (also due in February 2020). And also to mention a promising writer, Deck Matthews, for his Varkas Chronicles and longer ongoing fantasy series The Riven Realm. So much to read!

About The Author 

Official Author Website

Sarah Ash has lived most of her life in the UK. She's a lifelong comics and manga fan and has written over 11 novels most of which have been set in her eclectic world of Artamon. She has co-written several musicals for young performers, and also been a finalist of the Guardian Children’s Fiction award. She currently lives in Bath and is going to continue to write more books in her main Artamon series.

1 comments:

Jane Routley said...

Thanks for introducing me to two new (to me ) authors. Natasha Pulley especially looks right up my alley. I love the non- european locations.

Follow by Email

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “Right To The Kill ” by Craig Schaefer!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “Spit And Song” by Travis M. Riddle!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The Arkhel Conundrum” by Sarah Ash!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The Company Of Birds” by Nerine Dorman!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The True Bastards” by Jonathan French!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “Rumble In Woodhollow” by Jonathan Pembroke!!!
Order HERE