Generally, the first time we humans do something, we don’t do it well. My college roommate’s first time doing laundry on his own?fantasy and science fiction book reviews

“But my mom put bleach in all the time.”
“No. No, she really didn’t.”

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsFirst time driving a clutch?

“ I can make that yellow light at the top of the hill.”
“No, you can’t. And it’s good practice to shift on a—”
Acceleration. Horns. Squealing. Maybe a scream.
“See? Told you I could make it.”

First time… well, we’ll stop there. The main point is, doing something well usually takes practice. And we see that in many of the first-time novels we get here at Fantasy Literature. Maybe it’s a too well-trod path of fantasy tropes and characters. Maybe it’s some clumsiness in world-building. They aren’t “bad” books, but you can tell they’re written by someone still learning their craft.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsBut sometimes, debut authors surprise us, as has happened recently to me with R.S. Belcher with Six-Gun Tarot, Rachel Hartman with Seraphina, or more recently, James L. Cambias with A Darkling Sea. All authors with accomplished debuts that made me eager to see where they were going next.

So we were curious. What debut authors have you read recently, let’s say in the past two years, who seemed writing-wise beyond their years (writer’s years if not literal age years)? And what was it that they did surprisingly well? What first-time books made you file away an author’s name to keep an eye out for in the future?

As always, one of our commenters will receive a book from our stacks. Maybe even a debut…