The Shadowed Sun by N.K. Jemisin vs. Half-Off Ragnarok by Seanan McGuire
Let me just say that Half-Off Ragnarok is pure fun. I enjoyed every moment I was reading it, and since I was reading it while being with my Mom as she had surgery, that is saying a hell of a lot. But it's not going to win this battle. No, this one goes to The Shadowed Sun which I just loved with a pure intensity that I find hard to describe.
Winner: The Shadowed Sun
Good Harbor by Anita Diamant vs. Slade House by David Mitchell
It's not really a contest here - I liked Good Harbor, but I was delighted by Slade House. By itself, it's a lovely creepy collection of ghost stories. As part of his metaverse, it gave me thrills that are only accessible to those who have read almost all Mitchell's books. That it works on both levels is wonderful.
Winner: Slade House
Picnic, Lightning by Billy Collins vs. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Another battle that's not that difficult. Collins is still my favourite living poet, but this collection is not going to put up much of a fight when it's up against Naomi Novik's take on fairy tales. Uprooted hit most of my sweet spots, and I can't recommend it enough to anyone with a even whisper of fondness for tales of the type.
The Sea Thy Mistress by Elizabeth Bear vs. California Bones by Greg van Eekhout
Okay, this is a bit more difficult. We have an author I've never read before but quite enjoyed up against an author I've read plenty of, and enjoyed even more. But it's that sense of bonedeep pain and suffering that Bear manages to evoke so deftly that's going to give The Sea Thy Mistress the win.
Winner: The Sea Thy Mistress
Wonders of the Invisible World by Patricia McKillip vs.
Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne Valente
Another more difficult one. Both are building on fairy tales and legends to create worlds where women fight to carve out a place for themselves. I think it's mostly that I'm not the best person for short stories that will give Valente the win here. I read so quickly short stories are over before they have a chance to sink in. As slim a volume as Six-Gun Snow White is, it was able to pull me along for the ride for a bit longer.
Winner: Six-Gun Snow White