2023 Best Book in Fantasy


Not your typical vampire story.

Nine-year-old Tommy Lucas needs a bone marrow transplant to survive. But Tommy’s convinced that he’s a vampire, that his cancer is a curse on his bloodline. His mom, June, is an oncologist. She puts off “the talk” with Tommy and allows him to continue a soft practice of his fantasy (like eating only red-colored foods) because she doesn’t want him to lose hope.

Tommy’s stoked when he discovers an e-zine series about urban legend Viscount Claudius Fallon, a dhampyre from Cardiff who traveled to Eureka Springs seeking a cure for his own leukemia during WWII.

Tommy’s quest leads him to befriend a local artist, who struggles with his growing affection for June—for he is Fallon, cured in 1939 at the Baker Cure-for-Cancer Hospital. Fallon must decide whether he’ll take the risks involved in helping Tommy or falling in love with June.

2023 First Place in Urban Fantasy

2023 Bronze Award in Fantasy

Falling Stars is an exceptional novel. The storytelling and its emotional momentum are enthralling. Having personal experience with cancer and its profound horrors, I can only add that I’m convinced readers will connect with Tommy and June—with all its sharply drawn characters—and find the light pulsing in what might seem infinite darkness. Falling Stars is a magical feast, and it moved me deeply. I loved the back-and-forth timeline—and I see the book appealing not only to Anne Rice readers, but historical fiction buffs. The narrative approach adds pleasing depth to the story and charges it with realism.”

William Grabowski
Author of Enter Darkness and Infinity Point