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Tuesday, October 6, 2020

SPFBO: The Fourth Jettisoning & Semifinalist Update

 



This is the last update and we will be announcing our final semifinalist at the end of this post. Due to personal and professional reasons, we weren't able to prepare a longer post for which we apologize authors in our last mini-batch. We would love to offer everyone in our group the same treatment but 2020 keeps getting in the way. Here are our brief thoughts on the remaining seven titles:




It's obvious the author loves Jane Austen and all things Victorian, probably more than we. Like most fairytales, the story is based on tropes and genre staples but we think the author has done a good job in introducing the world and characters. We feel the beginning of the story could be a little tighter and quicker, though.  

We decided not to continue reading it upon completing the Amazon sample. A solid story is here, it just didn't engage us as strongly as some other titles. By no means a bad book, just not the right fit for us.



Bladesorrow is well written and has interesting ideas around time loops/travel and other very high concept things. In the end, though, it just didn't capture us strongly enough to finish it. The book has potential but we found the characterization unconvincing, almost anime-like, and it decreased our enjoyment. 




While not unique or particularly original, Shoreseeker surprised us with strong character development and intriguing world-building. With short chapters, and focused narrative it reads quickly despite its length. Perhaps some descriptions could be shorter - we felt some of them tended to leave the story behind, rather than revealing it. Overall, though, we would recommend it to fans of darker fantasy.




Spit and Song impressed us with unique world-building that leans more towards the Dune/Star Wars edge of the genre. It tackles disparate non-humanoid races living together. The only issue we have with it is that it takes time to establish the conflict and reveal the plot. In the beginning, we simply follow a merchant woman trying to make some money and a drug addict trying to score drugs. With time, their paths intertwine and things get exciting, it just requires a level of patience and trust from readers.




Well written, reads easily, almost to a YA degree (and in fact this is probably YA), some really strong ideas here, but their execution leaves a bit to be desired. We like the idea of a Faerene Apocalypse, where a magic race comes to save humanity from itself, but it's done in a way that works against it. Characters are pretty trope-y and forgettable, and some of the motivations are....immature we guess. It's short, worth a read especially if you're in a mood for something lighter.





Despite the potentially entertaining plot, we decided not to read it past 30%. The book has competent prose, but wants to be edgy and comes off as overbearing and vapid. Brie remains unlikable and her characterization feels slightly inconsistent. We're sure it'll find readership amongst younger audiences.



Edbert Pollock worships a goat’s head every night to save his bookshop from ruins. He needs the gods to hear his pleas, but the gods have other plans. Ashcomb has a knack for writing humorous fantasy and her writing is competent if a bit rough around the edges. We felt the story took too long to find a plot.

So amidst all these titles, our last semifinalist is 

                                                                                














Travis M. Riddle’s Spit and Song. Congratulations :)

So there you go, Fantasy Book Critic has selected six semifinalists. Best of luck to all authors, we will be announcing our SPFBO finalist in a few days.

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