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Sunday, November 1, 2020

SPFBO 2020 (Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off) finalists and our approach


As avid fantasy readers, we love discovering new voices and hidden gemsSPFBO contest gives us such a possibility and we’re thrilled to participate in it for the sixth time. The first stage of the contest has just ended.

After five months of a bloodbath, ten bloggers have chosen their champions. We’re excited to read all of them and would love to encourage you to do the same.

Our approach

Each of us (Adam, Łukasz, Mihir) will read all books from cover to cover. That's 4190 pages and, approximately, 1 150 000 words! Almost one million one hundred fifty thousand words. Not too shabby, right?

Reviews

We plan to start posting reviews of SPFBO finalists in November. We'll post one review in November, December, and April and two reviews in January, February, and March. We'll also post interviews with finalists who will agree to answer our questions. 

If you decide to read along with us, consider dropping your review on Goodreads, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble. Reviews are hugely beneficial for an indie author trying to draw attention to their recently published book. Help us to spread the word about the books you love.

And now, let's take a look at SPFBO 2020 finalists listed in alphabetical order.


A WIND FROM THE WILDERNESS by Suzannah Rowntree
422 pages, published on October 29th, 2018, Order it here

Hunted by demons. Lost in time.

Welcome to the First Crusade.

Syria, 636: As heretic invaders circle Jerusalem, young Lukas Bessarion vows to defend his people. Instead, disaster strikes.
His family is ripped apart. His allies are slaughtered. And Lukas is hurled across the centuries to a future where his worst nightmares have come true...

Constantinople, 1097: Ayla may be a heretic beggar, but she knows one thing for sure: six months from now, she will die. Before then, she must avenge her father’s murder—or risk losing her soul.

Desperate to find their way home, Lukas and Ayla join the seven armies marching east to liberate Jerusalem. If Lukas succeeds in his quest, he’ll undo the invasion and change the course of history.

But only if he survives the war.

Only if his enemies from the past don’t catch him.

And only as long as Ayla never finds out who he really is.
BLACK STONE HEART by Michael R. Fletcher
486 pages, published on April 1, 2020, Order it here

A broken man, Khraen awakens alone and lost. His stone heart has been shattered, littered across the world. With each piece, he regains some small shard of the man he once was.

He follows the trail, fragment by fragment, remembering his terrible past.

There was a woman.

There was a sword.

There was an end to sorrow.

Khraen walks the obsidian path..


DARKNESS FORGED by Matt Larkin
224 pages, published on Ausgust 1, 2017, Order it here

Vengeance is wrought. Darkness is forged.

The greatest crafts on Midgard come from the dvergar realm of Nidavellir. Volund, a gifted smith and once apprentice to the dvergar, escaped their dark realm to find solace in the arms of a valkyrie.

Nine years of respite.

And then she was gone.

What would you do to reclaim your light?

But Volund’s reputation precedes him, and a cruel king knows the weapons Volund forges can win his wars. Imprisoned in the king’s forge, Volund’s only hope to escape is to find his wife. If he can’t, more than the forge’s darkness will overtake him.

Where will he turn when the light finally fades?

LAST MEMORIA by Rachel Emma Shaw
253 pages, published on May 20th, 2020, Order it here

There's nothing Sarilla hates more than stealing memories, but the king forces her to, just so he can keep his subjects in line. She wants to escape to where nobody knows what she is or what she can do, but her plans go awry when she runs into someone she would much rather forget.

Falon has a six-month void in his memories that he's desperate to restore. He doesn't know why they were taken or what they contained, nor why the man he loves is acting so cagily about what happened during that time. He hopes to use Sarilla to get back what was stolen from him and isn't interested in why she's so desperate to escape. She will help him get back what he's lost, whether she wants to or not.

Join Sarilla and Falon in this twisted tale about how sometimes good intentions aren't enough to keep the darkness at bay.

NETHER LIGHT by Shaun Paul Stevens
660 pages, Published on May 27th, 2020, Order it here

Take a journey through a world punished by a dark, imprisoned magic. A world where children are given poison. A world where your talent is decided by the state.

A world where reality is breaking down.

When refugee Guyen washes up in the land of his enemy, he knows he will fight, but soon finds himself falling down a well of wonder and improbability.

Can he survive a system designed to oppress him? Can he tame his anger to unleash his potential? Can he see his enemy for what they truly are?

SHADOW OF A DEAD GOD by Patrick Samphire
464 pages, published on May 27th, 2020, Order it here

It was only supposed to be one little job – a simple curse-breaking for Mennik Thorn to pay back a favour to his oldest friend. But then it all blew up in his face. Now he’s been framed for a murder he didn’t commit.

So how is a second-rate mage, broke, traumatized, and with a habit of annoying the wrong people, supposed to prove his innocence when everyone believes he’s guilty?

Mennik has no choice if he wants to get out of this: he is going to have to throw himself into the corrupt world of the city’s high mages, a world he fled years ago. Faced by supernatural beasts, the mage-killing Ash Guard, and a ruthless, unknown adversary, it’s going to take every trick Mennik can summon just to keep him and his friend alive.

But a new, dark power is rising in Agatos, and all that stands in its way is one damaged mage…


THE COMBAT CODES by Alexander Darwin
410 pages, published on January 8th, 2016, Order it here

We fight, so the rest shall not have to.

In a world where single combat determines the fate of nations, the Grievar fight so that the rest can remain at peace.

Cego is a mysterious Grievar boy forced to fight his way out of the slave Circles into the world's most prestigious combat school. 

At the Lyceum, Cego will learn a variety of martial arts from eclectic teachers, develop deep bonds of friendship and fight against contentious rivals to climb the school's rankings. 

But, Cego will find far more than combat studies at the Lyceum. He will find the mystery of his past unraveled by forces greater than he could ever imagine.

THE FALL OF ERLON by Robert J. Power
349 pages, published on September 29th 1st, 2019Order it here

As Empires Burn, Heroes Must Rise.

Elisa Lannes was once heiress to the mighty Erlonian Empire. But when her mother abandons the empire and her emperor father is defeated on the battlefield and sent into exile, the world she would rule collapses around her. As enemies converge on the capital, Elisa must join with the last of the empire's loyal soldiers to escape the evil that hunts her and her family.

With the help of her father's generals, can Elisa find the strength to fight for her people? Or will a twist in the tide of the empire's last war awaken an evil far greater than the enemy's blade?

The Fall of Erlon is the first in the new military fantasy series from author Robert H. Fleming. If you like deep fantasy worlds filled with colorful characters and massive battles, the gods and generals of the Falling Empires Saga is for you.

THE LOST WAR by Justin Lee Anderson
560 pages, published on August 30th, 2019, Order it here

The war is over, but something is rotten in the state of Eidyn.

With a ragged peace in place, demons burn farmlands, violent Reivers roam the wilds and plague has spread beyond the Black Meadows. 

The country is on its kneesIn a society that fears and shuns him, Aranok is the first magically-skilled draoidh to be named King's Envoy.Now, charged with restoring an exiled foreign queen to her throne, he leads a group of strangers across the ravaged country. But at every step, a new mystery complicates their mission.

As bodies drop around them, new threats emerge and lies are revealed, can Aranok bring his companions together and uncover the conspiracy that threatens the kingdom?




VOICE OF WAR by Zack Argyle
380 pages, published on March 19th, 2020, Order it here

While preparing for the birth of his first child, Chrys Valerian is tasked with uncovering the group responsible for a series of missing threadweavers--those able to see and manipulate threadlight. With each failure, the dark voice in his head that began during the war grows louder, begging to be released.

A young girl from a secret city in the center of the Fairenwild, veers off course to explore the streets of Alchea. She never expected that her journey would end in chains.

Far in the deserts to the south, a young man's life changes after he dies.

When Chrys learns who is responsible for the missing threadweavers, they come for him and his family. He must do everything in his power to protect those he loves, even if it means trusting strangers or, worse, the dark voice in his mind.

Together, they will change the world--whether they intend to or not.


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