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Sunday, October 31, 2021

SPFBO 7 (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 seventh 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 (Jen, Jonathan, Łukasz, Mihir) will read all books from cover to cover. That's 4599 pages and, approximately, 1 379 700 words! Almost one million four hundred thousand words

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.



BURN RED SKIES by Kerstin Espinosa Rosero 
361 pages, Published November 12, 2020, Order it here
Fantasy-Faction's Finalist

It starts with a rift that burns a thousand scars into the sky. It makes the winds stop. It makes the stars go dark. It awakens an ancient beast. And with it, a new reign of blood. It is the Summoning. And at the heart of it is fire. ***When the Summoner's army blasts through her village, Dove is forced into hiding. Torn from everything she knows, she begins training in the elements with only one goal in mind: to find her brother. She just needs to get past the Summoner's army—but how can she slay a dragon that is already dead?


HALL OF BONES (THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE EAGLE #1) by Tim Hardie
421 pages, Published November 25, 2020, Order it here

In the remote land of Laskar the seven ruling clans have vied with each other for power for over a century. The son of the Reavesburg Clan Chief, Rothgar, has been groomed all his life for a role supporting his elder brother, Jorik, in leading their kingdom when their father’s time finally comes to an end.

However, the rulers of their greatest rivals, the Vorund Clan, are in the grip of something older and far darker. They have been conquered by evil, a remnant from the time when the gods warred with one another and the world of Amuran collapsed into the Fallen Age.

Everything is about to change …






LEGACY OF THE BRIGHTWASH (Tainted Dominion #1) by Krystle Matar
664 pages, Published February 18, 2021, Order it here

Follow the law and you’ll stay safe. But what if the law is wrong?

Tashué’s faith in the law is beginning to crack. Three years ago, he stood by when the Authority condemned Jason to the brutality of the Rift for non-compliance. When Tashué’s son refused to register as tainted, the laws had to be upheld. He’d never doubted his job as a Regulation Officer before, but three years of watching your son wither away can break down even the strongest convictions.



NORYLSKA GROANS by Michael R. Fletcher & Clayton W. Snyder 
339 pages, published on May 10, 2021, Order it here

Norylska Groans...with the weight of her crimes. In a city where winter reigns amid the fires of industry and war, soot and snow conspire to conceal centuries of death and deception.Norylska Groans...and the weight of a leaden sky threatens to crush her people. Katyusha Leonova, desperate to restore her family name, takes a job with Norylska's brutal police force. To support his family, Genndy Antonov finds bloody work with a local crime syndicate. Norylska Groans...with the weight of her dead. As bodies fall, the two discover a foul truth hidden beneath layers of deception and violence: Come the thaw, what was buried will be revealed.


REIGN AND RUIN (MAGES OF THE WHEEL #1) by J.D. Evans
420 pages, published on January 23, 2020, Order it here

She is heir to a Sultanate that once ruled the world. He is an unwanted prince with the power to destroy.

She is order and intellect, a woman fit to rule in a man's place. He is chaos and violence and will stop at nothing to protect his people.

His magic answers hers with shadow for light. They need each other, but the cost of balance may be too high a price. Magic is dying and the only way to save it is to enlist mages who wield the forbidden power of death, mages cast out centuries ago in a brutal and bloody war.

Now, a new war is coming. Science and machines to replace magic and old religion.

They must find a way to save their people from annihilation and balance the sacred Wheel—but first, they will have to balance their own forbidden passion. His peace for her tempest, his restlessness for her calm…


SHADOWS OF IVORY (THE GODFORGED CHRONICLES #1) by T.L. Greylock & Bryce O'Connor
500 pages, published on August 4, 2020, Order it here

I burned cities and drowned mountains. I pulled stars from the night sky and scorched the world with their flames. I am the Fisher King, and the grave does not bind me.

An academic with a taste for adventure, Eska de Caraval has means and influence, wit and charm... and a knack for acquiring artifacts that may not be hers to claim.

But when Eska comes into possession of a strange disc of rune-carved bronze, she finds herself abruptly hunted by all manner of adversaries: an assassin in the shadows, a monster in the deep, a bitter rival burning with vengeance.

From sword and fang and flame Eska must defend herself, struggling all the while to unravel the mysteries of a dangerous artifact. An artifact so powerful, a dead tyrant will rise again to wield it.



THE FOREVER KING (THE SCALUSSEN CHRONICLES #1) by Ben Galley
664 pages, published on December 1, 2020, Order it here

In Emaneska, to consort with magick is to court death. Banned by the Arka Empire, magick's purging has finally brought peace to a war-torn land.

Like any dutiful citizen, Mithrid Fenn wants nothing to do with magick. but when an illegal spellbook washes up on a beach after a battle between giant, unknown ships, Mithrid Fenn is thrust into a war she never knew existed. Her family slaughtered, Mithrid finds herself hunted by daemons and the emperor's assassins. She is dragged inexorably north to Scalussen, where mages, dragons, beastpeople, and witches doggedly wage a war for freedom against the tyrannical empire.

But Mithrid only cares for revenge and nothing nobler. If killing the emperor means helping the Outlaw King, then so be it. Even if it means drowning the world in fire.


THE IRON CROWN (DRAGON SPIRITS #1) by L.L. McRae
460 pages, published on May 28, 2021, Order it here

Fenn’s first and only memory is finding himself in the middle of a forest, face to face with a dragon spirit mocking him, all knowledge gone apart from his own name.

Lost and confused, his only hope for answers is Calidra—a woman living on the edge of the world with her partner. Forced to return home when her father dies, Calidra has put off facing her estranged mother for seven years, and she begrudgingly helps Fenn, forging papers for him so he can avoid the Queen’s Inquisitors.

But her mother is the least of her worries when they discover an ancient enemy is rising again. It should be impossible with the Iron Crown in power—and Fenn is terrified he might unwittingly be playing a part in the war’s resurgence.

Surrounded by vengeful spirits and powerful magic, Fenn’s desperate attempt to find his way home might well alter the fate of Tassar, and every power in it.


THIS MORTAL BLADE (THE MAGELANDS ETERNAL SIEGE # 1) by Christopher Mitchell
496 pages, published on August 28, 2020, Order it here

A city ruled by Gods, a mortal champion, a misfit girl and a disobedient dragon…
Stolen from his home, Corthie Holdfast has arrived in the City of the Eternal Siege as a new Champion.

He must fight alongside the Blades, whose lives are dedicated to the defence of the City against the hordes of monstrous Greenhides; or die at the hands of the Gods who rule.

Maddie Jackdaw, a young Blade, faces her last chance. Thrown out of every unit defending the City, either she takes on a new role, or she will be sent to the Rats, a company of misfits given the perilous tasks beyond the Great Walls.

Her new role, if she takes it, will bring her face to face with her deepest fears, for beneath the walls, in a secret and hidden lair, lies a dragon, imprisoned and waiting…




WE MEN OF ASH AND SHADOW (The Vanguard Chronicles #1by H.L. Tinsley
204 pages, published on October 1, 2020, Order it here

We Men of Ash and Shadow’ is the first book in the Vanguard Series and follows the journey of protagonist, John Vanguard, through the dark and corrupt city of D’Orsee. A Grimdark gas lamp novel, ‘We Men of Ash and Shadow’ explores themes of redemption, loyalty, and betrayal against the backdrop of a world where survival often means compromising your values.

Amidst the gas lamp shadows former soldier-turned-mercenary John Vanguard hunts criminals at the behest of his corrupt employer, Captain Felix Sanquain. Shamed by his deserter past and seeking to make amends for his many misdeeds, a chance encounter with Tarryn Leersac – a skilled young would-be-assassin fallen from the graces of high society – leads Vanguard to become an unlikely mentor.

Charged with hunting down the killer of two guards left washed up on the banks of the canal, the further Vanguard delves into the underbelly of the city the more he finds himself entangled in a web of secrets and lies. A prominent aristocrat is missing. Crime lords, con men and harlots run amok and the city teeters on the brink of another revolution.

With his already precarious reputation hanging by a thread, Vanguard must piece together how and why the last war came to pass, find a way to earn redemption for his mistakes and come to terms with the past in a city where few survive, and even fewer can be trusted.

































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