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Monday, June 27, 2022

Book review: The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean (reviewed by Sharvani R.)

Book links: Amazon, Goodreads

AUTHOR INFO: Sunyi Dean (Sun yee) is an autistic SFF writer, living the inner-city life in North England with her two kids. When not reading, running, falling over in yoga, or rolling d20s, she sometimes escapes the city to wildswim in lonely dales.

Publisher: Tor Books (August 2, 2022) Page count: 304 p Cover design: 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Book review: In Theory, It Works by Raymond St. Elmo


Book links: Amazon, Goodreads

AUTHOR INFO: Raymond St. Elmo is a programmer of artificial intelligences and virtual realities, who has no time for literary fabrications of fictitious characters and world-building. And yes, that was meant to be ironic.

A degree in Spanish Literature gave him a love of Magic Realism. Programming gave him a job. The job introduced him to artifical intelligence and virtual realities; as close to magic as reality is likely to get outside the covers of a book. And yes, that was meant to be cynical.

The author of several first-person comic-accounts of strange quests for mysterious manuscripts, mysterious girls in cloaks whose face appears SUDDENLY IN THE FLASH OF LIGHTNING. And yes, that was meant to be dramatic.

Publisher: Raymond St. Elmo (June 14 2022) Page Count: 323 Cover art: Virginia Mori


The Devil arrives in Theory. Instead of a small-town reality and small-minded people, she finds the world’s only upside-down skating rink. A soap bubble dragon monster. A romance and a touch of drama. 

Not to mention robot mice, cats, dogs, or an electric angel. 

In Theory, it Works is light, whimsical, and fun. Think of it as a low-stakes rural coming-of-age fantasy romance. Except that the coming-of-age arc will probably be more relatable to parents or readers who’ve already gone through their coming-of-age arcs in life :) It’s written with humor, love, and a touch of melancholy. 

The characters are charming and wholly relatable, even Marlon, the school bully. We get Marissa - a goth girl who loves black; Tyler - a shy and weird kid who speaks only to an imaginary hawk; Janine - a girl scout with a powerful roundhouse punch and a soft spot for boys who are broken; Reese and Jason - twins able to live in a moment. Marissa and Janine are interested in Tyler, who’s more interested in living in an imaginary world and stopping the Dragon. Jason is interested in Marissa, but she's not sure if she's interested in him. But fear not - it’s not a cheesy love triangle. Far from it. 

The adult protagonists, science teacher Ted Alva, and The Devil, Nichole K. Devlin, can’t resist one another, but the Devil may have ulterior motives. Ted loves teaching but budget constraints don't allow him to go full out. As a result, he encourages teens to create ideas of things but not things themselves. Nichole has corporate money but why would she invest it in a meaningless city like Theory? Well, here's the thing:

"The town of Theory has an improbable tendency to permit the improbable. Here, the Theory of the thing is sometimes the thing itself." 

Like most of St. Elmo’s books, In Theory, It Works is philosophical, humorous, and romantic. It’s full of quotable lines, intriguing thoughts, and metaphysical longings. It plays with narrative and contains stories within stories (including an exciting D&D session). The book touches on the darker side of the mentality of the little people (domestic violence, prejudice, parents on the brink of divorce), but with heart and gentle, humorous touches.

I'm a committed fan of St. Elmo's imaginative and unique writing. In Theory, It Works was a delight to read and think about. I found the story satisfying, intelligent, and the ending excellent and uplifting. Plenty here for fans of the whimsy.

Series (Texas Pentagraph) links: 


Thursday, June 23, 2022

Book review: Composite Creatures by Caroline Hardaker (Reviewed by Daniel P. Haeusser)

Official Author Website

Official Author Twitter

Order Composite Creatures HERE

AUTHOR INFO: Author. Poet. Novelist. Occasional librettist. Sporadic puppeteer. Caroline Hardaker lives in the north east of England and writes quite a lot of things. She earned her BA (English Literature) and MA (Cultural and Heritage Studies) from Newcastle University, and her main problem is limiting herself to one idea at once, or maybe two ideas, or three…

Publisher: Angry Robot (April 13, 2021) Page count: 400 Formats: paperback, eBook, and audio.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Graphic Novel review: Beasts of Burden by Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson

Book links: Amazon, Goodreads

Evan Dorkin is an American comics artist and cartoonist. His best known works are the comic books Milk and Cheese and Dork. His comics often poke fun at fandom, even while making it clear that Dorkin is a fan himself.

Jill Thompson is an American comic book writer and illustrator. Probably best known for her work on Neil Gaiman's Sandman characters and her own Scary Godmother series, she has also worked on The Invisibles, Swamp Thing, Wonder Woman, and more recently, Beasts of Burden.

Publisher: Dark Horse (June 30, 2010) Page count: 180

Monday, June 20, 2022

SPFBO 8: The First Cull and Semi-Finalist Update

The time has come to make choices. Not always comfortable, not always happy for all concerned, but such is the nature of this competition. 

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Book Review: A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers (reviewed by Sharvani Raghunath)

Book links: Amazon, Goodreads

AUTHOR INFO: Becky Chambers was raised in California as the progeny of an astrobiology educator, an aerospace engineer, and an Apollo-era rocket scientist. Her first novel, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, was originally funded via Kickstarter in 2012. Her books have been nominated for the Kitschies Award, the Hugo Award, the Locus Award, the Arthus C. Clarke Award and the Women's Prize for Fiction, among others, and won the Prix Julia Verlanger.

After living in Scotland and Iceland, Becky is now back in her home state, where she lives with her spouse. She is a devotee of video and tabletop games, and enjoys spending time in nature. She hopes to see Earth from orbit one day.

Publisher: Tordotcom (July 12, 2022) Page count: 152 Formats: ebook, paperback, audiobook

Friday, June 17, 2022

WORLDWIDE GIVEAWAY: Sons Of Darkness by Gourav Mohanty


Gourav Mohanty is India’s first traditionally published, grimdark fantasy author. His debut Sons Of Darkness was one that mixed the Mahabharata epic within an ASOIAF-like secondary fantasy world.
I really enjoyed Sons Of Darkness a lot and you all can read here, why I refer to it as “the best fantasy debut of 2022”.  So today We at Fantasy Book Critic along with the author are ecstatic to be giving away one trade paperback of Sons Of Darkness!!
Giveaway will end on Saturday (07/2/22) 12:01 PM and is open to participants WORLDWIDE! 
Thank you for entering and Good Luck! 
 1) Open To Anyone WORLDWIDE
 2) Only One Entry Per Household (Multiple Entries Will Be Disqualified)
 3) Must Enter Valid Email Address, Mailing Address + Name
 4) No Purchase Necessary
 5) Giveaway will end on Saturday (07/2/22) 12:01 PM 
 6) Winner Will Be Randomly Selected and Notified By Email
 7) Personal Information Will Only Be Used In Mailing Out the Prizes To the Winner

To enter, please send an email to "" with your Name, Mailing Address, and the subject: SONS

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Sons Of Darkness by Gourav Mohanty (reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)


Official Author Website
Order Sons Of Darkness over HERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s Cover Reveal Q&A with Gourav Mohanty
OFFICIAL AUTHOR INFO: Gourav Mohanty was born in Bhubaneswar, the City of Temples. A gold medallist from SLS, Pune, he currently practices law in Mumbai. He moonlights as a stand-up comic, a painter, and a blogger. As evident, his life always has many tabs open. A connoisseur of mythologies and momos, he has won numerous scholarships, one of which took him to the castles of Europe. Ever since, he has wanted to play medieval matchmaker by conjuring a world where Vedic India meets Italian Renaissance. Sons Of Darkness is his SFF debut. 
Tuesday, June 14, 2022

In The Shadow Of Lightning by Brian McClellan (reviewed by Sharvani R.)



Official AuthorWebsite
Pre-order the book here
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of Promise Of Blood
AUTHOR INFORMATION: Brian McClellan is an American epic fantasy author from Cleveland, Ohio. He is known for his acclaimed Powder Mage Universe and essays on the life and business of being a writer. Brian now lives on the side of a mountain in Utah with his wife, Michele, where he writes books and nurses a crippling video game addiction.

Brian's novels include the Powder Mage Trilogy, Gods of Blood and Powder, and Valkyrie Collections.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Book review: The Splendid City by Karen Heuler


Book links: Angry Robot, AmazonGoodreads

Read FBC's Interview with Karen Heuler

AUTHOR INFO: Karen Heuler is the author of The Splendid City. Her stories have appeared in over 100 literary and speculative magazines and anthologies, from Conjunctions to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction to Weird Tales, as well as a number of Best Of anthologies. She has received an O. Henry award, been a finalist for the Iowa short fiction award, the Bellwether award, the Shirley Jackson award for short fiction, and a bunch of other ritzy awards. Her stories and books often feature women facing strange circumstances on this world and others. Karen Heuler lives in New York City with a large dog and two alarmed cats.

Publisher: Angry Robot (June 14, 2022) Page count:  Formats: ebook, paperback


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