#SPFBO Spotlight : the sixth set of books: Update + Winner Announcement
This is my sixth and final batch of books for the SPFBO and my final update post! I’ve listed below my links to updates and reviews for the first/second/third/fourth and fifth batch of books with links to the books chosen from each round.
The book choices were all randomly picked. I aimed to read about 20% of each book or five chapters although in quite a few cases I read considerably more. Basically, if one of the books stood out above the other four then that became the clear choice from that batch.
My final set of five books are below. I’ve added underneath each a synopsis (taken from Goodreads) and also linked up the titles so they’re easy to check out. These are only very quick thoughts, given that I’ve not read the full book in most cases it’s not possible to give a full review.
The dark ones never forget a hunter. For Antonio, newly-former priest, that’s not a great thing. It gets worse when he’s confronted by two bodies and the unmistakable trail of a succubus. Why the Hell did it have to be a succubus?
He might have lost his title, lost his identity, lost his backup; but he still has his blade, and this hunt might offer a chance at redemption, a chance that Antonio desperately needs.
The Fallen Shepherd Saga was originally published as a three-part serial story. This volume is an expanded omnibus edition.
The Fallen Shepherd is an urban fantasy type story in which The Fallen Shepherd of the title is Antonio. Previously a priest Antonio is, at the start of the story, on the trail of a succubus who has just murdered a police officer. I didn’t get too much further into the plot with my 20%. The writing was quite engaging and I enjoyed the chapters I read. I did feel that there was a certain element of telling rather than showing. So, for example, Antonio, he makes lots of noises about being an expert hunter and yet he walks right into a fairly obvious trap early on and in spite of saying that you can’t afford to make mistakes in his line of work. That being said I did enjoy the chapters I read – not sure if it brings anything new to the UF genre but could be an interesting read nonetheless.
This novel contains interior comics and art by the author.
Olivia might look human, but she’s grown up with a heavy secret: her mother is a potion-maker who fled her home in a parallel world, the Hidden Lands.
Alfred is the blind, charismatic young heir to the illegal potions trade. When Olivia’s mother is kidnapped by the magic dealers with whom she once made a bad bargain, she has no choice but to trust Alfred’s offer of help. They travel to a strange new world of bootlegged American pop culture, lifelike doll people, and reincarnation. Alfred finds himself putting his position on the line to defend Olivia against his family’s conniving plans. Maybe he has morals…or maybe he’s just falling in love.
When Olivia escapes from an attack by a curiously familiar sorceress, she learns that potion dealers weren’t the only thing Mom was hiding from. Dark secrets lurk in Olivia’s past, and now Olivia must kill or be killed by the girl with whom she once shared everything…
I quite enjoyed the writing for the Vengeful Half the author has come up with some good ideas for her Hidden Lands although I confess that I was surprised when we actually travelled there to find that they were basically very similar to our own – which I wasn’t expecting. Unfortunately I was unable to check out the artwork so I can’t really comment about that or whether it added to the read overall. Having read the first 20% I don’t really have a good enough grip on the story yet to make an overall judgement about the plot and in terms of the characters, I haven’t at this stage been able to form an attachment to any of them. Given the chapters I’ve read so far I think this could be an enjoyable YA read.
3. Magic Banquet by A E Marling – this book was a swapped title. Originally I was due to read Off Leash by Daniel Potter but I exchanged books due to a conflict of interest.
Dragon steaks, ambrosia, and chimera stew. In the Magic Banquet, one guest always dies of joy. Or so they say. The street waif, Aja, just wants a few mouthfuls of the first course, but this is a party not easily left.
The dishes lavished upon Aja do more than entice. They enchant. They endanger. They change her. When she learns that a dragonfruit will make her mature, she eats it all. She is tired of being seen as a child, of being excluded and overlooked by respectable families and that other girl at the banquet, who is the empress in disguise. But Aja ages too fast, too much, and too soon. She is dying. She must replenish her lifeforce by eating a phoenix before she can even think of escaping the mortal banquet.
Aja, a thirteen-year-old girl who stole into the banquet before anyone could tell her she’s too young.
Janny, an old woman hungry for eternal youth.
The Empress Nephrynthian. But she’ll insist on you calling her Ryn.
Her guard, Fos Chandur.
Solin, graceful on his crutches and deadly with his magic.
And a dark lord.
Another book that caught my attention quite early on and showed some promise. However, for me personally this feels like a quite young read, probably early teens – and I’m not just basing that on the age of Aja, the main protagonist, but more the feel of the read up to the point I read. From the portion I did read I felt that this had a coming of age type of feel and I think that a younger audience would enjoy Aja as she progresses through this banquet.
“In THE NINTH WIND, Moses Siregar takes readers to a fascinating new world where politics, magic, and adventure mingle in exciting and profound ways. If you like fantasy, you’ll love this!” –NYT Bestseller David Farland
THE NINTH WIND SPEAKS FOR THE DEAD …
The Ancestors whisper of rebellion, their breath a cold blue wind in the forests and hills of Andars. The Rezzian occupation lingers, dragging the folk of the hills through bitterness and despair.
Three siblings stand ready to challenge the Kingdom of Rezzia. Their fates have long been seen by the primordial Orns: one by Angst, one by Fidelity, one by Wrath.
Idonea searches the dark wood to master the magic of the three sacred trees. Skye pursues omens to lead his shield-brothers to victory over Rezzia’s legions. As armies battle for control of the Andaran hills, Dag calls out so that he may become as impenetrable as Altrea, allowing nothing to bend him, or turn him, or break him, so that he may stand and defend his kin. The ten gods of Rezzia and their lions stand in his way.
The Ninth Wind is the long-awaited return to Moses Siregar III’s award-winning epic fantasy series, Splendor and Ruin. Drawing on Norse, Greek, and Indian mythologies, the Ninth Wind is a tale of betrayal and retribution, of gods and sages and witches, of fearless journeys and magical awakenings.
It is a tale of honor, devotion, and valor. An adult tale of the children of wind and wood.
As soon as I started The Ninth Wind I thought it showed a lot of promise. This is my favourite from this batch of books and my review will follow.
Icarus must intervene before a wicked ritual is completed, or humanity will be banished from the world of Tellest forevermore. But his people, the elves, have determined that humans are too dangerous to share the realm. How can he protect the friends that he has made without betraying his race?
Samael is a man scorned, whose only desire is to enact vengeance on those who have wronged him. However, his involvement is the deciding factor in the call to banish humanity. For the sake of all the races of Tellest, he must work with Icarus to put a halt to the foul dealings.
The Fall was actually quite an intriguing read that got off to a good start and I read further than the 20% I’ve allocated for each book. The writing was easy to get on with and the world quite well imagined, but, I had the overall feeling that I was missing something, or that The Fall was only a small piece in a larger puzzle. I could of course be wrong with that as I haven’t read the full book at this point.
In conclusion, I’ve chosen The Ninth Wind as my favourite of this particular batch of books and my review will follow shortly.
- Cover Lover
- 1st Batch of books + update + book review
- 2nd batch of books + update + book review
- 3rd batch of books + update + book review
- 4th batch of book + update + book review
- 5th batch of books + update + book review
- 6th batch of books + update + book review
At this point (although I haven’t yet reviewed the sixth book) given that I have chosen a book from each round I feel that I am now in a position to choose the book I’d like to take forward. The final six were:
- Rebel’s Honor by Gwynn White
- Unwilling Souls by Gregory D Little
- As the Crow Flies by Robin Lythgoe
- The Amber Isle (Book of Never #1) by Ashley Capes
- Outpost (The Fylking #1) by F T McKinstry
- The Ninth Wind by Moses Siregar III
And, the book I will take forward to the next round will be:
Outpost by F T McKinstry
Unwilling Souls by Gregory D Little a close second.
I would like to thank all the authors who submitted their work to the SPFBO – I’ve enjoyed taking part and making my way through all the entries.
I’ve tried to give overviews for all the books and give full reviews for the ones I’ve read completely. My final post will be my review of The Ninth Wind which will follow shortly.