#SPFBO End of Month Update

Posted On 2 October 2018

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blackThe second month of the SPFBO has come to an end.  As with the first month I chose a further six books at random to check during the course of September with the intention of reading at least 30% of each one.  As the month got underway I posted about the books chosen and you can find out more information about them and their authors here and here.  The aim of today’s post is to provide an update on my reading progress and also to decide which books have been chosen to stay in the contest after the second month.  I can’t deny that this is difficult because I hate having to cut any books but, it’s the nature of the competition after all so my thoughts are below.  For this particular batch of books I’m rolling one book forward.

The next five books that I will be cutting are as follows with a short review of my thoughts on each:

crossfireCrossfire by Andrea Domanski

I liked the concept of Crossfire and I thought the writing was very easy to get along with.  It’s a coming of age tale involving some fascinating areas not least of which is the inclusion of Greek Gods and Amazons.  The pace is fast and during the 35% that I read there was plenty going on.  I have no doubt that Crossfire will appeal to a younger audience but for my particular reading taste and up to the point at which I stopped reading I think this was a case of ‘it’s me not you’.  Crossfire feels YA to me which means I sometimes find myself having niggles and unanswered questions – however, that’s part of the catch 22 of only reading up to a certain point as clearly these things could be answered during the course of the book.  However, that being said, this does seem to contain a lot of cliches, not just a coming of age tale but also a ‘chosen one’ storyline, the main character Mirissa is a bit too perfect and things just had a feeling of being too easily achieved which left me feeling a little bit ambivalent towards the characters.  I think the characterisation suffered a little bit due to the fast pacing but it’s sometimes a difficult balance to strike and from what I’ve read so far the author was trying to get quite a lot across.  I would rate this 3 of 5 stars.


Shadow of a Slave by Saffron Bryant

I have mixed feelings about Shadow of a Slave.  It’s a well told story and in fact I enjoyed the writing well enough.  The tale revolves around two twins, Ash and Rae.  Technically speaking Ash and Rae shouldn’t exist.  This is a world in which twins are not allowed to exist, they are destroyed at birth due to their unpredictability around magic and the subsequent threat that they pose to others  As the story begins we watch the twins as they evade capture by the faceless monks.  At the point I left off reading (34%) Ash and Rae were trying to stay alive after they were left homeless and without a guardian. One of the issues I had with this book was I felt like it was a very familiar premise and that I’d read something similar before – but I guess that happens sometimes when reading fantasy.  The other issue is that I didn’t feel like I had enough time to get a feel for the world or become attached to the characters.  Again, this could just be the limit to what I’ve read up to. I am curious about what happens next. I’d rate this mid way between 3 and 3.5 stars out of 5.

the lost

The Lost Sentinel by Suzanne Rogerson

The Lost Sentinel is set in the world of Kalaya.  As the story begins we make the acquaintance of Tei as her world is suddenly turned upside down.  Within fairly short succession she finds herself homeless and parentless and on route to a strange land in the mountains where her abilities will be tested by a bunch of elders who will determine her place within society.  The world here is split.  The people without magic fear those with it and consequently anybody who shows an affinity is exiled.  The exiles live a peaceful life, almost idyllic.  They are balanced with nature and their lives feel positive.  Meanwhile the people without magic have become bitter.  They blame all their woes on those with magic and look for other solutions that will rid them of this affliction.  I liked this story, I think it has a good premise and is fairly well executed.  The pacing is fast and I  was intrigued. I read about 34%.  I liked what I read of Lost Sentinel. I especially liked that the main character steps outside of the cliche that as a reader you’re expecting.  I felt like the story progressed very quickly for the chapters I read but to an extent a little something got lost in the telling.  The characterisation was a little thin and the story felt a little rushed due to the quick pace.  I think the story might have benefitted from a little more time spent in the opening chapters to help build up more emotion about what was taking place. I would rate this as somewhere in the middle of 3 and 3.5 of 5 stars


Rebel’s Blade by Frost Kay

Rebel’s Blade starts with an introduction to Sage Blackwell.  Sage runs her father’s forge and keeps the business alive once he falls ill.  Times in Aermia are changing.  The king has been in mourning for a few years.  Meanwhile the country is in decline, people are going missing and crime is on the rise.  Rebellion is in the air.  When Sage is made a strange offer to join the rebels she is more than intrigued.  Tehl, heir to the throne, watches as his country spirals into decline.  He, his brother and cousin desperately try to get to the heart of the rebellion.  Basically Sage and Tehl are in opposite corners but I suspect that their lives are going to become entangled quite dramatically.  Rebel’s Blade didn’t quite work out for me although that could simply be because it feels to be heading into the realm of romance which isn’t really my thing.  I found it a little hard to picture the world in fact I was conflicted about it and didn’t really understand where the threat was coming from or why.  Then again, I’ve only read 30% so you have to bear that in mind.  I would rate this a 3 of 5 star read.

Savage Swords

Savage Swords by Viel Nast

Savage Swords is a short story that draws inspiration from the Conan tales.  To be honest I haven’t read the Conan stories and so I have no idea how this compares.  This is only a fairly short story which I read completely to give it a fair shot.  To be fair, short stories don’t usually work for me as I like something a bit more substantial.  I was puzzled by this one, I can’t say it really worked for me.  The story seems to begin in the middle of some form of exploration by a collection of warriors travelling through the forests.  Gonan is a mighty warrior who scouts out the way forward.  The group are continually attacked as they drive forward, in search of something that I’m not quite sure about and the story is one of trying to survive.  For me, as a retelling, this felt like it lost an opportunity somehow to maybe bring a more uptodate version to play, particularly in terms of the dialogue and feel.  This might work for others as a play on the original. I would rate this 2.5 stars out of 5

The book I will be rolling forward is:

  1. Dark Oak by Jacob Sannox.  At the moment I’ve read around 42% of Dark Oak and I am interested in continuing the story further.

dark oak

18 Responses to “#SPFBO End of Month Update”

  1. Tammy

    I’m curious to hear how you like Dark Oak when you finish it. Best of luck to rest of the authors😁

    • @lynnsbooks

      I hated having to cut some books but I have to get down to one so needs must. I’ve not finished Dark Oak yet but hopefully I’ll get to it shortly.
      Lynn 😀

  2. waytoofantasy

    Like Tammy, looking forward to your final thoughts on Dark Oak. 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thanks – I’ll get there eventually and have a review.
      Lynn 😀

  3. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Jumping on the Dark Oak bus here… 🙂
    With that delightfully dark and promising cover, I can’t wait to read your review!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Well of course I’ll need to complete it first but hopefully I’ll be reading through my hopefuls very soon.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    And the field narrows further! Congrats to Jacob Sannox for moving forward and good luck to all!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I know – I hate cutting books but one book only allowed. I have so much more cutting to do. Boo.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Carmen

    It’s good that a clear winner emerged from this batch. Look forward to your thoughts on it. 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s such a shame – I hate to be ruthless but then I have to evenutally cut 29 of 30 books so what can I do.
      Lynn 😀

  6. @lynnsbooks

    It’s such a shame – I hate to be ruthless but then I have to evenutally cut 29 of 30 books so what can I do.
    Lynn 😀

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