#SPFBO End of Month Update

Posted On 2 November 2018

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blackThe third month of the SPFBO has come to an end which means that I’m now over half way through my books.  As with the first and second month I chose a further six books at random to check during the course of October 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 really don’t like this part of the competition, I don’t like cutting books and I feel so bad for the authors of the books that are being cut but this is a competition and I only have one space.  So, these are my thoughts this month with deepest apologies to all the authors whose books have been cut to date, I can’t deny that these were really difficult decisions.  I’ve provided ratings for the books, but these are based on the first third of the book and therefore could be subject to change.

For this particular batch of books I’m rolling two books forward.

The next 4 books that I will be cutting are as follows with a short review of my thoughts on each:

a wizard's forgeA Wizard’s Forge (The Woern Saga, #1) by A.M. Justice

I made a good start on this and I have to admit I’m intrigued with what I’ve read so far (about 35%).  The writing is good and very easy to get along with.  The main protagonist is Victoria.  After succeeding in her goal to become a scholar, travelling from village to village sharing wisdom, Victoria is unfortunately abducted, along with a number of other villagers and sold into slavery.  Her new owner/master is manipulative and obsessive.  His aim is to completely possess Victoria, body and soul and as the story progresses she is undoubtedly falling under his sway.  I’m not really going to share too much more of the plot at this point but just discuss my thoughts so far.  I did enjoy this and it’s a book I’d like to return to, complete and review when the first stage of the SPFBO is out of the way.  As it is and up to the point that I read up to the only real issues I would note are that this seems very ambitious at the point I broke off, by which I mean there is a lot going on and plenty of ground to cover, as a result we seem to have jumps forward in time – which isn’t something I have a problem with as a rule but it felt here like the jumps left me feeling not quite as invested in Victoria as a I felt I should be somehow.  Of course, I’m only just over a third into the book so there’s plenty of time for things to develop but at just slightly over my cut off point I wanted to feel a little more attached. I would rate this 3.5 out of 5 stars.

llightdawningLight Dawning by Ty Arthur

Light Dawning is a very dark story, or so it seems from what I’ve read so far.  The story takes place in Cestia, once renowned for its opportunities it has been occupied by enemy forces who took over the city approximately three years ago.  There is a rebellion movement although it’s chances of success seem slim.  The occupying forces are brutal indeed and think nothing of slaughtering and raping those citizens who have managed to stay alive so far.  Most of the survivors believe there is little hope and I’m inclined to agree with them.  The main characters I read of up to the 32% mark were Myrr, who was, at the time of introduction, hiding in a safehouse from the knighthood, there is more to Myrr than originally meets the eye.  Erret is a missionary who seems to be using the occupation and the rebellion to stir up more trouble – all in the name of encouraging more converts to join his flock. Casterley who, in spite of his family being terrorised and broken apart by the enemy believes the rebellion can make a difference.  At this point all the characters come across in shades of grey – neither fully bad or fully good, which is something I do like.  I think my main issues with Light Dawning is that it really does come across in the first third of the book as maybe too bleak or dark for me.  There are dark forces at play, something demonic maybe – although I don’t have a clear take on that at the moment.  I think with the casual way in which the ruling forces kill and slaughter it feels like pretty soon there won’t be a city left to rule – and maybe that’s not something that concerns them, they’re looking for something in the city after all.  I guess I’m puzzled why they’re leaving people alive in the first place because they have very little regard for the remaining population.  This could work well for others, it just felt a little to grim for my tastes, more a case of ‘this is me not you’. I would rate this 3 out of 5 stars.

darkof

Dark of Winter by Christopher Percy

Dark of Winter is another of the stories that definitely intrigued me and I think I will have to read more because I’m incredibly curious.  I think I got off on the wrong foot with this one and didn’t find myself really enamoured at the start of the read but that changed with the introduction of the village and people of Sumner.  This is such an unusual race of people.  They seem to have suffered in the past and most of the villages have some kind of deformity, I’m not entirely sure why at this point.  Other villages stay away from them completely.  What I found pulled me into the story was the introduction of a character named Hidden.  At the start of the story Hidden has encountered a monster outside the village which he captures and returns with (I would point out if you’re thinking of picking this up that there is a particularly gruesome scene at this point).  This definitely portends evil and the approach of darkness.  At the same time, the village is unaware of the fact that a contingent of soldiers is marching through the wilds with the intent of wiping them out.  Things certainly seem bleak for Sumner.  Alongside this, a young girl has gone missing from the village and in the freezing conditions is unlikely to survive long, are these all just coincidental or is something bigger at play?  Search parties are dispatched to try and find her before it’s too late.  What I liked about this – as I said, the village and it’s occupants are quite fascinating, the talk of monsters and the dark is intriguing and a village where the dead can talk and give you advice is definitely something to take notice of.  Hidden also seems like a character that I’d like to get to know better. So, I got off to a slow start with this one but it had started to win me over.  This is a book that I would like to return to and review fully.  I would rate this 3.5 out of 5 stars.

How to go to Hell in 10,000 Easy StepsHow to go to Hell in 10,000 Easy Steps by Douglas Todd 

This book is very different indeed and actually quite compelling for that reason.  It’s one of those stories where everything becomes very unusual very quick.  The main character, Valerie, is fed up of life and has decided she wants to trade her soul for a better life – after all, she won’t need a soul once she’s dead will she?  Unfortunately, Hell is having a few problems of it’s own at the moment which makes this trade off a tad unlikely – actually, Hell stopped trying to tempt souls with offers of fame and fortune a while ago, it seems they have plenty of people on the way down into the inferno of their own volition and don’t need to make such deals – of course Valerie wasn’t aware of that fact before she made her attempt and like it or not she’s garnered some unwanted attention, especially as she’s now had a brief stint in hell and didn’t like it. This is such an unusual book and another of my batch that I will definitely return to.  In terms of criticisms so far.  I wasn’t convinced by Valerie’s desire to trade her soul – that part of the story felt too rushed, I didn’t really feel her despair and it took a while to warm up to her.  She’s quite a singular character and not one that I immediately liked.  On top of that there is definitely oddity here and at least one part of the read that felt almost uncomfortable to read.  But, I would like to read more, I can usually handle oddity quite well and I’d like to see how this concludes.  I would rate this 3.5 out of 5 stars.

The two books I am rolling forward are:

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20 Responses to “#SPFBO End of Month Update”

  1. Ty Arthur

    Thanks for giving Light Dawning a shot, and congrats to Craig and J.R. for moving forward!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thank you so much for taking part and submitting your book. I wish Lighting Dawning lots of success even if it was a little dark for my reading taste.
      Lynn 😀

  2. amjusticewrites

    Thanks Lynn for the time you spent reading, and congratulations to Craig and J.R.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thanks – I really don’t like having to pick books to cut but there’s no way around it. Thank you so much for taking part and submitting your book, it was great interviewing you and getting to know more and I will certainly return to and finish Wizard’s Forge.
      Lynn 😀

      • amjusticewrites

        I really appreciate the opportunity, and I look forward to reading your thoughts on the complete book whenever you’re able to finish it. 🙂

      • @lynnsbooks

        I’ll definitely finish it – thanks again.
        Lynn 😀

  3. sjhigbee

    Huge respect once more for taking on this onerous task and making all those hard decisions. I’d hate it… Congratulations to the books that have made the cut – I do like the sound of Dark of Winter. Many thanks for sharing, Lynn:)

    • @lynnsbooks

      Dark of Winter was very intriguing. I definitely need to return to it after the competition.
      Lynn 😀

      • sjhigbee

        Yes – it was definitely the one that snagged my attention:)

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Nice, two books get to go forward this month! That probably makes your job harder to choose one in the end, but I’m glad you’re finding such good gems!

    • @lynnsbooks

      The writing quality is really good – it seems to get more and difficult to choose with each passing year.
      Lynn 😀

  5. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Yours is indeed an unenviable position, having to pick books to move forward with a limited number of slots: just looking at the synopsis for the books you showcased here, I would truly not know what to do…

    • @lynnsbooks

      I enjoyed quite a few as you can see, it does make choosing difficult and I will definitely return to some of these when I’m not in the thick of the competition.
      Lynn 😀

  6. waytoofantasy

    Thanks for your thoughts on all of these. I’m pretty interested in A Wizard’s Forge and picked up a copy recently so I’ll probably check that one out sometime in the near(ish) future. Looking forward to more SPFBO updates!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thanks – I hope you enjoy A Wizard’s Forge and I look forward to reading your review.
      Lynn 😀

  7. Carmen

    It’s good that you found some of these books intriguing enough to want to return to them at a later date. Congrats to the ones you advanced. The cover of Sworn to the Night catches the eye in an unusual kind of way. I like the cover of Forsaken Kingdom.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I definitely have to conclude some of these – I’m sort of hooked but I had to make a decision so there it is.
      Lynn 😀

  8. #SPFBO 2018 : Batch 4, Books 1-3 | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] The conclusion for my first, second and third month’s reading can be found here, here and here Ultimately, the aim is to choose one book from the thirty I’ve been assigned – that […]

  9. Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky

    These all sound so different and interesting! How to go to Hell in 10,000 Easy Steps sounds very much like My Thing–I love stories about humans making transactions with hell. And I’m convinced that all of you SPFBO judges are crazy in the best way. 😀 I have no idea how you get to all these books every month AND choose which ones to cut. Massive kudos!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thanks. It’s so difficult to choose, I struggled this month – well, every month. But there can be only one.
      Lynn 😀

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