#SPFBO End of Month Update

Posted On 1 December 2018

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blackThe fourth month of the SPFBO has come to an end which means I now only have six more books to consider.  As with the previous months I chose a further six books at random to check during the course of November 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 book/s have been chosen to stay in the contest after the fourth month.  I really don’t like this part of the competition, I don’t like cutting books and I feel 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 and there’s obviously an element on occasion of ‘it’s not you it’s me’.  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 one book forward.

The next 5 books that I will be cutting are as follows with a short review of my thoughts on each:

Clockworld1. Clockworld by Ben Myatt

I must say that I found Clockworld very easy to read and it is definitely a book that I will read fully and review.  As the story begins we make the acquaintance of Mouse, a tunnel runner, as he undertakes a job deep within the underbelly of the City.  Life is tough for Mouse but he has a good reputation and is a hardy and likable character.  Far above, in the higher echelons of the City is Princess Aldreia, not a lover of court politics the Princess is treated with little respect by most of the nobles and courtiers and prefers to escape the trials of Court even if it is to take part in lessons about the history of the city.  These two characters will eventually cross paths.  Of course, at the point at which I read up to the two have barely met.  What I do know is that things are taking place,  Whisperings and conspiracies, all centred around the Clock and the religion it inspires.  I enjoyed Clockworld with its steampunk feel and two young protagonists who appear to be on the brink of becoming it’s saviours.

I would rate this book a strong 3.5 to the point at which I stopped reading.

thebastardfromThe Bastard from Fairyland by Phil Parker

Another book that I fully intend to return to.  Robin is one of the fae, betrayed and banished from the fae realm he now lives amongst humans, in what appears to be an almost post apocalyptic style world – where rising sea levels have caused devastation.  He keeps himself remote – the humans dislike him and obviously he can’t return to his own kind – but, it seems some of his own kind are about to come looking for him, or more to the point the information he has regarding the whereabouts of a couple of would-be knights.  I liked what I read up to with the split between the fae and the human world.  I’m definitely intrigued to read more but with the 30% cut off in mind the story hadn’t developed quite enough to take it to the next stage.  It’s a conundrum because at the end of the day I don’t want to penalise an author for having a good set up and paying attention to the world building, or even for taking the time to develop the characters, but, I do have a cut off point and so whilst this book was really starting to take off it’s going to be one I return to to complete at a later date.

I would rate this as 3.5 of 5 stars to the point at which I stopped reading.

Sorcerers'IsleSorcerers’ Isle by DP Prior

Sorcerer’s Isle is dark fantasy.  It’s bleak and a bit brutal so bear that in mind.  The story is taken forward by two MCs.  The first is Snaith Harrow.  Snaith hopes to prove himself in the warrior trials and marry the girl he loves.  Tey Moonshine is the young woman who has caught Snaith’s heart.  Tey is a troubled young woman.  Brought up in an abusive home she seems not only to hear voices from within but has also carved sigils into virtually all her skin at the insistence of these voices.  It seems that Snaith and Tey’s paths are fated to intertwine although at the point I read up to I’m not sure exactly how (by which I mean, they’ve already met but Tey is about to be sent away).  Following a terrible accident at the trials both were injured and the clan sorcerer, Theurig takes an interest in the magical abilites of both – if magic is to be believed that is.  I think the writing here is good and it definitely pulled me along, the pacing is a little slow and so I can’t really say too much more in terms of plot up to the point I read.  My main problem is that this does feel rather bleak and on top of that, at the moment, I’m not really endeared to either character although they could work their magic if I read further.

I would rate this as a 3 out of 5 at the point at which I stopped reading.

VictorVictor Boone Will Save Us by David Joel Stevenson

I have to say from the outset that this is a book that made me laugh.  It’s a bit of a tongue in cheek take on the super hero trope.  Victor Boone is the superhero that never was.  Basically, the real superhero is Robby Willis but Robby is so shy that he can’t stand any sort of attention.  In a strange twist, in which Robby actually saves someone but Victor takes the credit, a partnership is formed in which Robby uses his abilities to help save people but Victor takes the credit and is the on-screen presence – that is until he’s murdered and someone discovers Robby’s secret.  So many tropes being poked fun at – I really did enjoy what I read and I would like to know what happens next for Robby.  At the point I read up to I wouldn’t say that the plot had sufficiently advanced to take this book forward but even now writing this review I’m smiling.  Yes, I would continue to read this just to see what happens next.

3.5 of 5 stars to the point I read up to.

SangrookThe Sangrook Saga by Steve Thomas 

As it says in the summary the Sangrooks ruled half the world until their defeat.  At least it was believed they were defeated when in actual fact that wasn’t the case.  Some of the Sangrooks remained alive.  The start of the story brings to us two brothers, one twisted and brought old before his time with the use of dark magic.  The other brother seems to conspire against his brother.  The older, more wasted brother is reckless, he kills and tortures with abandon, collecting any descendants of the Sangrook family to try and take their power by binding their souls to his.  The Sangrook Saga is only a fairly short book – I think just over 200 pages and I understand it’s divided into a number of stories about the Sangrooks through the ages.  It’s not a book that would ultimately work for me, it errs more on the side of horror, at least the chapters I read, but, the writing is good and I admit that I’m intrigued as to where the story will go – although secretly I suspect it may remain on the bleak side – almost like a cautionary tale.  If you fancy a quick read, a number of shortish stories, connected through family and history, a bit grim and brutal and bloody then this could work better for you than it does for me.

I would rate this as a 3 out of 5 to the point at which I finished reading.

The book I am rolling forward is:

Under Ordshaw by Phil Williams




20 Responses to “#SPFBO End of Month Update”

  1. bendanarama

    Thanks for the kind words and taking the time to read Clockworld, Lynn!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thanks – I really do intend to continue reading it as I need to know what happens. It’s such a shame I can’t have more than one finalist but thank you for entering your book into the competition.
      Lynn 😀

      • bendanarama

        That you want to know what happens is the biggest compliment I could receive!

      • @lynnsbooks

        I actually NEED to know! Lynn 😀

  2. Tammy

    I remember in the beginning that Under Ordshaw sounded unique and I love the cover. Very curious to hear what happens!

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Grats to Phil Williams, and I look forward to your thoughts on the rest of the novel!

  4. #SPFBO 2018 : Batch 5, Books 1-6 | Books and travelling with Lynn

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

  5. waytoofantasy

    Congrats to Phil! It’s getting down to it, looking forward to your thoughts on the final batch!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I know – I’m excited and terrified – how will I ever choose.
      Lynn 😀

  6. sjhigbee

    I love the sound of Clockworld and Victor Boone Will Save Us. Thank you for sharing, Lynn:)

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yes, they were both good and I will have to read both to see what happens.
      Lynn 😀

      • sjhigbee

        Looking forward to hearing what you make of them…

  7. Carmen

    Glad that despite some of these books were not chosen, you liked them enough to want to read further. Congratulations to Phil for being advanced. Enjoy the next stage in the competition.

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s a shame to have to cut some really, especially when I am enjoying them, but it boils down to if one of your reads is keeping your attention more than the others then that’s the one that goes forward.
      Lynn 😀

  8. vacuouswastrel

    It certainly sounds as though the general standard has improved considerably over the last few years (and the covers certainly have). I wonder whether this is the result of increasing professionalisation in the self-publishing sector (are there now better books on average?), or just of increased awareness of this competition (are the better books now more likely to be submitted?)…

    • @lynnsbooks

      Well I certainly seem to have an excellent batch of books this year and I have really high hopes for all the finalists.
      Lynn 😀

  9. jessicabookworm

    Lynn, I am so pleased to hear you have been enjoying your SPFBO reading so much, even if its making your job of cutting books a lot harder!

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