#SPFBO Half Way Point : Feedback

Posted On 19 September 2019

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So, a little later than planned, here is my ‘halfway through the SPFBO’ feedback post.

I’m on my third batch of books and have read the first chapters (up to 30%) of the first three which takes me exactly to the halfway point.  This is my third batch of books and my feedback on the first three of those books,

To date I’ve now read at least the first 30% of 15 books.

Today I’m going to give my feedback on three more books.  I’m also going to decide which books will be semi-finalists up to this point.

Without further ado here are my thoughts on my next three reads.

Shadowof.jpgFrom the Shadows of the Owl Queen’s Court by Benedict Patrick

I’ve read just over 31% of From the Shadows of the Owl Queen’s Court and I’m enjoying it so far so intend to read further so won’t at this point be providing a review.  To be rolled forward.

Author Info:

 

Living in.jpgLiving in Times of Dragons by John A Pretorius

This is a contemporary story that gets off to a very quick start.  Roger is returning to his homeland of South Africa with his son when things start to go horribly wrong.  Roger has been in a sort of self imposed exile, I’m not totally sure why, and is returning to take part in a court case for which he may be in grave danger.  As it happens the danger is much worse than Roger could ever imagine.  Dragons exist, they live hidden from humans but they’re about to break their secrecy and wreak havoc upon the world and it appears that they’re coming for Roger.

To be totally honest this one didn’t quite work for me, which may be just an ‘it’s me not you’ thing.  There are lots of dragons, some good, some not so good – although at this stage I don’t understand their motivations so I could be wrong about the good and bad ones.

I think my main issue with this was that it got off to a very dramatic start but then slowed down considerably with lots of dialogue and constant questions that didn’t really feel like they moved the plot along.  I also felt like there were quite a number of typos in this which started to feel like they were pulling me out of the story a little.  This one didn’t quite work for me but then I’ve only read the first third of the book.

To be cut.

Author Info:

 

TheShadow.jpgThe Shadow Watch by S.A Klopfenstein

The Shadow Watch was a good read. Well, it took me a little to get into but then I did become invested and this is a book that I would like to return to if I get the time just to see how it develops

This is a world where magic has been eliminated – or so it is believed.  We begin the story with a young girl being sold by her mother for her own protection.  We then move on to the Oshan Empire where slaves live in wait to see whether they will be selected to go to war.  Terrifying times and Tori and Darien are on the eve of such a selection process and about to be separated.

I enjoyed this but it did take a little time to get into.   As it is, I feel like I was becoming quite invested and interested by my 30% cut off zone.  I would like to return to this but for the purpose of the competition it’s being cut for now.

To be cut.

Author Info:

 

For the purpose of this feedback I’ve cut two books and decided to continue reading one of them.

At the current point I would say I have one semi -finalist to date and one book still waiting to be completed and reviewed and therefore still in the running to be a semi finalist.  The Lore of Prometheus is my current semi finalist. For the purpose of the competition I am now cutting the other books that I have read apart from the one book that I still intend to read.  I will provide a further update at the end of the month for the other three books from batch 3.

My current semi finalist is the Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King

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My book being carried over is From the Shadows of the Owl Queen’s Court by Benedict Patrick

I have three more books to check out by the end of the month and a further feedback post.

My apologies to all the authors cut so far, I realise this is really tough and my thanks to you all for entering the competition.  Good luck to the remaining authors.

My Process

My 3 covers for the cover competition

Author Interview - Elise Kova

My First Batch of Books

Feedback on My First Batch of Books

My Second Batch of Books

Review: Cry Havoc by Mike Morris

feedback on my Second Batch of Books

Review: Healer's Rune by Chris O'Mara

Review: The Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King

My Third Batch of Books


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#SPFBO5 My third batch of books

Posted On 2 September 2019

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Today is the third month of the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off.  As with last year I have divided my 30 books into five batches of six books (selected using a random sequence generator).  Each month I will highlight that month’s selection at the start of the month, providing details about the books and the authors.  As the month progresses I hope to have a clear favourite out of each batch – although things don’t always go to plan of course – I will provide mini reviews for each book and hopefully a full review for each book that I read fully or choose to be a semi finalist – which I’m thinking should be five books in total although it could be less.  The aim being to then choose a finalist from those semi finalists.

This month, all going well, I’m hoping to write a post in the middle of the month and select any semi finalists up to that point (midway through the competition).  So, I will hopefully read the first 30% of the first three books below and include them in that midway feedback.

I’d like to wish everyone the best of luck and I hope you all enjoy the competition.

Without further ado here are my six books for September:

 

Shadowof.jpgFrom the Shadows of the Owl Queen’s Court by Benedict Patrick

If you value your life, stay out of the forest.

As a captive of the Owl Queen’s Court, Nascha’s life has always been one knife’s edge away from disaster. But when she is threatened for nothing more than the colour of her hair, Nascha attempts the unthinkable: escape through the dreaded Magpie King’s forest.

Hunted by sharp toothed and sharper witted foxfolk, and hated by all for being a witch, Nascha fears herself doomed until she joins forces with a mysterious young man. With him she finds a glimmer of hope, even as her own unpredictable powers flicker into existence.

But hope is fleeting.

The forces arrayed against her are insurmountable, and Nascha soon comes to realise that pursuit of her own freedom will come at a greater cost to the forest. As the darkness closes in around them, Nascha is forced to ask:

At what price is she willing to purchase her life?

How dearly is she willing to sell it?

From the Shadows of the Owl Queen’s Court is the fourth standalone book in Benedict Patrick’s Yarnsworld series, returning for the first time to the setting of the #1 bestseller They Mostly Come Out At Night.

Author Info:

 

Living in.jpgLiving in Times of Dragons by John A Pretorius

“…as with everything in my life all this began with dreams…”

American ex-pat, father and widower, Roger Rommel, did not believe in dragons. Unfortunately they did not return the sentiment.

After returning from a self-imposed exile to his adopted country of South Africa, Roger is confronted by these legendary fire-breathing reptiles who risked exposing their hidden world simply to hunt him. Gifted with the ability to create and enter dreams, as well as to see the future, he tries to survive and protect his son from enemies he does not understand.

But the past is alive, and he finds himself linked to a conflict thousands of years old. The world he knew is now stranger, more fantastic and terrifying than he truly knew, especially when everyone is out to get you.

Author Info:

 

TheShadow.jpgThe Shadow Watch by S.A Klopfenstein

For centuries, the Oshan Empire has ruled the New World with terror and blood. The Watchers have been eradicated, and their sorcery is but a whispered myth. But the heart of magic beats on, and as it surges back to life, three young people will determine the fate of the world…

Tori Burodai, a strong-willed slave girl. Her magic could ignite a revolution, but only if she resists the ruler who wants to use her powers to restore the empire to its former glory.

Darien Redvar, the idealistic soldier she loves. His rage leads him down a dark path to power that could turn him against the one person he cares for.

Kale Andovier, a lordling rebel with a torturous past. His quest for a weapon of dark sorcery will thrust him into a twisted game of power that could change the world forever.

Will the return of magic transform the New World, or bring it to ruin?

Author Info:

 

Earthcore.jpgEarthcore by Grace Bridges

Superpowers from hot springs? Who knew? 

Anira thinks her family’s trip to Rotorua, New Zealand, will be a week of grudging participation as she fights off a latent phobia of volcanoes.

But this place has ancient secrets she could never have imagined. For its natural geology and untamed thermal forces hold a hidden power–one that transforms those gifted by the spirits of the land.

Now Anira finds herself possessing abilities she has never known. There are others like her–young and old, both good and evil…And the legendary guardians have a job for them to do. Together they are caught up in a race against the developer intent on destroying the natural springs that are the home of the ancients and the source of their powers.

Author Info:

 

SirThomas.jpgSir Thomas the Hesitant and the Table of the Less Valued Knights by Liam Perrin

Whimsical and poignant, Sir Thomas the Hesitant and the Table of Less Valued Knights tells the story of Thomas Farmer who dreams of becoming a knight, sets out to save his brother from the hands of an evil Baron, and uncovers a plot that threatens Camelot itself. Along the way, he befriends a series of misfits including an allegedly reformed evil wizard, a shrinking giantess with a latent gift, a veteran knight with a dark secret, and his best friend Philip the Exceptionally Unlucky.

In the end, his friends must all join forces and Thomas must come to grips with what it means to be a true hero if they are to outwit the evil Baron. At its heart, Sir Thomas’s tale is the story of a young man growing up and learning what it means to be a hero in a world that doesn’t always make sense.

Author Info:

 

Strings of.jpgStrings of Chance by Jeff Pryor

Life is a song, sing it well!

Edson Pye is the greatest bard in all of Elraon. Unfortunately, nobody else has figured this out yet. An annual competition in the city of Vonst provides an opportunity to validate his claims, while a chance encounter springs him toward the fame he so desperately covets…though at what cost?

Wanting only wine, women, and an audience for his music, Edson instead finds himself drawn into an increasingly tangled web of schemes centered around a mysterious murder. His growing fame, coupled with an aggressive manager, puts him in front of crowds larger than he ever imagined…can he live up to his own hype?

Edson’s trio of desires continuously spark misadventures, compelling him to confront his own flaws and decide what kind of person he wants to be, all while moving on an unavoidable path toward a confrontation with his greatest rival.

Author Info:

#SPFBO The Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King

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TheLoreThe Lore of Prometheus is one of two books that I decided to read fully out of my second batch of books for the SPFBO competition.  I’m not going to lie, when I picked this up I wasn’t expecting to like it and in fact I felt nervous before starting to read.  Military sci-fi doesn’t really work for me.  At least I didn’t think it worked for me but, apparently, I was wrong and I don’t mind admitting it.  The Lore of Prometheus was a gripping story, well told with persuasive and polished writing and great characters.  I couldn’t put it down to be honest and I was thoroughly entertained.

As the story begins we meet with one of our two main characters, John Carver – John has three rules don’t drink in the daytime, don’t gamble when the luck has gone, and don’t talk to the dead people who come to visit – and he’s currently doing very badly and breaking all three.  Lady Luck has deserted him leaving him high and dry not to mention deeply in debt to a money lender.  He needs to find some work quick sharp in a hurry and so turns to an old colleague from his days as a soldier and makes the tough decision to return to Afghanistan.  Five years ago John and his squad were sent on a mission that went very badly.  The rest of the squad were killed, John was the only survivor and the rumours about how he came out of it alive sound nothing if not far fetched.  Now, suffering from PTSD, survivor guilt and frequently experiencing hallucinations in which his dead squad show up to harass him – the decision to return to a place that left him traumatised and broken has not been an easy one to make, but needs most when the devil vomits into your kettle.  So, off John goes, in a sort of security consultant capacity, back to Kabul.  One thing he needs to make sure of is to keep his identity under wraps – not an easy thing when it seems that somebody is monitoring his progress.

We then meet up with Mackenzie Cartwright, an ex nurse originally from Australia who has been undertaking humanitarian work overseas.  Mackenzie is about to be thrown into the deep end and we the readers are going to be thrown in along with her.  She awakens in a dark room, restrained, naked and with no idea where she is or why.  Things go downhill from here on out.  Mackenzie has been abducted and the reason why becomes clear quite quickly.  The people who she has been ‘sold’ to are undertaking research – in a very ruthless fashion and with a total no holds barred torturous and unscrupulous way.  Wow, did GAK put this character through the wringer.  But, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t gratuitous or overly explicit, and it also isn’t sexual, the nudity being more a means to inflict psychological damage, but you’re very aware of the deprivation, starvation and horrors that the character goes through. There is reasoning behind it, of course, as far as the researchers are concerned at least – but I’m not going to go into any of that here.  Basically, the path of these two characters will eventually cross, but that’s about as much as I’m prepared to tell you about the plot.

So, what really worked well for me with this.  The writing was very good.  I said above that it’s polished and on top of that the research just feels thorough – to be clear, I haven’t the slightest idea of how on point it all really is because I don’t have that sort of knowledge but it all comes across as reasonable and in some respects the author totally got inside my head – answering questions that popped into it almost as quickly as I thought them up.  The pacing is impressive.  The book gets off to an excellent start and from there onwards the momentum never falters.  Which isn’t to say this is all drama and action, just that the story unfolds really well and it feels as though there is never a dull moment.

The world building is also well done with descriptions easily calling to mind the heat and dust, the flashbacks also add more detail when we witness glimpses from John’s past and in particular the events when all his squad were killed.  I suppose in some respects this was an easy place to bring to mind but even so I have to hand it to the author for not over elaborating on things.  Drawing an outline and knowing when to stop is sometimes difficult but I think it’s very well done here.

I also really liked the two main characters and enjoyed reading their alternating chapters.  I never experienced that feeling of annoyance that you sometimes feel going from a POV that you’re really loving to another character who you find a bit dull.  Carter has some snarky lines that managed to inject a little humour and MacKenzie takes us through the gamut of emotions as she experiences them and eventually comes full circle.  I liked both of them I have to say and so kudos to the author for getting two characters so spot on that I was sitting on the edge of my seat whenever they were given page time.

In terms of the ‘fantasy’ elements.  I don’t want to give too much away but the main thrust of the story revolves around untapped potential and the research in question is being used to break down barriers in the mind in order to open up multitudes of possibility.  There isn’t a great deal of explanation about what’s really going on but in fairness I don’t really think there needs to be.

In terms of criticisms.  I think the only real issue I had, and it certainly wasn’t a deal breaker, was the ‘baddie’ of the piece.  Okay, I do understand his motivations but he comes across a little flat.  He feels like a machiavellian character who should be twirling his waxed moustache whilst tying a (naked) damsel in distress to a frame in a dark room – just because he can.  There’s also something of a Bond film feel in terms of the research facility that goes deep underground.  To be fair though, in spite of these issues, and in fact maybe because of them, I couldn’t help thinking this would make a great adaptation to screen.

Overall, I had a thoroughly good time with this book.  It was entertaining, it was gripping, it had tension and horror and it concluded in a spectacularly flashy fashion that felt entirely appropriate.  This was very easy to read, it turned around my feelings towards military style sff and in fact surpassed my expectations.  Go figure – it seems I’ve been missing a whole area of reading that I would probably enjoy.

I received a copy courtesy of the author, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

 

#SPFBO Feedback on my second batch of books

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We’re almost at the end of the second month of the SPFBO competition.  At the start of the month I randomly chose my second batch of six books.  Throughout the month I have been making progress reading at least the first 30% of each of those books and today I’m going to give feedback on my books so far.  I will be eliminating a number of these books – with apologies to the authors, it’s not a part of the competition that I enjoy, but as has been said many many times before, there can be only one.  At this point I’ve chosen two books to continue reading – I haven’t yet decided if these will be semi-finalists but at the moment I’m carrying both forward for future reading.  To be honest, these decisions were so difficult – even now I’m going backwards and forwards and this post may change before it goes live.  I am full of indecision.

So, without further ado here is my feedback on the first six books (my third batch will be posted at the start of September).

Healer'sHealer’s Ruin by Chris O’Mara

I’ve read the first 30% of Healer’s Ruin and I’m really quite hooked.  I’d like to read more of this one as I’m really curious about the world and the characters.  To an extent it almost feels like this book is part of something bigger, as though I’ve been thrown into the middle of a fully developed world but it’s easy to read and entertaining.  I’m going to read on and see how this one develops so my review here will only be short for the time being. At the moment I’m rolling this book forward.

Author Info:

Twitter : Aphazail

 

TheOwl.jpgThe Owl & the Dragon by Randy Nargi 

The Owl and the Dragon is clearly a murder mystery in a fantasy world. As the story sets out we make the acquaintance of the main POV character Bander.  Bander is travelling and along the way he meets a group of characters who ask him to join their party – they then drug, rob and leave him for dead.  Not the best start for our character but everyone can make mistakes.  Bander then finds himself meeting up with another character who takes pity on him and helps him to reach the next village so that he can seek out a healer.  The story fairly quickly progresses once Bander arrives in the village of Hytwen.  A young girl has gone missing, possibly abducted, and the neighbouring village of Ortwen is suspected.  There is much rivalry between the two villages and on the face of it it would appear that Hytwen may play a role in the disappearance.

This is quite an engaging story to the point that I broke off.  It was quick and easy to read and I didn’t have any problems in making quick progress.  That being said, considering that I’ve read just slightly over 30% the plot feels a little light up to this point.   There is quite a bit of description with every new scene being given a fair amount of page time.  I don’t mind detail to be honest, but I do feel like it’s slowing the story down a little bit here.  It could be that the author is doing a Sherlock Holmes style number where things are outlined and clues are hidden within the descriptions, clues that only the detective will pick up on. Yes, that could be what the author is going for but in some respects it feels a little laboured and had me tapping my foot a little with impatience.

The main character Bander is an interesting chap.  He’s actually a retired investigator.  To some extents Bander reads well, but, the fact that he very nearly falls foul of two attempts on his life doesn’t give me a lot of confidence in his overall abilities.  There’s also a slight feeling of things falling too easily into place for him along the way and I couldn’t help feeling that he lacked emotions in some respects.  I felt that I was being ‘told’ rather than ‘shown’ that Bander was an impressive character.  On top of this, to the point I broke off, this is very light in terms of fantasy – other than the world itself being fictitious.

But, criticisms aside, I can’t deny this was an intriguing storyline and I am interested to see how the plot is resolved.  At this stage however and for the purposes of the competition I’m setting this one aside.

Author Info :

 

TheLoreThe Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King

The Lore of Prometheus is the second book out of the batch that I would like to continue reading.  As mentioned, these are not semi-finalists at this stage, I just don’t want to stop reading at the moment.  In which case, I won’t provide further details about the read at this point other than to say this is proving to be an impressive story so far, it feels polished and given that I don’t usually enjoy military style books it’s caught my attention much more than I expected.  I’m rolling this book forward.

Author Info :

Twitter : grayaustin

 

RealmofRealm of Beasts by Angela J Ford

Realm of Beasts involves two main characters, both running away from something (or so it seemed to me).

We first meet Tor Lir, he’s just left his homeland and believes he has a mission to bring order and balance to the world.  I’m not going to lie, I found Tor a little bit difficult to like in the early chapters of this book – now perhaps that’s just down to getting off on a bad footing or perhaps I wasn’t quite in the right place when I started but I found him a little bit arrogant and annoying and I can’t deny that I struggled to get over this initial impression.

We then switch characters to Citrine, a young female with a guarded past.  She’s found Paradise and is happy here living in the forest under the protection of a guardian.  Unfortunately Citrine hasn’t completely escaped from whatever it was she was running from and it seems that the ‘paradise’ she’s found solace in is about to be shattered.  Again, Citrine didn’t quite win me over – but it’s early stages after all.  It seems that her actions are going to have a negative impact on many of the people and creatures that live under the protections of this forest but at the moment I’m not feeling any regret or indecision on her part.  Her hand is being forced, don’t get me wrong, but she just doesn’t seem particularly cut up about it, I wanted more emotion I suppose and the lack of it left me thinking she was a little detached and a bit thoughtless which in turn made it difficult for me to become attached to her.

On the face of it and up to the point I’ve read the writing was easy, the descriptions were good, but I almost had a feeling that I’d been thrown into the middle of something, as though I should already have a knowledge of this world.  I realise that this is probably something that will be built on as the book progresses but at this point and given that neither of the two main characters really stole my heart I’m going to admit this one isn’t for me and so I’m setting it aside.

Author Info :

Twitter : aford21

 

PrinceofCats.jpgThe Prince of Cats by Daniel Olesen

I must say from the outset that The Prince of Cats was a good read and I easily read over the 30% allocation I allow for all these books.  This is definitely, so far a fun read with a good pace and amusing dialogue.

Jawad is a thief.  When we meet him at the start of the story he’s been arrested and about to face punishment – unless he can help to find ‘The Prince of Cats’.  Given a brief stay of execution Jawad is escorted to the home of a wealthy merchants who fears that the PoCs has targeted his business.

I liked Jawad in many ways.  He’s not a perfect character, he’s pitching people against each other and playing other people like a master puppeteer but he’s fairly easy to get along with from the reader’s perspective.

Like I mentioned, this is a good read and that makes me feel bad for cutting it out of the selection process at this stage, but this is a ruthless competition.  I think my main issue with this is that some of Jawad’s remarks fall strongly into the category of foreshadowing – now I think this is a pity in some respects because it gives me the feeling that I know what direction the story is going to go in – although I could, of course, be completely wrong.

All things being equal, this book is a good read, it has humour, intrigue and a likable main pov.  I’m still kind of torn and would like to roll this book forward but realistically I have to cut some books.  At the moment, regrettably, I’m not rolling this one forward but I may return to it later to complete and review.

Author Info :

 

Immortals'Requiem.jpgImmortals’ Requiem by Vincent Bobbe

I have mixed feelings for Immortals’ Requiem.  I started this book and admit that it began in a rather complicated fashion.  There are plenty of characters and goings on.  But, okay, I’m not new to complicated fantasy and by about 10% in things just ‘clicked’ for me, particularly with one of the characters who just made me laugh with his sarcasm.

I enjoyed the setting, I’m from this neck of the woods and so it was absolutely fascinating to be reading about streets that I’m familiar with – albeit that I wouldn’t particularly like to run into any of the characters from this book!

This is a story of Immortals – one in particular who seems to have travelled forward through the ages followed by his nemesis.  There are aspects of this that just gave me “Terminator’ vibes in a really good way and also other elements that put me in mind of similar urban fantasy worlds.

To be honest, I’m conflicted.  There are aspects of the story that I’m really enjoying, the pace is good as is the writing and I would like to know more about what’s going on.  On the other hand, I feel that this one might just be too violent for my own tastes.  So, I’m enjoying certain elements but not others.  I realise that’s very much a personal preference and even now I’m considering reading more to see how I get on but, for the purposes of the competition I won’t be rolling this one forward – even if I do decide to pick it back up.  Like I said, I think this one could possibly work really well for others so if you like your grimdark to be on the darker side of the scale then give it a shot.  I might continue with this one if time allows, I confess that I’m curious, but for the purpose of the competition I’m not rolling it forward at this stage.

Author Info : 

Twitter : jumpstartpub

*Final note: if I have any of your details wrong then please let me know.

My thanks to all the authors for providing review copies and regrets to those that have been cut out of the competition so far.

**Other SPFBO posts:

My Process

My 3 covers for the cover competition

Author Interview - Elise Kova

My First Batch of Books

Feedback on My First Batch of Books

My Second Batch of Books

Review: Cry Havoc by Mike Morris

#SPFBO Cry Havoc (Jack Frey #1) by Mike Morris

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CryHavocCry Havoc was in my first batch of SPFBO books.  The feedback from that batch can be found here and Cry Havoc was the first book that I decided to fully read and at the moment is still in the running to be a potential semi finalist.

As the story begins we meet two young boys, Jack and his older brother Brendan.  They live with their mother in rather abject poverty and frequently resort to robbery in order simply to eat.  Their father is no longer around and their mother struggles to cope, seeking solace in a bottle of alcohol more often than not.  It’s easy to see that the two are going to grow up somewhat wild until fate intervenes.  Caught attempting a burglary the two are taken by the Black Dogs, a religious order of priests who learn to fight to protect Abios from invasion by their mortal enemies, the Nostros.

The Nostros are the monsters/demons of the story.  They share a number of similarities with vampires in both their eating and sleep patterns.  They have conquered the humans of the Northlands in fact Abios seems to be the only place that they don’t yet rule.  The journey across the waters makes it difficult for them as they cannot be caught outside during the hours of sunlight.

The story is told by two different characters.  Lin, a slave of the Nostros who seems to live in constant fear of either death by the hand of one of the Masters or by one of her fellow slaves.  It’s something of a dog eat dog world that the slaves live in, they spend their nights working exhausting hours for very little reward and with barely enough to eat.  Jack is the alternating POV.  In many respects he and his brother fell on their feet when they were caught stealing.  They are now fed, clothed and taught.  They have a roof over their head and a purpose – although this doesn’t stop Jack from railing against everything to begin with.

The two storylines will eventually cross paths although not for a good portion of the story when the Black Dogs become aware of an increased threat from the Nostros and are forced to take proactive measures.

I thought that Cry Havoc was a promising start to the series.  The writing was good once the author found his feet and although it did get off to something of a slow start the alternating POV chapters helped to keep the momentum going, plus the fact that I was curious about both characters also helped.

The characters themselves.  They feel like they need something more at the moment, they’ve not completely wowed me in fact I found myself liking some of the peripheral characters more – particularly during the action scenes towards the end of the book.  But, this is a first in series and without making it into a weighty tome it can be difficult to balance everything.

The world building.  This has a mediaeval feel to it in terms of modes of transport, dress and weapons – although surprisingly there are guns – which I wasn’t expecting.  I would have liked more information about the Nostros.  They felt a little under developed at this point.  They’re very unsavoury characters indeed, human lives being absolutely nothing to them, but I would have liked to feel more tension and fear whenever they entered the scene. And I think I would like a little bit more detail about this war between good vs evil.  Again, it’s that balancing act though and no doubt more information will be forthcoming in future instalments.

In terms of criticisms.  Wel, I enjoyed this but it does have a ‘first in series’ feel.  I have yet to fall in love with Jack or Lin and this lack of attachment did make me feel a little ambivalent towards their safety during the ensuing fight scenes.  That being said this certainly wasn’t a difficult read, I didn’t feel the need to DNF and it was a fairly easy page turner.

I would rate this as a 3.5 of 5 stars or 7 out of 10.

My thanks to the author for a review copy and for entering the SPFBO competition.  The above is my own opinion.

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