#SPFBO : Finalist announcement

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300 books           10 Judges            1 winner

The 1st of June marked the start of the sixth Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (details here.)  My Introductory post is here.

You can find my updates for batch 1batch 2batch 3, Batch 4 and Batch 5 by clicking on the  links.

So, today I will announce my finalist.  To be honest, this has been a very difficult choice to make.  I had four semi-finalists chosen and all are very good reads that I highly recommend.  I can say that in my deliberations each of these books has been my finalist at some point and I think they would all be worthy of moving forward to Stage 2.  That being said, I had to make a choice and so without further ado my finalist this year is:

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Voice of War (Threadlight #1) by Zack Argyle (check out the new cover) 

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My three semi finalists are:

My congratulations to Zack Argyle, commiserations to all the other authors who took part.  I had a fantastic batch of books and the decisions this year have been ridiculously difficult due to the excellent.  I highly recommend the three SFs and in fact I still have a couple of other books to complete and review that I will post at a later stage.

Good luck to all the finalists moving forward.

My reviews for all four books are below:

Voice of War

Tuyo

Calico Thunder Rides Again

The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon

#SPFBO Review : Voice of War by Zack Argyle (Threadlight #1)

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300 books           10 Judges            1 winner

The 1st of June marked the start of the sixth Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (details here.)  My Introductory post is here.

You can find my updates for batch 1batch 2batch 3, Batch 4 and Batch 5 by clicking on the  links.  My recent update in which I announced further cuts and two semi-finalists can be found here.

This week and next I will be posting reviews for the ten books I rolled forward to read fully.  Hopefully five reviews this week followed by an update and cuts and semi finalist announcements on Saturday.  I will then repeat this format the following week. I won’t be posting a rating for the books at this point.

VoiceofVoice of War is the debut novel of Zack Argyle and the first book in the Threadlight series.  I enjoyed this and the review is based on the audio version which was also very good.

As the story begins we witness a religious ceremony that gives us information about the world we find ourselves in.  The magic here is known as threadweaving and the colour of a person’s eyes determines their ability to either use magic or not.  Blue or green eyes denotes magic ability, a child with brown eyes has no ability to threadweave.  This isn’t a problem in itself although most parents hope their children will be born with magic capabilities.  Families are allowed only two children, the exception to this is if the third child is born with blue or green eyes.  Those children born with brown eyes to a family that already have two children are given into the priesthood, unfortunately such a religious calling involves a cruel ritual that leaves the child blind, basically because it is believed to be better to see truth than light.

We also meet Chrys Valerian, one of three High Generals who has a fierce reputation.  Chrys is a respected leader but his efforts during the War of the Wastelands changed the outcome and gained him the title of ‘Apogee’ (think Beserker).  Since the war Chrys keeps his inner demon on a short leash even though it constantly demands release inside his head and he’s not entirely sure what this inner beast is really capable of.  The other thing you need to know about Chrys is that his wife is expecting and when a stranger predicts a threat to his unborn child events start to escalate quickly before taking a strange turn.

Chrys is one of three characters that we follow.  Laurel is a young female also with threadweaving abilities.  However, she doesn’t live in the city.  She lives in a village in the wilds that most people believe is a fictional place and her threadweaving is very impressive.  Laurel is becoming a little discontented with village life and the elders that dictate the way of life and this leads her into trouble.  I don’t really want to discuss Laurel or the other character too much because this will probably involve spoilers for certain aspects of the story.

The story gets off to a quick start and the pacing is good.  The main thrust of the plot concerns blood thieves that have been abducting threadweaver children to sell their blood.  Chrys has been tasked with investigating these disappearances although the other two High General’s are unhappy with this situation.  The investigation takes a strange turn which leaves Chrys, his wife and his unborn child in danger.

I really enjoyed this, I had a few little issues here and there but I thought the world building was impressive, the writing became progressively more confident and there was a good build up of tension as things came to a head.

I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed all the characters equally but I did like Chrys and the creepy voice inside his head.  I liked that he struggles with this and doesn’t know whether or not he’s going crazy, I liked the strong focus on family and although the magic system is reminiscent of Sanderson’s Mistborn (with pushing and pulling on threads) I think it stands on it’s own two feet.  Laurel is a little more reckless and impulsive, her decision making can be a little flaky, but, at the same time I recognise that her age plays into this.

I really liked the world created here.  Althea, the city in which Chrys lives is easy to imagine and fairly fantasy typical, we then move to the remote village, hidden within a jungle like setting with dangers aplenty, a few twists and the dramatic finale – which definitely left me wanting to read more.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, I had a good time with this so nothing much to discuss here, although I think the third POV was under developed and felt a little rushed.  There was also a slight feeling of things sometimes being easily resolved.

Overall, I had a very good time reading this and will definitely read the next instalment.

I would like to thank the author for a review copy. The above is my own opinion.

#SPFBO – My Next Steps

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300 books           10 Judges            1 winner

The 1st of June marked the start of the sixth Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (details here.)  My Introductory post is here.

You can find my updates for batch 1batch 2batch 3, Batch 4 and Batch 5 by clicking on the  links.

So, this is slightly new territory for me in that this year I’ve left all my possible books to the final month to read and review and I’ve decided to leave things fairly loose.  To be honest I’d like to read all 10 books before choosing semi-finalists but I’m also conscious that time is moving on and I need to keep on top of things and not leave everything to the last few days.  With that in mind I’m going to provide an update after I’ve completed the first five books, 

And, the following (not listed in any particular order) are the books that I will be reading (slight spoiler alert, in case you’re thinking this seems like a lot to get through I can say I’ve already completed three of these so hopefully my first update will come on swift wings

  1. Tuyo by Rachel Neumeier
  2. Voice of War by Zack Argyle
  3. The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon by Benedict Patrick
  4. The Child of Silence (The Burning Orbit Book 1) by Joseph O. Doran
  5. Trial of Thorns (Wicked Fae #1) by Stacey Trombley
  6. Calico Thunder Rides Again by T.A. Hernandez
  7. The Usurper (Brutal Saga #0.50) by James Alderdice
  8. The Hammer Of The Gods: So You Want To Be A Star (The Druid Trilogy #1) by Andrew Marc Rowe
  9. Knightmare Arcanist (Frith Chronicles #1) by Shami Stovall
  10. Incursion by Mitchell Hogan

On a final note – if any of my authors have audio versions available and would like me to check those out then just leave me a comment.

Good luck to everyone.