SPFBO 7 – Meet the Batch “Epic”
The seventh Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO) is underway!
Check out our introduction here | meet this year’s judges here | read all about the contest’s origins here | and keep track of phase one here
We have divided the 30 books into 6 batches of five books each, with each batch loosely grouped around a common theme or motif. For the next six weeks our SPFBO posting pattern will be:
Monday introduce a new batch of five
Wednesday eliminate three of them and identify two quarter finalists
Friday post the decision as to which quarter finalists which is our pick for semi-finalist and why
The chosen semi-finalists will then each get a full read from all our judges and a Hive review to be posted in the last week of October as we build up to announcing our Hive SPFBO7 Finalist
All the entrants in the competition deserve credit not just for completing a novel length book – but for being prepared to subject themselves to the very public and potentially bruising scrutiny of the SPFBO competition. In each posting we’ll list the books alphabetically by title rather than by ranking. We hope to explain what made us want to read on, or what put us off. You may find the things that discouraged some of us actually pique your interest. After all, reading is subjective and the meaning and value of any book is fashioned anew with every fresh reader/book combination.
But now let’s MEET OUR SECOND BATCH …
This week’s theme is “Epic.”
Besides the escapism of fantasy, the genre has long provided an opportunity to deliver the block-buster world convulsing plots. In the case of N.K.Jemsin’s Broken Earth trilogy – literally world convulsing. Freed from the constraints of earthly geography and history, fantasy authors can pitch their protagonists into the nexus points of other-wordly history and let them tip the balance one way or the other. Perhaps Tolkien’s fellowship – devised in the aftermath of the purposeless slaughter of trench warfare in world war one – was an attempt to imagine a world where the fates and sacrifices of the little people (metaphorically and literally) did make a difference to the big world events.
Our next batch of books envisage worlds in various kinds of turmoil, with our authors presenting protagonists whose actions will unravel (or ravel) the tide of times.
Daniel T Jackson
Five different young people come to separate crisis points in their lives and are forced into drastic and not always successful responses to these adversities, but how are these five linked to the five desperate escapees from the long ago past?
Long ago, The Lord Aiduel emerged from the deserts of the Holy Land, possessed with divine powers. He used these to forcibly unite the peoples of Angall, before His ascension to heaven.
Over eight hundred years later, in a medieval world which is threatened by war and religious persecution, four young men and women begin to develop supernatural abilities. These forbidden and secret powers will shatter the lives that they have known, and will force each of them to confront the mystery of the ethereal Gate which haunts their dreams. What does the dream mean, and how is it connected to their burgeoning abilities?
As they experience conflict, love, lust and betrayal, in lands which are being overtaken by war, they must try to stay ahead of and to survive the sinister forces which are now pursuing them. For they are being hunted…
Illborn is Daniel T. Jackson’s powerful and gritty debut novel, and is the thrilling opening chapter in the epic fantasy story of The Illborn Saga.
Jason A Holt
An unnamed narrator appears to be telling their peers the history of when their isolated valley of small people was invaded by the warlike Klindrel, and – with an omniscient eye and occasional asides – we follow key players in the unfolding drama.
The peaceful scholars of the Redwood Valley are invaded by an army of warriors twice their size. Their only defense is a small patrol company.
Lieutenant Sabu doesn’t know how thirty-six patrollers can stop an army, but he knows he must try. He has help from a reckless bandit and a timid merchant, men of opposite temperament united in their desire for revenge.
Dusi is a rookie mind-finder eager to prove that her magic is useful, not evil. She’ll do anything to impress Sabu, but what will he do when the horrors of the battlefield resurrect the nightmares from her past?
The Klindrel Invasion is a fantasy-adventure war memoir set in the world of Edgewhen. You will meet steel-hearted invaders, brave guerrilla fighters, enigmatic nature spirits, and inner demons that may be, literally, demons.
A queen reads – in a book within a book – from a propagandised version of her nation’s history and the couple who built it, while her present experiences are of romantic entanglements, political tension and veiled prejudice. How will the past link to the present?
A winter queen and prince of flame, bound together by fate.
Following a deadly attack on a druid grove, twenty-five-year-old Elia Kolenikova, queen of the Ice Realm, is the first and only monarch to take a stand against the fire priest order, a reclusive band of sorcerers with unlimited power. Determined to find a way to protect druids from further violence, Elia turns to the annals of history, tracing her knowledge of fire priests back to a time when a previous Ice Queen was intimately tied to the rise of the order. There’s just one problem: what Elia reads in those accounts may not be true.
To unravel the mystery, Elia needs more than an ally—she needs a fire priest. An immortal Ice Realm prince who’s been missing from the history books for centuries.
Syllian, like his father before him, sacrificed his mortal body to be born again in flames. Two thousand years later, he’s hunted at every turn by fire priests seeking revenge for his betrayal of the order. The threat means little until a rumor reaches him: Queen Elia Kolenikova is asking questions. About fire priests, about druids, and most dangerously of all, about the truth.
Emerging from the shadows could cost Syllian his life. But if he doesn’t, the lies and propaganda of the fire priest order will cost Elia hers first.
A king and queen must solve an unusual parental problem “our daughter wants to kill her older brother”? The vicious offspring, in a world and culture of viciousness, is sent away to “foster” care in a society that preys on humans.
Sasha, Daughter of Hal, is sent away from her home to protect her from both herself and her brother, Tekor. Though she believes herself to be better and stronger than him, there are cultural norms which must be maintained. Now a new member of a new household, she must come to terms with her changed status in life. Her new father Vidar, an intelligent Lord Protector, sees the potential that Sasha could play in the wider political landscape that is going on all around them. Though he knows that the people may not yet be ready for one such as her, he will seek to give her the greatest amount of preparation for her possible larger role to come. With help from her new brother Balor, as well as the townsfolk, Sasha strives to truly learn the way the world really works beyond the manor walls she was born behind.
Michael E Thom
Different and unrelated individuals, down on their luck and somewhat dubious in their morality, are confronted by a shadowy crowned figure who wants them to lead his invasion of this world and in return offers them each a different special power.
From the AuthorIf you are a fan of dark epic fantasy and worldbuilding with multiple characters, I think you will definitely enjoy this series.
Check back on Wednesday to discover what our judges thought of these books.