The group of judges on the FFA team have collectively chosen the first ten (10) books in their SPFBO 7 allotment to be taken out of consideration for the finals. Below, you will find a graphic of the remaining titles, as well as the ten (10) titles that have been cut up to this point in the first round of competition.
The Moon is on the brink of war.
Alexander Dio, an officer of the Vulture Dragoons, flies in defence of the Lunar people against the monstrous armies of the Sun. He is ready for war – or at least he thinks he is.
But when Dio’s patrol finds a crashed ship out in the Sea of Tranquility, his life is turned upside-down. Because the ship is not from the Moon, and its captain is unlike anyone he’s ever known.
His name is Lucian, and he comes from the Earth.
Based on the ancient Greek story by Lucian of Samosata, this voyage of fantastic discovery goes back to the very beginning of science-fiction.
It had a intriguing premise with a good blend of fantasy mythology and science fiction. The world building is excellent, prose is crisp and pacing is spot on. However, the use of certain terms and explanations for certain actions have more science in them than fantasy and made us lean towards this being more Sci-Fi heavy.
In Deepwater, Princess Tempest believes her impending marriage to be the worst of her troubles; but when an attack is made on the king, starting a battle for control between the nations of Nyazere, she must flee the only home she has ever known and form new alliances if she is to survive. But beyond the walls of her city lies a dangerous road, where blades and coin matter more than legacy and titles.
While fairly well written, the story was somewhat generic and none of the characters stood out enough to fully invest the judges.
The Almighty El is tired of his creations dying and his offspring questioning his competence. After purging his latest failure and raising up a new cosmos, he’s certain that this time success is assured. But just as his handiwork takes root, his greatest enemy rises from the void to challenge him in a vicious tentacled battle.
Leader of the Seraphim, Lucifer is sick of his father’s catastrophic missteps. And when he temporarily takes charge while the useless deity rests, he vows this rightful reign will be permanent. Except Lucifer soon finds himself not only dethroned, but kicked into the fiery flames of the Inferno.
Now as El’s family spirals into death and madness, he must fight to keep all of existence from imploding. And Lucifer’s hunger for vengeance has inadvertently paved the way for every celestial with a lust for power to ravage the multiverse in their bid for the coveted crown.
Can the embattled pair stop the playground of the gods from becoming a killing field?
The story started with an intriguing premise but burned through plot at an incredibly fast pace and lacked the characters to make us invested in the story.
Simon the fool, Simon the halfwit, Simon the lost is pursued across medieval Europe by a sinister league of conjurers, the Apostles of Light. Having erased his past, they will stop at nothing to steal his future as well. On the way, he joins the Knights of Palermo, a dubious band of wandering rogues, and attracts a mysterious young woman whose fate is somehow interwoven with his own.
Simon finds himself caught in a struggle for power between the shadowy Apostles, his adopted Knights, and a cabal of powerful women known to a select few as the Weavers. With only a broken sword and his own shattered memories, Simon must thread this maze of warring factions to discover who he was and why he is inexorably drawn to the haunted ruins of twelfth century Rome.
Half Sword reads more like an alternative history tale rather than a true fantasy novel. The book is well written with insightful prose and vivid imagery, and should be well received with the intended audience.
Writing Historical Fantasy by Christopher Matson
Newfoundland, Canada, 1992.
Gale Harbour hasn’t seen any excitement since the military abandoned the base there thirty years ago, unless you count the Tuesday night 2-for-1 video rentals at Jerry’s Video Shack. So when a dead body turns up floating in the town water supply, all evidence seems to point to a boring accident.
Niall, Pius and Harper are dealing with pre-teen awkwardness in the last days of summer before the start of high school. The same night the body is found, the three of them witness unusual lights in the sky over the bay.
Is it a coincidence? Are the lights connected to the rapidly-increasing string of mysterious deaths? And what does the creepy old lady at the nursing home have to do with it?
There is an evil older than time hidden deep beneath the waters of the North Atlantic. It is hungry, and vengeful, and it has its sights set on Gale Harbour to begin its path of destruction. All that stands in its way are a group of kids who would rather be playing Street Fighter II…
This title is definitely more Horror Comedy / Dark Humor than Fantasy; definitely a smidge closer to Sci-Fi. Did you also know that Psycho Hose Beast is a slang term for “A person who is so needy they create a force akin to gravity, that pulls everyone’s attention, energy, and cash into their gaping maw.” This term was actually used in Wayne’s World in regard to Stacy, Wayne’s ex-girlfriend. Fun times.
The second millennium has just rolled over. Armageddon, the destructive Y2K bug and a crazy time-storm is afoot. The ultimate battle between good and evil is about to take place on a distant magical world far away. Rock is one of the eight warriors chosen to fight in the ancient tournament that began eight thousand years ago. He is whisked away from planet Earth to fight on the floating islands that hover high above the magical world of Threa. Rock will be guided to the destination of the ancient tournament by the powerful, mysterious wizard, Grodin. Together, they will face countless dangers. Evil wizards, trolls and magical monsters are but a few of the many perils that lie in the path of these intrepid adventurers. Rock has the unprecedented power of the sword-wand to help him brave the many difficult challenges that lie ahead of him. He also has the services of the magical, black stallion, Thunder.
Another title where the premise was promising, but the writing style and characters did not jive with the group. Realm also suffered from being too info-dumpy in the very beginning, which makes gripping a reader near impossible.
Torak, a young servant, lives a mundane life in the weapons academy catering to the needs of swordsmen and nobility. That life is irrevocably changed when his father’s identity as a dragon is revealed in dramatic fashion. Torak is forced to leave his servant’s life and fight not only for his own survival but for the survival of all the races in the lands.
While the premise was intriguing, the prose was a bit too simplistic and didn’t allow Torak Dragonson to stand out from the pack. Great things happen, but they are just taken in stride which takes away the shine from the plot, making it hard to connect with the characters and events.
One rules by fear, her citizens laboring to fund the lavish lifestyle of the wizard class. The other believes in justice and compassion, earning her the love of her subjects…and the enmity of her wizard peers.
Both will die.
In one wizardom, a secret rebellion brews. A hero to the people rises, fueled by a mysterious sorcerer’s blood magic. But at what cost?
Conspiracies and assassins lurk in every shadow, threatening the throne of another nation. The scheming wizard behind it will stop at nothing to claim the crown. Yet, even he is a pawn.
What force is behind it all? What is their endgame?
The unnecessary amount of male gaze throughout the story lead to Wizardoms being an early exit. This one had potential but this glaring problem turned a majority of our readers off.
Loveable Rogues by Jeffrey L. Kohanek
The story begins in Shidokan where Winter joins the mystical Zendragon order, seeking to control his emotions and master his ki. But he is full of anger towards his mother’s killer, and anger poisons his spirit. He meets Akami while she is being pursued by Dragonscorpion ninja’s, and he seeks to prevent her from being used by ruthless men to attain the Shogunate. In the end Winter’s desire to revenge will test his spirit, for a Zendragon is supposed to rise above anger and break the cycle of vengeance, but does he have the strength to do it?
Then the story moves to Garderon, where Lord Zigurashi has opened a magic portal leading there and sent his armies to make war on the westerners. Winter joins a group of western heroes and seeks to find the riftblade, the sacred artefact capable of closing the portal and ending the war with Garderon. Can he save them from conquest, or will the demonic enemies who plague his every step spell his doom?
While a couple of members enjoyed Zendragon and it had the potential of becoming a semifinalist, Gordon decided to forego the rest of the competition and test the trade publishing waters. We wish him the best of luck!
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Zombie Walkabout. Where the dead give you a reason for living!
The blurb sounded like Jurassic Park, but with Zombies! The overall premise was nice and something we haven’t come across in this genre before. However, we weren’t able to relate to the characters or the prose. The cast was very unlikeable (outside of the MC) as they came across a bit exaggerated. We presume that if the humor clicks, then readers would enjoy this more.
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