SPFBO Giveaway!

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Welcome to the 2017 – 2018 SPFBO Giveaway!

This will be a giveaway for the top 30 of the 100 books I read this past year for SPFBO. Originally, I was going to leave it open to all 100 books, but that would make this post extraordinarily long and unmanageable.

Thoughts On SPFBO

What an awesome way to gain some traction for your books! Kudos to Mark Lawrence for hosting this, and to all the bloggers who spent so much time reading and reviewing. And of course, congrats to all the authors, not just the ones who went on to the final round. I’ve tried writing. It’s hard. I suck. You all managed to write a cohesive novel and publish it, that’s no small feat, and I know how much work goes into it. Thanks for your submissions!

I had a ton of fun this past year going through all of these books. I’ve discovered new favorite authors, made some friends, and was pushed outside of my comfort zone a few times and enjoyed that more than I thought I would. I’ve hit a few favorites in genre’s I’ve mostly ignored.

There are a ton of amazing books that didn’t make it into the finals, and that’s sort of the way of a competition like this, over 90% will be eliminated, and many times there are multiple quality choices that could move on to the final round. Hopefully, listing 30 here will highlight some of the ones that didn’t reach the finals.

If we were going to pretend I was a judge this year and I got to pick 1/30 books I read, my finalists would be:

Faithless Graham Austin King

Where Loyalties Lie by Rob J. Hayes

The Heart of Stone by Ben Galley 

Sufficiently Advanced Magic by Andrew Rowe

How The Giveaway Will Work

I will be giving away 30 ebooks, and 10 paperbacks. This will, unfortunately, be limited to the USA unless I can find these books on Book Depository, which isn’t likely. I’ve tried in the past to gift to people outside of the USA, and it hasn’t worked.

Just comment below which book you’d like! Please specify whether you’d prefer ebook, physical, or either.

Here’s my full list of 100:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1DZixTZzLymFhoso8fgdswQBb_F-YqiIKGpC3ukPakk8/edit?usp=sharing


The Choices

Faithless by Graham Austin King

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This is set in a world that worships the Forge Father, it’s a darker grittier world that just gets darker and weirder as the book progresses. There are two POV’s, one that’s up in the monastery training as an acolyte, and another who’s a slave working in the mines below the monastery. Actions have consequences, and not all of the characters make it out.

Audience:

  • Multi PoV
  • unique religions and cultures
  • slow introduction to magic in the world
  • darker, but not “holy shit” dark
  • Not for people who don’t like cursing
  • Warning: there is sexual abuse

Full Review Here 

Amazon


Where Loyalties Lie by Rob J Hayes

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The pirates are the ones under attack in this novel, the countries that have been raided by pirates are sick of their shit, and they’re trying to burn them all out. Many pirate towns have been sacked and burned to the ground. This novel follows multiple POV’s as they struggle to maintain what they have left, and start over in a  new location – one that’s inhabited by monsters and other magical traps.

Audience:

  • gritty grey characters
  • darker world building
  • complex plot
  • pirates
  • monsters
  • mysterious magic
  • addiction in fantasy
  • Not for people who don’t like cursing
  • Warning: there is sexual abuse

Full Review Here  

Amazon


The Heart of Stone by Ben Galley

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This is an incredible book with a Golem as the main POV, it’s accompanied by one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to in a long time. Task has been enslaved for hundreds of years, and compelled to fight in wars he wants nothing to do with. Haunted by a life of forced violence he’s become depressed and somewhat suicidal. This is a military fantasy book with multi pov showing two sides of the war. Highly recommended.

Audience:

  • odd ball friendships
  • non human pov
  • military fantasy
  • multi pov
  • two sides of a war
  • engaging main character you root for
  • amazing audiobook

Full Review Here 

Amazon


Sufficiently Advanced Magic by Andrew Rowe

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This will appeal to people who like LitRPG, or think they may want to try it out. It also has general appeal as an epic fantasy with a structured magic system. Corin, the main character, starts out fighting his way through a Spire trying to earn his Attunement – or magical abilities in this world. Single POV, tons of action but also has magic school elements. This one has done very well in the finals for SPFBO earning multiple 9/10+ scores.

Audience:

  • LitRPG elements in an epic fantasy
  • well developed magic system
  • magic academy
  • lots of monsters
  • single pov
  • lgbt elements (not a big part of the story)
  • lots of twists and turns

Full Review Here 

Amazon


Chaos Trims My Beard by Brett Herman

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This is one of my first Fantasy Noirs, and the main character was my favorite part of the book. He’s a dwarf who’s a little obsessed with his beard and has an endearing self-deprecating sense of humour. Great world building, lots of humour, and murder/mystery plot line.

Audience:

  • For people who like humour in fantasy
  • For people who like non human povs
  • For people who like faster paced books
  • For people who like murder mystery
  • For people who like odd couple duos
  • For people who want something really different

Full Review Here

Amazon

 


 

Where The Waters Turn Black by Benedict Patrick

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This is a fresh and completely unique story, it’s set on an Atoll where the inhabitants of the islands get around by canoeing from one island to the next. This story follows an outcast kind of girl and her pet ‘demon’ – the people of the Atoll want to kill her demon, so they’re on the run through most of the book. Charming, light, and completely different.

Audience:

  • For people who like unique settings
  • For people who like animal companions
  • For people who like folk lore and fairy tales
  • For people who like single pov
  • For people looking for something different
  • For people who like shorter length books
  • For people who love amazing cover art. Just look at it.

Full Review here  

Amazon


Devil’s Night Dawning by Damien Black 

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This is a dense epic fantasy that requires a lot of time, but it’s so worth it for the right audience. The world building is insanely well done, it’s so rich and epic on basically every scale. This book follows many different characters, but two of the main characters are exorcists travelling around excising demons from peoples souls. It’s heavily based on Christian mythos.

Audience:

  • For people who like multi pov
  • For people who like Christian mythos
  • For people who like demons and exorcisms
  • For people who like darker books
  • For people who like very complex world building
  • For people who like classic epic fantasy

Full Review Here 

Amazon


Jaeth’s Eye by KS Villoso

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This is by one of the resident r/fantasy authors, u/ksvilloso! This is a book that will appeal to people who like character-driven epic fantasy. It’s dense, the world building is intense and intricate – and also unique, using a mix of European and Asian settings and culture.

Audience:

  • For people who like epic fantasy
  • For people who like asian influenced settings
  • For people who like multi POV
  • For people who like character driven stories
  • For people who like ‘every day’ people as main characters (rather than royalty or warrior heros)
  • For people who like intense and complex world building

Full Review Here  

Amazon


Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron 

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This is a fun, fast paced urban fantasy. Julius is born a defective dragon, he’s too nice and his mother has decided to kill him over it if he can’t shape up. He teams up with a human mage, Marci, and together they try and pull off a feat that’s would convince his mother he’s worthy of living.

Audience:

  • For people who like urban fantasy
  • For people who like futuristic fantasy
  • For people who like non human povs
  • For people who like shorter faster paced books
  • For people who like light hearted fantasy
  • For people who like comedic fantasy

Full Review Here  

Amazon


The Half Killed by Quenby Olsen 

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This is a paranormal story set in London in the Victorian era. It’s a beautifully written story with an over all creepy vibe to it. The writing was immersive and was stellar at creating an atmosphere you can feel.

Audience:

  • For people who like the paranormal
  • For people who like single pov
  • For people who like descriptive and immersive writing
  • For people who like Victorian Fantasy
  • For people who like realistic setting and world building

Full Review Here  

Amazon


The Woven Ring by M.D. Presley

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This is an excellent military fantasy with a wonderfully written female POV who’s stuck in the middle between two sides of the war. She’s a complex and broken character who I loved reading about. The magic system and setting for this book were just fantastic.

Audience:

  • For people who like military fantasy
  • For people who like addiction in fantasy
  • For people who like unlikeable characters
  • For people who like seeing two sides of a war
  • For people who like female leads
  • For people who like unique settings

Full Review Here  

Amazon


Star Reckoner’s Lot by Darrell Drake 

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This book has a fantastic main character with an amazing cast of side characters. It’s set in ancient Iran which I don’t see often in Fantasy, and the magic system is something I’ve never seen done before either, it’s based on astronomy and harnessing the power of the stars. This book quickly became one of my favorites in part due to how unique it is.

Audience:

  • For people who like middle eastern settings
  • For people who like more dangerous magic
  • For people who like sarcastic/comic relief side characters
  • For people who like bittersweet stories
  • For people who like astronomy and star related magic
  • For people who like disabled characters

Full Review Here 

Amazon


The Censor’s Hand by Adam Steiner

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This is a darker book that has 3 main POVs who were all well developed and distinct from one another. The world building in this is great, I really liked the magic system.  One PoV is in training to be a Censor, another is a poor farmer trying to hold it all together, and the third is the first woman accepted to study the Cunning.

Audience:

  • For people who like Multi POV
  • For people who like steampunk elements
  • For people who like a LOT of magic
  • For people who like spy POVs
  • For people who like female povs
  • For people who like gritty worlds without being overly dark
  • For people who like character-driven stories.
  • Not for those who don’t like cursing

 

Full Review Here  

Amazon


Whom The Gods Love by MM Perry

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This book has one of my favorite characters of SPFBO, Inez, who is a saucy older lady who kept me laughing through the whole book. A group of people is attempting to escort a King over some seriously dangerous territory, trying to get him to a temple so he can make a request of a god to save his wife.

Audience:

  • For people who like sassy old ladies
  • For people who like King POV’s
  • For people who like lighter hearted stories
  • For people who like lots of magic
  • For people who like gods in real life
  • For people who like multi pov
  • For people looking for lgbt characters

Full Review Here  

Amazon


The Crimson Queen by Alec Hutson 

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This is a classic epic fantasy complete with giant spiders! A coming of age story where a boy who’s been cast out of his village for being able to do magic is brought to the Crimson Queen, a woman who recruits magic wielders for her ranks.

Audience:

  • For people who like classic epic fantasy
  • For people who like a LOT of magic
  • For people who like worlds where magic makes you an outlaw
  • For people who like coming of age stories

I’m working on the full review… I’m going to borrow Kitty G’s review here

Amazon

 


The Silver Mask by Christian Ellingsen

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This is sort of a murder mystery/politic book that had a deep and complex plot. I really enjoyed the world building. Be aware there are LOTS of PoV’s in this one, I think it was well done, but it may not be everyone’s bag. This will be for people who enjoy French settings, lower key magic, and lots of suspense.

Audience:

  • For people who like multi POV
  • For people who like politics and murder mystery
  • For people who like complex plot
  • For people who like low key magic
  • For people who like dense stories
  • For people who like suspense/tension

Full Review Here  

Amazon


Darkstorm by M.L. Spencer

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This has a great twist on an ‘end of the world’ kind of story, where the main characters are trying for something unusual to save the world. Multi POV with awesome world building with many different cultures and societies.

Audience:

  • For people who like female pov
  • for people who like multi pov
  • For people who like high stakes fantasy
  • For people who like a lot of action
  • For people who like medium length books
  • For people who like in depth and flawed characters
  • For people who like addiction in fantasy
  • For people who like sibling pov’s

Full Review Here 

Amazon


A Threat of Shadows by J. A. Andrews

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This is a story about a man trying to save his wife, he’s accidentally locked her life’s essence in a crystal and has to find a way to revive her before it’s too late.

Audience:

  • For people who like magic that has a cost
  • For people who like traditional fantasy races, elves dwarves etc
  • For people who like mysterious magic over magic system
  • For people who like a group of characters on a quest
  • For people who like series, but with wrapped up endings

Full Review Here  

Amazon


The Exercise of Vital Powers by Ian Gregoire

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This is a dual POV coming of age story, with one POV of a girl in training, and the other POV is her teacher. I really loved the back and forth between these two characters, and the switches in tone between the two characters. Lots of magic, very unique world building with an engaging plot.

Audience:

  • For people who like a lot of magic
  • For people who like coming of age
  • For people who like master apprentice relationships
  • For people who like grey, or unlikable characters
  • For people who like high fantasy setting

Full Review Here  

Amazon


Wings of Justice by Michael-Scott Earle

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Cops and robbers story in a Bioshock Infinite like setting, with a city in the clouds. The police force in this book is all female, and they all have a magical set of wings to help them scope out the city and fight crime. Fast paced, fun, with a woman in training trying to learn the ropes after being inducted into the guards.

Audience:

  • For people who like cops and robber stories
  • For people who like a mainly female cast
  • For people who like city in the cloud settings
  • For people who like fast paced books
  • For people who like shorter length books
  • For people looking for something different

Full Review Here  

Amazon


The Archbishop’s Amulet by Watson Davis

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This is a brutal world with younger POV’s, but this does not read like a YA series. Children in this world have been enslaved and forced to be sacrificed for the monks who have captured them. Multidimensional world building with aliens and orcs and other things being summoned into this world. Great group of characters trying to stay alive in a bloody and ruthless world.

Audience:

  • For people who like coming of age stories
  • For people who like a lot of magic
  • For people who like sacrificial rituals
  • For people who like a LOT of fantasy elements
  • For people who like a lot of fantasy races
  • For people who like darker settings and stories
  • For people who like a lot of violence

Full Review Here  

Amazon


The Legacy Chronicle by T.H. Paul

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This is a classic epic fantasy that will appeal to people who like a lot of world building. Gods are real and were once heavily involved in human kind, but have since distanced themselves. The gods have recently come together and made a new agreement on the level of their medling in human affairs.

Audience:

  • For people who like epic fantasy
  • For people who like a theme of friendship
  • For people who like characters going on a quest
  • For people who like gods in real life
  • For people who like a lot of magic
  • For people who like elves
  • For people who like non human POVs

I’m working on a full review….

Amazon


Empire of the Dead by Phil Tucker  

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Demigods, sons and daughters of the old gods are being hunted down and sacrificed, anyone with a touch of ‘godsblood’ is in danger and needs to stay hidden.  A son of one of the characters is taken hostage during a raid, and two demigods who have been deprived of their powers since the deaths of their gods go on a suicidal rescue mission.

Audience:

  • For people who like undead
  • For people who like demi gods
  • For people who like non human characters
  • For people who like frienemies
  • For people who like a lot of action
  • For people who like shorter fast paced stories
  • For people who like creepy demons
  • For people who like multi POV

Full Review Here 

Amazon


Valhalla Online by Kevin O McLaughlin 

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The main character wakes up inside a video game and doesn’t know how she got there – many of her friends like VR games and she thinks maybe it’s a prank. As it turns out, she’s in a game that’s meant for people who have already died, as a chance at a second life. She spends the book trying to find a way to contact the outside world because she thinks there’s been a mistake.

Audience:

  • For people who like LitRPG with a Skyrim like atmosphere
  • For people who like female POV
  • For people who like fast paced books
  • For people who like a twist on VR game stories
  • For people who like survivor stories
  • For people who like assassins

Full Review Here

Amazon


Magic Comes to Whiteport by S.J. Madill

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This follows a girl who has been brought back from the dead and is seeking revenge against those who killed her and her family. There’s a lot more plot going on, but this is a book that’s hard to summarize. Lots of POV’s with really interesting world building.

Audience:

  • For people who like multi POV
  • For people who like female pov
  • For people who like undead pov
  • For people who like crypts, necromancers, and catacombs
  • For people who like shorter stories
  • For people who like air ships
  • For people who like little or no romance

Full Review Here 

Amazon


Path of Man by Matt Moss 

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This is a coming of age story mixed with a political and religious uprising. It follows multiple characters, some of them heroes, some of them villains. It has a neat magic system revolving around stones that can give the wielder specific and sometimes terrible powers. Lots of politics and backstabbing.

Audience:

  • For people who like shorter stories
  • For people who like coming of age stories
  • For people who like a different kind of magic system
  • For people who like revenge stories
  • For people who like villain pov
  • For people who like tightly paced stories

Full Review Here

Amazon


The Snow White Files by Sonya M. Black

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This was a very interesting take on a classic fairly tale that was entirely retold in a modern way. There’s so much politics revolving around an underground drug trade – I was not expecting that when I picked this book up. Sort of urban fantasy, but set in a more fantasy city than real life city, every fantasy race imaginable.

Audience:

  • For people who like single pov
  • For people who like fairy tale retellings
  • For people who like a lot of politics and backstabbing
  • For people who like private detective stories
  • For people who like drugs in fantasy

Full Review Here 

Amazon


Zero Blessing by Christopher G. Nuttall 

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This was a very cool YA story revolving around a magic school. But, that trope was put on its head because the main character can’t do any magic. She’s trying to fake it. As far as anyone knows, she’s the only person in the world who can’t sense or use magic in even the smallest way.

Audience:

  • For people who like YA
  • For people who like magic schools
  • For people who like single pov
  • For people who like female pov
  • For people who like tropes turned around
  • For people who like tightly paced stories
  • For people who like friendship as a theme

Full Review Here 

Amazon 


Beyond The Forest by Kay Ling 

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This is an urban fantasy/portal novel with Gnomes! I don’t see gnomes all that often in fantasy. It’s a single pov with a likeable main character who’s fascinated with gem lore. Most of the world has abandoned the belief that stones and gems can hold special powers, like healing, energy, confidence etc – but the main character has firmly believed in these myths and was proven right when she’s transported into another realm.

Audience:

  • Single pov
  • gemology
  • gnomes
  • fast, funny, light
  • portal fantasy
  • female pov without romance

Full Review Here

Amazon


Dead Gods Due by Matt Gilbert 

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This book deals with end of the world kinds of prophecy, high stakes high action book that kept me reading all night long. Great world building, really interesting plot, and overall very well done.

Audience:

  • For people who like multi pov
  • For people who like unique settings and characters
  • For people who like low magic fantasy
  • For people who like bleaker stories
  • For people who like grey characters
  • For people who like backstabbing and treachery
  • For people who like politics
  • Not for people who don’t like cursing, 23 fucks given

Full Review Here

Amazon


Wow, so there you have it, my top 30 books!

My full 100 can be viewed here

Full 100 ranked

 

 

 

 

 

16 comments

  1. Thanks so much for your time reviewing all these Esme! It’s awesome, for my pick for the giveaway The Censor’s Hand sound pretty cool!

    1. (Posted that before you wanted book type) Either works for me! Would prefer physical because the cover is pretty looking but eBook would work too

  2. Aliased in the discord as well.

    I’m curious about A Star-Reckoner’s Lot, and I’d prefer physical to e-book but could read either one.

  3. Thanks so much for your insightful reviews! I have quite a few of these books in my Kindle library but haven’t read them all. I’d chose A Star Reckoner’s Lot. EBook is fine.

  4. Hi, Esme! I looked at your list of 100 and didn’t see my title, Mind Behind the Mind, on the list. I’m positive you read it though because I recently saw a rating from you pop up on Goodreads. Just wondering if it slipped through the cracks or something. 😉

    This is so awesome of you to do such a huge giveaway (and for all the reviews you’ve been posting)!

    1. i think its #35 or 36 IIRC. the ratings for some of these books can down to the tenth place decimal point. its actually why i started rating the way i did. if i just went by 4star or 5 star books id have 50 or so id have to randomly pick at the end. 🙁 sorry. it really was a good book though, there are many i truly enjoyed that i couldnt include

      1. Oh, I completely understand if it didn’t get into your top 30 at all for the giveaway. What I’m saying is it’s not even on your spreadsheet that you linked before you listed the giveaway books. The spreadsheet with all the SPFBO books you read.

      2. oh, yeah, spreadsheet should have 109, its at 100. im going to complete it before i post on reddit. reddit thread will get a lot more attention

  5. Amazing, I’m going to bookmark this page to make sure I will dive into some of these books soon. Sadly, I’m in the UK, so that’s that with winning books 😉

  6. This is great that you are doing this! I would love a print copy of Devil’s Night Dawning if still available. Awesome list and so many new books to add to my reading list.

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