Cuts Round 2 SPFBO 6

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Alright, alright, alright. It is time for round two! I know we are getting through these pretty fast right now, but we will likely slow down soon as we start to exchange potential semi finalists and compare what books we like in each of our batches.

The One Who Could Not Fly by EG Stone  

Could Not Fly

  • Genre: coming of age
  • POVs: Dual – nonhuman captured royalty and villain
  • Magic: Present but not central
  • Read: 100%
  • Status: Cut
  • Review by: Esme

The book opens with a prologue that features an over the top villain known as Dagan. He likes killing purely for the fun of it, he goes out of his way to be as brutal as possible and has earned a reputation as a sociopath. He ends up getting killed by his brother because his brother wants to be the heir and he thinks he can do a better job. The prologue did this book a small disservice because Dagan was very one dimensional and that’s not the first impression you want to give an audience. His brother turns out to be a POV later in the book and has more substance than his late brother.

After the prologue we are introduced to Ravenna, she is part of a race called the sylphs. They are a winged race with a set variation in skin tone and wing color. When Ravenna was born with pale skin and dark black wings, a combination never been seen before, she is rejected by her mother…who then mysteriously dies. She’s also small, with wings that probably will never allow her to fly so she’s continuously teased by her peers as she is growing up. She also happens to be the granddaughter of the Queen, and an Intellecti – a scholarly group that’s respected and feared.

I thought the plot was going to be about a Choosing because her grandmother was stepping down as Queen and the sylph’s don’t inherit the throne, they earn it through a trial. But, it went in a totally different direction when Ravenna was captured by humans, thrown into slavery, back out of slavery, and then finds herself wrapped up in a human war and politics. Once it got going the storyline was easy to follow and there wasn’t much in the way of heavy world-building. I actually would have wanted a little bit more in that department. When there was world-building, sometimes it was a bit awkward because it was presented in the form of info dumps via a character reading a textbook.

Davorin is the Prince of the Empire, and he’s the dude who killed his brother at the beginning of the book. Those events took place just under a year ago when his story picks back up. He is essentially just a smarter version of his older dead brother and is described: “He was not quite the warrior that Dagan was, but he also did not need to bathe in the blood of his enemies. He was perfectly content to starve them out and walk in after they were all dead”. His father remains unimpressed and passes over him to be heir, naming another family member instead. In his mind he’s been denied what he thinks is his birthright. His father lays a smackdown so he vows to pillage the world and prove he’s capable of commanding armies. Although his motivations were explored a bit, I still feel like Ravenna was much more fleshed out as a character. Davorin had more depth than his brother Dagan, but still didn’t quite reach where he needed to be to engage me fully.

There were a lot of neat aspects to this, but some other areas that didn’t totally engage me, and for that reason, it’s being cut today. I do encourage those who thought this sounded neat to pick it up, I did make it to the end and enjoyed the read.

Mark TBR on Goodreads

Buy on Amazon – Free on KU 


The Sword of Wisimir by Allen Stroud


  • Genre: Epic Fantasy
  • POVs: 3: Watchmen, Noble’s aide, Thief
  • Magic: Present but not central
  • Read: 50%
  • Status: Cut
  • Review: Esme

This one starts out with a character named Jack who’s running from The Watch, he’s stolen some money and he’s about to get caught when he manages to lose the Watch and make it to his friends house. They try to figure out what to do with the money when something goes very wrong and Jack finds himself trying to escape the law by joining the army… except one of the first missions of the army was to find the dude who stole the city taxes…. that dude being Jack.

Urin is part of the household staff for house Tarn, he’s been given a lot of responsibility and has worked hard to stay within the good graces of the nobles for nearly 35 years. He and the court Wizard are also embezzeling money. The Wizard, Leel, is not to be trifled with, he’s able to kill proficiently and does it gladly. He has a firm grip on the court and on Urin.

Jarno is part of the Watch and he’s probably the most likable character for me, despite the fact he was on the opposite side of Jack. He’s been tasked with trying to find Jack.

The writing style was very easy to read and got out of the way of the story. It excelled with creating believable dialects that were heavy sounding in my head but not difficult to read or understand. “Three hunnerd an’ twenty four crowns”. It did need another editing pass, I found a bunch of errors, but, the author did tell me that there are revisions being made for the audio, so the version you get may be a different version than the one I have.

The pacing was rather jarring for me, personally. By 10% There were three POVs and there had been headhopping between them almost 10 times. There were many instances throughout the book where a POV would only be on page for a few paragraphs before it switched back to a different POV. Despite the fact that these characters are all distinct and stand apart, it was still difficult to get to know them and it took many different scenes with them to get their characters down. The plot also felt disjointed when it jumped around that many times so quickly and early on.

The world is pretty old school, dungeons, castles, wizards, and mysterious magic system. This would definitely appeal most to those who like classic fantasy realms and stories. The Wizard in this was super creepy, he ate a dead dudes brain and got his memories and knew Jack was involved in a crime.

Overall, this was okay, I didnt DNF because I was disliking it, but because I knew it wasnt going to be a potential finalist. I couldn’t totally get a handle on the characters so I couldn’t fully invest, I waited until I hit 50% to see if things wohld turn around for me, but unfortunately they didnt.

Mark it TBR on Goodreads

Buy on Amazon


Heir of the Curse by Deborah Grace White 


  • Genre: Young Adult
  • POVs: single – best friend to the secret heir to the throne
  • Magic: Present but not central
  • Read: 20%
  • Status: Cut
  • Review: Esme

I sure am getting a lot of young adult books, and I am trying my best to read through them with an open mind despite the fact I don’t tend to reach for young adult books on my own accord. This one just didn’t click with me, mostly due to issues I had with the dialogue. For me, good dialogue goes unnoticed, it feels fluid and natural and I have to force myself to notice that I’m reading the words rather than hearing them. The dialogue for the two teenage boys in this book just did not sound like teenagers. The word choice was aged up, it felt a little forced, and had a bunch of info dumping early on. The world building was done through the dialogue which is a peeve of mine and falls under telling instead of showing. I honestly didn’t get too far with this one, and read just enough to know that the main character’s best friend is a secret heir to the throne. It’s a secret that came to light when he overheard his dad was going to be put to death because of his lineage. There is a usuper king on the throne and he is looking to exterminate any potential challengers.

Mark TBR on goodreads

Buy on Amazon

Thank you to the authors for your submissions, I hope these descriptions were enough to catch the attention of potential readers 🙂