SPFBO 7 SEMIFINALIST CROSS REVIEW: Red in Tooth and Claw by Ryan Howse

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Kristen and I had one semifinalist each that scored over an 8/10, so when I saw her give this one an 8.5 I was really excited. We have different taste, but we’re similar enough that if one of us loves something it’s very unlikely the other will bounce off it.

I know this gets said frequently, maybe to the point where it can lose a bit of meaning — but this was a very different kind of book. It’s based in the stone ages and the writing style is very distinct and feels ‘raw’ for a lack of a better description. The author also shows an uncanny ability to use concise and effective language in a short space, creating an in depth and believable world and character in just 150 pages, a commendable feat.

I loved the setting of untouched wilderness and the man vs wild theme really sucked me in. I love nature settings and old school mythical forests and things like that, so this really ticked some boxes for me. They’ve got wildlife to fend off, the elements, a constant source for food and water, and something called “the rot” that causes animals to lose their shit. I typically skim through fight scenes, sorry but I just don’t typically find them all that engaging and so I skim for plot points and settle back in once it’s over. I actually really loved the tension and sense of foreboding that was created over and over again in this book.

We really get to know the characters because of the intimate setting and cast, there’s a strong focus on just two characters, and because of that the reader gets to know them very well despite short page time.

Regardless if this book makes it to the finals it’s well worth a read if you want to try out something that’s memorable and unique.

I’m not rating anything until we announce our finalist/cut the remaining semifinalists. I want to leave it a little open to guessing who’s going to come out on top 😀