Hey guys!!! It’s time to announce my finalist!! A YouTube link if you’d prefer
I’m going to start with cutting the three books I had listed as a 7.5.
I am so sorry that I have to say goodbye to The Bleeding Stone after just one day. I promise it was not my intention to have things line up like that. I had a plan, and then all those plans when to heck in a handbasket. I had other books that were 7.5s that I cut yesterday and the reason this one went through was because of the unique premise. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fantasy based around native Americans when the colonizers arrived. That just stood out to me as different and gave it just a small nudge over a couple other 7.5s that got cut yesterday. I want to stress that there is only a 0.5 spread between like, six books and the finalist, all landing between 7.5 and 8. It was a very close thing this year. I very much so hope people pick up the Bleeding Stone and give it a shot!
The next one I’m cutting is Feast by Stuart Simms. Kristen actually read this one before she dropped out for self-care reasons that I’ve explained in a few other posts. But before she did, she read Feast and also felt it was a 7.5, which is a very good score. We both give 7.5 to finalists all the time. It’s a darker Fae story based on Celtic culture and featuring a coming of age story with a mentor/mentee relationship. It’s tightly paced and plotted, has good characters, and I hope people give it a shot!
The next book being cut it The Last Dai’akan by Jeremy Miller. I had a ton of fun with this one. It’s an epic dungeon crawling fantasy with memorable characters and a metric fuck ton of fantasy elements crammed into a 300 page book. If you’re looking for an epic fantasy but don’t want a 600-800 page doorstopper, this could be for you.
So, that leaves us with The Werewolf of Whitechapel and The Wickwire Watch. I had such a hard time choosing between these. I genuinely felt like these both were equally well written, had equally well developed characters, were equally well paced, were equally well told stories. I really was like, wtf do I do here? Every time I tried to use a metric to make a distinction between the two of them I would come up with, “they’re equal.” I can only choose one and I’ve never been the only one to choose our finalist….so, this was fucking intensely anxiety inducing. In the end…. I’m trying to go with what I feel, from my perspective, is the spirit of the contest. To try and find diamonds in the rough, authors that haven’t had a chance to shine, perhaps. The Werewolf of Whitechapel is soaring on it’s own with nearly 800 ratings, and the author has been a finalist in the past. I am so, so sorry Suzannah, but I’m cutting The Werewolf of Whitechapel.
The Wickwire Watch is going forward as my finalist!!!
Coming in at 73 ratings I feel like I want to put a spotlight on this book and see what happens.
Congratulations, Jacquelyn!!!!! I was absolutely blown the fuck away this was a debut. I went to go see what else this author had written only to find out she hadn’t, this was the first. Like, excuse me? It’s like Oliver Twist but steampunk fantasy. I can’t wait to see how my fellow judges receive it in the finals!!!
I wish all the best to everyone, thank you so much for all your submissions. I do hope people have come away with a positive experience from being with my blog this year and I hope everyone has success in the future!