The time has come when we have to say goodbye to the last 5 books and crown (pun totally intended) Team Queen’s Book Asylum’s SPFBO 9 finalist.
These past few months went away in a blur, but you know what they say – time flies when you are in good company. So I’d like to take this chance to say thank you to all the authors who submitted their books this year for our reading pleasure, as we all certainly found books to love, that provoked our thoughts and that ultimately made us have very different opinions and sparking a lot of conversations among the team. You are amazing, and no matter what the results today will be, keep up the good work, and know that you are always welcome at the Asylum!
To my team (Bjorn, Jen, Liis, Paul, and Olivia), thank you for your work and patience and generally, for being the best teammates. Even if we have wildly different opinions on books. It’s always fun to read your thoughts. Here is to the next six months, then!
That being out of the way, time to be serious. We’ll take a quick look at our semi-finalists and then at the end of the post, we’ll let you know who we’ll advance into the SPFBO 9 Finals!
Semi-finalists are listed in the order as we announced them, including a quote from the review of the judge who picked it, and a link to the post where we all shared our thoughts. At the end of our review posts, you’ll find our scoring and links to buy the book. Or, you can head to our SPFBO 9 page to find everything in one place.
Olivia’s Pick: Scarlet and Sunder by Mike Rousseau
Scarlet & Sunder is a vibrant book in every sense of the word. It has a lot of character drama, some decent character arcs, and a unique-feeling setting.
Jen’s Pick: The Last Fang of God by Ryan Kirk
Kirk writes in a clear, no words are wasted, fast-paced style that is a favourite of mine. Information is sprinkled through the story in an easy way that you don’t even realize you’re picking up the tidbits of character work or the world-building as you’re speeding along (Mike Shackle, is the closest I can think of who writes in this style).
Liis’ Pick: Deceit by Sharon Rivest
Deceit didn’t bore me to tears with such details. Simple as that. What it did incredibly well, for my tastes, was the mental anguish, the torment of regrets, the heaviness that lies upon the soul of that very one character. If the author has managed to put that on paper, in written word? Magnificent!
Bjorn’s Pick: A Dagger in the Winds by Brendan Noble
I owe Brendan Noble an apology. I have never read a book based on Slavic lore that was this good. It felt like a love letter at times. Long, complicated, somewhat discombobulated love letter – but has love ever made any sense?
Paul’s Picks: Fae Gods: Maze by Philinna Wood, Eleventh Cycle by Kian N. Ardalan
The writing was great, it had a very breezy yet energetic style that pulled me along, which, when coupled with the engaging plot and world-building, makes for a really quick yet satisfying read.
Given the size of the book, I was amazed at how quickly it flew by. Because of the bond you quickly form with the characters you want to keep reading to find out what happens to them, plus the constant dripping of lore and slow unfurling of the world is such an enthralling seduction it was genuinely difficult to put the book down.
The fun thing about having a team is that we approach books differently, which sometimes leads to opposing views on them. If you followed our reviews, sometimes we pointed out different things in books we had issues with, and sometimes we were more or less on the same page. More times than not there is always a clear winner in our group. This year, however, we didn’t know until the very last score, who would be victorious. The race was tight between two books: Fae Gods: Maze by Philinna Wood and The Last Fang of God by Ryan Kirk.
And when I say the race was tight, I mean it. There was a 0.2 points difference between our top 2. Yep. 0.2 points. Crazy, huh? They are two very different books, one being a steamy romance fantasy, the other an epic fantasy with a darker edge. Both had strengths and weaknesses. 4 of us picked one of those two as our favourite. Paul was our outlier as he gave his highest score to three books, including our top 2. So all being said, it’s time to reveal who our SPFBO 9 finalist is…
But wait. We have something more to say! We clearly couldn’t ignore the fact, that Fae Gods: Maze by Philinna Wood came a really close second, and we thought that it still would deserve a chance at being a finalist, so we are offering it as our SSN. What does this mean? SSN stands for Senlin Safety Net. When a team feels very strongly about two of their books, they can candidate one as their SSN, meaning that any other team who might not have as strong a batch could choose it as their finalist. Basically, this is a second chance at advancing into the top 10. We look forward to seeing if any of the other teams will pick it up. *fingers crossed*
Congrats to Ryan Kirk for The Last Fang of God being chosen as Team Queen’s Book Asylum’s SPFBO 9 Finalist, and good luck to Fae Gods: Maze by Philinna Wood, the Asylum’s new SSN candidate!
If you don’t want to miss any of our posts, please consider signing up to receive email notifications or follow us on social media:
You can also support us on Ko-fi so we could keep maintaining the Asylum!