SPFBO 5 Phase 1

Welcome to my not-so-official SPFBO page!

To find out what we were up to in the finals, please check out my SPFBO 5 Finals page!

Let’s get the formalities out of the way first:


What is SPFBO?

The Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off is hosted by none other than Mark Lawrence, author of The Broken Empire, The Red Queen’s War, The Book of Ancestor and Impossible Times trilogies. 300 books compete, judged by 10 blogs and at the end of 10 long, bloody months 1 winner will emerge. You can find every detail on Mark’s SPFBO page along with the process of all 10 blogs in Phase 1.


What do I have to do with SPFBO?

I’m extremely excited that this year my blog is among the big 10! I had a great experience judging for Fantasy Book Review last year, but it’s nothing compared to the fact that I can lead my own team! Jen, Belle, Nick and me will be RockStarlit BookAsylum’s judging team and we are all very happy to be here. Find out more about us and how we are going to do things in this Introduction post!


What this page is for?

I’d like to keep track of our progress. You will find a list of the authors and books in our lot, the reviews we post, our reviews of other SPFBO entrants we read this year or will read in the coming months. I also plan to have a fun series, but more about that later. Basically, you’ll find every relevant link and information here 🙂


Our 30, RockStarlit BookAsylum’s process

As the other blogs, we got 30 books assigned as well. We have 4 judges, who each will pick 1 maybe 2 semi-finalists. We will try to write as many reviews as we can, probably mostly mini reviews and full reviews for our semi-finalists and later the finalists. In the spread sheet below you can follow our process. Those marked with purple got elected as semi finalists. Clicking on the rating you can read the review by the assigned judge. Where there is no rating, there is no review either.

Colour code

Black: still in the game
Red: eliminated
Turquoise: semi-finalist
Purple: finalist

Cím Szerző Jen Belle Timy Nick Average
The Vessel of Ra Catherine Shaff-Stump 4.5 6* 6* 4* 5.1
The Werewolf Whisperer Camilla Ochlan, Bonita Gutierrez 3.5 6.5 5.5* 3.5* 4.8
The Ashen Levels C.F. Welburn 4* 3* 4 4.3* 3.8
The Procurement of Souls Benjamin Hope 4* 3* 5.5* 4.5* 4.3
Beneath Cruel Fathoms Anela Deen 4.5 7.5 7 3.9 5.7
A Sea of Broken Glass Sonya M. Black 7.3 8 8 7.8 7.8
The 19th Bladesman S.J. Hartland 4.5 6* 5.5 7 5.8
Raven’s Edge: A Raven’s Tale Adventure Alan Ratcliffe 4* 6* 6* 5* 5.3
King of Ash and Bone Melissa Wright 6.8 4.5* 3* 4* 4.6
The Bastard Prince Patty Jansen 4* 6* 6* 4.5* 5.1
After the Fall: Children of the Nephilim Paul Freeman 4.5 5.5* 6.5 4.5* 5.3
The Thorning Ceremony Andrew Einspruch 2* 1* 3* 2.5* 2.1
Feast of the Raven Catherine Spader 3.5 4* 5 4.5* 4.3
Dragon’s Price: Rise of the Horned Serpent part 1 Daniel Potter 6 4* 5.5* 4.5* 5
Books & Bone Victoria Corva 7 7 8.5 7 7.4
Scions of Nexus Gregory Mattix 4* 7.5* 6.5 6.5 6.1
Taika Town Drew Montgomery 6 2* 4.5 7.5 5.7
Jess Rising D.M. Guay 2.5* 6* 4* 2.9* 3.9
Belief’s Horizon I.W. Ferguson 6.7 6.5 7 6 6.6
Our Bloody Pearl D.N. Bryn 7 7.5 6.8 3 6.1
A Separation of Worlds Rainbow Maccabre 2* 2* 2* 3* 2.3
Hound of the Mountain Stephan Morse 6.8 2* 5 5.5 4.8
Blood and Shadow Robin Lythgoe 4 7.5 6.5 4* 5.5
When The Elves Are Gone J.B. Allen 4 4* 6 6 5
Over a God’s Dead Body Joel Spriggs 2* 2* 2* 2* 2
By the Hand of Dragons: Rook Alexzander Christion 3.5* 3* 4 2* 3.3
Strathen Grey Melmoth 2* 3* 2 3* 2.5
Dragon Destiny Helen B. Henderson 3* 5* 6* 2.7* 4.2
Dragon’s Fury Brian D. Meeks 4* 5.5* 5.5 3* 4.5
The Eldritch Heart Matthew S. Cox 3* 4* 4.5* 4* 3.9

*batch mini reviews

Our other SPFBO reviews

We originally used the 5 star rating system, so we kept those. The SPFBO competition uses the 10 star ratings, so if any of the books below will be a finalist, then we’ll convert our ratings accordingly. If you click on the rating, you’ll be able to read our reviews.

Title Author Judging Blog Reviewer Rating
First of Shadows Deck Matthews The Fantasy Hive Nick 4/5
Never Die Rob J. Hayes Lynn’s Books





Blood of Heirs Alicia Wanstall-Burke Fantasy-Faction





Children of the Different S.C. Flynn Lynn’s Books Nick 4/5
Masters of Deception JC Kang The Qwillery Jen 4/5
Into the Labyrinth John Bierce Fantasy Book Critic Jen 3/5
The Sword of Kaigen ML Wang Kitty G Jen 5/5
Sweetblade Carol A Park Superstardrifter Jen 4.5/5
The City Screams Phil Williams Fantasy Book Critic Jen 5/5
The Lore of Prometheus Graham Austin-King Lynn’s Books Timy 5/5
The Prince of Cats Daniel E. Olesen Lynn’s Books Timy 4.5/5
From the Shadows of the Owl Queen’s Court Benedict Patrick Lynn’s Books Timy 4.5/5
Chasing Graves Ben Galley Kitty G Timy 4/5


Tales from the Asylum

This is a new feature I created for SPFBO. I asked the authors to either create or use their own main characters, put them into an asylum room, give a few details and write a scene about them dealing with the situation.

Brian D. Meeks

Helen B. Anderson

Joel Spriggs

Paul Freeman

Catherine Schaff-Stump

I. W. Ferguson

C.F. Welburn

Benjamin Hope

Gregory Mattix

Anela Deen

Camilla Ochlan, Bonita Gutierrez

Victoria Corva

J.B. Allen

Sonya M. Black

Rainbow Maccabre

Robin Lythgoe

Drew Montgomery

S.J. Hartland

David H. Reiss

Mark Huntley-James

Joyce Reynolds-Ward

Progess Update

Nick DNF’s his first 4 books

Belle’s first round of DNFs

Nick DNF’s another 4 books

First Round of DNFs by Timy

Nick DNF’s 5 more books

First Round of DNFs by Jen

Nick’s next to last batch of mini reviews

The First Reaping – We say goodbye to 6 books

Jen and Timy’s Second Round of DNFs

Nick’s last batch of mini reviews and the last 8 standing

The Second Reaping – We say goodbye to 5 books

Third Round of DNFs by Jen

The Third Reaping – We say goodbye to 5 books

The Third Round of DNFs by Timy

Belle’s second round of mini reviews

We announced our first semi-finalist, Our Bloody Pearl by D. N. Bryn!

Another 4 mini reviews from Belle

Another round of mini reviews from Belle

We announced our second semi-finalist, Books and Bone by Victoria Corva!

We announced our third semi-finalist, A Sea of Broken Glass by Sonya M. Black!

And some more mini reviews from Belle

We announced our fourth semi-finalist, Beneath Cruel Fathoms by Anela Deen!

The Last Reaping – We say goodbye to the last 5 books

Finalist Announcement from Team RockStarlit BookAsylum!

The Final Round of DNFs by Jen

The last round of mini reviews from Belle

To find out what we were up to in the finals, please check out my SPFBO 5 Finals page!


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