Happy Monday! As promised, the fates for the next three books in my SPFBO 5 batch are being revealed today! If you’re confused what I’m talking about, you can check out the details here. If you’re confused on what SPFBO even is, you can read my post here.
It’s over 100 degrees outside and the A/C broke in my office for the better half of the morning, so no need to waste time sweating over a fancy introduction when we can get right to the good stuff (since I’m basically a bucket of sweat parading as a human being right now), so let’s do it!
Title: The Farmer
Author: Dale Harker
Published: November 2015
Amount Read: 50 of 531 pages (9%)
Rating: 2 out of 5 gems
Blurb: Sometimes the past won’t stay buried…
Twelve years ago, Earlon Grath retired from the military after decades of active service. Sickened by the constant wastage of human life he has finally returned to his former occupation as a simple farmer.
However, when a young boy arrives with tales of a rampaging barbarian horde threatening his hometown, at first Earlon is disinclined to get involved but duty is a harsh mistress and faced with the knowledge that the raiders may soon be headed his way, he may be forced to reconsider.
This novel definitely intrigued me a little bit and piqued my interest, but there were a few elements working against it that ultimately made me cut this novel at this stage in the contest.
The premise itself I can definitely get behind: the retired soldier forced to help once more. It’s a classic and one I’m always happy to read a new take on it and see how it’s handled. And I think, perhaps, if we had opened up the novel to seeing how he lived his life now as a farmer and then is introduced to a new problem he has to solve, I might have read further in, curious to find out exactly how this tale would be told. But instead, we’re introduced to a character who seems ridiculously cruel towards these villagers for no purpose that I can gather, before switching to the quiet life of the farmer (who, I can only assume, will try to help them).
I can understand this might have been done to entice the readers with an exciting intro, but I was left with a bad taste in my mouth, mostly because it was so one sided and felt so unnecessary? Perhaps if it were told through a dual perspective, showing how the crowd that had gathered responded to his cruelty or getting some more backstory, I might have bought into it. But listening to this character talk for almost twenty pages and just become meaner by the second…it just turned me off. Paired with pacing that felt a little off and some minor formatting issues, and I was ready to part ways with this story once I reached my promised 50 pages.
That being said, if you want to see what’s in store for this retired farmer who is about to be forced back into the action, I recommend you give it a try!
Title: Shadow of the Overlord
Author: Kevin Potter
Published: May 2019
Amount Read: 50 out of 1543 pages (3%)
Rating: 2 out of 5 gems
Blurb: A heroine no one knows they need. A reluctant warrior with a dark secret. A crumbling kingdom on the brink of war.
Taliesimon has always dreamed of being the first female Dragoon warrior, but the commander and his lackeys will do anything to ensure she fails.
An itinerant sell-sword, William’s life is nothing like he imagined. His two greatest enemies are the bottle, which he takes no pains to avoid, and his past, which he avoids at all costs.
When the king mysteriously disappears, the kingdom teeters on the verge of collapse. If neither he nor his estranged son, the prince, can be found, the kingdom will fall into the hands of a brilliant mastermind working from the shadows.
As an unknown threat rises, a violent raid brings William and Taliesimon together in an uneasy alliance with tremendous potential for disaster.
With enemies on all sides, can they put their differences aside in time to save humanity from a brutal war unlike anything the world has ever seen?
This, I believe, is another case that came down to “simply not for me” as a reader, I think. It has a lot of promise. If I weren’t reading it for a contest, I might have read it a bit more, because I realize, for a novel of this length, I didn’t even get to the meat of the story before I cut it.
But, after reading the first two chapters, although the writing was solid, I was just left feeling confused. There was a lot of terminology and names introduced and both chapters cut off really abruptly, instead of pulling me forward and leading me to the next thing, so I wasn’t sure really what I was reading to find out. It felt a little bit lacking in direction and I just wasn’t grounded and invested in the story. And, like I mentioned before, I only read the first 50 pages of each novel before I make my choice, regardless of the novel’s length–a small sampling, I realize, especially against epics, but it helps me keep it fair amongst my novels in my batch. Since I just felt confused with this one, unfortunately, to the chopping block it goes for me.
However, if you are looking for an epic fantasy that promises to be filled with a lot of history and characters, I think this is your next stop!
To Be Continued
Title: A Magicial Inheritance
Author: Krista D. Ball
Published: May 2019
Amount Read: TBD
Blurb: Miss Elizabeth Knight received an unexpected legacy upon her uncle’s death: a collection of occult books. However, when one of the books begins talking to her, she discovers an entire world of female occultist history opened to her—a legacy the Royal Occult Society had purposely hidden from the world.
However, the magic allowing the book to speak to Miss Knight is fading and she must gather a group of female acquaintances of various talents. Together, they’ll need to work to overcome social pressures, ambitious men, and tyrannical parents, all to bring Mrs. Egerton, the book ghost, back.
As mentioned before, a full review will come for this book later, as it’s piqued my interested enough to continue reading it. I will say I’ve had a couple hang ups with the writing, so far, but I absolutely love this time period and I already find myself feeling for Elizabeth and what she has to go through as a woman during this time period. So I’ll definitely continue reading this book until I decide it’s not my finalist or finish it!
And there’s my next two cut and second book moving forward (not a semi-finalist yet, mind, but still in the running to become one). Check back on this space next Monday to see the fate of my next three books! We’re already a third of the way done with my batch!