Subscribe: Fantasy Book Critic
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Fantasy Book Critic

Fantasy Book Critic

Updated: 2018-02-19T11:35:14.752-05:00


Mihir's Top Reads of 2017


As has been the pattern with these lists of mine, January seems to be the best time for posting these. I hope our readers will forgive this idiosyncrasy of mine as I feel the start of the new year is a good time to reflect on the past one. The main reasoning for choosing these titles is the varied milieu of the plots, excellence in prose, characterization and the overall enjoyment they provided. This year was the year of debuts & there were so many terrific ones. And so without further ado, here are my 2017 top reads ...Top 10 Books of 2017:1] The Fifth Empire Of Man by Rob J. Hayes & All Systems Red by Martha Wells - Both these titles just were fantastic reads and I couldn’t really find anything to nitpick about them. With All Systems Red, Martha Wells managed to give us a character who transcended humanity but not its quirks and within this novella we read about an AI who is deadpan and deadly at the same time. Cant’ wait to read the sequels featuring Murderbot.With TFEOM, Rob J. Hayes was able to cap of his pirate duology in the most bloody, exhilarating & twisted way. He also set up the First Earth saga and I can’t wait to read the standalone CITY OF KINGS that will be released in 2018.2] Red Sister by Mark Lawrence - Mark Lawrence has consistently graced my top 10 list since he made his debut. This book is his best yet as it seamlessly combines SF and fantasy with a protagonist who left readers wanting more of her. For me Grey Sister can’t come soon enough.3] Skullsworn by Brian Staveley - Brian Staveley’s debut trilogy was one which had its fans and detractors but the ending was certainly epic to say the least. With Skullsworn, he managed to combine the epic ness of his debut and focussed on a character who’s clearly an anti-hero(ine). This book gave us a diabolical plot with a love story and it was a brilliant effort by the author.4] Tyrant’s Throne by Sebastien de Castell - Sebastien Castell’s books are a lot of fun and they have been a great example of great S&S. With this volume, he caps off a wonderful series that manages to combine humor, great characters and swashbuckling action in to a heady mix that will leave you with a smile. Series finales don’t get much better than that.5] The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld - Rene Denfeld wowed us with her debut and now she returns with another story that is suitably dark but yet poignant. The Child Finder is another mix of darkness and superb characters that seem to the author’s strengths. This one didn’t make me teary eyed like her the debut but it’s no less strikingly dark & spectacular.6] Double Or Nothing by Craig Schaefer - Craig Schaefer’s books are becoming a staple diet for me and with Double Or Nothing, he proves that he’s now the true master of the urban fantasy/crime noir genre. Double On Nothing was a stunner with its plot set up and the twists that it provided. Revealing a lot more about the main backstory while keeping readers enthralled, this book was certainly a revelation.7] The Legion Of Flame by Anthony Ryan - The Legion Of Flame is a sequel that is better in every department than its predecessor. More action, extensive world-building and characters who shine brighter. This volume ups the ante after the revelations of the climax of The Waking Fire and sets up a story that will conclude emphatically in The Empire Of Ashes in summer 2018.8] The Alice Network by Kate Quinn - This historical thriller featured female spies based on a real-life true spy network. Combining timelines from WWI & WWII, this wonderful thriller gave us heroic characters to root for and a story that will leave you hooked. This is a book that SHOULD be made into a movie or TV series.9] A Dragon Of A Different Color by Rachel Aaron - What can I say about this series that I haven’t spoken about before. This penultimate volume reveals further secrets, has one of the most emotionally captivating scenes featuring dragons (that I’ve ever read) and ends on a note that makes the final volume a must read. All in all, a typical Rachel [...]

"The Ghost Line" by Andrew Neil Gray and J.S. Herbison (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)


OVERVIEW: The Ghost Line is a haunting science fiction story about the Titanicof the stars by debut authors Andrew Neil Gray and J. S. Herbison that Lawrence M. Schoen calls "a delicious rush of the future and the past."The Martian Queen was the Titanic of the stars before it was decommissioned, set to drift back and forth between Earth and Mars on the off-chance that reclaiming it ever became profitable for the owners. For Saga and her husband Michel the cruise ship represents a massive payday. Hacking and stealing the ship could earn them enough to settle down, have children, and pay for the treatments to save Saga's mother's life.But the Martian Queen is much more than their employer has told them. In the twenty years since it was abandoned, something strange and dangerous has come to reside in the decadent vessel. Saga feels herself being drawn into a spider's web, and must navigate the traps and lures of an awakening intelligence if she wants to go home again.FORMAT: The Ghost Line is a novella published by Tor. It stands at 144 pages and was published July 11, 2017. It is a mix of mystery, sci-fi, space exploration. ANALYSIS: I have to admit, I am really enjoying these novellas that is publishing. For the most part, they provide a very solid story that is entertaining and captivating without requiring me to read a doorstopper novel. Considering's past with publishing amazing novellas, I thought I would give The Ghost Line a try even though it isn't a story or genre I would normally read. The Ghost Line is a combination of the Titanic mixed with a space opera adventure and strange, ghost-like mystery. It might sound like a strange mix of genres, but it works. Our main character love exploring abandoned futuristic space ship. There is even a web series that broadcasts the hunts live to the galaxy. The Ghost Line tells the story as our main character explores an abandoned vessel ship that is the space version of a cruise ship that has more than meets the eye. Think of it almost like a space, sci-fi horror story involving a haunted house but instead of a haunted house it is a haunted ship.   One of my biggest concerns with space opera novels is that it will be 'science heavy' and it will read like a textbook. The Ghost Line didn't have the feel to it. There were some scientific explanations but it didn't feel like a snooze fest or really intimidate me. It was fairly easy to understand and fit into the novella.  Everything just seemed to fit with The Ghost Line. The pacing was perfect. It didn't move too fast and feel rushed, but it has a slower pace that gave the entire read a very mysterious vibe. There were times I really felt like I was aboard the ship exploring with all of the characters in the novella. While I did enjoy The Ghost Line, it did have a few drawbacks. In many ways, I felt the novella was too short. I am not sure if there will be any follow up novellas or short stories, but I felt another 30 to 40 pages could have turned this into a solid read. Given the shorter length, it leads to my other drawback – the main plotline reveal. While reading I almost felt as if the mystery aspect went on too long. That left little time for the main reveal at the end. It still is a wonderful read, but it felt a bit off balance. Again, just a few more pages added to it probably would have given it a more well-rounded feel. The Ghost Line is just another novella to add to my ever-growing list of favorites from I would love to read any follow up stories that may come up or even other adventures. I certainly recommend this book to anyone looking for a creepy – yet not scary book – that has a very sci-fi/futuristic twist to it. [...]

Interview with John Hornor Jacobs (Interviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)


Official Author WebsiteRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Twelve-Fingered BoyRead Fantasy Book Critic Interview with John Hornor JacobsJohn Hornor Jacobs is a man of many talents, combining a background in advertising, a love for the written word along with a deep fascination for southern culture in all of its glory, charm and crazy. He has written several different books in several genres. Recently with the release of Infernal Machines (Book III of The Incorruptibles series) John was kind enough to join us for a chat about the series and its underlying themes as well as his future works.Q] Welcome back to Fantasy Book Critic, it’s been a while since your last release. How are things with you?JHJ: All is well. It’s the New Year and I’ve managed to live through 2017. I’ve been very busy this past year, though not as focused on writing as I should be. I am a partner at an advertising agency, where I act as the senior art director, and we’ve had an extraordinarily busy year. So, my day job has taken up a lot of my time. But, I did manage to see one book to print, write two novelettes and two short stories and see them all published. One in Playboy Magazine!Q] Once you started plotting this trilogy, how much of the entire journey was planned and how much of it evolved organically? Was the ending planned from the very beginning?JHJ: At the time my agent sold the whole series, I had written The Incorruptibles, and was confident I could continue telling stories in that world, but I only had some loose ideas of what might occur next. During the edit-for-submission phase for The Incorruptibles I realized there were some issues, I hadn’t address in the telling of that tale, especially regarding the true nature of some of the characters and especially the secrets and mystery surrounding the vaettir. So, no, I didn't plan it from the beginning but I had an inkling about the rest. Like standing in the foyer of a house you haven’t been in before but still having a pretty good idea about the layout of the house because, well, houses, like books, set up some expectations. Kitchen there, and of course bedrooms upstairs. Where’s the shitter? Right. Of course it’s there. The pain points in writing are opening the wrong doors when figuring out the layout of the house.Anyway, I planned The Incorruptibles and figured out the other two books as I went along. I always have some scenes between characters in mind, and a notion as to their arc’s resolution, but nothing cast in stone. The most outlining I do is usually a Roman outline where I’ll go, I. In which Shoe and Fisk go to Passasuego to find Beleth, and so forth, just so I keep the plot straight in my mind. I think when my agent sold The Incorruptibles series, I had the first book in the can, and a paragraph for each of the other two.When I start a book I need a title – yeah, I’m weird like that, but you know how they say snowflakes grow? Crystallizing around a bit of particulate matter in the air? That’s kind of my relationship with titles. I have to have one in my mind to really get work done on a project. When the project is complete, I’m cool with changing the title, but during the writing, in my mind, the title is fixed. Q] Now talking about your POV characters, all of them are flawed to a degree. But they are also products of their circumstances. What would you say about them: are they truly heroes or circumstantial ones?JHJ: I don’t think there are any “true” heroes. All heroes are circumstantial. “True” heroes in fiction occur in either comics or those sorts of fantasies that use prophecies, chosen ones, and that sort of rot as plot devices. I don’t. However, I will say my characters are usually exceptional in some way otherwise, how could I ask a reader to spend the length of a book with them? That’s part of the unspoken contract between authors and readers, at least in genre. Outside of genre, especially in literary work, authors write about “normal, everyday” peo[...]

Sworn To The Night by Craig Schaefer (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)


Official Author WebsiteOrder Sworn To The Night HERERead Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Long Way Down Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The White Gold Score Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Redemption Song Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Living End Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of A Plain-Dealing VillainRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Killing Floor BluesRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Castle DoctrineRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of Double Or NothingRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of Winter's Reach Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Instruments Of Control Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Harmony BlackRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of Red Knight FallingRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of Glass PredatorRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of Cold SpectrumRead Fantasy Book Critic's Interview with Craig SchaeferRead Fantasy Book Critic's Harmony Black Series Interview with Craig SchaeferRead Double Or Nothing Cover Reveal Mini-Interview with Craig SchaeferRead Part I of Fantasy Book Critic's In-depth Interview with Craig SchaeferRead Part II of Fantasy Book Critic's In-depth Interview with Craig SchaeferRead My Sworn To The Night Cover Reveal Q&A with Craig SchaeferAUTHOR INFORMATION: Craig Schaefer was born in Chicago and wanted to be a writer since a very young age. His writing was inspired by Elmore Leonard, Richard Stark, Clive Barker & H. P. Lovecraft. After reaching his 40th birthday he decided to give in to his passion and since then has released twelve novels in the last three years. He currently lives in Joliet, Illinois and loves visiting museums and libraries for inspiration. 

 OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: Marie Reinhart is an NYPD detective on the trail of a serial killer. When she sleeps, though, she dreams of other lives; she dreams of being a knight, in strange wars and strange worlds. On the other side of the city, Nessa Roth is a college professor trapped in a loveless marriage, an unwilling prop in a political dynasty. She's also a fledgling witch, weaving poppets and tiny spells behind closed doors. When Marie's case draws her into Nessa's path, sparks fly. What comes next is more than a furtive whirlwind affair; it's the first pebbles of an avalanche. Nessa and Marie are the victims of a curse that has pursued them across countless lifetimes; a doom designed to trap them in a twisted living fairy tale, with their romance fated to end in misery and death. They aren't going out without a fight. As they race to uncover the truth, forces are in motion across the country. In Las Vegas, a professional thief is sent on a deadly heist. In a Detroit back alley, witches gather under the guidance of a mysterious woman in red. Just outside New York, an abandoned zoo becomes the hunting-ground for servants of a savage and alien king. The occult underground is taking sides and forming lines of battle. Time is running out, and Nessa and Marie have one chance to save themselves, break the curse, and demand justice. This time, they're writing their own ending. FORMAT/INFO: Sworn To The Night is 428 pages long divided over sixty-four chapters with a prologue, three interludes. Narration is in the third-person, via Nessa Roth, Marie Reinhart, Carolyn Saunders, Daniel Faust, Harmony Black, Mourner Of the Red Rocks, Dora, Richard Roth, Alton Roth, Calypso, and a few others . This is the first volume of the Wisdom's Grave trilogy. January 2, 2018 marks the North American e-book publication of Sworn To The Night and it was self-published by the author. Cover art and design is by James T. Egan of Bookfly Design. 
 OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Sworn To The Night (STTN) is the culmination of a lot of threads and characters, chief among them as two whom we previously meet in The Revanche Cycle books by the author. The true inclinations about this whole "story" were first mentioned in the Revanche Cycle (book III) and then later gloriously expanded in Th[...]

FBC Decennial Giveaway Winner Announcement (by Mihir Wanchoo)


So after collecting hundreds of entries from all over the world. We had a elected a fun way to select 14 entries as I chose 7 random numbers from all our entries by numbering them from the first to last and vice versa.

Then after narrowing the contest down to 14 entries, I put them in a random order and asked my wife & brother-in-law to provide 4 random numbers. Thus narrowing down the four finalists (Brazil, Canada, UK, & USA). I asked our twitter followers to give me a number between 1 & 4 and @Dsharken was the first to reply back.

So many congratulations to Lacey M. we will emailing you to confirm your address and other details. Thank you to everyone for participating and for making it such a success.

The Fifth Empire Of Man by Rob J. Hayes + Black Blood short story review (by Mihir Wanchoo)


Official Author WebsiteOrder The Fifth Empire Of Man over HERE (USA) and HERE (UK)Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Where Loyalties LieRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Heresy WithinRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Colour Of VengeanceRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Price Of FaithRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of It Takes A Thief To Catch A SunriseRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of It Takes A Thief To Start A FireRead Fantasy Book Critic interview with Rob J. HayesRead Fantasy Book Critic trilogy completion interview with Rob J. HayesRead Fantasy Book Critic's Best Laid Plans Series Interview with Rob J. HayesRead A Game of ̶T̶h̶r̶o̶n̶e̶s̶ Death by Rob J. Hayes (guest post)AUTHOR INFORMATION: Rob J. Hayes was born and brought up in Basingstoke, UK. As a child he was fascinated with Lego, Star Wars and Transformers that fueled his imagination and he spent quite a bit of his growing up years playing around with such. He began writing at the age of fourteen however soon discovered the fallacies of his work. After four years at University studying Zoology and three years working for a string of high street banks as a desk jockey/keyboard monkey. Rob lived on a desert island in Fiji for three months. It was there he re-discovered his love of writing and, more specifically, of writing fantasy. OFFICIAL BLURB: The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself King, and traitors at every turn. The Five Kingdoms and Sarth have assembled a fleet of ships unlike any the world has ever seen and they intend to purge the Pirate Isles once and for all by fire and steel. Revenge, never far from Keelin Stillwater’s mind, is finally within his grasp and he sets sail to the Forgotten Empire. But more than dense jungles and ruined cities await him there. Vengeful gods and malignant spirits now call those cursed lands home, and they are not wisely disturbed. Meanwhile, Elaina Black tries to secure herself powerful allies and the forces those allies can spare. She’s set her course on the throne: either by Drake’s side or over his dead body. FORMAT/INFO: The Fifth Empire Of Man is divided into four parts which are spread out over fifty-seven ship titled chapters and an epilogue. The narration is in third person omniscient via Drake Morass, Keelin Stillwater, Elaina Black, T’ruck Khan, Damien Poole, Kebble Salt & Arbiter Beck. This book is the concluding volume of the Best Laid Plans duology and can be read as a starting point to the First Earth saga. September 26 2017 marked the US and UK e-book publication of The Fifth Empire Of Man and was being self-published by the author. Cover art is by Alex Raspad & cover design is provided by Shawn King. CLASSIFICATION: Focusing on a wide character cast of pirates and epic sea battles, The Best Laid Plans duology is the grimdark version of Pirates Of The Carribbean if imagined by Joe Abercrombie. OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: The Fifth Empire Of Man as far as fantasy book titles go is a terrific title. It is the concluding volume to the Best Laid Plans duology and a story that is epic in every sense of the word. I was lucky to be able to read this story in its draft form and I can safely say that the final version is something that will readers’ slack jawed at the very least. A warning though for readers who haven’t read Where Loyalties Lie, the book’s blurb might be a little spoilerific so you might want to avoid this review if you don’t like things spoiled even a little bit.We begin with the immediate events of Where Loyalties Lie wherein Drake has been pronounced king of the pirates with Tanner Black’s support. However the support is tentative with the caveat that Drake has to take Elaina Black as his consort. Drake is certainly chafing at that but he has his mind on the final prize. On t[...]

Fantasy Book Critic Tenth Anniversary Day 5 + Worldwide Giveaway (by Mihir Wanchoo)


As we wind down to our last and day 5 of our decennial celebrations, we decided to hold a giveaway to top of our celebrations. Since we have readers from all over the globe, we felt it would only be fair to keep it open to anyone worldwide. Another question was how to select the titles among all four of us (Robert, Liviu, Cindy & me). So eventually we came to the conclusion was that the simplest and fairest way to select the titles for the giveaway, was to select the #1 titles from all of our best of the year lists from our humble beginnings (2007) to until now (2017). Also we thought it would be fun to fun to add an e-reader and present all the titles as e-books. So what we have decided to giveaway is a Kindle Fire HD 8 Tablet (16 GB) and given below are all the titles that are up for grabs for one lucky winner: - Acacia by David Anthony Durham (Robert T. best of 2007)- Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (Robert T. best of 2007)- Stealing Light by Gary Gibson (Robert T. best of 2007)- Radio Freefall by Matthew Jarpe (Robert T. best of 2007)- Anathem by Neal Stephenson (Liviu S. best of 2008)- The Kingdom Beyond The Waves by Stephen Hunt (Robert T. best of 2008)- Caine Black Knife by Matthew Stover (Liviu S. best of 2008)- The Host by Stephanie Meyer (Robert T. best of 2008)- First Contact by Michael R. Hicks (Liviu S. best of 2008)- The Children’s Book by A. S. Byatt (Liviu S. best of 2009)- Transition by Iain M. Banks (Liviu S. best of 2009)- Twelve by Jasper Kent (Robert T. best of 2009)- Horseman’s Gambit by David B. Coe (Cindy H. best of 2009)- The Warded Man/The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett (Mihir W. best of 2009)- Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks (Liviu S. best of 2010)- The Folding Knife by K. J. Parker (Mihir W. best of 2010)- Shadow’s Son by Jon Sprunk (Cindy H. best of 2010)- Spellwright by Blake Charlton (Cindy H. best of 2010)- 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (Liviu S. best of 2011)- Run by Blake Crouch (Mihir W. best of 2011)- Blood Song by Anthony Ryan (Mihir W. best of 2012)- The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks (Liviu S. best of 2012)- Sharps by K. J. Parker (Liviu S. best of 2012)- The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (Liviu S. best of 2012)- The Colour Of Vengeance by Rob J. Hayes (Mihir W. best of 2013)- City of Stairs by Rob J. Bennett (Mihir W. best of 2014)- Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (Mihir W. best of 2015)- The Killing Floor Blues by Craig Schaefer (Mihir W. best of 2016)- Theft Of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan- Prince Of Fools by Mark Lawrence- Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron- Los Nefilim omnibus by Teresa FrohockAs you might have noticed that the last four books aren’t part of any #1s but we wanted to show our thanks to Michael, J. Sullivan, Rachel Aaron, Mark Lawrence, & Teresa Frohock for taking the time to write a few words about their FBC reviews as well as our past decade.So there you go, there are 32 superb titles to be won along with a Kindle Fire HD 8 Tablet (16 GB) for ONE LUCKY WINNER.To enter, please send an email to "" with your Name, Mailing Address, and the subject: FBC 10. Giveaway has ENDED and was open to participants WORLDWIDE! Thank you for entering and Good Luck! GIVEAWAY RULES: 1) Open To Anyone WORLDWIDE2) Only One Entry Per Household (Multiple Entries Will Be Disqualified)3) Must Enter Valid Email Address, Mailing Address + Name4) No Purchase Necessary5) Giveaway has ENDED6) Winner Will Be Randomly Selected and Notified By Email7) Personal Information Will Only Be Used In Mailing Out the Books To The Winner [...]

Blog Tour Stop for Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Ruth Meyer: Read an Excerpt from Chapter 5!


Website: JoannaRuthMeyer.comTwitter: @gamwynFacebook: say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but that is exactly what attracted me to Beneath the Haunting Sea. I saw the cover a while back, read the short blurb about it, and it immediately went on my to-be read pile. When I was asked if I wanted to be a part of the blog tour for the book, I immediately said 'yes'. Now, I get to share this amazing book with you. For our blog stop today, we have an excerpt from Chapter 5. The blog tour is still going on throughout the month, so if you see something you like, please do stop by the other blogs and check it out. List of blog tour stops! December 19: Mother Daughter Book ClubDecember 20: YA Books CentralDecember 22: Brittany’s Book RamblesDecember 27: SFFWorldDecember 28: Short & Sweet ReviewsDecember 29: SciFiChickJanuary 2: The Cover ContessaJanuary 3: Seeing Double In NeverlandJanuary 4: All Things Urban FantasyJanuary 11: Fantasy Book CafeJanuary 18: YA Interrobang About the book:Can't you hear it, Talia?Can't you hear the waves singing?Sixteen-year-old Talia was born to a life of certainty and luxury, destined to become Empress of half the world. But when an ambitious rival seizes power, she and her mother are banished to a nowhere province on the far edge of the Northern Sea.  It is here, in the drafty halls of the Ruen-Dahr, that Talia discovers family secrets, a melancholy boy with a troubling vision of her future, and a relic that holds the power of an ancient Star. On these shores, the eerie melody of the sea is stronger than ever, revealing long-forgotten tales of the Goddess Rahn. The more dark truths that Talia unravels about the gods' history--and her own--the more the waves call to her, and it may be her destiny to answer.About the Author:Joanna Ruth Meyer is a writer of Young Adult fantasy. She lives with her dear husband and son in Arizona, where it never rains (or at least not often enough for her!). When she's not writing, she can be found teaching piano lessons, drinking copious amounts of tea, reading thick books, and dreaming of winter.Excerpt from Chapter 5   She looked back to where her mother still leaned against the port rail, purple dress bright against the sky. She told herself there was nothing wrong with her—a few solid days of food and sleep would set her right again. “I’ve never seen anyone, man or woman, as enamored with the sea as she is. Except maybe you.”Talia jumped and turned to see Hanid climbing up beside her, his silver hair mussed from the wind. He gave her a wry smile. “It’s like the sea is in your blood.”“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she snapped.He shrugged. “Most people get horribly seasick their first time aboard ship. You and your mother seem entirely unaffected.”She didn’t know why this line of questioning was making her so irritated. “I guess the sea air agrees with us.”“I guess it does.” Hanid studied her a moment more, then shook his head and chuckled to himself. “Glad to have you sailing with us, in any case. Women are good luck aboard ship, you know. The Waves seem to prey mostly on the men.”“What do you mean?”“You haven’t heard the stories?” He spread his hands out toward the sea. “The Billow Maidens, singing in the storms to wreck the ships and drown the sailors. Their songs are so beautiful men can’t resist, running their ships onto reefs or rocks, throwing themselves into the sea just to follow the music.”The wind flung a snatch of her mother’s song into Talia’s ears, and she cursed, which made Hanid laugh. “It’s all superstition and nonsense.”“Maybe. But maybe not. I[...]

Fantasy Book Critic Tenth Anniversary Day 4 + Guest Posts by Teresa Frohock, Blake Charlton, Kate Elliot, & P. J. Hoover


Today on day 4, we have a few quick words from some of our other favorites who were extremely kind to say some really nice things amidst their busy professional & personal schedules. Here are four fantasy authors who write differing styles and explore different avenues among the genre. So please extend a big round of applause to Teresa Frohock, Blake Charlton, Kate Elliott, & P. J. Hoover:I wanted to take a moment and wish Fantasy Book Critic a very Happy 10th Anniversary. When I was first published in 2011, I had absented myself from the genre field for several years. Their Spotlight features, reviews, and interviews helped me find new releases and authors, so I could re-familiarize myself with the field again. From their list of fellow bloggers, I managed to connect with others, who shared FBC's love of genre fiction.  It's hard to believe it's been 10 years! Even so, I've had great fun watching FBC grow. While some blogs have fallen to the wayside, they're still going strong. I wish you guys another 10 years of reviews, interviews, and giveaways for authors and fans alike. ~ Teresa FrohockMany times Fantasy Book Critic has lead me to discover my 'new favorite book.' Of course, there's more to life than finding a new favorite book--but not much more. So thank you to the wonderful contributors and community at FBC. Don't stop; we're all always in need of a new favorite book. ~ Blake CharltonI really appreciate the wide range of novels that Fantasy Book Critic has reviewed over the years, including my own, of course. Here's to another 10 years! ~ Kate ElliottIn the hectic, scattered, flooded world we live in, it is such an utter joy to run across a blog like Fantasy Book Critic. So many blogs these days have lost the idea of what a book blog truly should be, but not FBC. They continue to review books in a manner that maintains integrity and celebrates the absolute joy of reading. I am never so honored as when I find one of my titles reviewed on the blog because I know that what I will find is a thoughtful, respectful review. Thank you for all you do, FBC ~ P.J. HooverTomorrow will be the last day of our decennial celebration and to cap it off. We will be holding a very special giveaway as a big thank you to all our fans and readers alike. So please visit the blog back tomorrow to find out what is up for grabs...[...]

Fantasy Book Critic Tenth Anniversary Day 3 + Guest Post by Mark Lawrence & Jon Sprunk


Today on day 3 of our decennial celebrations, we have another two our favorite authors. Both of them debuted within a year of each other but their books were vastly different. The factor that was common, both their debuts were amazing and won us over entirely. So please extend a warm welcome to Mark Lawrence & Jon Sprunk, masters of fantasy, terrific plotters and all-round good eggs:Ten years? A decade of serving up literary judgment on the genre! Hooray for Fantasy Book Critic! I first arrived on Fantasy Book Critic’s doorstep when they reviewed Prince of Thorns in 2011, two weeks before the book came out and said it was one of the year’s best, immediately impressing me with their promptness and accuracy! Since then they have impressed me with their consistency, quality, and durability. More recently, the site’s involvement with the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off has shown flexibility, innovation, and an open-minded will to engage with whatever the future has in store for us!Official Author websiteRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of Prince Of ThornsRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of King Of ThornsRead Fantasy Book Critic’s review of Prince Of FoolsAUTHOR INFORMATION: Mark Lawrence is a research scientist working on artificial intelligence. He's the founder behind the SPFBO contest and is considered the patron saint of self-published authors. He lives in England with his wife and four children.I remember May 2010 like it was yesterday. My first book was about to be released by Pyr Books. I was so excited and terrified I had trouble sleeping. Then I caught an early review on Fantasy Book Critic. Not only was I pleased by the favorable reactions, I was gratified by the depth of the dual reviews (by Liviu Suciu and Cindy Hannikman). They really understood the genre and how my little book fit into the pantheon. To this day, that review strikes a chord in me. It was instrumental in my confidence as a new author. Fantasy Book Critic is a crucial element of the modern fantasy landscape. Reviews by persons versed in the genre can be difficult to find, and this is what FBC delivers page after page. I am so honored to be a small part of the FBC legacy.Official Author Website Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of Shadow’s Son Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of Blood & Iron AUTHOR INFORMATION: Jon Sprunk was raided in central Pennsylvania and found his passion for literature during his college years. His elevator pitch to Lou Anders is the stuff of legends and eventually lead him to get published with Pyr books. Jon Sprunk is currently in the midst of his new fantasy series of which the third book will be released next year. NOTE: Author pictures courtesy of the authors themselves.[...]

The Art Of War Anthology Cover Reveal + Interview with Petros Triantafyllou (by Mihir Wanchoo)


Pre-order The Art Of War Anthology Over HEREThe Booknest blog is made of several cool folks and while they are a relatively newer blog, they are doing things better than most accomplished ones. Last year they raised funds (to the tune of $4400) to support the Doctors Without Borders program. This year they decided to go one step further and create an anthology with an amazing roster of authors. The anthology is titled ART OF WAR and here’s the impressive lineup of authors assembled:- Mark Lawrence- Ed Greenwood- Brian Scott Staveley- Christian G. (Miles) Cameron- John Gwynne- Sebastien De Castell- Mitchell Hogan- Stan Nicholls- Rob Hayes- Charles Phipps- Mazarkis Williams- Ben Galley- Graham Austin-King- Michael R. Fletcher- Nicholas Eames- Anna Smith Spark- Anna Stephens- Ed McDonald- RJ Barker- Sue Tingey- Benedict Patrick- Michael R. Miller- Dyrk Ashton- Laura M Hughes- Steven Poore- Timandra Whitecastle- Steven Kelliher- J.P. Ashman- Brandon Draga- David T. Palmer- Anne Nicholls- Dominick M. Murray- RB Watkinson- M. L. Spencer- Charles F Bond- Andrew Rowe- Ulff Lehmann- Tom Gaskin- Zachary Barnes - Nathan Boyce- With a foreword by Brian D. AndersonThe beauty of it all is that Petros spent his own hard-earned money in getting everything assembled and lined up. he then also hired one of the best cover art & designers teams around namely John Anthony Di Giovanni & Shawn King. Tim Marquitz was also super kind to assist with the editing, proofreading & formatting for the anthology. So today we are extremely excited to do the cover reveal for this awesome beast of an anthology, kindly feast your eyes on the beauty below:(click on pic to enlarge)The anthology will be released on February 13th 2018 and you can add it to your Goodreads profiles as well. checkout the blurb for it:Official Book Blurb: “War, my friend, is a thing of beauty.” How do you get forty fantasy authors to contribute short stories for a war-themed anthology without paying them? It sounds as if there should be a good punchline to that, but all Petros Triantafyllou did was twist the moral thumbscrews and tell them all the profits would go to Doctors Without Borders, a charity that works tirelessly across the world to alleviate the effects of conflict, sickness and poverty. So, with clear consciences, several busloads of excellent and acclaimed fantasy authors have applied themselves to the task of penning a veritable mountain of words on the subject of The Art of War, expect bloodshed, gore, pathos, insight, passion, and laughs. Maybe even a wombat. Who knows. Anyway, as the original blurb said: “It’s good. Buy it.” - Mark Lawrence Doesn’t that sound amazing? And to top it off the print version of the anthology will contain 40 black & white interior art pieces by Jason Deem, one for nearly every story it seems.I thought it would be great to find out more about the anthology and I was my sincere  pleasure when Petros T. agreed to answer a few questions about the anthology’s creation, the Booknest blog and some other tidbits. So please give a warm welcome to Petros, Booknest owner, blogger buddy & a super smart dude:Q] Thank you for this opportunity and welcome to Fantasy Book Critic. Could you please tell us about yourself, your life in Greece and how you came to be a blogger? PT: Hello Mihir. Thanks for hosting this interview. I think you already mentioned the two most important things about me, or at least the ones that would interest the readers. I am from Greece and I am a blogger. What else? Hmm. I am a betting agent working on OPAP (a national network organizing and conducting games of chance). When I’m not reading I’m either fishing or watching three dozen tv series, and I have an infatuation with sloths which I shar[...]

FBC's Tenth Anniversary Celebration Day 2 + Guest Blog by Rachel Aaron (by Mihir Wanchoo)


As we go on to our second day of our decennial celebrations, we wanted to invite another of our favorites. She’s an author who in the last seven years has produced nearly double the number of books. I was a fan of her work since her debut and after reading and reviewing all of her fiction work. I can safely say I’m a fan for life. Her most recent series is a crazy mix of urban fantasy, science fiction, dragons and more. Next year she will be releasing the last book in the Heartstrikers series as well a brand new novel in a celebrated franchise. So without further ado, let me extend a very warm welcome to Rachel Aaron, an incredible plotter, a fantastic writer and one of the smartest authors I’ve had the pleasure of knowing.Like most authors, I've been a reader for a lot longer than I've been a writer. As a child, I always identified as someone who loved books and stories. Now, many decades and thirteen published novels later, that hasn't changed. I still think of myself as a reader first, because it is the reader in me that the writer must satisfy. When I sit down at my laptop to work on a novel, I am performing for an invisible audience of thousands, but that girl who grew up reading everything she could get her hands on is always right there in the front row. She's the one I can see, and so she's the one I'm always struggling to move. To entertain and delight and bring to the edge of her seat. My reader is my gauge, and it is her care and feeding that makes blogs like Fantasy Book Critic so important to me. Writing without reading is the author equivalent of talking to hear yourself speak. The more I write, the more important my own reading becomes. It's how I keep my creativity fed and my ideas from becoming inbred, but with so many books coming out, it's harder than ever to find the stories that are truly worth my money and time. I first discovered Fantasy Book Critic when Mihir reviewed my first novel, The Spirit Thief, way back in 2010. At the time, Fantasy Book Critic was the biggest reviewer to ever mention my work, and I was absolutely delighted to be noticed. I read the review and shared it to everyone who'd listen. What I did not expect, though, was how I kept coming back to read other reviews. It truly was the happiest of discoveries. In my delight at having my own novel recognized by people who knew what they were talking about, I'd stumbled upon a book review blog I came to love and trust not just as a writer, but as a reader, because that girl in me? She's insatiable, and I can't write fast enough to keep up. I am always searching for the next book to fall in love with, and over the last seven years, the thoughtful, in depth commentary of the reviewers at Fantasy Book Critic has given me just that. They've become one of my primary sources not just for finding new novels, but for pushing me out of my reading ruts. FBC reviews have led me to authors and genres I never would have tried on my own. Not just the popular books or the ones with the big PR push, either, but books from all over. No matter how a good story comes into the market, whether through a big publisher or a small house or a single author publishing alone, I know I can trust Fantasy Book Critic to find it, and to bring it to me. That might not sound like much, but it is that service, that dedication to finding good books worth reading wherever they lurk, that has made FBC part of my daily life. Even more than their incredible generosity in reviewing my own works, the fact that I can go to the blog and not just find something worth reading, but an in depth write up as to what makes that book so darn good is precious to me. It's a place I can go to roll in the shared love of genre stories--the good ones, the flawed ones, the ones that don't w[...]

Fantasy Book Critic Tenth Anniversary Announcement + Guest Blog by Michael J. Sullivan (by Mihir Wanchoo)


When Fantasy Book Critic began over a decade ago it was a simple blog spearheaded by Robert Thompson who wanted to spread his passion for SFF books. From that momentous decision onwards, spawned a love for books that was further strengthened by Cindy Hannikman & Liviu Suciu as they joined Robert in making Fantasy Book Critic a known staple of the blogosphere. We were also fortunate to have several talented folks like Fabio Fernandes, David Craddock, Jacques Barcia, Sabine Gueneret, Casey Blair, Lydia Roberts, Will Byrnes, Mike E. Evans, C.T. Phipps etc who steeped in to contribute from time to time.I (Mihir) was ecstatic to join the team in 2009 and since then have never looked back. Over the past decade, all of us have experienced several life changes both personally & professionally but we do our best to be part of the blog as much as we can. Currently Cindy & I are running the blog and we do our best to make sure that the content provided is to a standard that we are known for.Since this was our decennial, we decided to invite several of our favorite authors to talk about their experiences as well as Fantasy Book Critic in general. So kicking it off from today we have one of our all-time favorites talking about his experiences and we will continue every day to post the rest of our favorites.Plus in the end, we will be hosting a giveaway that showcases some of the best books that we encountered over the last decade. So please give a warm welcome to Michael J. Sullivan, self-publishing phenomenon, NYT bestselling author & an all-round gentleman.My name is Michael J. Sullivan and I began writing a six book fantasy series in the quiet of my bedroom in 2002. Five years later in 2007, after every major, and most of the minor publishers had turned me down, a very small press in Minnesota agreed to publish it. My book was released in October 2008 to a grand chorus of crickets. No one cared. Few bothered to read it. I didn’t have a chance. At the same time something new was happening on the Internet. People were starting to talk about things they were passionate about—things like books. Readers, anxious to tell the world about treasures they found used the Net to post their discoveries. Some like-minded enthusiasts joined forces and created review sites, telling others what they liked and, to a much lesser extent, what they didn’t. A lot of them were popping up. Something called Goodreads launched in January of 2007. Another one appeared in March of that same year called Fantasy Book Critic. Desperate to get anyone with an audience to read my book, I sent inquiries to just about everyone. Like the publishers, most declined. They wanted to read books from the (at the time) big-six, New York publishers, not some hayseed press in Minnesota. The Kindle was just being released, and self-publishing as we now know it, was about to be born. For the most part, mine was an unwanted baby. Even the bloggers wanted no part of that demon-spawn. At the time, I wasn’t self-published, but I suppose I smelled of it.Then, unexpectedly, on Thursday, November 27, 2008 Liviu C. Suciu, of Fantasy Book Critic, decided to review indie books (novels not produced by New York. ) He began his first Indie review as follows…INTRODUCTION: Michael Sullivan’s debut novel, “The Crown Conspiracy”—the first in a planned six-volume epic fantasy series called The Riyria Revelations—has attracted a growing following since its recent publication by indie publisher, Aspirations Media Inc. After reading an excerpt on Mr. Sullivan's website, I decided to give the book a try and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun and page turning “The Crown Conspiracy” turned out to be… The revie[...]

The Lost Lore Anthology Cover Reveal + Interview with the editors & authors (by Mihir Wanchoo)


Today at Fantasy Book Critic, we have the wonderful opportunity to do the official cover reveal for the LOST LORE Anthology that features sixteen authors and several luminaries from the past and present editions of SPFBO (hopefully some future SPFBO contenders as well).The creative minds behind this awesome collection were very kind to grant me the opportunity to reveal the magnificent cover for it featuring artwork by Andreas Zafeiratos & design/typography by Colleen Sheehan. Check it out in all its glory above.OFFICIAL BLURB: Hidden pasts. Secrets untold. Legends half-remembered. Sixteen fantasy writers gather to bring sixteen tales to life, each one a unique glimpse into a wholly original world. In Midgard, a humble priestess takes it upon herself to move Valhalla and earth to bring justice to lands unfairly ruled by men, gods, and giants. On the Emerald Road, a dead Sage triggers a brutal trial beneath the forest floor. There, a young man must fight—and kill—both friends and enemies to become the next wielder of the fabled Emerald Blade. And in the Yarnsworld, the Magpie King teaches two brothers a dangerous lesson about the power of stories. Sticks and stones may indeed break bones . . . but they cannot hurt the Bramble Man. In worlds ravaged by flood, fire, and frost, mere mortals strive to make their own legends amidst demons and deities alike. And in lands racked with human strife—where evil endures and no one is ever safe—scarred heroes fight forces even darker than their own personal demons. Why do they fight? Some seek to better the world, or themselves. Others are out to right old wrongs. But whatever their goal - reward, redemption, or just respite - the truth will out eventually. For no story is ever truly lost so long as there exists one to tell it.So there you have it, featuring sixteen different tales by sixteen exciting voices, readers will have the opportunity to be transported to several different realms and find out more. The anthology will be released on all platforms on January 15th 2018.The line up consists of the following authors: - Alec Hutson - Ben Galley - Benedict Patrick - Bryce O' Connor - David Benem - Dyrk Ashton - Jeffrey Hall - J. P. Ashman - Laura M. Hughes - Michael R. Miller-  Mike Shel- Phil Tucker- Steven Kelliher- T. A. Miles- Timandra Whitecastle- T. L. Greylock- With a foreword by Mark LawrenceIn addition to the official blurb and cover reveal, we are glad to have Taya (T. L. Greylock), Teri (T. A. Miles), & Benedict Patrick to answer a few questions about the anthology, its inception & more...Q] Thank you for this opportunity and welcome to Fantasy Book Critic. Could you tell us about the inception of the Lost Lore anthology and how did you get involved for this project? Benedict: Thanks, Mihir! How the anthology came about? The very boring answer is that this is the project that made the distance. There’s an ever-growing group of us who chat about writing/publishing/Netflix on a daily basis, and we are constantly suggesting stuff we can work together on. This is pretty much the first project (hopefully of many) that has managed to escape that bubbling pot of creation to make it out to the general public. We enjoy hanging out online together, we want to work together, and an anthology like this seemed like a good place to start.Q] Can you tell us about the lineup of stories assembled in this anthology? How did you go about selecting the authors for the collection? Taya: Selection took place via death matches. Okay, not really. Basically it sprouted from what was initially a group of SPFBO authors and grew to include a bunch of cool people we had met. [...]

The SPFBO Finalist Announcement (by Mihir Wanchoo)


The 2017 SPFBO has been an absolute thrill ride for me personally. This year I’ve read so many great books in my lot that I wasn’t sure how many semifinalists I would be selecting. After reading through all of the FBC lot along with Cindy, we were able to narrow it down to seven semifinalists. Here are all of them:- Crimson Queen by Alec Hutson- Nefertiti’s Heart by A. W. Exley- The Songweaver’s Vow by Laura VanArendonk Baugh- The Woven Ring by M.D. Presley- Where The Waters Turn Black by Benedict Patrick- Night Of The Chalk by Samuel Gately- The General’s Legacy: Inheritance by Adrian G. HilderPreviously I had mentioned that we at Fantasy Book Critic were the group of death and here’s the some fun stats by M. D. Presley. Looking at books with more than 10 goodreads reviews and an average score of 4 or higher, the average number of books that met that criteria for each of the other nine blogs was six. FBC’s score was 12! The next closest one was Fantasy Faction with 8. Not that it means that the other blogs had it easy but this time around we truly had some wonderful competition.Selecting a finalist from these accomplished titles is again a harder task as I enjoyed all of them and the main characteristics that I was looking for in selecting a finalist were:- Plot- Characters- World building- Personal enjoymentTrying to quantify all of these points in all of these seven books was weird but I had to do it for selecting among these seven. So after looking through them, I tried to create a top three and even then I cheated a bit:1] The Crimson Queen & The Woven Ring2] The Songweaver’s Vow & Where The Waters Turn Black3] Night Of the Chalk As you can see, even while selecting three, I went ahead and selected five books as such was the caliber of all these titles. Coming to my main two titles, I have to interject how good The Crimson Queen & The Woven Ring are. Both books focus on different genres of fantasy but are written so well that if not for the presence of the other, the specific title would be my straightforward finalist.With The Crimson Queen, it was a wonderful epic fantasy that had superb characterization, a blistering pace and a world that merges Asian & certain European influences which made for an enthralling read. The Woven Ring is absolute world-building gem that mixes two timelines while focusing on the same character and gives the reader an utterly absorbing read.What was even more surprising that both of these books are debuts and to be this astoundingly good is nothing short of extraordinary. This is the part wherein I dread being the judge because I’m forced to choose between two titles which I’ve loved. I look forward to both of their sequels and so you all can understand why it’s extremely, extremely hard for me to have to choose between these two.I reread both titles again just to see if they hold up on the re-read and if I noticed any new drawbacks. No such luck as I enjoyed them as much as I did the first time around if not more. So again I want to reiterate how good both these titles are.At this point, I had to start to nitpick between the two to be able to choose my finalist and it’s only by a hair's breadth that this title overcame the other. So without any further ado our 2017 SPFBO finalist is *drumroll*:...................THE CRIMSON QUEEN by ALEC HUTSONMy commiserations to M. D. Presley as his book was really that much amazing and it was only by a hair's difference that Alec Hutson’s debut superseded The Woven Ring for the final spot. I feel that like last year’s Senlin Ascends, The Woven Ring will be a book that will leave a mark on the readers that give it a chance. It’s[...]

GIVEAWAY: Win a Copy of the Children's Fantasy Book Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend


Visit the Official SiteFollow the author on Twitter and InstagramFollow the publisher on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram Fantasy Book Critic is excited to partner with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers to host a giveaway. We have one prize pack to offer one lucky winner. The winner will receive a copy of Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow, a branded Nevermoor lapel pin, and a branded Hotel Deucalion pen and notebook. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow is the first of a new series by Jessica Townsend. It has been on my 'to read' list. I am very excited to offer everyone a chance to win this novel!  Rules for the giveaway are below. However, before we can get to the giveaway, I'd love to share more about Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow and this wonderful debut author! Learn more about Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow: A breathtaking, enchanting new series by debut author Jessica Townsend, about a cursed girl who escapes death and finds herself in a magical world--but is then tested beyond her wildest imagination Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she's blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks--and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday. But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor. It's then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city's most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart--an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests--or she'll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate. Perfect for fans of the Harry Potter series and Neil Gaiman, this fast-paced plot and imaginative world has a fresh new take on magic that will appeal to a new generation of readers.  Photo Credit: Lani CarterLearn more about debut author Jessica Townsend: Jessica Townsend lives on the Sunshine Coast in Australia, but has lived on and off in London for a few years. She was a copywriter for eight years, and in a previous role, was the editor of a children's wildlife magazine for Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow is her first novel.*******************************************************************  Giveaway Rules 1. This contest is open to the US.2. Contest starts December 5, 2017 and ends December 12, 2017 at 12:01 a.m. EST. Entries after this time period will not be considered. 3. Only one entry per person. 4. To enter please send an email with the subject "NEVERMOOR" to Please include your name, email, and physical address you want the book sent to. 5. One entry will be picked at random to win a copy. 6. All entries will be deleted once a winner is picked and contacted. [...]

Blog Update from Cindy


Hi Fellow Blog Readers, I have been meaning to do a quick blog update, but I always forget. You have probably noticed I have been a bit silent at Fantasy Book Critic. Unfortunately, an unforeseen and very lengthy family emergency came up. Without going into too many details, my dad has been in the hospital for 70+ days many of which were in the ICU. I didn't expect it to be as time consuming and emotionally draining as it turned out to be. While I did a lot of reading, I was unable to review at the time. Things have slowed down a bit and I'm ready to get back to reviewing. So, first I want to apologize if I agreed to review any book, run a guest blog, or do a contest for you. I will be slowly catching up over the next few weeks. It will take a little bit of time, but if I agreed to review anything for you or post a guest blog, I will get it up. Don't hesitate to message me at the blog email to remind me. The second thing I want to do is thank you for being a loyal reader. Thanks for sticking it out. I have a lot of wonderful books I can't wait to share with you. With that said, happy reading! Thank you all so much~Cindy[...]

SPFBO Semifinalists: Where The Waters Turn Black, Night Of The Chalk, The General's Legacy: Inheritance (Mini-reviews by Mihir Wanchoo)


Official Author WebsiteOrder the book HEREOVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Where The Waters Turn Black by Benedict Patrick has many things going for it. It’s the winner of the best cover in the 2017 SPFBO competition as well as it’s a very unusual cross between Moana & the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. This book while being a standalone is set in the Yarnsworld setting. I loved Benedict Patrick’s debut They Mostly Come At Night and so I was even more excited when WTWTB was in my lot. The story focusses on Pukotala and the neighboring Atoll islands as it is a veritable paradise with sandy beaches, coconut trees, tropical atmosphere and a laid back people who support themselves by fishing and other coastal activities. In this setting we meet our main character Kaimana who is incredibly talented in music or as the islanders say she has a “Knack” for music. She has spent the last three years traveling with a musical troupe across the islands and has returned to her home in Pukotala to convince her parents that this is the life she wants. Unlike leading a much simpler existence being wed to someone and living as a fisherwoman or the spouse to one.The first line of this book is “There’s a monster in the village” and it’s from that exciting beginning we find out more about taniwhas or the term that describes the monsters (of various sizes, shapes & temperaments) across the crescent atoll islands. Kaimana tells the toddler who tells her such that there’s no taniwha haunting their village but goes to investigate nonetheless. It’s from this moment onwards that the plot really tightens up and we get to see if there really is a taniwha and the author very smartly alternates every chapter with a retelling of a legend/myth which is local to these islands. Thus the story goes forward and thematically backward as well. Benedict Patrick is a good writer but the Yarnsworld is truly something exciting as each book has focused on a different part of the world and this story is no different. He builds up an incredible world with the flora and fauna, the sights and sounds, and the legends and the gods as we are completely submersed into a tropical setting. This experience was something that he has done admirable across all three of his Yarnsworld books (having read all three I can attest to this). This story mixes humans, gods, monsters and a whole bunch of legends, I loved this aspect of the story and there’s a couple of gods featured as side characters who might become fan favorites based on their interactions with the main characters.Overall I would say this book can be read as a standalone but of course if you read it after They Mostly Come Out At Night, you might even see someone from that book make a cameo. Where The Waters Turn Black is a special book in a special series and you definitely need to read this magical story to inject some magic into the mundane everyday life.Official Author WebsiteOrder the book HEREOVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Night Of The Chalk is another intriguing title that comes with an eye-catching cover. Samuel Gately’s debut introduces us to a world wherein spycraft, dragons, and magic come together in a dangerous pattern. Set in the city of Delhonne and over the period of five nights, the author presents a story that is very much a thriller with strong shades of spy stories mixed in with some good ol’ fantasy leanings.The story begins with one of our protagonists Cal finds himself on the run from a card game as he finds himself betrayed by his debtors. Things however don’t quite work out the way as planned for his pursuers and Cal is left blood[...]

SPFBO: The Final Semifinalist Update (by Mihir Wanchoo)


For the last batch of books, I decided to combine all the remaining ten books into one group and see which books would join the 5 previous semifinalists. So here are my thoughts on all of them:Miss Landon and Aubranael by Charlotte E. English: ML&A is a delightful story mixing romance and fairytales and the author wonderfully writes these characters who are endearing to say the least. A simple story told with gusto and a truly vibrant cover made this book a worthy read. Plus as a reader who generally doesn’t get hooked by Regency romance plots, this book had me chuckling along and enjoying myself with its flair and pace.The Heartstone Thief by Pippa DaCosta: The Heartstone Thief was another intriguing title which had a spectacular cover. The story was a dark one and I enjoyed that aspect. The characterization wasn’t spectacular but it kept me intrigued and in the end while I enjoyed the story settings. I didn’t find the plot to be gripping enough and so while I completed the story, it didn’t leave an impact..The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale by Danielle E Shipley: This was a unique book with regards to its plot and settings as it mixed the Robin Hood mythos within an urban fantasy setting. The story however was a bit drier than I would have liked and the pace was also on the slower side. Hence this book didn’t work for me.Shadows for a Princess by Dominique Kristine: This was an epic fantasy book with some really terrific female characters however the plot is more than a bit standard and hence this book didn’t make the cut for me.The General's Legacy by Adrian G Hilder: Adrian Hilder’s fantasy debut checks all of the boxes that fantasy fans love. Epic action and battle sequences, check. Relatable, heroic characters check. A world filled with magic & intrigue double check. All in all this was a book that while ending on a cliffhanger-ish situation (due to the book being split into two volumes, of which this is the first). I appreciated that the author had given me the heads up about it. This book while not doing anything out of the box, certainly provides a very enjoyable fantasy story. That’s something that every debut author should strive for.Thunder Hunter by Rachel Medhurst: Thunder Hunter had me excited as it was an urban fantasy which had its roots in norse mythology. The writing style and the main character voice reminded me a lot of Tim Marquitz in terms of action mixed in with the machismo of the main character. However unlike Tim Marquitz’s Demon Squad series, this book didn’t have that flair to carry it across and I lost interest in the middle. Gods of Color by C.H. Baum: C. H. Baum’s debut effort was a nice mix of dark and epic fantasy and to top it off there was an interesting magic system which reminded me a lot of the one in Brandon Sanderson’s Warbreaker. The book’s pace also helped in this read and it was a dark and strong effort. Andy McBean and the War of the Worlds by Dale Kutzera: This was such a fun book, I loved the author’s twist on the War Of The Worlds storyline and how he managed to infuse this children’s book with so many antics. Overall this is a book and series which pokes fun at the classic SFF stories and it will definitely have its audiences among the adult and kid audiences. Haven of Shadows by Ken Lozito: After reading Haven Of Shadows, one thing is imminently clear Ken Lozito certainly knows how to write and write well he does. This book had shades of epic fantasy mixed in with S&S and to top it off the characterization was very engaging. Overall this book had me read[...]

GUEST POST: "Emperor Calvo Reviews The HIdden Face" by S. C. Flynn


Today’s post is written by Calvo, emperor of Faustia. Here is his meeting with Dayraven the main character, who has just returned to Faustia after fifteen years as a hostage in the rival Magian empire:Dayraven walked to the edge of the pool and stared across the steaming water at the man aged about sixty on his own, leaning back against the far side of the pool. Emperor Calvo the Great. His beard was silver now.The emperor seemed to wake out of a daze and peered through the rising steam. ‘Urland? Urland? Can it really be you?’ ‘I’m Dayraven, my lord - Urland’s son.’‘Oh. You’re so like him, even with that touch of southern sun on your face and that beard. I thought for a moment -.’ The emperor lent back and gazed upwards through the mist of vapour. ‘We were all young and strong back then. Great days, with Urland at my side - and now his son is here. Welcome back to us, Dayraven.’ You will already be aware that I have issued an edict banning this book, ordering the destruction of every copy in existence and imposing harsh penalties on anyone possessing, producing or distributing a copy. As an “enlightened” ruler, I will explain my reasons.If widely read, this book would have a damaging effect on the empire. I found this work so offensive that I was unable to even finish the first half of it. However, it is clear from those pages that the author is a paid agent of my enemies and rivals, the Clovian dynasty.I am shown as an old fool, spending all my time bathing, feeding my pet elephant, gorging on red meat and living in the past, rather than running the empire. I am the emperor, and what kind of empire would it be if I were not free to do as I wish?The author’s obvious bias towards my Clovian enemies is equally deplorable. In contrast with my unflattering portrait, they are shown as clever manipulators and black magicians, dressed in striking cloaks decorated with golden bees. You have been warned of my disapproval. This notice to be posted in all public places by my order.Calvo, regnal year 36. 575 FE. [NOTE: Despite the above, Emperor Calvo couldn’t resist later reading the entire novel. Fortunately, he then decided that his ban was too severe and revoked it.] *---------------*---------------*---------------*Order THE HIDDEN FACE over HEREGUEST AUTHOR INFORMATION: S. C. Flynn was born in a small town in South West Western Australia. He has lived in Europe for a long time; first the United Kingdom, then Italy and currently Ireland, the home of his ancestors. He still speaks English with an Australian accent, and fluent Italian. He reads everything, revises his writing obsessively and plays jazz. His wife Claudia shares his passions and always encourages him. S. C. has written for as long as he can remember and has worked seriously towards becoming a writer for many years. THE HIDDEN FACE is his second novel and the first book in the Fifth Unmasking series. He blogs over at He is on Twitter @scyflynn and on Facebook.OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: A face without a face - an unmasking that leaves the mask.Once every few hundred years, the sun god, the Akhen takes on human form and descends to earth. Each Unmasking of the Face of the Akhen ends one era and begins another; the last one created the Faustian Empire. Where and when will the Face next appear, and who will he – or she – be?Dayraven, son of a great hero, returns to Faustia after years as a hostage of their rivals, the Magians. Those years have changed him, but Faustia has changed as well; the emperor Ca[...]

Interview with Craig Schaefer [Part II] (Interviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)


Official Author WebsiteRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Long Way Down Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The White Gold Score Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Redemption Song Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Living End Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of A Plain-Dealing VillainRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Killing Floor BluesRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Castle DoctrineRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of Winter's Reach Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Instruments Of Control Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Harmony BlackRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of Red Knight FallingRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of Glass PredatorRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of Double Or NothingRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of Cold SpectrumRead Fantasy Book Critic's Interview with Craig SchaeferRead Fantasy Book Critic's Harmony Black Series Interview with Craig SchaeferRead Double Or Nothing Cover Reveal Mini-Interview with Craig SchaeferRead Part I of Fantasy Book Critic's In-depth Interview with Craig SchaeferContinuing on from yesterday, here's part II of our grand interview with Craig. Herein he talks about the various intricacies of his series, author branding, Tarantino comparisons and more...Q] All your series have complex female characters. Be they be a protagonist (Harmony, Jennifer) antagonist (Navarasi, Nessa) or even a conflicted character (Caitlin, Hedy, Livia), they are fascinating nonetheless? What’s your thought process in writing such wonderfully complex, yet lethal women? CS: I would say that it’s the same process I undergo for creating male characters – give them motivation, desires, fears, an inner life – but there’s a little more to it than that. Female representation is really important to me. I exert that worldview into my books by making sure female characters are the driving force they deserve to be, just like in the real world. They can be heroes, villains...sometimes just figuring out their place in life, like people do. They’ve gotta be real people. My bottom line is, until fleshed-out and complex female characters are considered the absolute baseline expectation for any writer – just like male characters are now – there’s still a lot of work to be done. It should be so common that nobody even notices. Q] Even though your series embraces a number of urban fantasy tropes, you also have made a rather strong effort to twist reader expectations and keep them entertained. What are your thoughts on these tropes in general and how did you decide what tropes you wanted to utilize and which you didn’t? CS: Here’s where I make people mad at me, if I haven’t already: I don’t actually like urban fantasy all that much, as a genre. There are some urban fantasy authors doing fantastic work out there and I’m proud to call several of them friends of mine, but the vast majority of the field leaves me cold. I haven’t even read most of the Dresden Files (though I have huge respect for Jim Butcher as an author, which is why I gave him that tiny shout-out in the fourth Faust novel. Couldn’t take my lead character to Chicago and not tip my hat…) What excites me as a writer is the potential that comes from mingling genres – and, well, when I mingle fantasy and anything in the modern world, that makes me an urban fantasy writer. The early entries in the Faust series are the most traditionally-UF-ish of my books, because I was finding my voice and confidence (I st[...]

Interview with Craig Schaefer [Part I] (Interviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)


Official Author WebsiteRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Long Way Down Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The White Gold Score Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Redemption Song Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Living End Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of A Plain-Dealing VillainRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Killing Floor BluesRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Castle DoctrineRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of Winter's Reach Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Instruments Of Control Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Harmony BlackRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of Red Knight FallingRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of Glass PredatorRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of Double Or NothingRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of Cold SpectrumRead Fantasy Book Critic's Interview with Craig SchaeferRead Fantasy Book Critic's Harmony Black Series Interview with Craig SchaeferRead Double Or Nothing Cover Reveal Mini-Interview with Craig SchaeferCraig Schaefer is an author whose books I’m besotted with entirely. It’s rare for me to enjoy somebody’s works to such an extent and it’s fair to say that Craig Schaefer has joined a select few authors in my mind whose books I will read without any hesitation. I’ve always wanted to ask Craig some very specific questions about his books and the characters within as well as his plans for the future.He was very kind to answer all of them and since there were so many. I’ll be splitting them into two parts. So without any further ado, enjoy part I…Q] Welcome to Fantasy Book Critic Craig. In your previous interview you spoke about how and when you decided to turn yourself into a wordsmith. Can you talk to us about your childhood & early adult life? What were your some of your hobbies? CS: Childhood? Shitty. I was a nerd in the 80s, before it was cool to be a nerd. It’s kind of amazing now, with so many “geek” pastimes blown up and gone mainstream; our biggest movies are based on comic books, Vin Diesel talks fondly about playing Dungeons and Dragons, video games are as popular as TV really is a different world. It’s hard to remember that there was a time when computer games were a weird and arcane hobby, comics were considered the domain of pimple-faced basement-dwellers, and D&D was a gateway to Satanism. (This is also why I have zero patience for modern-day geeks who want to dangle from a cross and pretend to be social outcasts. No, you aren’t. No. You aren’t. All this stuff we love is cool now. Be happy about it, damnit.) Like most writers, reading was an early and voracious hobby. I more or less lived in the local library; it was my safe harbor, and the gateway to a hundred worlds. When I discovered role-playing games, I latched onto those as well; they were an early creative outlet, and weeks spent lovingly detailing my campaign worlds were an early taste of the joys of writing. Q] I had read that from the age of four was when you realized that you wanted to become a writer. What was the delay in you finally realizing your wish? CS: Partially, getting my life together. My mental illness (obsessive-compulsive disorder and mild depression) went undiagnosed through my childhood and young-adult life. It wasn’t until I moved out on my own and grew a little that I was able to figure out that something was wrong with my head, and that I needed to do something about it. It always feels awkward, talking about t[...]

The Fifth SPFBO Semifinalist Update (By Mihir Wanchoo)


So far we have had four semifinalists and each book has been of a different kind. It seems that this time around, we at Fantasy Book Critic have an abundance of richness in the variety of titles, genres and quality. As we are getting through our lot, we are down to the last fifteen titles and it’s becoming tougher & tougher to sort through the titles.As with our previous lots I’ve tried to read at least five chapters or 20% of the book (whichever was longer). However with this lot, all of the books were so much fun that I read through all of them. So here are my concise thoughts on each of them: Where The Waters Turn Black by Benedict Patrick – This is the second standalone volume in the Yarnsworld series and it is a wonderfully heartwarming story. The plot has a very folksy charm to it and the main character was one of the most engaging ones I’ve read about recently. All in all, this volume made me a big fan of Benedict Patrick and the unique world he has weaved.The Arbiter by M.M. Perry – The Arbiter was an interestingly dark story and the way the author streamlined that darkness was fun to read. I got a strong Terry Brooks vibe in the way the author set up the story and the characters as well. This story touches upon racism & slavery in a very quick way and while this seems to be a standalone story, I wish the author writes more in this milieu.The Half-Killed by Quenby Olson – The Half-Killed is and interesting historical story with strong supernatural undertones. This story was an excellent surprise and I have to point out how much I enjoyed Quenby Olson's  characterization and plot. This book was one of those books that I didn't want to complete because of how much I was enjoying the story.The Waterfall Traveler by S.J. Lem – The Waterfall Traveler is an interesting title that combined YA fantasy and engaging characters. I liked this title because of it's main character Ri and in spite of its YA nature (as I'm not a big YA fan). However the plot pace was a bit slow in places and the ending thankfully made up for it (while it was predictable, it was still a lot of fun to read).Windsworn by Derek A. Siddoway – Windsworn was an intriguing book that focuses on Gryphons and I liked that aspect. This book reminded me a lot of Eragon  (but better written) with regards to the training & bonding aspects between the main character & her gryphon. The gryphons in the story aren't at the same level as those featured in The Black Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey but since this is the first volume of the trilogy, I could overlook that. This book was so enjoyable that I wanted to read more in this trilogy because of how the author utilized the tropes and how enjoyable the story was. In this lot, four books really struck my eye and it was a tough call between The Arbiter, The Half-Killed, Windsworn & WTWTB and ultimately I had to go with the book which was the most unique in this lot because of its unusual world setting and charming characters. So without any further adieu our fifth semifinalist is Where The Waters Turn Black by Benedict Patrick. My commiserations to all the other four authors. This was a tough call and I want to give a special shoutout to Quenby Olson & Derek Siddoway. Their books deserve a wider readership and I would love to review their future books on our blog.[...]

COVER REVEAL: Black Cross by J. P. Ashman


I'm much obliged to J. P Ashman for giving us this opportunity to host the cover reveal for the revised edition of his debut BLACK CROSS. Here's what Jon had to say about how this book cover came to be:"The new cover for Black Cross came about due to the unfortunate cessation of contact between my previous artist and I. The original cover did what I wanted it to and it'll always hold a special place in my writing career. However, after a seriously tough year for me personally, a good friend of mine (Taya Latham) encouraged me - persistently for six weeks - to let her run a crowd funding campaign to snag a new cover artist. I'd fallen away from my writing and my muse was dead. I needed an injection of confidence and enthusiasm and she was sure this would work. i was skeptical, but agreed.""She was right, I was wrong.""It worked a charm! A feckin' powerful charm!""Taya, along with many friends from the awesome online fantasy community - you all know who you are and I love you all - banded together and financially and emotionally supported me in my search for a new series artist. I had three in mind... and one of those contacted me before I could contact her! Win!""Pen Astridge, artist to authors such as Mark Lawrence and Graham Austin-King, enthusiastically approached me and offered her services. I snapped her hand off. Not her drawing hand that would be stupid.""With an incredible level of energy and interest, Pen dived into the new cover of Black Cross, knowing through discussions with me that I desired a character based cover like so many beautiful pieces out there at the moment. She worked and showed me, altered bits and bobs and impressed me. She came up with stunning ideas and projected her and my imagination onto the new cover of my debut novel. Sergeant Falchion came alive!""Pen also came up with a gorgeous Black Powder Wars series logo, with crossed cannons and gnomish grenados. Her fonts are stunning and the colours make the cover pop. She's over the moon and threw her all into it. I'm equally as happy, if not more so. We hope you are too!""Now comes the cover for Black Guild, the second book in the tales of the Black Powder Wars, which releases soon - ARCs are already out and about!""I look forward to seeing this cover in print - the hardback dust cover is incredible - and I look forward to seeing reader photos in the future, both of Black Cross and the books and covers to come! Thanks to Mihir and Fantasy Book Critic for this cover revelation, and to the awesomeness that is Pen Astride, Taya Latham and the rest of you beautiful lot!" As you can see how gorgeous a cover, Pen has created for Jon and I can't wait to see how it looks in physical form. I'll be hoping to review it when Jon releases the revised edition and will love to see how he has progressed as a writer. Checkout the blurb for the book below...OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: Arcane magic can be a ruinous power, despite admirable intentions. A mysterious scroll finds its way into Lord Severun’s hands, enabling him to release a dangerous experiment upon Wesson. With Sergeant Falchion unable to forgive himself for aiding the wizard, and desperate factions taking advantage of the devastating aftermath, Falchion embarks on an arduous quest alongside friends and strangers alike. However, even if their attempt to seek aid is successful and the city is saved, they risk revealing a secret that threatens much more than Wesson alone. From [...]

Cold Spectrum by Craig Schaefer (reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)


Official Author WebsiteOrder Cold Spectrum HERERead Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Long Way Down Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The White Gold Score Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Redemption Song Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Living End Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of A Plain-Dealing VillainRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Killing Floor BluesRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Castle DoctrineRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of Winter's Reach Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Instruments Of Control Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Harmony BlackRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of Red Knight FallingRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of Glass PredatorRead Fantasy Book Critic's review of Double Or NothingRead Fantasy Book Critic's Interview with Craig SchaeferRead Fantasy Book Critic's Harmony Black Series Interview with Craig SchaeferRead Double Or Nothing Cover Reveal Mini-Interview with Craig SchaeferAUTHOR INFORMATION: Craig Schaefer was born in Chicago and wanted to be a writer since a very young age. His writing was inspired by Elmore Leonard, Richard Stark, Clive Barker & H. P. Lovecraft. After reaching his 40th birthday he decided to give in to his passion and since then has released twelve novels in the last three years. He currently lives in Joliet, Illinois and loves visiting museums and libraries for inspiration. 

 OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: Criminologist Harmony Black is a witch with a loaded Glock. Her partner, Jessie Temple, is packing fierce lupine heat. Together, they’re part of Vigilant Lock, an elite FBI black ops group dedicated to defeating criminals with supernatural connections. But when they uncover a demonic conspiracy in the highest ranks of the government, it appears that everything Harmony and her friends have worked for, fought for, and risked their lives for might be a lie. Framed for a casino massacre, Harmony and Jessie are on the run—in the real world and in their own. From the seedy casinos of Atlantic City to the steamy bayous of Louisiana and the imposing facades of Washington, DC, there’s not a soul on earth they can trust. The only way they can clear their names is to take down the conspiracy from within and uncover the truth behind a secret that both the government and the powers of hell want to keep buried. . FORMAT/INFO: Cold Spectrum is 333 pages long divided over forty-six chapters with a prologue, an epilogue and an afterword. Narration is in the first-person, via Harmony Black solely for the chapters and via third person for the prologue and epilogue via Nadine, Linder, & Bobby Diehl. This is the fourth volume of the Harmony Black series which is a spin-off to the Daniel Faust series. October 31, 2017 marks the North American paperback and e-book publication of Cold Spectrum and it was published by 47 North (Amazon Publishing). Cover design is by David Drummond. 
OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Cold Spectrum is the hotly awaited fourth volume of the Harmony Black series. This volume follow right on the heels of Glass Predator literally and figuratively as the main plot is set in under two days of the events of Glass Predator.As the story opens, we see our Circus team huddling together and trying to figure out how to best survive and how to expose Linder. Things however are not going their way as someone higher up in their shadowy depart[...]