At long last, after getting through the bulk of the required slush reading, I have finished and written some reviews for books entered into SPSFC this year, which I am helping judge as part of Team Red Stars.
As I have mentioned previously elsewhere, I am a picky reader. This isn’t helped by my tendency to unleash my inner editor on what I read to try and tear it to bits and understand how it was written. Instead of indulging that tendency and attempting to make entertainment out of snark, I’m doing my bestest (honestly!) to play nice and balance my own extremely picky taste against evaluating these books for their actual strengths. I’m also posting three reviews to start with, to try and provide a chance to contrast and compare my reviews against each other.
My first three reviews are for:
Fog of War, by Forest Wells – A Military Science Fiction/Space Opera romp through betrayal, friendship and trauma.
Jake’s Magical Market, by J.R. Mathews – A LitRPG marathon that blazes past the cosy title and into a darker quest for power than we start out expecting.
The Rave, by J.R. Traas – A monster hunt that stalks through an impressive setting and heartfelt characters.
Now, as positive as that sounds, please don’t get your expectations up because I had problems with all of them. However, even if they didn’t succeed for me, all three manage to do SOMETHING right for other readers, sometimes in a very impressive way. As such I’m experimenting with turning to a panel of theoretical readers who would enjoy them for a bit more insight into the good things these books do.
At present the competition is still at an early enough stage that we don’t have to hand out scores… so I haven’t – just the reviews for now. If any of these progress (and they might well) I’ll add scores on later.