Reading my SPFBO Cohort #6

Hello my friends and the occasional relative! SPFBO 8 is over, its winner revealed here. Congratulations to Small Miracles! A close run contest – check it out for some quality writing and great stories!

So I finally finished #6. For me this is head and shoulders the best of the six I have read. It will take a lot of book for this one to be toppled in my opinion.

Why? Because this writer managed the tremendously hard task of matching their writing to the type of story being told, and doing that difficult thing with apparent ease. A simple tale with layers. An old story with a new twist that is not contrived. Use of language in fantasy that makes perfect sense in the world presented, and allows space for what in most works would be anachronistic. Sets up clever problems, and solves them, drops the right clues quietly earlier in the adventure and uses them smoothly later. A cast of heroes and villains and creatures that work well, and the shifting dynamics between them make sense. To use the word again, this book is so cleverly written.

But more, it has heart, it pulled emotions from me I did not expect in what I thought would be a simple romp. I was curious, I was genuinely affected by moments of warmth between characters, I loved seeing love (and characters) develop, and felt fear when it (they) was (were) threatened. I got the feels. I welled up a few times. I smiled and cried at the same time. I loved this book. That it did not win our section is a surprise to me. I tip my hat to this writer, they did a hell of a job. The book isn’t perfect, there are a couple of clunky passages here and there, but overall its charm, wit, and emotional balance are hard to fault, a great book I have already recommended to some friends, but not yet to a relative!

This quick blog brought to you by Violet Orlandi who does a fantastic cover of one of the great songs of my long-lost youth.


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