It’s time for Round Four of FanLit’s participation in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO) in which 300 self-published fantasy authors contributed their work to be reviewed by 10 fantasy review blogs.

Wins again!!

Worth a mention.

Worth a mention.

The Shadow Soul by Kaitlyn Davis’ was the winner of both our first and second rounds. It went up against five more books in our third round and, guess what?

The Shadow Soul advances again! It was almost beat by Peter Fugazzotto’s Five Bloody Heads which we thought was well written and engaging but lacked the fuller characters and more original plot of The Shadow Soul. Night Awakens by Leslie Claire Walker was also solidly written and will appeal to urban fantasy lovers, but it doesn’t really stand out from similar books on the market.

So, The Shadow Soul moves on again. It’s currently FREE at Amazon. Those of you who correctly guessed The Shadow Soul on that Round Three post will be entered into the drawing to win the giveaway.

Time for ROUND FOUR! Here are the next five books we’ll be reading. As before, we’re asking YOU to choose the book you think will move on to our next round. You can choose one of the books below (all you’ll have to go on, unless you click the link and buy these books, is the cover art and blurb) OR you can choose the winner of our first three rounds, The Shadow Soul. Which book will move on?

science fiction and fantasy book reviewsThe Heirs of Lydin by Aidan Hennessey — Ever since the brutal murder of his parents at the hands of a cult, Bellaydin Ap’Lydin has spent his entire life as the only human in a land of elves. Here, he and his half-sister Polnygar are barely tolerated, especially by the arrogant Spellweaver Lord Ivellios with his dreams of a purified elven kingdom. But after Polnygar stows away on a visiting envoy’s ship, and Bellaydin is accused of murder, their whole world changes. Far from home and each other, they form new alliances and face challenges of their own. Assassins and cultists trail the siblings’ every step in the name of their ancestor, General Lydin, and a lost artefact, the Tears of the Divine. As friends and family suffer death and misfortune, and the shadowy Horned God manipulates events from afar, the siblings are drawn into the prophecy of the Heir of Lydin. But is Bellaydin or Polnygar the Heir? Or is that a secret they should leave buried?

Salvation’s Dawn by Joe Jackson — The War was over, the Devil Queen cast down. In the wake of the Apocalypse, veteran terra-dracon demonhunter Karian Vanador understands that the vigilance of her Order means there is rarely any time to rest. Even with a paragon of evil cast down, it isn’t long before another rears its head, and for Kari, the War never ends. With demons threatening invasion, Kari will head into danger again, for it is the life she’s chosen and the only path she really knows. Along the way she will face the tests of friendship, the fires of love, the heat of battle, and the limits of her faith, and in those trials, she will seek the answer to her most pressing question: “Why was I resurrected?”

science fiction and fantasy book reviewsThe Flight by E.P. Clark — As younger sister to the Empress of all of Zem’ and the only one possessing her foremothers’ gifts of clairvoyance, Slava is both one of the most powerful and powerless people in the Known World. Desperate to escape the intrigue and hostility of her sister’s kremlin, Slava takes off on an expedition to the Midnight Land, the uninhabited, unmapped tundra on the Northern edge of Zem’. But as she travels North, Slava discovers that it is more than just the world of women that covets her gifts, and that fate is pushing her to become a most unlikely hero… Combining motifs from classical Russian literature with the genre of high fantasy, this book is both a gripping coming-of-age tale and a subversive exploration of gender, morality, and subjectivity.

The Fuller’s Apprentice by Angela Holder — All Josiah wants is a little excitement. His work as an apprentice fuller is boring, and playing in the mill’s machinery isn’t that dangerous. Everything goes fine — at first. All right, he’s lucky the wizard Elkan and his familiar, a donkey named Sar, are there to save his life. Even better, when his furious master fires him, Elkan offers him a job as his assistant. Josiah jumps at the chance. Traveling around Tevenar for a year, meeting all sorts of interesting people, helping the dedicated young wizard and clever donkey serve them with the Mother’s healing magic — what could be more fun? But Josiah soon learns that while matters of life and death may be exciting, they’re seldom fun. Impulsive actions, even when taken with the best of intentions, can have devastating consequences. And some choices have the power to change the future of Tevenar forever.

science fiction and fantasy book reviewsShadowed Strength by Wendi Wilson — A teen romance filled with the angst of first love, mystery, suspense, and the paranormal… She should have run. While walking home at night, sixteen year old Melanie Johnson is tackled to the ground by a masked assailant with nefarious intentions. Her savior, a large black dog with soulful eyes, vanishes as quickly as he appears. You are mine. She starts receiving threatening notes from her attacker, promising to finish what he started. I am Ace. To complicate things further, her long-time crush Jeremy reveals a secret that Melanie is not sure she can accept. He is more than he seems. Something untamed. Forceful. Wild. I have to stop him. The truth about her assailant’s identity is almost too much to bear and Melanie must find the strength to put an end to the terror, once and for all.

So, readers, which novel will move on to our next round? Remember that it could be the winner of our previous rounds (The Shadow Soul) or one of these new books. One of the readers who guesses correctly gets a Kindle copy of the book OR a Kindle copy of the overall SPFBO winner OR you can choose a book from our stacks.


  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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