SPFBO Challenge

Anyone that follows me closely on Goodreads may have noticed my to-read list has gotten rather spare of late (is there such a mythical person? Who is this hypothetical fan who obsesses so over what an obscure minor author chooses to read? Ah, well). I still have a few books from last year that I never got around to that I’m fully intending to read this year, and there are couple books I picked up during the winter sale (see earlier blog post) that I plan to get around to, but this year’s reading challenge for me is going to be a bit different.

Even though I’ve never personally participated, I’ve always been intrigued by Mark Lawrence’s SPFBO (Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off), which is a competition to determine the best among SP fantasy novels in a given year (not that all are published in the year they apply, but still). The competition begins with a large pool of potential novels, that in turn is whittled down by a series of judges, until only a pool of 10 finalists remain. Of these, usually the top two or three get lauded about on the internet, some even leading to traditional publishing deals.

In other words, success in SPFBO is a big deal for most participants.

Ove the last few years I’ve read couple of the books that made it to the top ten, either because I heard about them on r/Fantasy or just coming across them organically, but it has been in the back of my mind for a while to try and read through all of the top ten for all given years. In 2022, I’ve decided to finally take this challenge on in earnest, and I recommend to anyone reading this post that they do as well.

My current reading goal list for the year is as follows-

  1. The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids by Michael McClung
  2. The Weight of a Crown by Tavish Kaeden
  3. City of Burning Shadows by Barbara Webb
  4. Sins of a Sovereignty by Simon Watts
  5. What Remains of Heroes by David Benem
  6. Shattered Sands by WG Saraband
  7. Under a Colder Sun by Greg James
  8. Priest by Matthew Colville
  9. A Soul for Trouble by Christa McHugh
  10. Paternus by Dyrk Ashton
  11. Fionn by Brian O’Sullivan
  12. Larcout by KA Krantz
  13. Assassin’s Charge by Claire Frank
  14. The Music Box Girl by KA Stewart
  15. The Moonlight War by SKS Perry
  16. Outpost by FT McKinstry
  17. The Shadow Soul by Kaitlyn Davis

If I can manage all of that, it will carry me through the first two years of the competition (2015 and 2016). Note that I excluded Bloodrush by Ben Galley, The Grey Bastards by Jonathon French, and Path of Flames by Phil Tucker (all books I’ve read in recent years). I’ll try for some of 2017 as well, but since I’m sure there will be a few other books that pop up as the year goes on to distract me, for now I’m just focusing on these.