The time has come. I’ve looked at each book, read a bunch of them fully, and come to my final decision about which book I’ll be passing forward for all the other judges to read and (hopefully) enjoy as much as I did.
The book that gets passed on is…
Congrats to Jonathan French’s The Grey Bastards!
It came down to a tie, score-wise, between this and Jess E Owen’s Song of the Summer King. If you’re curious as to why I’ve chosen The Grey Bastards, feel free to take a look at my review. But in a nutshell, aside from being an action-packed gritty ride on the back of a giant hog, I figured that this book was more likely to appeal to the other judges than Song of the Summer King. Song of the Summer King was definitely an enjoyable book (so much so that I want to read the rest of the series when I can), as I mentioned in my review of it, but most of the judges — myself included — gravitate more to adult than young adult, and while I figured it would be decently received, I also figured it probably wouldn’t quite get the same reception as something like The Grey Bastards.
Think about that one for a moment. The biggest reason I’m passing one forward and not the other isn’t because I enjoyed one over the other, but because I figure more people involved in the judging would enjoy one over the other. Song of the Summer King is a damn good novel and people interested in YA fantasy will probably really like it!
Maybe there needs to be a YA subcategory for the SPFBO or something. But I guess with people already wanting a blog-off for sci-fi novels too, adding a third competition for YA SFF stuff might be creating too much to keep track of, given that we’re already dealing with 10 judges and a few hundred novels over the course of a full year.
Anyway, once more, congratulations to Jonathan French’s The Grey Bastards, and I can’t wait to see what others think of it!