Epic Fantasy filled to the brim with Grimdark Reality
To celebrate the paperback release of Arm of the Sphinx on March 13, 2018 (US) and March 15, 2018 (UK), we are giving away four different paperback sets (Senlin Ascends & Arm of the Sphinx) to four lucky winners! Two winners will be chosen from the comments on this post (simply make a comment and you're in), and the other two will be chosen on our facebook post, where a like counts for 1 entry, a comment for 5 entries, and a share for 10 entries.
The winners will be chosen and announced on Friday 16, 2018. Good luck!
The Lucky Winners are:
Richard McDonald (comment)
Eric Davis (comment)
Alex John (Facebook like)
Md Fharman (Facebook like)
If you are one of the comment winners, send us an email via the contact form using the same email you used to make your comment. If you're one of the facebook winners, contact us on our fb page. Everyone else, better luck next time!
Self-publishers carry with us a shared stigma, one so damning that we are often immediately dismissed out of hand. This stigma did not immediately appear fully formed, but was born out of each typo and awkward sentence accrued since modern self-publishing began. In those early years of the e-reader, companies were so desperate for content that the quality thereof did not matter so long as something—anything—was available for audiences to instantly download. Suddenly anyone with an idea and an internet connection could upload a book and call themselves an author. Being as these authors didn’t go through the traditionally published hoops, their works, and therefore the authors, were considered subpar.
And thus was born the self-published stigma.
Mind you, that stigma is not entirely unearned, yet even the most steadfast traditional publishing purist will admit there are some gems out there, Michael Sullivan and Andy Weir both success stories that immediately spring to mind.
Which illustrates the greatest irony of self-publishers: We bear a collective burden but must struggle against it individually. If one is a self-publisher yet talented enough to scrape out some success, the author is considered an outlier; an exception to the rule rather than an exemplar.
But times, they are a’changin’ in that self-publishers are devising ways to collectively shrug off their shared stigma. Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off has highlighted dozens of talented self-published authors to audiences and flung open the doors to many influential blogs and reviewers which were previously closed.
And in that collective spirt, Sigil Independent was born as a guild of self-published fantasy authors with a shared dedication to putting out quality fantasy novels. If you’ve followed SPFBO at all (or immediately recognize the acronym), you’ll recognize a few names of our members: Dyrk Ashton, Ben Galley, Rob Hayes, Alec Hutson, Michael McClung, D. E. Olesen, Benedict Patrick, M. D. Presley, M. L. Spencer, and Phil Tucker.
Yet we’re hoping you don’t recognize them all since the core concept of Sigil Independent is that if you’ve enjoyed one of our members’ work, you can rest assured that any book by any of our other authors in our stable is of equal quality. And while each of our 40+ novels may not be your individual cup of tea, we promise you that you’ll receive a professional product without any of the amateurish bugbears that gave self-publishers their shared stigma in the first place.
But we also want to showcase to readers the specific book we believe they’ll enjoy first and foremost, which is why we’ve employed a Choose-Your-Own Adventure opening to our Sigil Sampler: 500+ FREE pages highlighting the best our authors have to offer. Just make a few decisions in your adventure and you’ll be matched up with a story we know you’ll love.
And if not, at least it didn’t cost you anything but a few moments of your time.
There’s a lot more to Sigil Independent, such as modeling our best practices off of traditional publishing houses or the fact we do not take a cent from our members’ profits, that we won’t get into here. But we hope you’ll visit our website www.sigilindependent.com to learn more and maybe collect a few more freebies. We can also be found on Facebook and on Twitter.
A Texan transplant living in California, MD Presley isn't nearly as clever as he thinks he is. With a background in screenwriting, he fled to publishing with his flintlock fantasy series when the reality of Hollywood got to be a bit too much. A founding member of Sigil Independent, he also blogs weekly at the not-so-creatively-named www.mdpresley.com and tweets on occasion @md_presley.
And no, he's not related to Elvis. Thanks for asking.
Hi readers, Petrik from Booknest here. I’ll keep this introduction brief, for those of you who don’t know, John Gwynne is one of my few favorite authors of all time. All his books are in my opinion some of the best epic fantasy books I’ve ever read. If you haven’t read any of John's books, you owe it to yourself to read them; I haven’t stopped recommending his books and I never will.
When it comes to reading and reviewing, I’m gratified to say that this is the best year of reading I’ve had in my entire life. Getting to know some authors—some even gave me dedicated signed books as thanks for my review!—and bloggers, getting to experience all these creations birthed from different individuals, but most of all, forming friendships with people all around the world who love books as much as I do, have all been amazing bonuses that have further improved my reading experiences. It’s finally the end of the year and it’s only fair for me to close it with some of the best books I’ve read this year.
I need to say a few things first regarding this list. This is my first full year of reading and reviewing novels. This year alone I've read and reviewed 122 books. To me, this is not a small amount. I’ve sacrificed a lot of socializing time in order to achieve this quantity, not to mention that almost all my reviews comprised of 1000-2000 words which required at least one or two hours to write. Suffice to say I don't think I can achieve this amount of reading in a single year again as my life will only get busier with the passage of time. Considering the number of books I've read and reviewed this year, there will be three rules I set in this list in order for me to give appreciation to more authors rather than having only a few authors hoarding this list. The rules are:
- Rereads don’t count
- One book per author
- The book listed here are not exclusively published this year.
All the books listed received a rating of 4.5 or 5 out of 5 stars from me. Without further ado, here we go! (All full reviews of these books can be found on Booknest or on my Goodreads page.)
20. Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft
19. The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley
18. The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan
17. The Core by Peter V. Brett
16. The Guns of Empire by Django Wexler
15. The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie
14. Saint's Blood by Sebastien de Castell
13. The Armored Saint by Myke Cole
12. Excalibur by Bernard Cornwell
11. Heir of Novron by Michael J Sullivan
10. The Mirror's Truth by Michael R. Fletcher
9. The Stone Sky by N.K Jemisin
8. The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu
7. Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
6. Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
5. Golden Son by Pierce Brown
4. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
3. Blood Song by Anthony Ryan
2. Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
1. Wrath by John Gwynne
I wish I could include more books because there are still plenty more great books I’ve read this year. But it was extremely hard for me to narrow down 122 books to 20 books already. Once again, thank you, everyone, for the experience. I look forward to reading and reviewing more books next year! :)
It took us a while, but we are finally over with the first round of this year's SPFBO. Four of our members (Petrik, Mary, TS, Charles), an ex-member (David) and a guest (Rita) split the thirty books allocated to BookNest between them, and each one of them selected a semi-finalist among their batch. Then I read all six semis and chose our finalist, which will proceed to the second round of the contest. But before announcing our finalist, let me tell you a story.
Five of our judges finished their books early, so I was able to read their semis. The best one among them was A Star Reckoner's Lot by Darell Drake. Rita read four out of her five books, but due to some personal issues she had to take a break. The best book among those four was The White Tower by Michael Wiseheart for which Rita had some great things to say, so I took a risk and read it as her semi. It was marginally better than A Star Reckoner's Lot, and so it was decided that The White Tower would be our finalist. At this point though, another judge (Ventureadlaxre) chose her finalist, and in the process she eliminated Faithless by Graham Austin-King, which I happen to read four months ago and thought it was truly amazing. So, I contacted Mark Lawrence and asked if I could use the Senlin Safety Net, and choose Faithless as our finalist, since it was (in my opinion) far better than The White Tower. Unfortunately, I couldn't. Mark even wrote an article about it, which you can read here. So, once again, The White Tower was to be our finalist, always considering that my risk would pay out. Alas:
Rita read the final book among her batch (Pilgrimage to Skara by Jonathan S. Pembroke) and selected it as her semi instead. And here is where things got complicated. For starters, I would obviously have to read Pilgrimage to Skara myself. Now, if I agreed with Rita's opinion and found it better than The White Tower (and therefore the rest of the semis) then I would choose it as our finalist, and everything would be alright. But if I disagreed with Rita, what would I do? Would I still select it as our finalist, ignoring The White Tower which would be better, or would I pick The White Tower, ignoring Rita and her semi?
Fortunately, the first out of the two possible outcomes occurred. I found Pilgrimage to Skara to be (again, marginally) better than The White Tower & A Star Reckoner's Lot, and therefore I chose to send it to the second round of the SPFBO as BookNest's finalist, with a 7/10 score. So, congratulations to Jonathan, and best of luck to all ten finalists!