J. Zachary Pike was once a basement-dwelling fantasy gamer, but over time he metamorphosed into a basement-dwelling fantasy writer. His debut novel, Orconomics: A Satire, won a National Indie Excellence Award for Humor and the 4th Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO4).
This is the second SPFBO I've participated in, and my first as a judge. I'd like to say thanks to Mark Lawrence, Petros, and all the bloggers who make this possible; from this seat, I can better appreciate how much work it is to coordinate and execute the contest. I'd also like to congratulate everyone who entered this year. Putting a book out in the world takes courage, hard work, and grit. Most people will never enter a novel into a book competition; like running a marathon, just making it to the starting line is a personal achievement.
For my final SPFBO5 review, I’m tackling The Charismatics, a steampunk romance following a young woman and her spirit animal through the political and socioeconomic intrigue of a fantasy land.
Assaph Mehr’s entry into this year’s contest has a bit of Latin flair, and more than a bit of actual Latin. In Numina is set in Egretia, a nation akin to a magical Ancient Rome. This oversimplification doesn’t do the setting justice; In Numina’s attention to detail and clearly well-researched worldbuilding are impressive, and make for an unexpectedly fun fantasy.