SPFBO 8 | My Final Thoughts and Ranking

I thought it would be fun to rank these books in two different ways- one based on the scores that were calculated using Cassidy’s rubric and another based purely on my enjoyment.

Watch me break down my thoughts on all of these books in my newest YouTube video!

My Predictions

  1. Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons
  2. A Touch of Light
  3. Small Miracles
  4. The Thirteenth Hour
  5. A Song for the Void
  6. Scales and Sensibility
  7. Tethered Spirits
  8. Mysterious Ways
  9. Fire of the Forebear
  10. The Umbral Storm

Rubric Ranking

  1. A Touch of Light
  2. Small Miracles
  3. Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons
  4. Scales and Sensibility
  5. Mysterious Ways
  6. The Umbral Storm
  7. Tethered Spirits
  8. The Thirteenth Hour
  9. Fire of the Forebear
  10. A Song for the Void

Enjoyment Ranking

  1. Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons
  2. Scales and Sensibility
  3. Small Miracles
  4. Mysterious Ways
  5. A Touch of Light
  6. Umbral Storm
  7. Tethered Spirits
  8. The Thirteenth Hour
  9. Fire of the Forebears
  10. A Song for the Void

Quick Thoughts on the Books

Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons

Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons is my perfect book! I know it wasn’t a favourite amongst the group I was reading the finalists with and all of their criticisms are fair and true, but this book is for a specific audience and that audience is me. I love that our main character Mildred is in her 40s and is a little meek and she somehow inherits this dragon’s egg. Even though this turns her world upside and she has some character growth, she doesn’t change completely. There is also a really sweet super slow-burn romance that I hope continues to grow in the sequel. The dragon, Fitz, is adorable as well! The humour is a little bit over the top and there are probably too many parentheses, but it all came together and worked for me.

Scales and Sensibility

I don’t know why I didn’t have Scales and Sensibility higher in my predictions! I think I just always get nervous when I see something is a Jane Austen retelling because she has a very specific voice that is difficult to capture. Thankfully, Stephanie Burgis has done that! This is not a direct Sense and Sensibility like the title may suggest, instead it feels like an entirely new story that Austen may have written if she was interested in dragons and I loved that about it. This is silly and ridiculous and so much fun! I loved the society and how dragons are carried by women within high society and I really thought the romance was sweet. I cannot wait for the sequel!

Small Miracles

Small Miracles is the book that made me realize I love that classic angels and demons setup! I also really like the idea of fallen angels. As much as I loved this book, I am surprised by how much love it is getting within the group because it is definitely light fantasy and character-driven. It is set in our world, so there isn’t a lot of world-building and a lot of the intricacies of the point system that angels use are not explained, but there is just something sweet about this book. The relationships are what stood out to me! That said, I found myself skimming the footnotes by the end, though that is always true for me when it comes to footnotes.

Mysterious Ways

Mysterious Ways was another surprise for me! And it is also a book with the angel and demons setup. I don’t think that this book did anything groundbreaking but I had a lot of fun with it. I love a cinnamon roll side character and we definitely got that in Theo, who is our main character’s bodyguard. We also got a sapphic relationship that was sort of enemies to lovers and I was invested in it pretty quickly. I think this series has a ton of potential and can go to some interesting places in terms of worldbuilding!

You may have noticed that A Touch of Light is number one when it comes to the rubric list but number five in terms of enjoyment! That is because I recognize a lot of the positives about this book in terms of the writing and setting but it is so far out of my comfort zone that there were moments when I struggled with it. You are plopped into the middle of this story and there is very little setup. As someone who is newer to epic fantasy, I feel like I need a little bit more handholding, so this is definitely on me!

I was convinced that The Umbral Storm was going to be my least favourite, so I am surprised it is sixth in terms of my enjoyment! I thought that it was going to be too dense or that it would lean more towards classic fantasy, but it did some interesting things and I really liked the tone of this book. I actually read through it so much faster than I thought I would!

There were so many themes and plot points in Tethered Spirits that I appreciated and I loved the side characters in here (if you know, you know!) but this book confirmed for me that I don’t like fantasy stories where there is a lot of walking. This is 100% a me thing because I actually think that this book is really effective but it just has tropes that I don’t connect with.

I was so sure that I was going to love The Thirteenth Hour that I bought a copy of it before I read it. I love historical fantasy, so, in theory, I should love gaslamp fantasy, but I am starting to this that is not the case. I had a hard time telling these characters apart and I thought that the world had so much potential but it just didn’t reach it!

I had the exact experience with Fire of the Forebears that I expected! This was the book on the list that I took the longest to get through and I desperately wanted to connect to the characters and their relationships, but I just couldn’t. I have also learned that I don’t love talking animals in epic fantasy. It takes me out of the story! In a lot of ways this felt like a setup book, but, sadly, the author has passed away so we will never know what she intended to do with the rest of the series.

I was so distracted the entire time I was reading A Song for the Void because I was trying to reconcile with the fact that a horror novel was a finalist in a fantasy competition. I do wonder if I could have enjoyed this book if I had read it under different circumstances, but there were some choices here that felt stereotypical and made me uncomfortable.

Overall, I am so happy that I read all of the finalists because it taught me so much about my fantasy taste, pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I found a few new favourites that I never would have read otherwise. I don’t know that I will ever read the entire list again, but I will pay close attention to it and try the books that appeal to me!

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2 thoughts on “SPFBO 8 | My Final Thoughts and Ranking

  1. I find it really interesting how far your list of expectations varied from the actual results. I guess it makes sense, though! I often end up liking books to different degrees than I had expected.

    Also, I don’t know if you follow Stephanie Burgis’ news, but it looks like we’ll be getting Claws & Contrivances (the Scales & Sensibility sequel) this summer! The book is up for preorder with an expected date near the end of the year, but Burgis has said that if it’s ready to go sooner (and it looks like it will be) then she’s not going to wait and will publish it when it’s ready!

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