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  • K.Pimpinella

SPSFC2 Quarterfinalists for Team Escapist

It has been a fun journey reading all these books. I love starting a new book, being introduced to a new world and characters, which is why that first 20% of a novel is so important. It must draw a reader into this new world, make them care for a character (or two, or three) and get excited about reading the rest of the novel. If you can’t achieve this, what else is going to make your reader want to read the rest of your story?

As a contestant last year, I will admit that I was slightly disheartened by the lack of reviews, exposure and comments on books that didn’t make the finals. So I chose to judge this year, and make sure every book I read recieved at least a review. Which is why I also read the entire book, not just the first 20% of my slush pile allotment. My decision on which books to move forward was based on reading the entirety of the book. Although some of these books that qualified for the quarterfinals were not in my initial allotment, I have read the first 20% of those, and stand behind the decisions and scores of my teammembers.

The books (in no particular order) from Team Escapist moving forward are:

After reading the books of my allotment, my top pick for the quarterfinalist round was…

Night Music, by Tobias Cabral

Clearly a well-edited book, with the polish and finesse of a traditionally published book. The story exhibited a defined beginning, middle and end, while entertainingly sticking to its storyline/throughline. Intelligently written, with captivating characters that stuck to who they were. Each character properly had an agenda, held agency and served to enhance the story. Being on the shorter side of a full novel, the story didn’t waste time with naval-gazing or boring segments of TMI.

The buildup, tension as it were, toward the climax was steady, and the author was able to use this time to let the reader get to know the characters. Cabral showed us who the characters were with dialogue and actions, while progressing the storyline.

An efficient writer who still manages to slip in good descriptions and worldbuilding. I almost read this book in one go, for the mystery was strong enough to carry an entire story. And being on the harder side of sci-fi, the science and tech was strong and obvious, but just the right amount to make you feel like you might have learned something- always a plus!

Overall, I think what made this story shine, aside from an interesting plot/mystery, was that the author was able to show us a story. It had all the right elements one usually looks for in a space setting sci-fi novel. Tech. Spaceships. Complications. Mystery. Stong, well-rounded characters. And of course, the wonders of space travel and planetary colonization and exploration.

I look forward to reading more from Cabral, and thank SPSFC2 for introducing me to this novel. I also can’t wait to continue reading our other quarterfinalist’s books. And I will continue to post reviews of the books I read which will follow my slush pile rules: if the review is good, I will also post it to Good Reads. If it is not a favourable review, then I will keep it posted only to my website.

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