SPSFC: The Culling – Week 1

For Round One, Team Space Lasagna is reading 10%-20% of three books each week. We’ll each evaluate whether we want to continue reading each based on initial impressions. The ten books with the most “Yes” votes after round 1A (The Culling) will move on to round 1B for a full readthrough. The top 3 from round 1B will move on to round 2 for review by the full SPSFC team.

On to this week’s books!

ACHE by Kelvin Myers

Sub Genre: Cyberpunk Date Started: 8/6/21 Amount Read: 10%

First book of the contest for me and it grabbed me right from the start. When figuring out how I’d handle my reviews and judging, I figured anything I put down after “only” 10% would be something I just couldn’t read. But right off the bat that hypothesis is in the trash. ACHE roped me in within the first few pages, and I knew pretty quick I’d be reading to the end. So, I decided to set it aside, pretty much right away. I’d like to save this for a full, post Culling, readthrough.

I’ll admit, I’ve not read much cyberpunk, but I’m familiar enough with the genre to be intrigued by the setup here from the start. We meet several interesting characters in the opening pages, and some are thrown into some harrowing situations straight away. The world inhabited by these characters seems unique, even if drawing from a popular genre. It should be interesting to see how the world, and the characters’ role in it evolve.

ACHE suffers early from some editorial issues. A character’s name appears to have been changed at some point, and some instances of the old name still pop up. Most likely an overreliance on Find and Replace during editing. But, this is a self published contest and I expect to see some of that. So far these issues haven’t detracted from my enjoyment of the characters or story.

So, that’s one book on my “Yes” list. I’ll be reading this one regardless of it’s final standings for this round. Look for a review in the not too distant future.

Verdict: YES, keep reading

The Awakening by Adair Hart

Sub Genre: Far Future/Computer Simulation Date Started: 8/10/21 Amount Read: 15%

I almost put this down during the prologue. I almost immeidately felt bombarded by too many names that appeared to be straight out of a random sci-fi name generator. I had to read several paragraphs multiple times to feel comfortable with what was happening.

Thankfully, I kept reading, and the first official chapter brought me back in. The Awakening sets up some interesting potential with a narrative involving the main characters being ripped out of their lives in a computer simulation. Hart does of good job of getting you invested in the main characters early, and while the prose and editing leaves some to be desired, I definitely want to keep reading to see where this story goes.

TLDR: Interesting premise overcomes some editorial issues

Verdict: YES, keep reading

Eos by Jen Guberman

Sub Genre: Dystopian YA Date Started: 8/12/21 Amount Read: 20% (ish, Mobi file did not return progress)

This one grabbed me the least of the three, but mostly due to personal preference. A young adult, post apocalyptic dystopia story that’s just not where my tastes fall. But, this being a contest I’m trying to judge based on quality and keep personal preference to the side as much as possible.

Guberman brings the main character to life quite well in the opening pages, but as with the other two books this week, style and editing issues broke immersion several times. I still found myself invested in the adventures of this young thief dealing with life in an oppressive system.

I think Eos may struggle to make it through to the next round of reading/reviews, but I’ll add it to my shelf regardless.

Verdict: Yes, keep reading

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