Friday, March 25, 2016

Battle of the 2015 Books, Bracket One

Announcing Bracket One of the Fantastic Reviews Battle of the 2015 Books!

We started the Battle of the Books at the Fantastic Reviews Blog as a fun way to try to keep up with the great volume of review copies we were receiving. (For more about why we started the Battle of the Books, click here.)

The good news is we've done ten brackets of books so far, eight 2012 brackets, one 2013 bracket, and one 2014 bracket, discussing 160 books! We've had a lot of fun and gotten some great feedback from the authors both here and at Twitter and other social media.

The bad news is we have definitely not kept up with all the review copies flowing in. But we're slowly taking on the mountain of books we've accumulated.

In a valiant (please don't say hopeless) attempt to catch up, we're alternating between brackets of the new books we're receiving and brackets of books from recent years.

Aaron Hughes, our primary reviewer, will be judging this bracket of Battle of the Books.

Of the sixteen books, Aaron selected four "seeded" books that he was especially looking forward to reading (marked with asterisks), placed one in each quarter of the bracket, then we filled out the rest of the bracket randomly. Here are your initial matchups:

First Quarter of Bracket:

Jeff Wheeler
The Banished of Muirwood
(Amazon 47North)
Josh Vogt
Forge of Ashes
(Paizo Pathfinder)

Gary Kloster
(Paizo Pathfinder)
Kazuo Ishiguro
The Buried Giant***
(Alfred A. Knopf)

Second Quarter of Bracket

Evie Manieri
Fortune’s Blight
J. F. Lewis

Ken Liu
The Grace of Kings***
S. Harrison
Infinity Lost
(Amazon Skyscape)

Third Quarter of Bracket:

Gregory Lamberson
Human Monsters
Ferrett Steinmetz
(Angry Robot)

Snorri Kristjansson
Blood Will Follow
(Jo Fletcher)
Michael Alan Nelson

Fourth Quarter of Bracket:

Camille Griep
Letters to Zell
(Amazon 47North)
Joel Shepherd

Karina Sumner-Smith
Towers Fall
Jo Walton
The Just City***

To see the whole bracket, click here.

In Battle of the Books, we start with sixteen books as contenders. The books are randomly matched-up in a single elimination tournament bracket. For every battle, a sample of the two competing books will be read by our judge / reviewer, and the book he most wants to continue reading is chosen as the winner of the match.

For first round matches, our reviewer will read the opening 25 pages of both books. Winners advance to the next round. In second round matches, he will read both books through page 50. For the semifinals, the books are read through page 100. For the finals or championship round, our reviewer will read both books through page 200, and the book he most wants to read to the end will be proclaimed our Battle of the Books bracket champion.

For the complete rules, click here.

Some notes on the books in the field:

-- Classifying books before you read them is tricky, but this bracket appears fantasy-dominated, featuring what looks to be six secondary-world fantasy books, two historical fantasies, four urban or contemporary fantasies, three science fiction books, and one horror book.

-- I believe 12 books are by men and 4 by women.

-- It looks like six of the books continue an existing series, five are the first volume in a new series, two are media tie-ins, and three appear to be stand-alone books.

-- As far as publishers: 3 books came to us from Pyr; 2 books each from Tor, Paizo Pathfinder, and Amazon 47North; and 1 book each from Alfred A. Knopf, Saga, Amazon Skyscape, Jo Fletcher, Angry Robot, Talos and Medallion.

Good luck to all our contenders! Let the new bracket of book battles begin!

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