We started the Battle of the Books at the Fantastic Reviews Blog in 2012 as a fun way to try to keep up with the review copies we were receiving.
The good news is we've done eleven brackets of books so far, discussing 176 books! Along the way, we've read some awesome books, discovered some new authors, and gotten some great feedback. The bad news is we still have a mountain of unreviewed books. Although Battle of the Books has allowed us to sample and feature many more books than we could have done otherwise.
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:
Welcome to Deadland
The Life Engineered
(Sword & Laser)
G. Derek Adams
Asteroid Made of Dragons
(Sword & Laser)
Second Quarter of Bracket
Tobias S. Buckell
Xenowealth: A Collection
The High Mountains of Portugal***
(Spiegel & Grau)
Third Quarter of Bracket:
Roses and Rot
Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Fourth Quarter of Bracket:
UFO Hunters, Book Two
A Shadow All of Light
100 Ghost Soup***
Merchant of Alyss
To see the whole bracket diagram, click here.
How we do Battle of the Books:
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 or she most wants to continue reading (not necessarily the better book!) is chosen as the winner of the match.
We are subjectively judging books after reading *only* a portion of each book.
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, our reviewer will read both books through page 50. Winners advance to the next round. For semifinal round matches, both books are read through page 100. Winners of the semifinals advance to the finals or championship round, in which our reviewer will read both books through page 200, and the book he or she most wants to read to the end will be proclaimed our Battle of the Books bracket champion.
For the complete rules, and how you can get a book in a future bracket of Battle of the Books, click here.
Notes on the books in the field for this competition:
-- All of these books were first published in 2016.
-- Classifying books before you read them is tricky, but this bracket appears to contain 4 science fiction books, 1 science fiction collection, 4 fantasy books, 2 dark fantasy books, 1 urban fantasy book, 2 horror books, 1 mainstream fiction book, and 1 paranormal book.
-- I believe 13 books are by men and 3 by women.
-- It looks 1 book is the first in a series, and 1 book is the second book in a series, and 1 book is a media tie-in.
-- As far as publishers: 4 books came from Tor; 2 books each from Saga, Sword & Laser, and Inkshares; 1 book each from Night Shade, Spiegel & Grau, Medallion, Curiosity Quills, and Revell; and 1 book was self published.
Good luck to all our contenders! Let the new bracket of book battles begin!