Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Battle of the Books, Winter 2012 :: Final Four

We are down to the Final Four in the Winter 2012 Fantastic Reviews Battle of the Books:
Eyes Like LeavesShadows in Flight

And Blue Skies from PainRange of Ghosts

Eyes Like Leaves by Charles de Lint vs. Shadows in Flight by Orson Scott Card

And Blue Skies from Pain by Stina Leicht vs. Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear

A huge thank you to everyone who has taken an interest in this tournament. Hits at the blog are way up over the past month, and at least half the authors of books in the tournament commented on it at our blog or their own or at Facebook or Twitter. We're very glad folks seem to enjoy this new format. We know we're having a blast, and plan to continue with this format for the foreseeable future. We already have 14 books for the next bracket, so we'll be announcing our Spring Bracket shortly after the current Winter Bracket concludes. Authors and publicists, if you want your book included, you can find the rules and an address to send your book here.

As for the rest of this bracket, we will announce the Charles de Lint / Orson Scott Card winner on Monday, the Elizabeth Bear / Stina Leicht contest on Tuesday, and then crown a champion on Thursday, February 16.

Looking over the bracket, we have discovered a lot more good than bad. While not every book has been to my (Aaron's) tastes, they are all very capably written, including the two self-published books. The books I had to drop out in the second round were so good that we are considering doing full reviews of a couple of them -- or maybe even following up with a consolation bracket.

I am a bit surprised that the four books we named as the "seeded" books at the outset all ended up advancing to the Final Four -- I was expecting more upsets than that. But I suspect that has a lot to do with the composition of this particular bracket. It wasn't that hard to anticipate that Charles de Lint or Elizabeth Bear might come up with a pretty fair book. It looks like our next bracket will have fewer "big names," and thus should be harder to predict.

As with the March Madness tournament, the upside of not having a lot of upsets is that the Final Four features a very high level of competition. Charles de Lint, Orson Scott Card, Elizabeth Bear, and Stina Leicht? Who couldn't find something they enjoyed reading out of that group? Don't forget to check back next week when we announce the results!

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