Third Place: Prophet, by R. J. Larson
A young woman is chosen as a prophet. Two problems: no woman has ever been chosen as a prophet of the Most High, and all true prophets die young. Will she have the courage to confront the people she has been sent to prophesy to?
Third place was very difficult to decide in this category, but I ultimately decided on Prophet for its exploration of the idea of God's wrath--it's not a topic many authors would dare to explore. While it's a little heavy handed on the message at times, the thought-provoking topics explored and quick action made up for any flaws.
Second Place: The Book of Names, by D. Barkley Briggs
Two brothers are transported into a world where good and evil are tangible and old tales come to life. Can they lay aside their personal problems to help a dying kingdom?
This was one of the first books I ever read that was Christian speculative fiction intended for teenagers, and it really resonated with me the first time I read it--it still resonates with me, in fact. The themes of good vs. evil, the reality that evil often appears attractive to us, and the victory of the light against seemingly impossible odds never fail to move me.
Winner of the 2017 Blogiversary Bone for Fantasy:
The Shock of Night, by Patrick W. Carr
Willet Dura has always had a knack for getting to the bottom of murders. But when he's given a strange gift with the scream of a dying man, he becomes entangled in a web even he might not be able to figure out. An arcane group seeks his allegiance, various nobles seek his death, and the mysterious threat of the Darkwater Forest seems to be growing.
Patrick W. Carr's tight writing, the level of suspense, and the moral dilemmas presented by the story provide a solid case for first place. The worldbuilding is fresh and original and many of the plot twists took me by surprise.
So, apparently I was in the mood for King Arthur re-tellings this year? Anyhow, check out some of the following stories that didn't quite make it into the top three, but are still more than worthy of your time.
-Merlin, by Stephen R. Lawhead. A retelling of the classic legends with a beautiful writing style.
-Emissary, by Thomas Locke. Magic combined with a coming of age story.
-Merlin's Blade, by Robert Treskillard. A blind boy finds that his entire village is falling under the spell of a group of druids and their stone.
Tomorrow, we'll wrap up the Blogiversary Celebration!