While preparing for the birth of his first child, Chrys Valerian is tasked with uncovering the group responsible for a series of missing threadweavers—those able to see and manipulate threadlight. With each failure, the dark voice in his head grows louder, begging to be released.

A young girl from a secret city in the center of the Fairenwild veers off course to explore the streets of Alchea. She never expected her journey would end in chains.

Far in the deserts to the south, a young man’s life changes after he dies.

When Chrys learns who is responsible for the missing threadweavers, they come for him and his family. He must do everything in his power to protect those he loves, even if it means trusting strangers or, worse, the dark voice in his mind.

Together, they will change the world—whether they intend to or not.

Our Thoughts

Voice of War was another finalist that failed to garner much enthusiasm from most of our judges. Some were intrigued by the overall story, particularly the mystery at the core. The arboreal culture was praised by most judges as well. However, other judges found it lacking in originality, with characters that were difficult to empathize with and care for. Some also thought there was a lack of logic and clarity in the storytelling. Altogether, while some judges liked it more than others, none felt it had a place among the stronger finalists of SPFBO6.

Selected comments from judges include:


This was a rather interesting idea that seemed really promising, especially at the start of the book. I liked the setup that was promising a lot of magic and a new world to explore, plus a big dose of action! The dialogue wasn’t always the best and was sometimes a bit stilted. Some of the humour felt more cringe-worthy than funny to me, but as always humour is even more subjective than most anything else. The overall prose though felt smooth and didn’t stand out. I did like most of the main characters but didn’t care for them as much as I hoped to. There were a lot of moments where I expected more than was actually delivered. One character is introduced very late, and while I enjoyed that POV, it felt like it was artificially hammered into the book instead of feeling like a natural part of the story. All in all, this wasn’t a bad book, and I was entertained well enough! It just had so much promise, which made it a bit of a disappointment when it didn’t manage to meet expectations. With some changes it could have been a favourite!


This started with some disturbing scenes but soon slipped into a novel I was ambivalent about. The magic system of threadweaving reminded me of L. E. Modesitt and Brent Weeks; the storyline followed the traditional fantasy novel. Chrys, one of the main protagonists, has been hearing a voice in his head since fighting in a recent war. When he lets the voice have its way, he becomes a killing machine, so of course throughout the novel he is too scared to let it out, even when he’s attacked and about to be killed. These novels annoy me: the (usually) male will always refuse to use the “voice” and instead fights his way out with a lot of luck and a handy blade. The “voice” is always left till last, with detrimental effects all round.

I did like Laurel, the young female protagonist, and sympathized with her being bound by the conventions of her elders. The author does a nice job of worldbuilding with her home Fairenwild, but I had no empathy for any of the other characters and am a totally ambivalent observer.


I soldiered on to 25%, but this book is not for me. Even the magic system has me eyerolling a bit. I don’t flinch from violence, but this is more like horror. Mutilating third-born infants for a religion and a belief system that isn’t explained at the start of the book, with no real emotional hook. A society that restricts the number of children born to weed out those without gifts is pretty abhorrent. Blood thieves that are killing gifted people to just get a temporary magic high with no real power is puzzling. A hidden society living in the treetops was cool, but together, none of the elements meshed into a storyline that held my interest.

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Our judges are A. M. Justice, Julia Kitvaria Sarene, Kartik Narayanan, Kerry Smith, Lynn Kempner, and Mariëlle Ooms-Voges. If you’d like to learn more about us, including our likes and dislikes, you can read about them here.

Any queries should be directed to A. M. Justice via DM (Facebook/Twitter).


By A. M. Justice

A. M. Justice is an award-winning author of science fiction and fantasy, a freelance science writer, and an amateur astronomer, scuba diver, and once and future tango dancer. She currently lives in Brooklyn with a husband, a daughter, and two cats. You can follow her on Twitter @AMJusticeWrites.

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