As our SPSFC team finishes reading our ten quarterfinalists out of our first round allotment, I will be posting review roundups and official scores. As you read our thoughts on these ten books, keep in mind that we have a variety of tastes on this team, and a low score does not necessarily indicate a bad book. One or two (or even all four!) judges bouncing hard off a book can tank a score and keep it from advancing in this competition, but that doesn’t mean the same book might not be perfect for another reader.
Today, we’ll look at Dusk Mountain Blues, Deston J. Munden’s tale of backwater mutants and their fight to keep their family’s independence in the face of an overwhelming military force arriving on their planet with plans to take control.
Jay’s Review and Rating
The Caldwells are essentially mutant hillbillies, and Munden absolutely nails the dialect, using language that’s easy to follow but readily captures the outsider status of the leads. Throw in the thieving and a few gunfights here and there, and you have a recipe for a rollicking good time.
I appreciate a more balanced (or perhaps, differently balanced) sort of tale, and the action-heavy skew in the last quarter of the novel kept it from fully hitting for me. But if hillbilly mutants and lots of fight scenes are your cup of tea, go off and have a blast with Dusk Mountain Blues.
Jay has rated Dusk Mountain Blues 7/10. For more detail, check out his full review.
Esme’s Review and Rating
It started off a little slow, but it did pick up the pace and become feverish by the end. There are lots of fast paced battles and tense moments that had me worried for the outcome.
I thought the prose was well done, particularly the dialogue. It’s very easy to overwork a southern accent when writing and make it burdensome and difficult to read. A little dab will do you, and I think there was just enough southern spice to give it flavor but not overdone.
All in all I thought this was a solid entry and I really enjoyed my time with it.
Esme has rated Dusk Mountain Blues 8/10. For more detail, check out her full review.
Lilyn’s Review and Rating
This not a book that appeals to me personally, and it definitely got off to a rocky start just with general language that made me reluctant to keep reading. The action and pacing were okay, the characters felt unique to each other, and I liked the family.
Lilyn has rated Dusk Mountain Blues 5/10.
Bill’s Review and Rating
This is an absurd combination of ideas but who cares if the author can pull it off, and Deston J. Munden does. From beginning to end I was engaged, waiting to see what would happen next. A friend of mine complained just a bit that the last third of the book turned into an action story with fight after fight after fight, which is totally different from the first two-thirds. He’s right, and that will spoil the punch for some people. For me, it worked.
I’m glad I read this book and have no regrets for the time invested, and would recommend it to anybody who thinks the idea sounds even vaguely interesting.
Bill has rated Dusk Mountain Blues 8/10. For more detail, check out his full review.
* indicates judge’s highest rating of the first round (including ties)