My judging team in the third annual Self-Published Science Fiction Competition (SPSFC3) has made our way through our full 24-book allocation and selected seven quarterfinalists. Since then, we’ve spent a couple months reading these seven quarterfinalists in full in an effort to narrow our allocation down to the two books we’ll be sending forward to the semifinals. While our scores at this stage will determine whether or not a book will advance to the next round, we’ve also included short snippets of each judge’s review in an effort to help our quarterfinalists find their audience. After all, every book we’ve read in this stage comes with a hearty recommendation from at least one of our seven judges. None of them are unanimous favorites, but all of them are books that we can attest will be hits for the right readers.
Today, we’ll be discussing a post-apocalyptic epic, The Mimameid Solution by Katherine Kempf.
Azrah’s Review and Rating
Kempf’s writing draws you right into the atmosphere and gives you a real sense of the post-apocalyptic setting as we accompany the characters to Mimameid. However, it was Mimameid itself that really grabbed my attention. Technology, that is fascinating but also unsettling, is deeply woven into the community and though there was the tendency for the characters to over project their thoughts and feelings I enjoyed observing Lysander expose the layers of this civilisation. Plus the mix of cultures and social hierarchy side of things made it all the more interesting.
What I found to be less nuanced was the whole Norse vs Celts thing, the black and white nature of the conflict there meant it often felt a bit heavy handed. It felt like the direction of the plot around this was primarily there to lay the foundations for the following book and the fact that one character’s arc had a sort of full circle moment added to that for me.
That aside all the tension and twists were well written and kept me reading and the closing scenes have set up the sequel nicely.
Azrah has rated The Mimameid Solution 6/10. For more, check out her full review.
Bowen’s Review and Rating
I loved the huge twists and giant reveals in this book. They really whetted my appetite for more. Moreover, the explosive conclusion had me desperately ripping through pages to find out what happened.
On the other hand, pacing issues got in the way. The huge twists and reveals were interspersed with long portions of just “life in Mimameid” that moved slow.
That epic conclusion was robbed of some of its power because I had trouble suspending my disbelief regarding one major character’s heartbreakingly difficult choice.
Bowen has rated The Mimameid Solution 6.75/10. For more, check out his full review.
Dave’s Review and Rating
Detailed world and deep characters, and excellent writing, but backstory should serve the plot, not the other way around.
Dave has rated The Mimameid Solution 5/10.
Jay’s Review and Rating
Overall, The Mimameid Solution has plenty to offer a lover of post-apocalyptic landscapes with secrets around every corner, especially for readers who prefer books to take their time in the setup. The characters are likable, their plights are compelling, and the prose gets out of the way and lets the reader dig into the main story. Unfortunately, it also has its missteps, spending too much time signaling the risk of betrayal and relying too heavily on frustrating character decisions to drive the plot.
Jay has rated The Mimameid Solution 6.5/10. For more, check out his full review.
Mark’s Review and Rating
While the writing was very good, this was another case of characters fitting the plot instead of the plot coming from characters. For most of the book, the pacing was entirely too slow and that resulted in a general lack of tension. The love story was not believable — it didn’t come from the characters, they were shoe-horned into it. Too much backstory, not enough story.
Mark has rated The Mimameid Solution 5/10.
Paromita’s Review and Rating
Glorious writing and aesthetic. I was wowed from the prologue itself and remained mesmerised throughout. Great character work, plotting, pacing, excellent worldbuilding and theming. Highly endorsed and a definite highlight of my reading journey, not just in SPSFC, but also in science fiction.
Paromita has rated The Mimameid Solution 9/10.
Rari’s Review and Rating
This book just wasn’t for me is the kindest thing I can say. There is no plot, no tension, everything kept dragging on and on till the final 15% which seems to me to be too long a set up. It started off well, but soon the tension was gone and there was way too much foreshadowing and the insta love between Petra and Arthur didn’t do anything for me. Lysander was the only interesting character but even his arc was too slow to get going.
Rari has rated The Mimameid Solution 5/10.
*indicates judge’s top score of the round