I wasn’t going to blog any more book reviews. I was done. Then I read this and I had to shout about it.
I read episode two of DIE last night. I’ve been trying to pin down what it reminds me of. I started off thinking it was like the old D&D cartoon was invaded by Neuromancer and Hellraiser with Cthulhu as the Dungeonmaster. That was a bit much though and didn’t leave room to describe the future episodes. The best I could come up with is that it was like Ready Player One for old school RPG fans. I feel like I should also be mentioning Scott Pilgrim in the description but I don’t know why yet.
I got the same feeling reading this as I did the first time I read Weis & Hickman, Pratchett, Moore or Gibson. Something about this spoke directly to my brain in a way I can’t quantify. Very rarely does a second of anything make me go back and read the first straight after. I might be getting a little obsessed by this.
It wasn’t just the story though it was the little touches. In the first issue the characters are handed their die. The only one they can use in that adventure. In the second episode the inside cover has a picture of the character, their dice type and a two-dimensional deconstruction of their die. I loved that. That was the kind of detail that really made it pop for me.
There there was the big page of text at the end. An insight in to how the writer’s research inspired some aspects of the story you say? SOLD!
This story was a fun lunch time read but was a surreal completion to a circle long in the making for me. I remember reading Forbeck’s Blood Bowl novels when they first came out (and re-read a couple of times since). For me it was Forbeck that brought life and character to what was essentially a board game version of American Football with a little extra violence and a nod to the wider Warhammer world.
I’ve owned four different editions of the board game and the PC/console games too and it is clear that they’ve ran with the way the author set things up and built upon it (stay with me there is a point somewhere). Forbeck has written a lot of really good tie-in fiction and really captures the mood and spirit of games. In this instance every time I was reading the sportscasters I was actually hearing the voice from the PC game and that was funny.
If you’ve read Forbeck’s Blood Bowl novels (if not they are well worth checking out) this story re-caps in basic terms what happens to Dunk and his team in the books but in typical Blood Bowl fashion descends in to mayhem and the inevitable bloody end that all connoisseurs of The Game demand.
This was the eighth book in the Beast Arises series. I know some people thought there has been too much politics in the previous few books (not me) but this book broke that trend in a big way. This book seemed like it was one continuous battle, something that not many people could have pulled off. Don’t panic if you’re one of the politics fans because this book sets things up nicely for the next.
There was a sense that this was it. The big battle, the culmination of everything that had come before. Then came the twist, or more accurately the grinding of the skulls beneath giant hobnailed boots. I had to reset everything I thought would happen in the series after reading this book. In short and without spoilers everything was in a lot worse state than I’d thought.
In terms of action and a continuous battle scene this was probably one of my favourite Black Library titles. I don’t think it possible for anybody to have read this book and not instantly grabbed for the next volume.
I have to admit that the cover made me chuckle. Yes I’m a child and the word besieged across a bottom will always bring out that childishness. As you can probably see from the title this is the third in the series of The Race books. Although this book works perfectly well stand-alone given the price and time to read them I can’t really think of a reason not to read them first.
Fast readers will devour this in a lunchtime or maybe two for others. It was cheaper than a coffee and arguably better value. It wasn’t just the length of the book that made this such a quick read, the author’s pacing whilst going through the expected changes is generally quick and easy to read to begin with. There was nothing to take me out of the moment and it felt almost like a single moment. I liked that. Whilst not a plot heavy story there is enough to add some drama and intrigue. At this point in the series it was possible to actually think that kidnapping women and making them fight to the death as superhuman warriors wasn’t entirely wrong.
This was a fun read and I’m looking forward to see how the story ends in a couple of books time.
Image from Matt Garvey’s website go check it out (source page linked on image).
Before you read this take another look at that cover. Really look at it. I can’t articulate just how much I liked this cover. I’ve always loved it when I’m taken out of the narrative in a an interesting way. This may not sound sane but there is a subtlety to the brash and obvious way the author subverts and older style of cover art. The first time I read the cover I missed a good portion of what was going on. Take another look, you know you want to. There was something rather pleasing about the clarity of this cover, like the slap in the face I get when reading hard-boiled noir.
Inside the drawing style continued to describe a vigilante helps cops story. Taking a lead from this publication I’m going to break out of my review to talk about buying it. I visited MCM Comicon in London last Friday. Probably my favourite bit was wandering around the authors section. There was something fascinating about standing in front of a writer you’ve never heard of and them telling you about their labours of love and why you should buy them. In nearly every case I bought something but this was always going to be the one I read first.
…anyway, Garvey really does bang out the secret identity of the main character and a large part of their backstory in a remarkably short space. I loved that. It worked. I need to read the second one to see if the great pace continues. This was well worth a read.
Have you ever walked in to a pub for the first time and everything stops and every single person turns as one to stare in silence at you? That’s what reading this book reminds me of. That uncomfortable feeling stayed with me throughout this book. The stories themselves were different and odd (in a good way) but they always felt like something I could relate to. I think that only added to my discomfort. I clearly spent too much time in dodgy pubs and social clubs when I was younger. The characters in this book seemed so familiar. The desperation and hopelessness coloured by the short-term highs and lows of ordinary people made a great backdrop for these stories.
If you are looking for creepy and disturbing stories set in the seething underbelly of pub culture then stop searching and pickup this anthology now. Stupidly good value at the price of a cup of tea too.
This book follows on from The Race. The story started pretty much directly after the first part but it was different. Whenever I’ve read anything buy De La Haye I’ve always felt it was South African. In this story though it felt like as the main protagonist changes and moves away from her roots so the writing changes. I found it fascinating to feel the voice change as the character does. It was only a slight shift but it really added something to the story.
There is a definite act two feel to this story and it really does build well upon the first book. I don’t think it works as well as a stand-alone book when compared to the first book but I think the writing is a lot better in terms of the characters. I re-read The Race before reading Training Days and I would highly recommend doing that if you can. I can’t wait for the third part so that some vengeance can be enacted.
This book was a collaboration between Jonathan Ward, Alec McQuay, James Fadeley, Robbie MacNiven, A.R. Aston, Manuel Mesones. For me the biggest downside to this book was that there were not more graphical elements like the luscious cover art. I’d loved to have seen a picture of Meld in New York. That would have been epic. If you haven’t read Outliers: The Shape Of Things To Come I highly recommend it. The format for this book was a lot more traditional than the primer and that could have spoiled this book for me, but it didn’t. I did find the odd memo and email worked well in this book but would have liked a couple more.
In some ways reading this felt a bit like watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D but there was a more gritty and realistic feel to it. I liked the fact that there wasn’t a binary confrontation. The different factions twisting and bumping together really added a depth to the story and had me itching to see how alliances and confrontations would change the balance of power.
It wasn’t until near the end it twigged that Snapshot was the character binding everything together. He was an unusual character and not at all the character I thought I’d be following. I was really impressed by how the characters developed seamlessly across the stories by different authors without appearing to compromise the voices of the individual authors.
I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next installment.
Although I’m a fan of Aliette de Bodard I didn’t plan to buy this book. I’ve never really been a fan of Paradise Lost and the plethora of fallen angel stories it has been inspired. Then I watched a video of the author being interviewed at Eurocon by Ian Whates and I knew I had to read it anyway.
As with everything Aliette de Bodard does this book took a simple and well used premise and twisted it until as the reader I forgot all about the premise. Sometimes after reading a book I’ll go and do some research about one thing or another, but one of the things that really made this book stand out for me was that at least a couple of times I stopped reading to go research something. The one that stood out for me was the symbolism of the Banyan tree. I now have an unhealthy fascination with looking at old and gnarly fig trees.
I have always been fascinated by food and food in fiction when done well can be amazing. There was one line about the small of jasmine rice that evoked really strong memories for me. These references seem quite subtle as you read them but seem to have a massive effect.
This book could easily have come across as a clash of cultures and a battle of superiority not of the protagonists but on one religious tradition over another. It didn’t. I loved the way I was left feeling that regardless of your background we’re all doomed with that inkling of hope and redemption there to keep us sane.
As usual Aliette de Bodard has nail-gunned this one straight in to my brain and it is going to take me a while to get parts of this book and the ideas it has raised out of my head, and that is a great thing.
When I first saw this cover I didn’t like it. I’ve never been a fan of scantily clad female warriors (stop laughing) in fiction. In this case it made sense in some ways. This story was very much Running Man meets Xena with more than a little new world order conspiracy theory thrown in.
Like most of the author’s work there was a definite South African feel to this book. The slight differences from the usual British or American viewpoints has captured my attention yet again. This was a short fast-paced story that was effortless to read. There were no complications to get in the way of the pacing that I thought was vital to the feel of The Race.
I enjoyed this book. It was a great way to escape the daily grind and at the end I was left wondering ‘what if?’, and for me that has always been the hallmark of a successful book.