Thursday, 25 February 2016

FANTASY REVIEW: The Copper Cat 3: The Silver Tide - Jen Williams

Release Date: 25/0//16
Publisher:  Headline


From Jen Williams, author of highly-acclaimed fantasy debut THE COPPER PROMISE and blistering follow-up THE IRON GHOST, comes a brand-new epic fantasy adventure.

Tales of the Black Feather Three and their exploits abound far and wide, and Wydrin of Crosshaven, Lord Aaron Frith and Sir Sebastian have become sell swords in demand. Having foiled powerful mages and evil magic, they now face a challenge unlike any before - in the form of Wydrin's mother.

Devinia the Red, notorious pirate and captain of the Poison Chalice, is intent on finding the fabled treasure hidden within the jungles of the cursed island of Euriale. She needs the skills of her daughter Wydrin and her companions to get there, and our heroes cannot resist the lure of coin and adventure. But no explorer has returned from the heart of the island, and it's not long before the Three find themselves in the clutches of peril. Deep within the island of the gods, there are remnants of forces best left undisturbed...

Follow the reckless heroes of THE COPPER PROMISE and THE IRON GHOST in an epic quest unlike any they have faced before.


The third and final book in Jen’s Copper Cat trilogy and after the set up from the previous two we knew that this one was going to be something epic. The writing is crisp, the characters suffering from their emotional trauma’s from previous adventures and when you get right down to it, it’s the dialogue that sells the book alongside the characters interactions as they try to resolve the past with their current dilema’s.

Its quirky, its high adventure and the pace just doesn’t let up. All round a cracking book and one that I was more than pleased to spend the time with. A magical experience.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

FANTASY REVIEW: Down Station - Simon Morden

Release Date: 18/02/16
Publisher:  Gollancz


A small group of commuters and tube workers witness a fiery apocalypse overtaking London. They make their escape through a service tunnel. Reaching a door they step through...and find themselves on a wild shore backed by cliffs and rolling grassland. The way back is blocked. Making their way inland they meet a man dressed in a wolf's cloak and with wolves by his side. He speaks English and has heard of a place called London - other people have arrived here down the ages - all escaping from a London that is burning. None of them have returned. Except one - who travels between the two worlds at will. The group begin a quest to find this one survivor; the one who holds the key to their return and to the safety of London.

And as they travel this world, meeting mythical and legendary creatures,split between North and South by a mighty river and bordered by The White City and The Crystal Palace they realise they are in a world defined by all the London's there have ever been.
Reminiscent of Michael Moorcock and Julian May this is a grand and sweeping science fantasy built on the ideas, the legends, the memories of every London there has ever been.


I’ve read Simon’s work before and with a new book coming out I thought that I’d be in for a treat at the beginning of a new year. After all nothing says a kick in the teeth from an author like “New Year, new book.” As with Simon’s other writing the thing that really makes this title sing is Simon’s principle characters. They’re the sort of people you think you could actually meet, feel real and entice you into caring about their tale as Simon twists his evil authorly mind into all sorts of shapes to make things hard for them.

That said, and whilst the book did give me a reasonable read, I felt that for me the supporting cast were pretty flat and with such an exciting new world to discover felt that they really needed to be better fleshed out so that you cared when something happened. It is a twist on a “what if” type of title and with a world that can be heaven or hell depending upon how you see things all round generates a read that was a solid title if a little underwhelming in places.

All round, whilst this is a middle of the road book for me as I had some problems with pace within the pages I do feel that it’s a set up for a longer sequence and with a lot of the background already established now, perhaps these errors will be fixed in the next outing.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

VIDEO GAME REVIEWL Lego Marvel Avengers - Warner Brothers Interactive

Release Date: 24/01/16
Publisher:  Warner Brothers Interactive


Avengers Assemble! The best-selling LEGO Marvel videogame franchise returns with a new action-packed, Super Hero adventure. Join the LEGO Marvel’s Avengers team and experience the first console videogame featuring characters and storylines from the critically-acclaimed film Marvel’s The Avengers, the blockbuster sequel Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, and more. Play as the most powerful Super Heroes in their quest to save the world.

- Diverse roster of Marvel’s Avengers characters –Play and unlock more than 100 new and returning characters with an array of exciting capabilities, including fan favorites like Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, new characters from Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, and more.
- New and enhanced powers and abilities – Battle in new ways with enhanced powers and character abilities. Team up with core Avengers to execute incredible combo moves.
- Free Roam Gameplay – Enjoy LEGO Marvel’s Avengers’ unique take on open world gameplay as you assume the roles of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to collect gold bricks, studs, and unlock additional characters.
- Variety of iconic locations – Visit iconic Marvel Cinematic Universe locations from around the world.
- Experience the blockbuster action from the Avengers films – Relive key moments from Marvel’s The Avengers, Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and more, with a splash of classic LEGO humor.


OK, this won’t come as a surprise but I love my lego games, they’re fun for me as an adult, great for me to play with my nephews and when you get to throw into the mix Marvel’s heroes then its pretty much a win/win any which way I look at it.

What this game brings to the fore is Avenger threads, cracking characters that will give you a whole heap of fun and with the ability to replay levels with new characters alongside abilities all round make this a game that has a lot of replay value as you see to earn every achievement as well as gold brick in the game. As with the other Marvel title you also get to rescue creator Stan Lee from numerous predicaments and all round not only get a good chuckle as the lego humour takes over but have a whole heap of fun for all involved.

All round, this is my favourite lego title to date and whilst I thought that the original Marvel would take a lot to beat it, this one alone for the gaming experience has been bigger, better and way more fun. Cracking.

Friday, 12 February 2016

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: The Futher Adventures of Sherlock Homes: The White Worm - Sam Siciliano

Release Date: 12/02/16
Publisher:  Titan


A journey to Whitby heralds the start of a new case for SHERLOCK HOLMES and Dr. Henry Vernier. Their client is in love, but a mysterious letter has warned him of the dangers of the romance. The object of his affection is said to be under a thousand-year-old druidic curse, doomed to take the form of a gigantic snake. Locals speak of a green glow in the woods at night, and a white apparition amongst the trees. Is there sorcery at work, or is a human hand behind the terrors of Diana s Grove?


Whilst I’ve been a fan of Sherlock in his many incarnations, its when we dive into his Urban Fantasy cases that really grab me. I love the way that its interwoven with solid Holmesian deductions, cunning authorly twists as well as solid dialogue that helps the story move.

And whilst for some, they’re disappointed I love the addition of the supernatural. All round whilst I had high hopes for this title, I was a little let down with some of the narrative as I didn’t feel that part of it fit into the time period, bringing too modern an attitude into a place where it just didn’t work. I did have some fun within the pages however all in, I did feel disappointed as I turned the final page as it was a tad too predictable. A great shame.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

FANTASY REVIEW: Echoes of the Fall 1: The Tiger and the Wolf - Adrian Tchaikovsky

Release Date: 11/02/16
Publisher:  Pan Macmillan/Tor


In the bleak northern crown of the world, war is coming

Maniye's father is the Wolf clan's chieftain, but she's an outcast. Her mother was queen of the Tiger and these tribes have been enemies for generations. Maniye also hides a deadly secret. All can shift into their clan's animal form, but Maniye can take on tiger and wolf shapes. She refuses to disown half her soul, so escapes, rescuing a prisoner of the Wolf clan in the process. The killer Broken Axe is set on their trail, to drag them back for retribution.

Maniye's father plots to rule the north and controlling his daughter is crucial to his schemes. However, other tribes also prepare for strife. Strangers from the far south appear too, seeking allies in their own conflict. It's a season for omens as priests foresee danger, and a darkness falling across the land. Some say a great war is coming, overshadowing even Wolf ambitions. A time of testing and broken laws is near, but what spark will set the world ablaze?


Adrian’s brand new and hard hitting primate fantasy that brings all the magic alongside experience gained from his Shadows of the Apt series into a brand new world where readers are treated to the story of Maniye, a woman with multiple identities who doesn’t fit into the world in which she is born.

Its harsh, its brutal and to be honest I loved every minute of this book. What worked was the descriptive bleakness of the landscape alongside the characters choices that force her onto her own path. Add to this wonderfully descriptive prose backed up with top notch characters both major and minor and all round a book that worked for me on so many levels. I can’t wait to read more of this series to see what else will occur. Cracking.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016


Release Date: 02/02/16
Publisher:  Roc


New York Times bestselling author Faith Hunter presents a comprehensive collection of stories starring everyone's favorite “smart, sexy, and ruthless”* shapeshifting skinwalker...

In this must-have collection of stories, experience nineteen thrilling adventures from the world of vampire-hunter Jane Yellowrock, including many fan favorites and two all-new novellas. Read about the first time Jane put the pedal to the metal in “The Early Years,” and the last thing a werewolf will ever see as Jane delivers justice in “Beneath a Bloody Moon.” Get a searing look into the pasts of some of the series' best-loved characters: Beast in “WeSa and the Lumber King,” Rick LaFleur in “Cat Tats,” and Molly Everhart Trueblood in “Haints.”

In the brand-new “Cat Fight,” the witches and vampires of Bayou, Oiseau, are at war over a magical talisman—and Jane must figure out how to keep the mysterious artifact out of the covetous hands of the Master of New Orleans. And in the never-before-published “Bound No More,” Jane welcomes a visit from Molly and her daughter, Angie, who is about to prove she's the most powerful witch in Everhart history....

From the Big Easy to the bad bayou, from the open road to a vampire's lair—with Jane Yellowrock, it's always a given: have stakes, will travel.


OK, I’m coming at this as someone who hasn’t read Faith’s work before but as I tend to love a lot of Urban Fantasy short stories felt that it would be worth a go and to be honest with you, I’m more than happy I did. The central character Jane Yellowrock is feisty, kickass, smart aleck type of heroine who discovers herself from the first short story onwards. It’s lovely to dip into various aspects of her life between books and then when you get tales from sub characters that feel almost like family, it really made it more than rewarding.

Add to this great prose, top notch action sequences alongside well thought out plot as well as dialogue and all round I was more than a happy reader. So much so that now I’m going to have to pick up the full Jane Yellowrock series just to spend more time with her. I can’t wait for the new series that she’s starting this year. Magic.