Sunday, 25 June 2017

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: Eagles of Rome: Eagles in the Storm - Ben Kane

Release Date: 23/03/17
Publisher: Preface Publishing

SYNOPSIS:

AD 15. The German chieftain Arminius has been defeated, one of the lost Roman eagles recovered, and thousands of German tribesmen slain.

Yet these successes aren’t nearly enough for senior centurion Lucius Tullus. Not until Arminius is dead, his old legion’s eagle found and the enemy tribes completely vanquished will he rest.

But Arminius – devious, fearless – is burning for revenge of his own.

Charismatic as ever, he raises another large tribal army, which will harry the Romans the length and breadth of the land.

Soon Tullus finds himself in a cauldron of bloodshed, treachery and danger.

His mission to retrieve his legion’s eagle will be his most perilous yet…


REVIEW:

I love spending time with the Roman Legion and one of the foremost authors featuring this band of soldiers is Ben Kane. He brings history to life with each outing and whilst this is the end of the road for this particular group of warriors in Ben's world it means that all bets are off and anything can happen.

Ben always bring top notch action to his writing and when blended with a cracking understanding of pace, wonderful prose and of course dialogue that makes it sing, all round gives the reader what they want. I'm sad to see these guys go for now, but also looking forward to seeing what Ben will return with. Great stuff.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

CRIME THRILLER REVIEW; The Legacy - Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Release Date: 23/03/17
Publisher: Hodder

SYNOPSIS:

The first in an exciting new series from the author of THE SILENCE OF THE SEA, winner of the 2015 Petrona Award for best Scandinavian Crime Novel.

The murder was meant as a punishment - but what sin could justify the method?

The only person who might have answers is the victim's seven-year-old daughter, found hiding in the room where her mother died. And she's not talking.

Newly promoted, out of his depth, detective Huldar turns to Freyja and the Children's House for their expertise with traumatised young people. Freyja, who distrusts the police in general and Huldar in particular, isn't best pleased. But she's determined to keep little Margret safe.

It may prove tricky. The killer is leaving them strange clues: warnings in text messages, sums scribbled on bits of paper, numbers broadcast on the radio. He's telling a dark and secret story - but how can they crack the code? And if they do, will they be next?


REVIEW:

I love spending time between the sheets with a dark crime novel and when it come to bringing the topography of the land to the fore, there are few better authors out there than Yrsa. I love the way Iceland is brought over to the reader, the harsh landscape, the ever changing weather and of coursse a stoic people that deal with the good and the bad of thier home.

Its a pure delight to read and when Yrsa's dialogue appears it really helps draw me into her story by allowing me to get to know the characters. All round a cracking read and one that will keep me company for some time to come.

Friday, 23 June 2017

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: A Psy-Changling Trinity Novel: Silver SIlence - Nalini Singh

Release Date: 15/06/17
Publisher:  Gollancz

SYNOPSIS:

Control. Precision. Family. These are the principles that drive Silver Mercant. At a time when the fledgling Trinity Accord seeks to unite a divided world, with Silver playing a crucial role as director of a worldwide emergency response network, wildness and chaos are the last things she needs in her life. But that's exactly what Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater bears, brings with him.

Valentin has never met a more fascinating woman. Though Silver is ruled by Silence - her mind clear of all emotion - Valentin senses a whisper of fire around her. That's what keeps him climbing apartment buildings to be near her. But when a shadow assassin almost succeeds in poisoning Silver, the stakes become deadly serious . . . and Silver finds herself in the heart of a powerful bear clan.

Her would-be assassin has no idea what their poison has unleashed . . .


REVIEW:

I originally read Nalini's work thanks to a friend on a forum (yep, there you go Jade, a mention) who told me I absolutley must read her work. As after all if I liked Kelley Armstrong, then Nalini would soon make a grab for my affections with her work in Urban Fantasy.

What unfurled was a whole set of novels that took me on journey after journey where romance leads the way and at the end of the day, we all know that love is the most powerful force in the universe. (Or if not it should be.)

OK yeah, that made me sound a bit mushy, but I love to be taken on an emotional rollercoaster, I want to see characters break from their comfort zones, to learn what makes them tick and to get under the covers to get to thier emotional aspect.

Here within this title we're treated to a tough kick ass heroine who seeks to recover and get back for vengeance but as she is in rehab we get to see her softer side. One that accompanied by a skin walker works wonderfully well as we get to see all sorts of changes along the way. I'm not going to say its for everyone, but if you want escapism wrapped up with romance and a good solid dose of whupass then give Nalini a go.

The only thing left is to filk a certain teddy bear show: "I wanna be a Were-Bear, like you...." LOL

Thursday, 22 June 2017

FANTASY REVIEW: You Die When You Die - Angus Watson

Release Date: 22/06/17
Publisher:  Orbit

SYNOPSIS:

YOU DIE WHEN YOU DIE . . .
You can't change your fate - so throw yourself into battle, because you'll either end the day a hero or drinking mead in the halls of the gods. That's what Finn's people believe.

But Finn wants to live. When his settlement is massacred by a hostile nation, Finn plus several friends and rivals must make their escape across a brutal, unfamiliar landscape, and to survive, Finn will fight harder than he's ever fought before.

The David Gemmell Award-nominated author of Age of Iron returns with You Die When You Die - an epic fantasy adventure in which a mismatched group of refugees battle animals and monsters, determined assassins, an unforgiving land and each other as they cross a continent to fulfil a prophecy.


REVIEW:

I love a story that takes me on a journey and Angus has always done that for me, so I had high hopes with this his latest novel after having loved his Iron Age Trilogy. Thrust into a fantasy world with Norsemen we are taken on a journey of survival against the odds where every battle seems stacked against our hero and his companions.

Its edge of the nails stuff with cracking prose really adding to the tension as we see each event play out. The pace is breakneck, the dialogue solid and for me, its the action sequences that really make this a title that is hard to put down. Finally throw into the mix a lead hero that I wanted to hang around and all in I wa s a ore than happy bunny. Great stuff.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

FANTASY REVIEW: The Fall of Shannara 1: The Black Elfstone - Terry Brooks

Release Date: 15/06/17
Publisher:  Orbit

SYNOPSIS:

The first book of the triumphant and epic four-part conclusion to the Shannara series, from one of the all-time masters of fantasy.

The age of peace that has reigned across the Four Lands is now at an end. An army of invaders, wielding a terrible new magic, is cutting a bloody swathe across the far north . . .

The fate of the world now rests on the shoulders of an exiled druid, a conflicted warrior and a young woman struggling to master a powerful magic. As the conflict grows, they will face dangerous adversaries and deadly challenges - and the consequences of their actions will determine the future of the Four Lands.

Through twenty-eight novels written over the course of forty years, Terry Brooks's Shannara series has entranced millions of readers around the world. Now, with the Black Elfstone - the first book in the Fall of Shannara - Terry begins to bring his epic vision to a grand conclusion.


REVIEW:

I always have a soft place in my heart for Terry Brooks and his Shannara series, as after David Gemmell, he was an author that I always shared with my Dad. We constantly vied to see who would get the next book first and as our saying went "He who buys it gets first read." (Although to be fair my Dad cheated as he'd nick my book when I went to school and read it for a couple of hours before he had to go to work.)

Each new addition to the series has added flavour and depth and with this new series we get to see the world fall as everything has a lifespan. How this will occur and whether this is a final death knell we'll have to wait and see but we know that the heroes within won't let it go without a fight.

As with his other books we get good solid pace, a good story arc and for me characters I not only care about but want to spend time around. Terry brings his A game with this outing and whilst its going to be gripping whatever happen in the future titles in the series, if this is the true end its going to be the closing of a large part of my life. All round a cracking start and one that will have me on tenterhooks until the final page.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Xeelee: Vengenace - Stephen Baxter

Release Date: 15/06/17
Publisher:  Gollancz

SYNOPSIS:

Half a million years in the future, on a dead, war-ravaged world at the centre of the Galaxy, there is a mile-high statue of Michael Poole.

Poole, born on Earth in the fourth millennium, was one of mankind's most influential heroes. He was not a warrior, not an emperor. He was an engineer, a builder of wormhole transit systems. But Poole's work would ultimately lead to a vast and destructive conflict, a million-year war between humanity and the enigmatic, powerful aliens known as the Xeelee.

The Xeelee won, but at a huge cost. And, defeated in a greater war, the Xeelee eventually fled the universe. Most of them.

A handful were left behind, equipped with time travel capabilities, their task to tidy up: to reorder history more to the Xeelee's liking. That million-year war with humankind was one blemish. It had to be erased. And in order to do that, a lone Xeelee was sent back in time to remove Michael Poole from history . . .


REVIEW:

Stephen is one of those authors whose writing hooks you from the beginning, His prose is wonderful, the pace ideal and when added to an arc that really delivers what you want from one of his titles, all round generates a title that is hard to put down.

Here in his latest title we have a real treat as we get to observe the Xeelee as they try to eradicate a "blip" on thier history by taking out the man who made it all possible. Its engaging and with the authors ability to bring the characters (both human and alien) across makes this more than approachable. The only thing I'll say is remember to read the original novel first (Xeelee: Endurance). You don't have to but you won't get the full flavour or the pleasure by missing it.

Friday, 9 June 2017

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Agents of Mayhem: Gat is Back - Koch Media


Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our friends at Koch Media, have let us know about the latest trailer for the forthcoming Agents of Mayhem.  We can't wait to get our hands on it and to be treated to the return of our old friend Johnny Gat from Saints Row, means that we're in for a real treat.

Get your fill of Gat in this trailer:


Finally Agents of Mayhem will be released 18th August 2017 from Koch Media.


Get those guns warmed up people,



Gareth and Lady Eleanor

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Kingdom Come Deliverance Release Date and Story Trailer - Deep Silver


Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our friends at Warhorse Studios and Deep Silver, let us know that this title that we've been watching for quite a while will be out 13th Feb 2018.

We can't wait to see what these developers have in store for us.

Here's the story trailer:

We hope that you're getting as excited as we are,


Gareth and Lady Eleanor.


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

VIDEO GAME ANNOUNCEMENT: Strange Brigade - Rebellion



Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Here at Falcata Times we love to find the weird and wonderful and Rebellion seem to have brought all that to the fore with this announcement trailer for The Strange Brigade.

We love the fact that it has a feel of all the old B-Movie Creature Features and can't wait to get our hands on it but here, check out this awesome trailer:


All the best,


Gareth and Lady Eleanor

VIDEO GAME REVIEW: The Surge - Koch Media, Focus

Release Date: 19/05/17
Publisher: Koch Media

SYNOPSIS:

Set in a heavily dystopian future as Earth nears the end of its life, those who remain in the overpopulated cities must work to survive as social programs become saturated by an ageing population and increasing environmental diseases.

As the intelligence of technology incrementally increased over the years, many jobs for the human race had been made redundant, forcing Earth's citizens to head out into the suburbs seeking labour, aided by exoskeletons to improve their efficiency. The world of The Surge offers a very grim vision of the future, where the evolution of our technology, our society and our relation with the environment led to a decadent state of the Human civilization.

The Surge features innovative combat mechanics and an original character progression system based on modular upgrades gained through tight, visceral combat.


REVIEW:

To be honest, I'm a gamer who likes to take their time when playing, I like to make sure that I don't rush my review and give the game not only a fair play but also allow myself the chance to explore various options with the gear and items before deciding on my favourite combo for my style of play.

So after giving the game a huge amount of time here's what I have to say Firstly before purchasing there are a few things you have to know. The first and perhaps most important is that this is a title in which you will die, a hell of a lot. If you don't like that in a game bypass this title now. Secondly if you're a fan of this type of game and love a Sci-Fi post apocalypic future then this title is all the candy that you can eat and then some.

Yes the camera can be a little clunky in places but that beginning animation where you get set up for your suit is not only gruesome but oddly satisfying letting you know just how much you're going to have to go through.

I was hooked.

I loved a lot of the game, the way that the enemies upped in difficulty, how even the smallest foe could kill you and the way that you had to strategise for each combat prior to taking part, working out how to deal with multiple foes and their strengths and weaknesses. However my biggest gripe was if you found certain fights way to hard, the best you could do was up your power (which only gave you access to more "chip" slots and access to doorways and you have to settle for basic gear and couldn't upgrade it if you found fighting the bosses too hard to begin with.

Its damn frustraing and whilst a good many gamers will give up with their lack of progress it was a game that I did have a lot of fun with all in. Yes it took me a lot of time to get past that initial baddy but the high I got when I finally kicked his ass was immense. All round a solid game and whilst its going to be a marmite title for a good few gamers, I happened to love it. Magic

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

VIDEO GAME REVIEW: Injustice 2 - Warner Brothers Interactive

Release Date: 19/05/17
Publisher: Warner Brothers Interactive

SYNOPSIS:

Injustice 2 continues the epic cinematic story introduced in Injustice : Gods Among Us as Batman and his allies work towards putting the pieces of society back together while struggling against those who want to restore Superman's regime. In the midst of the chaos, a new threat appears that will put Earth's existence at risk. Players can play from the biggest DC roster ever offered in a fighting game, from classic fan favourites such as Batman, Superman, Supergirl and Aquaman, to astonishing new villains like Atrocitus and Gorilla Grodd. Battles will take place across arenas that have evolved in scale and span across iconic locations such as Metropolis, Gotham City and Atlantis.


REVIEW:

OK, I'm going to be honest here, the main fighting games that I've picked up before were Tekken and whilst many would say that the war for the king of fighters is generlaly won by Mortal Kombat I love a game that gives me not only fun but the chance to compete against not only my other half or the AI but with people the world over.

This title from Warner does not only bring all those elements together but brings it with a flair that I have to say was near perfect for me. The graphics are beautiful, each polygon making it look flawless with each character having multiple costumes and gear items that improve certain traits over others. Yes my review is behind quite a few others, but I'm not a guy to rush through things and wanted to give it a through play through (with multiple characters) in order to give it a fair review.

Add to this great sound with solid voice acting and accompanying music alongside a playable story arc all round gives you a title that was a pure joy to play. FInally add to this great end sequences for each of the characters and all round I was a more than happy gamer. Cracking.