Tuesday 30 April 2013

CRIME THRILLER REVIEW: The Guilty - Sean Slater

Release Date: 14/03/13
Publisher:  Simon and Schuster

SYNOPSIS:

When Homicide Detective Jacob Striker discovers a torture chamber in a steel barn down by the river, he is propelled into an investigation that leads to two mysterious bombers. Every few hours, another victim is targeted, located - and then blown to smithereens. Very quickly, Striker realizes the attacks are not random. But one obvious question remains: Why? With people dying at an alarming rate, Striker desperately searches for an answer to this question. When he discovers it, a stark coldness fills him. For he begins to understand. The reason leads back to a police file that is now ten years old. To a dark and dangerous place across the seas. And to one of Striker's oldest mentors and dearest friends. With time running out, Striker must catch the two bombers before they finish the job and complete their kill list. Otherwise there will be little left for Jacob Striker to save. Little left, but dust and bones.


REVIEW:

Sean is one of those authors that I was pleased to discover a little while ago, his writing is fast paced, the characters fun to be around and above all else the twisted mind of the author works wonders with each mystery. Add to this top notch prose, a wonderful sense of pace which when backed with dialogue that keeps you glued to the edge of your seat from the first page to the very last.

Add to this a delightfully dark story and a villain that is the equal of the hero all round makes this a cracking read. A wonderful title to spend time with however try not read late at night, especially if you’re on your own at home. You may well wish that you’d started it in the daylight hours as the creeks and groans of the home become so much more in your imagination.



DEJA REVIEW: April 2013

Hail Mighty Readers,
Here are this months book reincarnations (covers may not match the new incarnation), please click on the cover to go to that titles review:







 

HISTORICAL URBAN FANTASY: Act Three of the Assassini: The Exiled Blade - Jon Courtenay Grimwood

Release Date: 30/04/13
Publisher:  Orbit

SYNOPSIS:

Venice stands victorious. It has beaten back the German emperor's army and the Byzantine navy. The Duchess Alexa's party at court is strong again. Her niece, Lady Giulietta, will be the next Regent, and possibly the next duchess. Giulietta's lover, Lord Tycho, will sit beside her. But no one is prepared for the fury of Prince Alonzo, exiled regent and traitor to his city. No one is prepared for the harshest winter Europe has ever known. As the canals of Venice freeze and wolves cross the ice from the north, Alonzo's plotting brings the Venetian empire to the very edge of destruction. With the Millioni family at war with itself, Lord Tycho, once a slave and a trained assassin, has to ask himself the only question that matters. How much is he prepared to sacrifice to keep Lady Giulietta's city safe?


REVIEW:

Ahh, assassins, historical settings and of course Urban Fantasy aspects make this title not only fun to sit down with but one that you really can’t afford to pass up. Here within the pages Tycho has quite a few difficult choices to make as intrigue, double dealing and family vendetta’s add up to throw the world into turmoil with very few chance for the hero to get a happy ending.

As usual with Jon, the writing is crisp, the pace outstanding and when added to characters that you just love to spend time around all round leaves you turning the pages hoping that your favourites will survive. This series really has been a cracking set of releases over the last few years and definitely one that will be keeping its treasured spot upon my shelves.




Monday 29 April 2013

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Watch_Dogs Collector Edition Announced alongside New Trailer - Ubisoft


Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our friends from the network, have let us know about the collectors edition for Watch_Dog coming out on November the 22nd 2013 from Ubisoft.

It's pretty hardcore and with the variety of things you can do, its going to be one that will more than keep you occupied for quite some time.

Add to this a brand new trailer to not only whet your appetite but something that gives you a great look at a variety of things that you can get up to and all round its going to be something special.



But don't just take our word for it, have a look yourself:

  
So remember keep a sharp eye on the world, you never know when someone may be watching you electronically,


Gareth and Lady Eleanor

FACTUAL REVIEW: Lost Cat: The True Story of Love, Desperation and GPS Technology - Caroline Paul

Release Date: 11/04/13
Publisher:  Bloomsbury

SYNOPSIS:

Caroline Paul was recovering from a bad accident (she had been flying a plane when it happened) and thought things couldn't get worse. But then her beloved cat Tibia disappeared. She and her partner, illustrator Wendy MacNaughton, anxiously waited for his return, before resigning themselves to their loss. But weeks later, Tibia waltzed back into their lives. His owners were overjoyed. They might also have been a bit jealous. All right, they were very jealous! Where had their sweet anxious cat disappeared to? Had he become a swashbuckling cat adventurer? Did he love someone else more? His owners were determined to find out. Using methods as diverse as GPS technology, cat cameras, psychics, the web and animal communicators, they embarked on a quest to discover what their cat did when they weren't around. Writer Caroline Paul tells the warm and poignant story of their discoveries, alongside Wendy MacNaughton's elegant and hilarious full-colour watercolours. Lost Cat is a book for animal lovers, pet owners and anyone who has ever done anything desperate for love.


REVIEW:

As a feline servant, this title more than piqued my interest when I read the synopsis on the back cover. It sounded like a story of the madness that we all go through when a pet goes missing and luckily this one has a happy ending. The book also deals with the full range of emotions from not only the human point of view but also delves into the mindset of the kitties in order to get a fuller picture.

Its funny in places, sad in others and to be honest the main thing that I’ve learned from it is that our feline masters can help us meet not only other cat “friends” but points out how little we know about our own neighbours in a time when its become common to look after your own interest only. All round a book that I was gripped to from start to finish with some wonderful illustrations to help get the point across on a journey of discovery.



FANTASY REVIEW: Twilight Reign Short Stories: The God Tattoo - Tom Lloyd

Release Date: 18/04/13
Publisher:  Gollancz

SYNOPSIS:

Eleven stories that add further colour and shape to the epic story of the Twilight Reign series - this is an essential volume for Tom Lloyd's many fans. The history of the Land may remember the slaughter at Moorview or the horror of Scree's fall, but there were other casualties of the secret war against Azaer - more tales surrounding those bloody years that went unrecorded. In the shadow of memorials to the glorious dead, these ghosts lie quiet and forgotten by all but a few. A companion collection to the Twilight Reign quintet, these 11 stories shine a rather different light on the Land. Look past the armies and politics of the Seven Tribes and you will find smaller moments that shaped the course of history in their own way. But even forgotten secrets can kill. Even shadows can have claws.


REVIEW:

Having really enjoyed Tom’s Twilight Reign, I was interested to see how this book would pan out, after all it’s a series of short stories and whilst a number of people love the idea, there’s a more sceptical audience that would wonder if it’s just a way to cash in on an already phenomenal series.

Well, I can answer the later part straight away, its not, these short stories are tales that have helped influence the world that never made it into the other titles, they have great characters, they help fill the world out more and with Tom’s writing style, they work wonderfully well on the readers imagination. Add to this great prose, a wonderful sense of pace which when backed with twists and turns that will keep you glued all round make this a wonderful title to dip into on your travels.




Sunday 28 April 2013

LADY ELEANOR MUSIC REVIEW: Songs that Saved Your Life: The Art of the Smiths 1982-87 - Simon Goddard

Release Date: 08/02/13
Publisher: Titan 

SYNOPSIS:

'Songs That Saved Your Life - The Art of The Smiths 1982 -87' reveals the stories behind every track (including unreleased out-takes), catalogues all the group's UK television, radio and concert appearances and features interviews with original band members, producers and associates.


REVIEW:

As a Manchester person and a huge fan of Morrissey, I just had to get this title when I heard about its release, it delves into the history of the songs, the meanings and of course the time to which each was written. Its carefully researched, written with clarity and for me as a fan, is something that will sit on the shelves with my Smiths CD’s to peruse when I’m in the mood. Definitely one of the better titles out there and something that I’ll enjoy quite a few times.



THRILLER REVIEW: Prophet of Bones - Ted Kosmatka

Release Date: 25/04/13
Publisher:  Michael Joseph (Penguin)

SYNOPSIS:

Prophet of Bones is a thrilling novel by Ted Kosmatka. An ancient discovery. A hidden past. A deadly conspiracy to bury the truth. He was told his was the only name on their list. But for brilliant young anthropologist Paul Carlsson, asked to examine the cache of bones found on as remote Indonesian jungle island, fascination soon turns to fear. Because waiting for him east of Java is evidence of something that shouldn't exist; a revelation that if made public will turn scientific and religious orthodoxy on its head. If Carlsson discovers the truth too many powerful interests have far too much to lose. But not every prophet is without honour. And Carlsson, alone and on the run, is determined to reveal the discovery to a world in which the church and science have conspired to hide it. A world which, it's been proven, is only 5,800 years old...Prophet of Bones is Ted Kosmata's enthralling second novel. The Games showcased Kosmata's imaginative genius and Prophet of Bones is no different. Fans of Robert Harris, Michael Crichton and Sam Bourne will be hooked.


REVIEW:

Thrillers are books that grab you and refuse to let go, taking the reader on an adventure that is fast paced adventure that keeps you gripped to the last page, and this latest title by Ted Kosmatka does all that and more. Delving into a similar style to Michael Crichton, this story is one that I not only had a lot of fun with but one that kept me going from start to finish, bringing in scientific elements to help the story keep credibility.

It’s fun, it has just the right amount of action and with a principle set of characters that not only keep the arc moving but lead to each successive step all round will give the reader a book that will entertain them for a few successive nights. Great stuff.



Saturday 27 April 2013

LADY ELEANOR ART BOOK REVIEW: Pinxit - Mark Ryden

Release Date: 25/11/11

SYNOPSIS:

Fuzzy bunnies, big-eyed girls, meat, magic and mystery Mark Ryden's carnival of kitsch. Blending themes of pop culture with techniques reminiscent of the old masters, Mark Ryden has created a singular style that blurs the traditional boundaries between high and low art. His work first garnered attention in the 1990s when he ushered in a new genre of painting, "Pop Surrealism", dragging a host of followers in his wake. Ryden has trumped the initial surrealist strategies by choosing subject matter loaded with cultural connotation. Ryden's vocabulary ranges from cryptic to cute, treading a fine line between nostalgic cliche and disturbing archetype. Seduced by his infinitely detailed and meticulously glazed surfaces, the viewer is confronted with the juxtaposition of the childhood innocence and the mysterious recesses of the soul. A subtle disquiet inhabits his paintings; the work is achingly beautiful as it hints at darker psychic stuff beneath the surface of cultural kitsch. In Ryden's world cherubic girls rub elbows with strange and mysterious figures. Ornately carved frames lend the paintings a baroque exuberance that adds gravity to their enigmatic themes. Complex in its arcane and idiosyncratic subject matter, Ryden's work can leave no viewer unmoved. This sweeping retrospective book brings Ryden's work to the world, with nearly two decade's worth of paintings and works on paper, broadening the horizons of his uncanny universe.


REVIEW:

I love artwork that makes you question and think about the image, so when we had the opportunity to view this title by mark Ryden, it was something we couldn’t leave alone as he merges the world of very doll looking characters with bizarre, macabre twists with his own musings that bring a wonderful sense of humour and whimsy to the viewer’s mind.

It’s cleverly done, it has a great flow about it and for me, it was a book that kept me wanting to see more to figure out what he was going to come up with next to titillate my imagination. Finally add to this a title that’s backed up with the artists own musings about the creations.  T
he details are stunning and to be honest I’m still noticing new things each time I go through it that I’d missed on previous reads.  Its quirky, it’s fun and above all else its insightful to delve into the mind of an artist.  All round a great item and one that I’ll have a lot of fun with time and again.



Friday 26 April 2013

FANTASY REVIEW: The Chronicles of Swords and Sand: The Desert of Souls - Howard Andrew Jones

Release Date: 01/04/13
Publisher:  Head of Zeus

SYNOPSIS:

THE CHRONICLE OF SWORD & SAND: Baghdad, AD 790. Caliph Harun al-Rashid presides over the greatest metropolis on Earth, ruler of an empire stretches from China to Byzantium. His exploits will be recorded in Alf Layla or, as we know it, The Book of One Thousand and One Nights. But The Thousand and One Nights are silent on the deeds and adventures that befell two of the Caliph's subjects: the renowned scholar Dabir ibn Kahlil, and his shield and right hand, Asim el Abbas. For their story, we must turn to the Chronicle of Sand and Sword...THE DESERT OF SOULS: Amid the trackless sands of ancient Arabia, two companions - a swordsman and a scholar - search for the ruins of the lost city of Ubar. Before their quest is over, they will battle necromancers and animated corpses, they will confront a creature that has traded wisdom for the souls of men since the dawn of time and they will fight to save a city's soul.


REVIEW:

Bringing the best of two genres together seems to be a common trait these days, yet finding the right mix so that its not too much of one or the other is not only a tricky task to manage but a fine line to tread in order to appeal to fans of both. Howard’s choice to bring the Arabian myths alongside a native Holmes and Watson (Dabir and Asim) really works well.

They’re interesting with facets that really work well to bring it all together. They’re quirky, their psychological aspects work well to bolster each other and all round, the dialogue for me is the thing that really sells it to me as a reader. Add to the mix a young nieces rebellion, a quest to procure a stolen item and all round its something that doesn’t let up from start to finish. Great all round.




Thursday 25 April 2013

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Skyrim: Legendary Edition out in June - Bethesda




Hail Mighty Readers,
Our Friends at Bethesda have let us know about the forthcoming release of Skyrim: The Legendary Edition.  But wait, thats not all, you don't have to wait until next year or even until September, its out in Europe on the 7th June 2013.

Here's what they had to say:
"Experience the complete Skyrim collection with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim® Legendary Edition -- arriving in retail stores throughout Europe and Australia on June 7, 2013. The Legendary Edition will be available on Xbox 360 and PS3 for £39.99 / €49.99 / AU$69.95, and on PC for £29.99 / €39.99 / AU$49.95.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Legendary Edition includes the original critically-acclaimed game, official add-ons – Dawnguard™, Hearthfire™, and Dragonborn™ – and added features like combat cameras, mounted combat, Legendary difficulty mode for hardcore players, and Legendary skills – enabling you to master every perk and level up your skills infinitely."


We hope that you're looking forward to this as much as we are,


 



Gareth and Lady Eleanor


FANTASY REVIEW: The City - Stella Gemmell

Release Date: 25/04/13
Publisher:  Bantam Press

SYNOPSIS:

Built up over the millennia, layer upon layer, the City is ancient and vast. Over the centuries, it has sprawled beyond its walls, the cause of constant war with neighbouring people and kingdoms, laying waste to what was once green and fertile. And at the heart of the City resides the emperor. Few have ever seen him. Those who have remember a man in his prime and yet he should be very old. Some speculate that he is no longer human, others wonder if indeed he ever truly was. And a small number have come to a desperate conclusion: that the only way to stop the ceaseless slaughter is to end the emperor's unnaturally long life. From the rotting, flood-ruined catacombs beneath the City where the poor struggle to stay alive to the blood-soaked fields of battle where so few heroes survive, these rebels pin their hopes on one man. A man who was once the emperor's foremost general. A man, a revered soldier, who could lead an uprising and unite the City. But a man who was betrayed, imprisoned, tortured and is now believed to be dead...


REVIEW:

To be honest this is a book that took me a little while to get round to, not because I thought that there was going to be anything wrong with it, but with the closeness of Stella and David as a writing team I felt that there would be some touches of that old Gemmell magic that would tug at fond memories as well as the heart strings.

What unfurls within is a story that is something unique, something that takes her into a realm of her own in not only an imaginative world but also one that allows her to bring characters to life through the events that have shaped them. It has solid prose, quite a few twists and when backed with an overall arc that whilst at times slow, really gives the reader a story that will introduce her in her own right to the fantasy audience. All round I enjoyed this book and will look forward to seeing what she returns with.



Wednesday 24 April 2013

FANTASY REVIEW: Steelhaven: Herald of the Storm - Richard Ford

Release Date: 25/04/13
Publisher:  Headline

SYNOPSIS:

Welcome to Steelhaven...

Under the reign of King Cael the Uniter, this vast cityport on the southern coast has for years been a symbol of strength, maintaining an uneasy peace throughout the Free States.

But now a long shadow hangs over the city, in the form of the dread Elharim warlord, Amon Tugha. When his herald infiltrates the city, looking to exploit its dangerous criminal underworld, and a terrible dark magick that has long been buried once again begins to rise, it could be the beginning of the end.


REVIEW:

OK, you want some hard boiled fantasy that has a tough outlook, tougher characters and a world where only the fit survive where a bad day means that you may not have another. Well then, pick up this title by Richard Ford that offers all this and so much more.

Told from various characters point of view, it adds up to an epic new fantasy, which when added to each of their own psychological aspects really brings to life for the reader. They’re more than interesting, the really grab you and whilst the author has no problems with death it’s a tale that really will keep you guessing as each choice leads to consequences for those within.

Back this up with solid prose, great pace and of course a style that not only suits the epic fantasy genre but more than entices the reader to stay a while all round makes this a series to watch. Great stuff.




Tuesday 23 April 2013

FANTASY REVIEW: The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day - Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen

Release Date: 11/04/13
Publisher:  Ebury Press

SYNOPSIS:

The fourth book in the Science of Discworld series, and this time around dealing with The Really Big Questions, Terry Pratchett's brilliant new Discworld story. Judgement Day is annotated with very big footnotes (the interleaving chapters) by mathematician Ian Stewart and biologist Jack Cohen, to bring you a mind-mangling combination of fiction, cutting-edge science and philosophy. Marjorie Daw is a librarian, and takes her job - and indeed the truth of words - very seriously. She doesn't know it, but her world and ours - Roundworld - is in big trouble. On Discworld, a colossal row is brewing. The Wizards of Unseen University feel responsible for Roundworld (as one would for a pet gerbil). After all, they brought it into existence by bungling an experiment in Quantum ThaumoDynamics. But legal action is being brought against them by Omnians, who say that the Wizards' god-like actions make a mockery of their noble religion. As the finest legal brains in Discworld (a zombie and a priest) gird their loins to do battle - and when the Great Big Thing in the High Energy Magic Laboratory is switched on - Marjorie Daw finds herself thrown across the multiverse and right in the middle of the whole explosive affair. As God, the Universe and, frankly, Everything Else is investigated by the trio, you can expect world-bearing elephants, quantum gravity in the Escher-verse, evolutionary design, eternal inflation, dark matter, disbelief systems - and an in-depth study of how to invent a better mousetrap.


REVIEW:

The Discworld is a series that has captured the minds of millions of readers around the world and with the sciences have taken a back seat to magic, the reader is treated to the explanation of how things function in “Round World” as opposed to the obvious answers that the Disc presents.

Here in this title, the reader gets the treat as Marjorie Daw, Librarian of Round World, finds herself bang in the middle of a religious and philosophical debate and has to make sense of it all. It’s cleverly done, it has humour and makes sense of a lot of sense as the cunning brains of Science and Philosophy to the fore. A fun read and whilst you don’t have to have read the others to sit back and enjoy, it does help get a fuller flavour.



Monday 22 April 2013

URBAN FANTASY THRILLER: Red, White and Blood - Christopher Farnsworth

Release Date: 11/04/13
Publisher:  Hodder

SYNOPSIS:

A political operative and a volunteer are brutally murdered. Written in their blood on the wall of the crime scene: IT'S GOOD TO BE BACK. In 145 years, Nathaniel Cade, the President's vampire, has fought one particular evil over and over again: the source of urban legends and nightmares across the country. It has gone by many names and guises, but is best known by the one that all children instinctively fear: the Boogeyman. No matter how Cade kills him, the Boogeyman always comes back. When the killer begins targeting the president's people on the campaign trail, Cade and his human handler, Zach Barrows, are tasked with cleaning up the mess before it spills over into the upcoming election. Cade and Zach must stop the one monster Cade has never been able to defeat completely. And they must do it before the Boogeyman adds another victim to his long and bloody list: the President of the United States himself.


REVIEW:

I love a good story that brings Urban Fantasy into the world of the secret agent and this series by Christopher Farnsworth is one that has been a real guilty pleasure, after all when things go bump in the night, the US President fight’s fire with fire with his own Vampire bewitched by Voodoo Priestess Laveau for eternal service.

It has some cracking characters and each time he’s called into action the enemy has foes to call in on their side that means that this is no easy walk in the park. Back this up with great prose, a pace that doesn’t let up from the beginning and keeps you hooked to the last page and you know damn well that I’m a happy reader. Cracking.

Sunday 21 April 2013

FANTASY REVIEW: Powder Mage Trilogy 1: Promise of Blood - Brian McClellan

Release Date: 16/04/13
Publisher:  

SYNOPSIS:

'The Age of Kings is dead. And I have killed it.'

Field Marshal Tamas's coup against his king sends corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brings bread to the starving. But it also provokes war in the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics and greedy scrambling for money and power by Tamas's supposed allies: the Church, workers' unions and mercenary forces.

Stretched to his limit, Tamas relies heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be Tamas's estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty will be tested to its limit.

Now, amid the chaos, a whispered rumour is spreading. A rumour about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods returning to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing . . .

But perhaps they should.



REVIEW:

OK, you’re looking for something a little different for your fantasy reading time. You want intrigue, you want double dealing, you want mystery and of course you want it all wrapped up in a fantasy world that will draw you deeper into the shadows of darker deeds.

Sounds like a lot to ask for? Well you might think so but wait until you get a load of the startling debut by Brian McClellan.

Also add to the mix fully rounded characters with multifaceted personalities that change the way that the tale unfurls, all round make this a title that’s going to be one of the fantasy debut’s to beat this year. Cracking stuff.




Saturday 20 April 2013

SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY REVIEW: The Bloodline Feud - Charles Stross

Release Date: 11/04/13
Publisher:  Tor (Pan Macmillan)

SYNOPSIS:

The Family Trade and The Hidden Family - The first two installments of the Merchant Princes series combined in one volume. Miriam Beckstein is a successful reporter for a hi-tech magazine. So when she discovers a huge money-laundering scam, she thinks she's hit the big time. But when she takes it to her editor, not only is she fired, but she starts to receive death threats. And that's just the beginning. To distract her furious daughter, Miriam's adoptive mother unearths mementos from her real mother, murdered when she was an infant. But these reveal a secret that will ultimately throw entire governments into disarray. For what Miriam thinks is a simple locket has the power to fling her into an alternate timeline. In this less-developed world, knights on horseback wield automatic weapons, and world-skipping assassins lurk -- all on the other side of our reality. Here, her true family runs a criminal empire -- and they want her back. But Miriam has other plans.


REVIEW:

To be honest this isn’t a new book by Charles but a republishing of the first two titles in Merchant Princes series (The Family Trade and The Hidden Family) so fans hoping for a new title will be sadly disappointed with this. Yet worry not, if you’ve not read these books yet, you have one hell of a ride ahead.

Blending Sci-Fi and Fantasy together, Charles really gives the reader one hell of a ride for their buck, it has some cracking characters, great prose and a whole set of events that have far reaching consequences within the worlds concerned. All round it’s a cracking read and when you add Charles own unique writing style to the fore really gives you a couple of books that will keep you glued from start to finish, trust me, it’s well worth picking up this series in order to read them back to back. Great stuff.



Friday 19 April 2013

VIDEO GAME NEWS: The Evil Within - Bethesda Announcement


Hail Mighty Readers,
Our friends at Bethesda have let us know about their forthcoming Horror Survial title, The Evil Within, that will be released next year for:
Xbox 360
PS3
PC

Created and directed by Shinji Mikami, the father of Resident Evil,  then you know its going to be something special, but before you read what Bethesda have had to say, take a sneaky peak at this live action trailer, it definitely sets the mood with Lady Eleanor having perused it a few times so that she can run her critical horror eye upon it.


Here's Bethesda's statement: "Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax® Media company, today announced the planned release of The Evil Within™, a survival horror game developed at Tango Gameworks™ under the direction of renowned game designer and studio head, Shinji Mikami. Best known as the father of the survival horror genre and creator of the Resident Evil series, Mikami is a 20-year veteran of the industry who has developed numerous award-winning titles. The official announcement trailer can be viewed today at IGN.com. The Evil Within, in development for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, the PC, and next generation consoles, is slated for release in 2014. On Monday, April 22nd additional information about The Evil Within will be revealed in an exclusive feature story at IGN.com.    “We’re incredibly proud to announce The Evil Within,” said Mikami. “My team and I are committed to creating an exciting new franchise, providing fans the perfect blend of horror and action.”    

We hope you're as excited as we are,  


Gareth and Lady Eleanor

SCIENCE FICTION STEAMPUNK REVIEW: Pollen - Jeff Noon

Release Date: 11/04/13
Publisher:  Tor (Pan Macmillan)

SYNOPSIS:

The sweet death of Coyote, master taxi driver, was only the first. Soon people are sneezing and dying all over Manchester. Telekinetic cop Sybil Jones knows that, like Coyote, they died happy -- but even a happy death can be a murder. As exotic blooms begin to flower all over the city, the pollen count is racing towards 2000 and Sybil is running out of time.


REVIEW:

The second novel in the series by Jeff Vurt and to be honest I’m just pleased that I read them back to back as otherwise the complex cyberpunk world would have not only become confusing but also something that would have had me missing certain links and sleight of hand tricks that made this such a compelling read.

The prose is sharp, the story wonderfully rich and when added to characters who the reader just can’t help but want to know more about, all round makes this a series that for me has to be a modern classic. Add to the mix some wonderfully subtle twists, alongside some seriously delicious dialogue and all round you’re in for one hell of a treat. Great stuff.




HISTORICAL URBAN FANTASY: Milkweed Triptych 3: Necessary Evil - Ian Tregillis

Release Date: 30/04/13
Publisher:  Orbit

SYNOPSIS:

The history of the Twentieth Century has been shaped by a secret conflict between technology and magic. When a twisted Nazi scientist devised a way to imbue ordinary humans with supernatural abilities - to walk through walls, throw fire and see the future - his work became the prized possession of first the Third Reich, then the Soviet Army. Only Britain's warlocks, and the dark magics they yield, have successfully countered the threat posed by these superhuman armies. But for decades, this conflict has been manipulated by Gretel, the mad seer. And now her long plan has come to fruition. And with it, a danger vastly greater than anything the world has known. Now British Intelligence officer Raybould Marsh must make a last-ditch effort to change the course of history - if his nation, and those he loves, are to survive.


REVIEW:

To be honest this is a series that I’ve not been a huge fan of, not because I’ve disliked the concept but purely because I really can’t get on with the principle characters as I don’t feel that I have an emotional link to them to care about their fates. Its tricky to read a book when this happens and when it’s the same problem time and again throughout its something that really does leave you thinking that this author is not going to be for you.

That said, the story ideas are clever and the way that the author works on the pace does take it along at a reasonable rate so much so that there will be quite a few prepared to forgive the character defects to see what unfurls. Unfortunately I’m not one of them so whilst I will try the first book in a new series from this author it will be the last chance that Ian gets in my TBR pile.



SCIENCE FICTION CYBERPUNK REVIEW: Vurt - Jeff Noon

Release Date: 11/04/13
Publisher:  Tor (Pan Macmillan)

SYNOPSIS:

The 20th Anniversary Edition with a foreword by Lauren Beukes and three fantastic new short stories, all set in the extraordinary world of Vurt Take a trip in a stranger's head. Travel rain-shot streets with a gang of hip malcontents, hooked on the most powerful drug you can imagine. Yet Vurt feathers are not for the weak. As the mysterious Game Cat says, 'Be careful, be very careful'. But Scribble isn't listening. He has to find his lost love. His journey is a mission to find Curious Yellow, the ultimate, perhaps even mythical Vurt feather. As the most powerful narcotic of all, Scribble must be prepared to leave his current reality behind.


REVIEW:

If you want a twisted convoluted Cyberpunk world that takes modern day Manchester to a twisted slick future, then you really have to read this book by Jeff Noon. The world is wonderfully delightful to spend time in, with fully realised characters, cracking thoughts such as a corporate owned police force all wrapped up with a storyline that really grabs you by the nether regions refusing to let go.

Back all this up with top notch prose, great characters alongside a plot line that keeps you guessing and all round I was a more than happy reader by the final page. Just thank god I have the second to embark upon straight away as I found this title to be almost as addictive as the mythical curious yellow feather.




Thursday 18 April 2013

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Warhammer 40K: Space Wolves: Blood of Asaheim - Chris Wraight

Release Date: 14/03/13
Publisher:  Black Library

SYNOPSIS:

The feral warrior-kings of Fenris, the Space Wolves are the sons of Leman Russ. Savage heroes, few can match their ferocity in battle. After half a century apart, Space Wolves Ingvar and Gunnlaugr are reunited. Sent to defend an important shrine world against the plague-ridden Death Guard, the Grey Hunters clash with the pious Sisters of Battle, who see the Space Wolves as little better than the enemy they fight. As enemies close in around them and treachery is revealed, Gunnlaugr and his warriors must hold the defenders together - even as hidden tensions threaten to tear their pack apart.


REVIEW:

Usually I’m a huge fan of the Space Wolves and any action that they take part in, however this time there was just something about it that I couldn’t get into. It wasn’t a badly written book, far from it but for me I found the character one that I just couldn’t associate with, the action sequences seemed a lot of the same old what’s gone on before and for me it really didn’t give me something unique or a tale that stood out on its own.

That said, the author does give it some good action sequences, some solid prose but all round for me, it’s a book that I just couldn’t get on with.



Wednesday 17 April 2013

SCIENCE FICTION FILM TIE IN: Star Wars: Book of Sith - Daniel Wallace

Release Date: 17/04/13
Publisher: Titan

SYNOPSIS:

The Sith have existed in the galaxy for centuries, lurking, waiting for their chance to seize control. In his quest for domination, Darth Sidious tracked down five pivotal Sith texts written by his most powerful predecessors. Then, drawing on the knowledge within the compiled pages, he wrote a sixth text - his own manifesto. Together, these documents shed light on the philosophy, achievements, and failures of the Sith Order.


REVIEW:

Fans of the Star Wars Universe will have a lot of fun with the latest companion that follows fast on the heels of the Jedi handbook as ancient Sith documents come together to give a fuller flavour of the darkside in a manuscript that has been owned by several known characters.

Carefully crafted, the reader gets top notch illustrations alongside the history of the anti-jedi order which all round makes this book a cracking title for the fan in your life’s shelf so much so that I can think of several who’ll be clamouring to be my own “apprentice.” Just remember those who follow the Sith path tend to murder their masters.