Sunday, 20 January 2019

Book Review 39 // Valedor by Guy Haley

Welcome my small collective of loyal readers. We are still in January and I have managed to complete book two of 2019! I'm of to a good start and pretty proud of myself. For my second novel I treated myself to an Aeldari themed novel. Not only does it mean I get to read about my favourite 40k race but it also means I get to add to my Aeldari Encyclopedia. But that's not all. It is also Iyanden themed so it fits exactly to the army I enjoy playing the most, making it a triple enjoyable book so let us jump straight to it!

Book Details

Title: Valedor
Author: Guy Haley
Publisher: Black Library
Type: Paperback
Paperback: 334
Commercial Fluff: 
Long ago defiled by the Imperium of Man, the eldar maiden world of Dûriel was once a glittering jewel in the crown of the Valedor System. As the tyranids of Hive Fleet Leviathan sweep through the sector consuming everything in their path, wayward Prince Yriel of Iyanden discovers that the farseers have inadvertently brought a greater threat to bear – a fragment of Hive Fleet Kraken, hurled into the warp in order to save the craftworld, has returned. The tyranid fleets cannot be allowed to combine, or their genetic legacies will merge into something even more terrible. Alongside allied forces from Craftworld Biel-Tan and even the dark eldar of Commorragh, Yriel has no choice but to fight on to the bitter end...

Review

Wow I really enjoyed this novel. Now I am a big fan of the Aeldari and Iyanden so it was amazing to read all about the Craftworld and the ghosthalls, but to have the doomed Prince Yriel as a main character was really the cherry on the cake. Prince Yriel is the sole reason I now collect Iyanden, ever since the Doom of Eldar board game came out I have been obsessed with the Eldritch Raiders. I even ran a Eldritch Raiders themed army back in 6th edition (mostly consisting of Storm Guardians and losing a lot). But let's get back to the book.

Valedor is a tale of two halves, the first is the fall out of hive fleet Krakens attack on Iyanden, whilst the second is the planetside battle to finally end Kraken's spawn. As the story unfolds it becomes clear that two different Tyranid fleets are about to merge on Valdor leading to a stronger Fleet of Tyranids - one which would ultimately doom all the galaxy. That means it is up to Farseer Taec Silvereye of Iyanden to find allies from across the Aeldari race and speed to Valedor and his doom.

This tale has a lot of well described battles and some in depth descriptions of the webway and of two Craftworlds. It was also a lot of fun to see Iyanden, Biel-tan, Cult of Strife, Kabel of the Black Heart and Harlequins of the Veiled Path all form together to tackle this problem. There is also a rather quick mention of the phoenix lords. For myself tho the chapters involving Yriel were my favourites, especially how they hint at his background, alongside his role to play in the Ynnead saga.

Overall an epic read. I really enjoyed this and would be very happy for Guy Haley to write more about Yriel and the Aeldari. But for now my mind is racing with characters to build and terrain to work on so watch this space.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Book Review 38 // Double Eagle by Dan Abnett

New year and book one of twenty is now complete. This year for Books of 2019 I am challenging myself to read twenty books. This should be possible as I completed twenty two in 2018. So with this in mind we start with book Double Eagle. Technically finished in 2018 one day before New Year, but it is being blogged about in 2019 so let's move forwards.

Title: Double Eagle
Author: Dan Abnett
Publisher: Black Library
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 416
Commerical Fluff: In the blood soaked Sabbat worlds crusade, Warmaster Macaroth's Imperial Crusade Force is attempting to halt a massive counter attack led by the Chaos legions of the dread-lord Anakwanar Sek.

Review

Double Eagle reads like a history reenactment and easy parallels can be drawn between the Battle of Britain and the Battle of Enothis. The tale follows the war efforts of a small number of Imperial Planes holding back the tide of Chaos.

Lucky for the reader this is a Dan Abnett book which means it's not just gore and violence. Instead we get a very human story of the battle. We have a main cast of maybe fifteen characters that Dan Abnett isn't afraid to kill off, so don't get to attached. We get combat that is nail biting and furious, we are also left wondering who is going to win.

What I really enjoyed was Abnett's ability to bring Enothis to life and how/when it fits into the Gaunt's Ghost series. We learn of the war on the planet and the failed final offensive, we learn how the planet is located on the flank of the Macroth push campaign, we learn of the people, the cities, even the churches and we even mourn their loss throughout the campaign.

Having read this book it is hard not to go log on to the Forgeworld Website and purchase a thunderbolt plane of my own.

A great tale and so different to anything I've read before. Go treat yourself and read this inspiring novel.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Comic Review 32 // The Complete Case File 06

Wow seems like forever since a comic review, so let's start 2019 with a review! I've been so into reading that my comic reviews have taken a hit. In order to fix this error here is Judge Dredd the Complete Case Files 06. Spaning 2000AD Progs 271 -321 set in the Dredd years of 2104-2105. I'm excited to jump back in as when I last left the series the Apocalypse War between Mega City 1 and East Meg 1 had come to a dramatic finish, so to finally find out how the city rebuilds is quite exciting.


Story: Meka City (Part 1) - Following the war in MC-1 many robot servants were left ownerless seeking a purpose to existence. Lucky for them Precious Leglock is able to step up and lead them. Within two days the glorious Meka City is built, at it's heart a wrestling ring for the King of Robots.
Highlight: Precious Leglock - A robot wrestling champ, his body is encased in jewels and he has a heart as black as a Rad pit!

Story: Meka City (Part 2) - Dredd is now on the case of the Robot Rebellion City located in Sector 555 to the south. Here Dredd discovers the Meka City and it's ruthless leader Precious Leglock.
Highlight: Still Precious Leglock - styled on the wrestlers of the 80's Leglock has a great habit of calling everyone a pencil neck and using the term Dingaling.


Story: The League of Fatties (Part 1) - Due to a lack of food the city's citizens are now on rationing. This is fully understandable unless your a professional fatty! Starving and hated by the great publics, fatties are taking a stand against the Judges and demanding fairer food portions.
Highlight: The failed match on the Justice HQ. The twenty kilometre walk really does the fatties in.

Story: The League of Fatties (Part 2) - Following a successful raid on a food supply camp, The League of Fatties start launching bolder raid attempts. Not even the fear of arrest or Death could slow down their need for more food.
Highlight: Kamikazes Fatties - Seeking a surefire way to stop a food convoy, one fatty launches himself off a cliff into a passing truck to help set up an ambush!

Story: Fungus (Part 1) - A group of foraging tramps come across a strange looking fungus in the ruins of Sector 1. One poor tramp named Grubby get's too close and becomes infected by the tiny spores.
Highlight: Grubby is in fact Mayor Jim Grubb. Assumed dead after he went missing in the opening stages of the war. Seems the Mayor is back, but there is little chance of a re-elect

Story: Fungus (Part 2) - With Grubby dead, MC-1 Medically Judge Kildare takes matters into his own hands and purposefully infects himself with Grubb's disease.
Highlight: Judge Kildare - takes a special man to risk his life in such a way. It almost seems like Dredd has respect for the judge!

Story: Fungus (Part 3) - Eight tramps infected by the Grubbs disease are loose in MC-1 and Dredd only has sixty minutes to find them.
Highlight: Official Deception -  As the disease starts to spread Chief Judge McGruder makes the call to lie to the public and tell those infected that they have a cure. Then in the final frames of the comic the truth is relieved and the infect are told there is no hope and that they a wait a slow fungus death!  

Story: The Game Show Show RIP (Part 1) - Game show hosts are disappearing across the city and soon it is up to Dredd to discover where they are all going?
Highlight: Classic Body in the chem pit. Love this scene and not entirely sure how many times it gets used. But this one is just a classic, as they use a bucket scoop digger to drag out forty bodies!

Story: The Game Show Show (Part 2) - Having discovered the bodies of the missing TV hosts Dredd is now on the search for the killer.
Highlight: Flesh eating Worm of Orbo. So creepy watching them drop as a cube onto Barrie's head before they munched him down to the bone.



Story: Gunge - A new food product has taken MC-1 by storm. Gunge by Otto Sump, is half the price of normal food! Flavors include - Mould Jam, Snake Rings, Maggots Steaks, Slime sauce, Bacteria Soup and Grot Pot.
Highlight: Otto Sump - Once again the ugly salesman has hit the big time and once again Dredd shuts him down. I love the twist at the end of this tale and shows how controlling and manipulating the Justice Department is.

Story: Destiny's Angels (Part 1) - The warden of ISO Block 666 has lost his mind and releases the inmates of floor K. Amongst this deadly criminals is Fink Angel. Now he is loose and seeking revenge on Dredd (classic).
Highlight: The Judge Child - If you don't remember this character than you need to head back to the Judge Child saga. This child was meant to be MC-1's saviour unfortunately for him he was kidnapped by the Angel gang. Seems the child is still holding a grudge over being abandoned by Dredd. Find this character annoying but in a good way. You need to hate a villian.

Story: Destiny's Angels (Part 2) - With Fink Angel loose on the streets of MC-1, Dredd has his hands full. Then to make matters worse the dumb Judge Child has raised Mean Machine Angel from the dead to help Fink exact revenge on Judges Hersey and Dredd.
Highlight: Mean Machine - Such a lovable character there was no way they could keep him dead for long. You definitely don't want to be on the long trip space flight with him!

Story: Destiny's Angels (Part 3) - Fink Angel is at Resyk searching for his pet rat - Ratty. As dead Resyk worker bodies start to mount up it is up to Dredd to track down Fink Angel and attempt to stop him.
Highlight: Ratty - A bite from a Cursed Earth Rat is fatal. But don't fret this little guy has a bowler hat.


Story: Destiny's Angels (Part 4) - A week has passed since the last episode and Mean Machine has finally arrived in MC-1. After speaking to the survivors Hersey discovers Mean Machine is back in town and immediately informs Dredd of the dire news. Piecing the parts together Dredd with help from the PSI department is able to discover that the Judge Child is behind it all.
Highlight: Mean Machines Arrival - The perfect entry for this mad man. Mean hi-jacks the interstellar express and just nose dives it straight into MC-1. Just love this character!

Story: Destiny's Angels (Part 5) - Mean has finally found Fink and together they team up to take on Dredd. Starting at his house where poor Maria and Walter are home alone. Elsewhere Dredd dispatches a droid controlled ship to seek out the Judge Child on Xanadu and end this child's reign of terror.
Highlight: Fink - After paralzying Mean it almost seemed like Fink was going to kill his own brother. The perfect psycho family.

Story: Destiny's Angels (Part 6) - After invading Dredd's home Mean Machine head butts his way through Walter the Wobot, whilst Fink believes he has captured Dredd's wife (it's actually Maria the Housekeeper). Soon the lawman has his apartment surrounded only to watch the Angels disappear into the sewer system.
Highlight: Walter Destroyed! - Love this. I know he will be back but there is something very satisfying about seeing Walter destroyed.

Story: Destiny's Angels (Part 7) - With Maria now a hostage, Dredd is left with no choice other than following the Angel brother's demands. Heading into a bombed out sector Dredd is soon ambushed by the pair and taken to Fink's lair. But is Dredd really at the Angel's mercy?
Highlight: Ratty - Becomes the messenger, how on earth did he know where to find Dredd?

Story: Destiny's Angels (Part 8) - Dredd is now fighting for his life against the two brothers. Can Dredd stand up to the might of two Angels? I won't spoil it, go read it.
Highlight: Lowlight - the endings seemed rushed. Here we have a 8 part comic and the ending is rushed and all too obvious. Would have preferred a more epic duel.

Story: Rabid - After three travellers are attacked by Robotic Dogs, it is up to Dredd to track down the beasts and put them down.
Highlight: Short story nothing that special about the piece. Was quick and nice artwork.

Story: Blobs - A new craze has taken MC-1 by storm. First came the Uglies now comes the blob. Using face changing technology criminals are now using this trend to hide their identities. With the same clothes and no distinguishing features it is now impossible to pick out a perp in a line up.
Highlight: The kidnapping panel was by far the stand out piece and sums the story up perfectly.

Story: The Executioner (Part 1) - A mysterious figure all in Black is dealing out street Justice to those who the law is struggling to bring to Justice. But as is well known Dredd hates a Vigilante!
Highlight: The Highlight Rooms - Mega City One's Premier Hovering Nightspot. I can't help but look at this artwork and imagine how cool it would be to run a rpg campaign, were the restaurant has been taken over and the Judges have to work their way to the control room.

Story: The Executioner (Part 2) - We start to discover more about the identity of the Executioner and why she is doing it all.
Highlight: Dredd's Heavy handedness - Dredd seems to be a bit clumsy in this prog, leaning on an injured perps leg during an interrogation.

Story: The Executioner (Part 3) - Here we discover that Dredd suspects the Executioner is none other than a Judge! Can it be true?
Highlight: Chivo Bros Discount Depository of the Semi Dead - Love one dieing on you? Feeling the cold icy touch of Death? Then get yourself professional frozen for a small fee and hope to get cure before your cash runs out.

Story: The Executioner (Part 4) - The Executioner is gaining speed but as the body count rises Dredd gains more and more clues and starts to close in on the killer.
Highlight: The Executioner - Goes out in the best possible way, the perfect ending to this tale.

Story: Jimps - Once again the top criminals meet to try to come up with the perfect crime. This time it's the turn of Heck Stokely. This seasons crime is Jimps - Judge Impersonates.
Highlight: Jimps - No matter the plan it always goes wrong, poor Heck Stokely loses a dozen men.


Story: Night of the Rad-Beast (Part 1)- A half melted cyborg emerges from the rad pits, seeking flesh. Seems we are into a classic monster hunt (set during Xmas)
Highlight: The monster - Great artwork and a great idea for story. An old man mostly replaced by machines is killed by a Tap Gang and comes back from the dead!

Story: The Night of the Rad-Beast (Part 2) - Dredd is hot on the trail of the Rad-Beast, can Dredd stop the Cyborg or will Christmas be ruined?
Highlight: Apocalypse Monument - A giant statue to remember those killed during the Apocalypse war. Feel like I should make one for the table could be a great scenery piece.

Story: The Last Invader (Part 1) - Engel a East Meg Judge has been hiding since the end of the war. Alone in a strange land Engel has convinced himself that the war is still on. Now Engel plans to wage a one man war on MC-1.
Highlight: Engel reaching out to an agony aunt for advice but gets called insane instead!

Story: The Last Invader (Part 2) - Engel's is waging a guerilla war on MC-1 starting with the Agony Aunt. Can Dredd stop the last East Meg Invader in time?
Highlight: Dredd being clumsy again. Whilst wearing a Jet pack Dredd attempts to take Engel by surprise. Though ultimately successful Dredd does bang his head of the ceiling.

Story: Shanty Town (Part 1) - For too long the Shanty Town located outside of MC-1 has been a haven for criminal gangs. Now it is up to Dredd and his task force to bring law back to the lawless.
Highlight: The family of Organ sellers - Such a depressing but comical scene.

Story: Shanty Town (Part 2) - Dredd's team starts dealing out justice within the Shanty Town but how long can they go before the locals retaliate.
Highlight: Mad Mox, Girth and Peewee - A team of lunatic perps that escaped the Psycho cubes during the Apoc Wars. Now running a criminal ring the Shanty Town.

Story: Shanty Town (Part 3) - Judge Glennon is dead after falling foul of Mad Mox. Now Mox is rounding up the local gangs and preparing to chase the judges out of town.
Highlight: Mad Mox - How someone so crazy can rally a town is beyond me but I love the character especially as he now has a Stub gun!

Story: Shanty Town (Part 4) - The Judges are under siege in a ruined Strato-V deep in the Shanty Town. What are the chances they will survive?
Highlight: Dredd condemns Shanty Town, due to the high risk of crime coming back. Then MC-1 burns down the shanty town destroying the city completely.

Story: Prezzel Logic - Once again the MC-1 highest rank criminals meet to design the perfect plan. This month's theme is: How to get rid of Dredd.
Highlight: Spontaneous Confessors - Some citizens are so bored they turn to owning up to crimes they didn't commit to pass the time.

Story: Trapper Hag (Part 1) - Alien Bounty Hunter Trapper Hag has arrived in MC-1 hoping to score big, unfortunately all he has found is Dredd and boy is Dredd pissed!
Highlight: Trapper Hag- Imagine a wookie on steroids and you aren't far off. I really need to make this character. Such a cool theme.

Story: Trapper Hag (Part 2) - After receiving an ass kicking from Trapper Hag, Dredd's ego has also taken a beaten. Now it is Dredd on the offensive after discovering the locations of Hag's Ship.
Highlight: Trapper Hag's Beasts - Weird Dog like creatures that seem able to track down anyone they have the scent of.

Story: Trapper Hag (Part 3) - Dredd is onboard the alien Trapper Hag's ship. Here he discovers all the collected bounties and confronts the aliens beast.
Highlight: Trapper Hag's demise - As the bounty hunter believes he has bested the lawman, Dredd tricks the alien and destroys his teleported before knocking him unconscious. No one bests Earth's greatest lawman.

Story: The Prankster - The Grand Hall of Justice is finally built then during the opening ceremony it collapses. It seems the Prankster has struck once again. Now it is up to Dredd to track down the perps.
Highlight: The Pranksters newest prank - Using a strap on chin he attempts to sneak into the new Grand Hall of Justice to plant explosives fooling Judges as he goes.

Story: Starborn Thing (Part 1) - Dredd is sent to investigate a crashed UFO in the Griff Mountains.
As the group venture further into the mountain pass stranger and stranger things start to happen. Then suddenly it all stops and the group discover the crashed UFO.
Highlight: The Mountains - Cool scene were the rocks come to life as giant faces and hands and proceed to eat/smash the Judges.

Story: Starborn Thing (Part 2) - Dredd and the team have discovered an alien projectile that has given birth to alien, an alien in pain. Soon the mysterious alien dies and gives birth to a weird tentacled creature.
Highlight: Starborn -  A weird tentacled creature straight out of a Cthulhu story. Though it looks weird it is quick as anything and soon takes over Dredd!

Story: Starborn Thing (Part 3) - Dredd is under the control of a weird alien parasite. Forced to head into the Cursed Earth Dredd begins to attack a Mutie Settlement.
Highlight: Starborn - The last page of this prog showcasing the alien cracks me up. The weird bulbous alien crawling away to the settlement, pure B-Movie fun.

Story: Starborn Thing (Part 4) - The alien parasite is slowly working it's way through the mutie settlement. What could it possibly be up to and can Dredd recover before it is too late.
Highlight: The Muties - Can't beat a good Cursed Earth Mutie.

Story: Starborn Thing (Part 5) - Having helped to save the Mutie Settlement, Dredd is overcomed by a pain in his stomach. As he attempts to get back to MC-1 the muties of the settlement all start showing the same illness.
Highlight: Dredd is having a baby! Turns out the parasites laid an egg in Dredd!!

Story: Starborn Thing (Part 6) - Arriving to late to save the Muties, Dredd has to wait thirteen days before getting the chance to extract revenge on the Starborn things.
Highlight: Don't have one. I feel the story fizzled out and lacked a real strong ending.

Story: Judge Dredd - Mr Waglan is seriously pissed off that he has to refill his car and going on a manic crazy spree.
Highlight: Ejector Seat -Mr Waglan ejects his captive via the passenger seat, straight into the chasing Dredd. I'm quite surprised Dredd didn't dodge him!

Story: The Stupid Gun (Part 1) - An unfortunate Juve has managed to get in over his head after accidently using a Neuro Disruptor gun. Now with the gun falling into criminals hands it is up to Dredd to follow the trail of stupidity and recover the gun.
Highlight: Bogel's Shuggy Joint - Shuggy is one of my favourite things from the Judge Dredd universe so seeing inside a Shuggy Hall is always a bonus.

Story: The Stupid Gun (Part 2) - The stupid gun is in the hands of criminal elements is being used throughout the city to commit crimes. Unfortunately after being used on an Interblock zoom the perps find themselves on a speeding out of control train!
Highlight: Interblock Zoom - The monorail of the future, these trains can reach frightening speeds so when they go out of control it becomes a speeding giant bullet.

Story: The Stupid Gun (Part 3) - With the Wall Street Terminus rapidly approaching it falls on Dredd to somehow board the Interblock Zoom and stop the train before it's to late.
Highlight: Classic ending to the tail to real standout part.

Story: Condo (Part 1) - The story opens with a space condominium plunging towards earth. Seems someone has it in for the Gemini Condo program. It's up to Dredd to visit Gemini 3 and discover the truth behind the attacks.
Highlight: Ezquerra Artwork - I know I'm not the first to say this but Ezquerra's Artwork is just so beautiful and skilled it is a pure pleasure to view his version of the Dredd world.

Story: Condo (Part 2) - Having discovered a sabator, Dredd is now facing the destruction of Gemini 3 as it travels into a meteor shower without shielding. Can Dredd save the doomed condo in 20 minutes?
Highlight: There is never good news. Even though Gemini 3 survived the meteor shower it is still screwed. Life support is destroyed, 47% of the population is dead, farm land is all destroyed and the ship is now uncontrollably heading into the sun! HA only in a Dredd strip could things get so messed up.

Story: Condo (Part 3) - Gemini 3 is living on borrowed time. As the stricken vessel rushes towards the sun Dredd is left manning the escape pods. Will he be able to get everyone off?
Highlight: After Dredd discovers a line jumper for the escape pods, he forces the man to be the last person to enter a vessel. A cruel and very fitting punishment.

And with that we are finished with Case Files 06. For me this book had some serious standout tales - League of Fatties, Fungus, Destiny's Angels, Night of the Rad Beast, Trapper Hag and Starborn. The artwork throughout the book was also on high calibre. From start to finish I locked in on the tales. Yes there is no grand epic story, but instead we get to see a wider assortment of crimes and capers that happen throughout MC-1.Only lowlight for me is that we really don't experience much of the rebuilding of MC-1, would have been fun to see some of that and maybe more of the black market. Can't wait to get started on Casefiles 07.

As always hit up follow or leave me a comment below.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Book Review 37 // Mort by Terry Pratchett

Work has got busy which means less time for fun. But I did manage to get through a book! So let's not waste time let's move into the review.

Title: Mort (Death #1, Discworld #4).

Author: Terry Pratchett

Publisher: Corgi

Format: Paperback

Page Count: 243 Pages

Commercial Fluff: In this Discworld installment, Death comes to Mort with an offer he can't refuse  especially since being, well, dead isn't compulsory. As Death's apprentice, he'll have free board and lodging, use of the company horse, and he won't need time off for family funerals. The position is everything Mort thought he'd ever wanted, until he discovers that this perfect job can be a killer on his love life.

Review:

This novel is great! First up we get to finally meet Death and join him on his search of an apprentice. Here enters Mort, an awkward gangly, young boy with no prospect of a future. What happens next is a slight twist on a classic coming of age story. The development of the character Mort is handled really well and really makes the book. We have romance, adventure, awkwardness, humour and curry.

For me this was the first book with true characters and character growth. We got introduced to a very human Death and Mort really became a man. If I had to pick a starting point for a Discworld introduction this would be my pick. If you have not read this title, do yourself a favor and go pick it up. You will not regret it.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Book Review 36 // Horus Rising by Dan Abnett

The books just keep coming! I am really surprising myself with how much I have read this year. So with this in mind I am now attempting to jump between a Discworld book and a Black Library book to help with burn outs and to start getting through some big series of books. Having completed Equal Rights I decided to jump into Horus Rising by Dan Abnett. I have already reviewed a couple of the Horus Heresy books already, but never the opening title so here we go.

Book Stats

Title: Horus Rising (Horus Heresy #1)

Author: Dan Abnett

Publisher: Black Library

Format: Paperback

Page Count: 412 Pages

Commercial Fluff: After thousands of years of expansion and conquest, the imperium of man is at its height. His dream for humanity nearly accomplished, the emperor hands over the reins of power to his warmaster, Horus, and heads back to Terra. But is Horus strong enough to control his fellow commanders and continue the emperor's grand design?


Review

This isn't the first time reading this novel so I knew what I was getting into. The best thing about this tale is how well Dan Abnett makes a sci-fi military novel. There is no crazy movie style battles in this book, it's a more straightforward realistic combat adventure. We have a cast characters that are well balanced, believable and made to seem more human than they really are. The main character we follow in this tale is a Captain Loken. At the start he is just a company Captain, but following an early action Loken is promoted to the Mournival- a group of four senior officers whose role is to advise Horus and act like the Primarchs voice of reason or his political tools. But soon Loken starts to realise all is not what it seems. As the story progresses he starts noticing that secrets are being withheld and not all is as it seems with the perfect Imperium of Man.

I really enjoyed the book. It showed a future villain as a hero, the man that could have been. We also see the manipulation starting to happen by the end of the book and how the Word Bearers are starting to become the puppet masters of the Heresy. It's a great intro to this series and doesn't really need you to understand much as it makes good work explaining it. It has definitely ignited the spark to read more of these titles.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Book Review 35 // Equal Right by Terry Pratchett

So comically I had a very popular blog back in the day called The Fallen Princes. It followed purely my adventures with wargaming and tabletop games. Then I lost momentum and the blog felt like a chore, the painting didn't come naturally. So I stopped blogging, years past and the old blog haunted me. It haunted me so much I deleted it. It is a decision I've always regretted. I wish I still had that out blog so I could revisit it and make fun of myself and my writing.

Now jump forward in time to this blog. I thought I could recapture those early blogging days and improve, instead making it a more rounded hobby blog, wargaming, beers, books and comics. I wouldn't force myself to blog instead I would just let it happen. And so far that is exactly what I have done and it seems to be working for me. Though the blog is more focused on my reading than anything else, it has helped me to express my thoughts more and has helped to push me more. Especially on the reading front which is amazing. I believe this book is number 20 of the year and I could not be more pleased with myself. At the start of the year I felt I would not complete the task instead I'm going stronger than ever before. So let's jump into this newest review:

Book Stats


Title: Equal Rights (Discworld #3, Witches #1)
Author: Terry Pratchett
Publisher: Corgi
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 228 Pages
Commercial Fluff: They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance. The last thing the wizard Drum Billet did, before Death laid a bony hand on his shoulder, was to pass on his staff of power to the eighth son of an eighth son. Unfortunately for his colleagues in the chauvinistic (not to say misogynistic) world of magic, he failed to check that the baby in question was a son. Everybody knows that there’s no such thing as a female wizard. But now it’s gone and happened, there’s nothing much anyone can do about it. Let the battle of the sexes begin…

Review

My third step into the discworld and my first into the Witches series. I love the fact that it holds strong links to the earlier books (with the unseen university), but I love it more for showing us a completely different aspect of the disc. This story focuses on two characters Granny Weatherwax and Esk. Esk is meant to be the focus of the book as she comes to terms becoming the first female wizard on the disc.

The book plays upon the idea of what men and women can and can't be. With Pratchett jumping on age old ideas and forcing the citizens of the disc to get with the times!

The true highlight of the book is Granny Weatherwax. A witch from Bad Ass (hehehehe). Granny is just as bad as the wizards for a lack of open mindedness. But as the story progress she sees what Esk could be come and helps her to reach her full potential. We also see Granny standing up and taking names throughout the entire story and I can now see why she ends up in so many tales. Low light for me is the ending, all seems a bit rushed. It felt like Pratchett suddenly ran out of pages and didn't fully realise the ending.

Overall a great read and a great intro to Granny can't wait to get to her next tale but I believe next up is Mort and D'eath :)

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Book Review // 34 Crossfire by Matthew Farrer (Shira Calpurnia #1)

With my 2018 book challenge complete I am trying to not sit on my laurels and continue reading as much as I can. So with that in mind I picked up Crossfire by Matthew Farrer. This book showcases a different side to 40k and I was excited to jump into it.

Book Stats

Title: Crossfire
Author: Matthew Farrer
Publisher: Black Library
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 288

Commercial Fluff: The busting dockyards in the Hydraphur system are home to the mighty Imperial warfleets. They dock, repair, rearm and depart in an endless cycle of war. But even in this heart of imperial space, conflict exists. A great religious festival provides the perfect catalyst for civil unrest, political intrigue and murder in the vast Hive cities. Newly arrived Arbites officer, Shira Calpurnia finds herself in the thick of the action when she becomes the target of a series of assassination attempts. Coping with corruption and betrayal from within the ranks of the Arbites, Shira must discover who is trying to kill her before civil unrest turns to all out heresy. Caught in the crossfire, can she survive the intrigues of the ancient and callous aristocracy of this vital naval base?

Review

I had tried reading this book a few years ago and had never finished it. So I decided to dust it off and give it another go. Unlike most of the 40k novels this doesn't involve a war or aliens or even Space Marines. This book instead follows Shira Calpurnia an Adeptus Arbitors (ie a Police/detective) and the story starts with her arrival on the planet of Hydraphur. This story is very much a detective novel, with new clues being discovered every chapter until the final reveal.

We are treated by the author to a great female lead and an impressive opening couple of chapters (I especially loved the descriptions of the chapels and shrines of the different Adeptus), but as the story continues it seems to lose momentum. Soon we are jumping from scene to scene chasing down a plot that has lost it way. Though it had a strong start I can now see why I didn't finish it the first time. But I am glad I continued to the end.

Overall a solid read. Not my favourite due to the slow pace. I am happy to have finished it and I am sure I will attempt the other tales in the series.

Pros: 
  • Descriptive environment which brings the city to life.
  • Strong female character in the form of Shira Calpurnia.
Cons:
  • Pace slows down.
  • The continued use of Culture Shock throughout the story.

Beer Review 62 // Blood Brothers Unify or Die

Welcome to Brew Review. With the summer now over and autumn chilly days settling in it is time to start drinking all the stouts. It's also a great time to finally start emptying the fridge out, so I can restock it in time for Xmas. Up first is Blood Brothers' Unify or Die aged for a year (or forgotten for a year).

Details

Name: Unify or Die
Style: Spiced Stout
Brewery: Blood Brothers
Country: Canada, Toronto
ABV: 7%
Commercial Fluff: Full bodied and gluttonous, this stout has been infused with locally roasted coffee, cinnamon and vanilla to create a beer appropriate for dessert... or any occasion.

Own Opinion

Label: It's their generic Hand logo. Though cool looking I would love to see more of their cooler labels.
Pour: Thick black pour with a wonderful mocha head. This is what I love about stouts, just looks delicious.
Aroma: Sweet notes of vanilla. chocolate and coffee.
Taste: Sweet chocolate, very smooth beer as you drink more and the brew warms the coffee flavours build and a gentle heat from the cinnamon joins in.
Would I buy it again: Yes! This was a great beer and aged really well! This brewery is on my must visit list for whenever I next visit Toronto (is it shocking that the last time I went was about seven years ago!).

I am so happy for it to be stout season again. What is everyone else drinking today?

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Book Review 33 // The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

Note to self - Always save your work before clicking away.

As you may guess I wrote this review once already today, then the laptop died and I discovered I hadn't saved. So here is take two.

It is with great pride that I announce I have completed my 2018 challenge to myself. In the waning days of 2017, I decided it was time to challenge myself and my dyslexia to read and blog about eighteen books. Now some may think well eighteen isn't that many, well it was for me. I feel I average at best six books a years so I was tripling my best score. But here we are in the first week of October and I am blogging about book eighteen of 2018.

Want to see which books I read this year? Then follow this handy link: Books of 2018

Now let us jump into book 18 of 2018.

Book Stats

Title: The Light Fantastic (Discworld #2)

Author: Sir Terry Pratchett

Publisher: Corgi

Format: Paperback

Page Count: 241

Commercial Fluff: In The Light Fantastic only one individual can save the world from a disastrous collision. Unfortunately, the hero happens to be the singularly inept wizard Rincewind, who was last seen falling off the edge of the world...

Review

So we are reviewing my eighteenth book of the year! What a great book to finish this challenge with. Now for those who missed the first book The Colour of Magic we are introduced to the world of the disc but more importantly two characters: Rincewind a bumbling, failed but comically brilliant Wizard and Twoflower the Disc's first tourist. As the first book finishes this pair were left in a dire situation with Rincewind falling to his death over the edge of the disc. Here starts the second book.

I felt the start was a bit forced with Pratchett using the spell that is trapped in Rincewind's head to save the character. Soon after though the story really gains pace and you feel like you are on adventure with talking trees/hired thugs/crazy wizards and sun cults. The main premise of the book is that the disc is moving towards a Red Sun and as it gets closer the more crazier the people of the Disc get. Soon Rincewind and Twoflower are wrapped up in the middle of a power struggle for the soul of the Unseen University and that the only way to save the world is for Rincewind to read the eight spells of power.

I enjoy how Pratchett is able to combine tales from folklore, myths and biblical sources but putting on his own twist to make them truly his.The best example is Cohen The Barbarian, a warrior who is out living his own legend and is now an aged and ruined old man. We also get to travel to the realms of the Dungeon Dimension and Death's domain (I can't wait to reach Mort) along with discovering a high advance race who travel between realms within a magical shop!

The tale wraps up their adventure with a nice bow, with Rincewind leading the repairs on the Unseen University whilst Twoflower is heading back to his homeland with his picture box. This is a sad end to such a great adventure. I can safely say I'm hooked, so expect much more Discworld reviews coming this way. Next up will be Equal Rights (the first of the Witch series). But the next review will be back into the Grim Dark worlds of 40k.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Beer Review 61 // Resting Brew Face by Mikkeller

So my bad. Haven't reviewed a beer since July. Don't worry though as I have been drinking plenty. I could make lame promises of posting more but I feel that would be a lie. I need time to post as well as being in the right frame of mind. So until that becomes more readily available we will have to make do with random batch blogging.

Now back to the beer. I recently travelled to Albany NY state and came across Oliver's Beverage. Now this place is well worth a visit and had a crazy amount of beers on it shelves. After a good hour of walking and looking I settled on buying a load of Mikkeller and Evil Twin beers. So for a little while the beer reviews will be all about these breweries.

Details

Name: Resting Brew Face
Style: NEDIPA ( New England Double India Pale Ale).
Brewery: Mikkeller San Diego
Country: USA San Diego
ABV: 9%
Commercial Fluff: "RBF was created to be a reflection of the epitome of New England style IPA’s. Without the use of any bittering hops, the beer’s juicy hop aroma prominently features sweet, tropical melon characteristics that are supported well by a slightly robust body.  This particular batch finally reached it's proper gravity so expect the deliciousness of past batches but with an extra kick."


Own Opinion

Label: Henry and Sally have the perfect faces going on. It is a great label perfect for the beer name.
Pour: Thick, orange, full white head. Looks chewy.
Aroma: Tropical juice bomb, peach, pineapple, guava. So much fruit.
Taste: Sweet, orange peel, grapefruit, pineapple. Quite bitter finish.
Would I buy it again: Yes! This was a great beer, if I knew how good it was going to be I would have bought more than can. One to look out for.

Book Review 39 // Valedor by Guy Haley

Welcome my small collective of loyal readers. We are still in January and I have managed to complete book two of 2019! I'm of to a good...