Saturday, 16 March 2019

Book Review 45 // Jain Zar The Storm of Silence by Gav Thorpe


Welcome back for another book review of 2019, seven titles down so far this year! The following book was such a good I read, that I managed to finish it in four days. The fastest I have read a book ever. Why did I manage it so quickly? Well two reasons:
  1. Gav Thorpe: Great author and so enjoyable to read.
  2. Eldar: I love Elven material and this book is brimmed full of them. Craftworlders, Drukari, Harlequins, Pre-Fall and early post fall.
Let's jump in and get this post going.

Book Details

Title: Jain Zar The Storm of Silence
Author: Gav Thorpe
Publisher: Black Library
Type: Paperback
Page Count: 352
Commercial Fluff: The second book in the Phoenix Lords series, focusing on the fast and deadly female warrior, Jain Zar, first exarch of the Howling Banshees.

The enigmatic eldar are one of the many intelligent races that battle humankind for control of the stars. Though few in number, they are an ancient race, and their mode of war blends spirituality with a unique mastery of technology. In times of need, the entire eldar race will rouse to war led by terrifying, almost mythological figures – the phoenix lords. Each different in his or her own way, these immortal beings embody the warrior nature of the eldar. Jain Zar – the Storm of Silence – was the first phoenix lord to be recruited by Asurmen, and would prove a swift and deadly fighter, able to harness the rage of her scream to slaughter any who dare oppose her.

Review

First up Jain Zar is the second novel in the Phoenix Lord Series, the First being Asurmen. It follows a similar story arc to the first book jumping back and forth in the timelines to show how Jain Zar rose to her status and how future of 40k is now being shaped by her actions. The true highlight of this story is the descriptive history sections set during the fall that have never been truly reviled, that I enjoy the most. 

Just like the Asurmen novel the book is basically a read of two halfs. The first is set in the 40k timeline following the shared mission of the Phoenix Lords, what that mission is we don't truely know. But for Jain Zar's part it involves two Craftworlds and the rage filled Orks. In this section of the tale we visit the webway, Harlequins, Commorragh and the the Ulthwe Craftworld before heading to an Ork claimed world. In this timeline we meet Vect and a younger Eldard (pre-leader of the Seer Council of Ulthwe). Whilst the second half in the 30k timeline, deals with the rise of Jain Zar from a post Fall Gladiatrix to the hero of the Aeldari. Asurmen also has a role to play in this tale as we see him attempting to teach the Path to those who wish to listen. This section I loved the most, we learn about early Fall aeldari, some of the Crone worlds, we meet Maugan Ra (Pre-Phoenix Lord), planets of learning and how the society relied on AI to survive.

As with Gav's works I found it a joy to read. For me he is the true lore master for the Aeldari. He is great at designing and bringing life to their culture and I can't help but be absorbed by it. I found myself reading and reading late into the night. I have so much now to add to the Eldar Encyclopedia and so many ideas for new models and characters.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Book Review 44 // Reaper of Souls by Dan Abnett and Mike Lee

Coming in fast from last weeks Bloodstorm review comes Book three of the Malus Series. I can't believe how quickly I am devouring these books. They are so different and fun, maybe I should try reading more anti-hero books. Here is the review for Reaper of Souls.

Book Details

Title: Reaper of Souls
Author: Dan Abnett & Mike Lee
Publisher: Black Library
Type: Paperback
Page Count: 416
Commercial Fluff: A member of the dark elf race, Darkblade's reputation as a warrior is beyond compare and his cruelty is legendary - even by the standards of the dark elves. Having been possessed by the foul daemon Tz'arkan, Malus undertakes a perilous quest to regain five magical artefacts that will free his soul or damn him forever!

Review

We join Malus as he is heading home to the port of Kar Karond, here in the flesh houses Malus uncovers the location in the third relic. The Dagger of Torxus is located in the city's necropolis, this long black dagger is meant to have been forged from the Outer Darkness itself and seems to absorb a victims souls! The crypt of bearer is known as Eleuril the Damned - kin killer (sounds a bit like Malus).

Upon reaching the resting place Malus is shocked to discover another group of Elves plundering the tomb. Here everything starts going wrong and an evil spirit is awoken almost killing Malus! When Malus regains his wits he discovers the guardian dead and the dagger gone. Here the novel becomes a chase as Malus must discover who has taken the dagger and get it back before it enters the city of Hag Graef. Finally catching up Malus sneaks into the camp and confronts the enemies warlord. As plan commences Malus realises it is Lurhan his father!

Having slain his father and recovered the dagger Malus is now on the run for committing patricide. Being chased by Lurhan retainers Malus has to race to the Black Ark of Naggor and hope his Uncle Balneth Bale will protect him. As always nothing really goes to plan. Heavily wounded and weaken Malus is almost sold into slavery, before it is finally revealed who he is. Seemingly accepted into the Naggor court Malus is given a military title and joins an army headed to claim Hag Graef. Here we see more sibling rivalry and the return of Nigaira.

The rest of the book is one big military action, that sees Malus ultimately leading the army in a failed action to take the city. Malus also disrupts Nigaira's plans along with pissing off two cities (Hag Graef and Naggor) and has started blood fued with the Witch King. Surrounded by enemies and dangers Malus has to sneak off into the wildness in order to survive. This is a complete flip on how the last book ended. 

This is by far my favorite book of the series so far. I'm excited to see how Malus can regain his status from such a low standard. I'm also amazed how much Malus sucks at killing his siblings, so far only one has died and every time they reappear they seem stronger every time whilst Malus seems weaker. I am excited for the next book.

I am going to take a small break from the series and read Gav Thorpes Jain Zar story. Then I will go back to the series.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Book Review 43 // Bloodstorm by Dan Abnett and Mike Lee

Technically as I write this it is now March, but in truth this book falls under the February reading bracket. I've fallen slightly behind on blogging but not too far luckily. As mentioned in the last review (Daemon's Curse) I am working through Volume one of the Malus Darkblade the opening three books

I have to say I am loving the series. Malus is such a badass character and it is making me want to build a Druchii force; like I really need another army ha. With this in mind let's jump into the review.

Book Details

Title: Bloodstorm
Author: Dan Abnett & Mike Lee
Publisher: Black Library
Type: Paperback
Page Count: 413
Commercial Fluff: Possessed by the foul daemon Tz'arkan, the ruthless dark elf anti-hero Malus Darkblade is forced to seek a number of magic artefacts or his soul will be forfeit. He will have to call on all his cunning and dark wits to survive a magic labyrinth and defeat its fearsome guardian.

Review

The story unsurprisingly picks up straight from book one. With Malus returning to Hag Graef. For crimes against his own household, Malus is captured, beaten and tortured by his father. Taken almost to the brink death Malus with the help of the daemon manages to hold out, adding extra shame on his father. Released into his step sisters Nagaira care, Malus undergoes weeks off healing to recover from his ordeal. During this time Nagaira also manipulates Malus into joining her secret coven, though enjoyable at first Malus soon comes to realise all is not what it seems.

Soon Malus is doing what Malus does best and starts betraying his siblings in twisting plots worthy of a master villain. Malus uses his siblings hatred of each other to slowly bring about all their downfalls, starting with step sister Nagaira.

Fearing the Slaanesh cult and not wanting to be a puppet to a cult, Malus turns to his crippled brother Urial and his temple allies to destroy the cult (which is a hard task considering Malus stole from him in book one). During this action Malus discovers the location of the next artifact the Idol of Kolkuth. Teaming up with Urial once more; Malus somehow manages to blackmail the Drachau of Hag Graef in order to gain the power and forces needed to search for the idol. With the writ of Iron and an ability to raise an army, Malus heads off back to sea once more.

Now trapped aboard a boat and stuck with three of his siblings, the backstabbing and political power plays increase to a murderous level. Throughout this part of the book it is hard to tell who will kill whom, sibling versus sibling versus Skinriders (Nurgle Pirates). This was also my favourite part of the book, I loved the plague ridden pirates and their secret base full of treasure and death. I can't help but imagine the Plague Lords GW has been creating of late. Full of maggots and loose skin hanging off bloated organs. Gross but so awe inspiring. Here on this island Malus discovers the relic, kills off one sibling and angers two other (who I can only assume will be back). With a ship full of treasure and an ego just as big, Malus is sitting pretty as we head into book three.

I was glad to see the introduction of the character Hauclir. An ex-city guard captain, Hauclir has seen an opportunity and is taking it. Rising from the military into Highborn society, now he just has to survive it. He enjoys mocking Malus and added some comically relief throughout the story. I just like him and hope we see more of him. I also enjoyed the Slaanesh Cult and how the the elven society reacts to it being hidden among so many of the highborn.

I am very excited to start Reaper of Souls. As it promises to add even more drama.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Craftworld Iyanden 17 // Prince Yriel

Wow it is with shame that I have to say I haven't posted about a miniature since June 2018! It is crazy that a blog that was meant to showcase my wargaming has gone so long without a miniature post. Well let's fix that straight away and jump into the fray with Prince Yriel of Iyanden.

Prince Yriel is an Eldar Autarch of the Iyanden Craftworld, High Admiral of the Iyanden fleet, High Admiral of the Eldritch Raiders Corsair fleet, and is widely considered to be the greatest Eldar naval genius to have ever lived. When Iyanden was facing destruction at the hands of Hive Fleet Kraken, Yriel returned from self-imposed exile with his Eldritch Raiders to save the craftworld from becoming totally extinct. Yriel is unusual in that he holds the position of Autarch without any notable experience in any of the Eldar Paths of War (which requires individuals to select an aspect of Khaine to follow). It is rather his experience in the Path of the Mariner which qualifies him for the position.

Earliest Mention of Yriel. Top two banners
History

Yriel was born on Iyanden, but his bloodline is not purely Iyanden for he is also the bastard descendant of the House of Ulthanash. Other than his un-pure bloodline, Yriel is often considered to be greatly flawed for his sin of pride. In many tales it is hinted he may even be half Drukhari.

Hive Fleet Naga

Yriel demonstrated his tactical talent when Iyanden sent a fleet to eliminate Hive Fleet Naga in 810.M41. The commander of the fleet, Admiral Draech, was killed early in the battle when his flagship, the Auspicious Illumination of Eternity, was destroyed. A young Yriel, who was the fleet's second in command, quickly seized full control of the fleet and successfully lead Iyanden to victory. However at the same time, the defenders on the Exodite World of Halathel, the planet which the Eldar were trying to save from Naga, were slaughtered as their World Spirit shrine was overrun and destroyed by Tyranids. Yriel then became overwhelmed with rage and ordered his forces to scour all remaining life from Halathel.

Yurk

In 919.M41 Yriel and Iyanden warriors made planetfall on the backwater planet of Yurk and eliminated the Ork Warboss, who was mustering Ork forces on the planet, along with all of the Warboss's ruling caste. Yriel then withdrew without having lost a single Eldar life.

Exile

Over fifty years before Iyanden was attacked by Hive Fleet Kraken, Yriel was the High Admiral in charge of the Iyanden fleet and led Iyanden against the Chaos Lord Kallorax. Initially, Iyanden had been cautious to engage Kallorax despite Yriel's demands for action, but after the support of Chief Farseer Kelmon Firesight, Iyanden agreed to go to war. Yriel went on to use hit-and-run and subterfuge tactics to disrupt the larger Chaos fleet, and scored a decisive victory over Kallorax at the Battle of Agrion. However later during the Battle of the Burning Moon, Yriel had stripped all of Iyanden's ship and interceptor squadron in his pursuit of the enemy. Thus when Kallorax's last surviving warship launched a Cyclonic Torpedo attack against the near-defenseless Craftworld, Iyanden was devastated and hundreds of thousands of Eldar died. Nonetheless, Yriel had defeated the Chaos Fleet and personally slain Kallorax during the battle. Thus he assured himself that his actions were sound and the sacrifices a necessary price.

Upon returning Yriel expected to be honoured for his victory, but found himself instead stripped of rank for his recklessness in leaving the craftworld completely unprotected. Furious with indignation, Yriel took self-imposed exile from the craftworld and vowed he would never return. Many of his followers left with him and became Eldar Outcasts as Corsair pirates. Within a few decades, under his talented command, his Eldritch Raiders were the most feared Corsair fleet in the Galaxy. The Imperium fostered rivalries between Yriel and other pirate companies which resulted in factional fighting; his conquest and absorption of two of these rival groups (Xian's Black Raiders and the Scarlet Command) made him the single most powerful Eldar pirate.

Rogue Trader Era Wraithlords.

Hive Fleet Kraken
When Hive Fleet Kraken invaded the galaxy, Iyanden was directly in its path and was too slow to outrun its advance. The craftworld's Farseers found themselves regretting the disappearance of their fleet's greatest asset. Word of Iyanden's situation managed to reach Yriel despite the psychic blockade around the craftworld caused by the Tyranid's Shadow in the Warp. As Iyanden was on the verge of annihilation, Yriel tempered his anger towards his former home and returned to aid his people. The arrival of Yriel and his fleet tipped the balance of the space combat towards the battered Eldar, and the reinforced Eldar fleet managed to destroy all the proceeding Tyranid waves before they could board and unleash their cargo upon the craftworld. Eventually, no more Tyranid ships came; the Hive Fleet had been destroyed.

Yriel and his forces then landed on Iyanden itself to help clean up the invading creatures. Yriel set his eyes upon personally slaying the monstrous Hive Tyrant leading the Tyranid horde. But the creature was so powerful it could not be killed by mortal weaponry. Yriel, from a stasis field in the Shrine of Ulthanash, pulled the ancient Spear of Twilight and charged after the Hive Tyrant. As the Eldar lines were on the verge of being overrun, Yriel slaughtered his way through the Tyranid horde to the Tyrant and drove the spear into the monster's gaping maw and through the back of its skull. With the death of their Synapse leader, the Tyranid swarm was then easily defeated. But Yriel had doomed himself in the process, as the Spear of Twilight was cursed to eventually burn out the wielder's soul and once taken it could not be abandoned. Yriel had saved Iyanden, and was restored to Admiralship of Iyanden's fleet.
Yriel in his Iyanden Battle Plate.

Battle of Duriel

Following the Battle of Duriel, Yuriel felt that his time had come and the Spear of Twilight had sapped the last of his strength. As he intended to return the weapon to Iyanden's Shrine and die in the process, he was stopped by the mysterious Shadowseer Sylandri Veilwalker who he had not seen since first taking the relic. The Shadowseer told the prince that his job was not yet done and showed him violent visions of what may be to come: Daemons loose among the stars and Eldar Gods reborn in glory. Yriel felt his soul grow strong again for some unknown cause, and took up the Spear of Twilight once more to lead his people through these future trials.

Death and Rebirth

In the closing days of the 41st Millennium, Iyanden was again invaded. This time, Space Hulks carrying the Daemonic legions of Gara’gugul’gor threatened the Craftworld. Iyanden was only saved thanks to the effort of Yriel and the newly arrived Ynarri. In the final stages of the battle Yriel used the Spear of Twilight to destroy Gara’gugul’gor and his Space Hulk at the cost of his own life. However shortly after his corpse was recovered and resurrected by Yvraine, who revealed that the Spear of Twilight was one of the lost Crone Swords.

Wargear

The Spear of Twilight, which Yriel took to save Iyanden, is said to contain the energies of a dying sun. It is no normal weapon and is now eternally bound to Yriel as it slowly consumes his soul. Yriel constantly battles to stop the weapon from consuming him. He is also armed with the Eye of Wrath, a monocular device covering his left eye (which was consumed by the Spear after killing the Swarmlord) capable of unleashing a tempest of lightning upon unfortunate foes.


Yriel's flagship is the Flame of Asuryan, a Dragon Ship that has been with Yriel since he was the head of the Iyanden fleet. When he took exile from Iyanden, Yriel kept the Flame of Asuryan with him, and years later when Yriel returned to save Iyanden he brought the flagship back with him again.

And there we have it. My first miniature of 2019. Hopefully it doesn't take another 8 months to get more up. Would love some feedback on the miniature or some tips on how to best use him in game. As always thanks for reading!

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Book Review 42 // The Daemon's Curse by Dan Anett and Mike Lee



Welcome back to the bookshelf, here we are at book five of 2019. If you have been a follower of mine over my blogging attempts either on here, Instagram or Facebook, you would know I love Sci-fi, but especially 40k Sci-fi. Most of my readings have been in this dark, grim future so I have a treat for you all. This time we get to hangout in the World that was, Warhammer fantasy.

But were to start? The answer for me seemed quite simple in the end. I love Dan Abnett, I love Elves and I love an anti-hero. Here proudly steps in Malus Darkblade - the most infamous of the Dark Elves of the World that was. With about six titles to his name this will definitely become a series of reviews. I managed to pick the main books and so we will begin with Book 1- The Daemon's Curse.

Book Details

Title: The Daemon's Curse
Author: Dan Abnett & Mike Lee
Publisher: Black Library
Type: Paperback
Page Count: 414
Commercial Fluff: Ambitious dark elf warrior Malus Darkblade learns the location of a powerful relic and decides he wants it for himself. Malus leads an expedition into the dangerous Chaos Wastes in search of it but finds far more than he had bargained for. Possessed by a powerful daemon, he must undertake an epic quest to save his very soul.

Review

First up I remember the tale from my teenage years reading the short lived comic series. I remember an anti hero, processed by a Daemon and having to collect artifacts to free himself. I remember loving the artwork and having an evil character to enjoy in my comic reading. With such fond memories it is quite shocking it has took me this long to adventure into this series.

Let's cut to the chase this book involves the Druchii (aka Dark Elves), it is also set in the Warhammer Fantasy era. These are going to be dark, very dark books. This darkness is portrayed perfectly in this opening title as we follow the ruling highborns of the Hag through ambitious political plots, treacherous ploys and just plain torture!

The opening scene shows how yearly all the Highborns of the Hag must present the Lord of the Hag some form of gift. If they ultimately fail to prove loyalty or are lacking in the right gift, the Lord is allowed to torture them or in some cases kill them. Unlucky for Malus he has neither loyalty or gifts and is tortured to the extreme. The only thing saving him is the fact that he is a bastard son of the lord.

The character of Malus is a fun one to follow and is extremely easy to like, which is weird as he is an evil villain. Born as a bastard into the ruling household Malus got the nickname Darkblade as he is seen as a flaw. Barely viewed as a Highborn, Malus has struggled throughout life. Everytime something seems to be going well one of his older siblings betray him and take the glory for themselves or revel in Malus' failures.

Soon Malus is left with very few options socially and has to team up with one of his older siblings to raid one of his other siblings (Family intrigue). After a daring raid on one of his brothers towers, Malus is on the run and being chased by warriors filled with mystical powers. His goal lays in the Chaos Wastes, here Malus will search for treasure and unknown power. From here on it becomes a book of betrayal, brutal warfare, challenges and ultimately failure and the loss of his soul to a deamon.

I really enjoyed this book. I'm a big fan of Elves in general and haven't really explored Dark Elves or Wood Elves or any Elves outside of the 40k setting (something I will try to fix). A highlight of this book is feeling the conflict within Malus. His need to take big risks in attempt to gain bigger rewards and his pure stubbornness born for the hatred for his siblings. You can't help but wish Malus would succeed for once and when he does it still seems to go wrong for him. This makes Malus a very likeable character and you end up forgiving his faults as you end up hating those around him more.

I highly recommend reading this tale. As you read this I am now starting the second book so come and check back in a week or two for an update.


Monday, 11 February 2019

Beer Review 64 // Noire Majestueuse Truculente by Simple Malt

Time for a beer review. This time I cross the border into Quebec and visit the great IGA on Greber for a saturday beer tasting and buying session. During this beer tasting I sampled the following beer and knew straight away I needed a bottle. So let us crack the cap and get drinking.

Details

Name: Noire Majestueuse Truculente
Style: Imperial Stout
Brewery: Simple Malt or Brasseurs Illimites
Country: Quebec, Canada.
ABV: 11.75%
Commercial Fluff: Enhanced version of our majestic Black with a maturing period of a few months in oak barrels used for the production of bourbon. A Stout Reserve, indeed, that will put you full ... the senses!

Own Opinion

Label: Pretty standard design from this brewery. They change the colour based on the beer inside. It is neither exciting nor inviting.
Pour: Deep, deep brown with a solid brown head very tasty looking.
Aroma: Lots of booze coming through on the nose. Glad I am sharing this. As it starts to warm up aromas of chocolate start arriving to the party.
Taste: Damn that is a booze cruise. The alcohol heat hits the throat with a strong punch, but when combined with the roasty taste and the chocolate it becomes a nice sipper. Overall maybe a bit too much bourbon for me.
Would I buy it again: Yes. Definitely a brew I would enjoy again but I truly believe this is a sharing beer and not one to be braved solo. This was a beer I sipped over a long slow evening. I found the bourbon to powerful and lingering which meant I was able to slowly drink this and enjoy fully without rushing it. As the beer warmed over the hours I was glad to find more chocolate and roasty notes join in. I also discovered a slight sour note hanging around in the background that I originally put down to the bourbon hit. Maybe this was a newer barrel, but personally would have loved some wood notes to this brew.

Have you tried it? Let me know below and please hit follow to support the blog.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Book Review 41 // False Gods by Graham McNeill


Welcome to February and the first blog post of the month and I am happy to announce the first post is a book review. I have managed to complete this book in ten days. This is amazing for me and I know I am constantly saying how impressed I am at my speed of reading but I am truly surprising myself these days. So pray tell what novel could I have read so quickly:

False Gods by Graham McNeill

Book Details

Title: False Gods (Horus Heresy #2)
Author: Graham McNeill
Publisher: Black Library
Type: Paperback
Page Count: 416
Commercial Fluff: The human Imperium stands at its height of glory - thousands of worlds have been brought to heel by the conquering armies of mankind. At the peak of his powers, Warmaster Horus wields absolute control - but can even he resist the corrupting whispers of Chaos?

Review

I was there the day that Horus fell...

What an opening. If you haven't read my review of book #1 please do me a solid and read that one first (Link). Now that's done let us get into this book. This review does contain spoilers so please be aware, I am only going to go into detail on the first third of the book after that I will just make some hints, leaving it you to discover it for yourself. This is the second book of the opening trilogy and so far this series is just building at a rapid rate. It opens at the end of book One (no surprise lol), and the Sons of Horus are still reeling from their dealings with the Annex. From here they are diverted back to one of their earlier conquests by Erebus of the Word Bearers. Upon arriving back at Davin a backward feral world they discover the garrison left behind has gone rogue and claimed the Moon as their sovereign territory. Feeling this as a personal failure Horus decides to lead the attack personally. From this point on the scene is set, we have an epic horror themed fight as a misty swamp is suddenly filled by hordes of shambling Zombies and you fear for some characters lives. The fighting is fast paced and actioned filled as Horus battles his way through a crashed starship to strike down the traitor (a dark reflection of what is to come above Terra). It is also at this time we discover Erebus is up to something traitorous and the stolen Annex weapon (from book One) reappears in the traitor Commanders hand. An epic duel full of gross descriptive terms are used to help you imagine the rotting form of the traitor general. Though ultimately successful Horus is mortally wounded and alongside a battered Mournival return to the flagship were they accidentally unleash their wrath on the human crew. Now feared by the human crew and with Horus in a death state the Mournival allow Erebus to convince them the only chance to save the Primarch is with the aid of the Serpent Lodge (A feral mystic order from Davin).

From here on in there are just way to many spoilers that it would just ruin the book if I wrote more, all you need to know is that Horus' pride gets the better of him and once returned to his Sons he is a changed being. The book ends with a brutal, unnessercery battle were Horus starts to clean house and remove troublesome personal from his forces, he also declares his intend to move against the Emperor and that their next destination is the Istvan system.


Overall a great read. The characters are starting to grow into the roles we expect them to play (Especially Abaddon) and we even get a small camo from Angron and the World Eaters. I really enjoyed this book which is proven by how quick I read it.

I hope you have enjoyed my review, please become a follower and drop me a comment below. Thanks.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Beer Review 63 // Speedway Stout by AleSmith

Welcome to the first beer review of 2019. I am sure we have some exciting times ahead, especially if I am able to keep up and write at least a review a week! When it came to picking a beer to restart my beer reviews I decided I should go back to early beer I had and see if it still held up to my high tastes. Here enters Speedway Stout by AleSmith, one of the first true Craft Beers I got to try way back in the times of old. Now I found this one in a bottleshop in Vermont. In theory it should be an easy find for most beer drinkers. So be sure to let me know if you have tried it.

Details

Name: Speedway Stout
Style: American Imperial Stout
Brewery: AleSmith
Country: San Diego, USA.
ABV: 12%
Commercial Fluff: Speedway Stout’s ominous, pitch-black appearance has become a hallmark of this modern-day classic. Chocolate and roasted malts dominate the flavor, supported by notes of dark fruit, toffee, and caramel. A healthy dose of locally-roasted coffee added to each batch brings out the beer’s dark chocolate flavors and enhances its drinkability. Despite its intensity, Speedway Stout’s fine carbonation and creamy mouthfeel make it very smooth and surprisingly easy to drink. This beer ages very well and will continue to mature for many years to come.

Own Opinion

Label: Now very dated. What it does do for me is take me back to when it wasn't all about the can artwork. This is a cheap clipart inspired logo that sums up the beers name perfectly.
Pour: Black as your heart pour with a mocha foam head. This looks thick and creamy.
Aroma: Malts of a dark origin shine bright with this. There is chocolate and coffee hitting the senses straight away and I also get those toffee sweet notes.
Taste: Pure win. Chocolate coats the mouth whilst the coffee cuts through to give you a complex well rounded brew. The beer itself is creamy like double cream and coats the tongue and roof of the mouth. The tastes lingers in the most pleasant and warming way. There is no way it tastes like a 12% and the beer is finished way to fast.
Would I buy it again: YES. It was an early love when I started to dip into Craft Beers and guess what it is still riding high as an all time favourite. This is a great beer and deserving of the awards it has won. If you find it, look passed the dated logo and treat yourself to a beer that just hits the mark on so many fronts.

Let me know your thoughts. Have you tried this?

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Book Review 40 // Desert Raiders by Lucien Soulban

Forty books ago I was slowly blogging about beers and Games Workshop and not much else. Then at the close of 2017 I decided to push myself and read more. What has now happened over 2018 is this blog has took on a more reading focus. More than I could have ever imagined. This I am extremely proud of and happy about. What it does mean is that I need to find a balance for all my hobbies and blogging in general. I will be trying to get more beer and mini posts going again, I also want to start being more active in the blogging atmosphere become more active on others blogs once more. With that in mind please hit me up in the comments with links to your blog and I will be sure to check them out.

Now for book review number forty Desert Raiders by Lucien Soulban.

Book Details

Title: Desert Raiders
Author: Lucien Soulban
Publisher: Black Library
Type: Paperback
Page Count: 245
Commercial Fluff: When an Imperial listening station receives an enigmatic call for help from a far-flung planet, a regiment of Tallarn Desert Raiders is sent to investigate. Pretty soon, the Imperial Guard find themselves locked in a desperate running battle with wave upon wave of Tyranids. Is there any way they can ever triumph against such numberless alien hordes?

My Review

First time reading a Tallarn themed book. Going in all I could imagine was the classic 2nd edition Imperial Guard models. The ones with the over the top nod to the middle east and Lawrence of Arabia, so I really had to try not to view it that way. But it would seem that was actually the theme of the army, Soulban lent heavily on Arabic culture and actually gave us a very believable Imperial Guard regiment.

Soulban allow us to see not all regiments are like the Gaunt Ghosts. This newly formed Regiment is made up of two older regiments mashed together and with that comes tribal infighting and then ultimately joining together to fight a shared foe. The first half of the book is fun and gives us an insight to a more routine Imperial Guard life, it shows us what happens when the guard are left to get on with it. The only downside to this half of the book was the huge cast list, lots of names and ranks and details to remember. Whilst the second half is action, action, action with Tyranids and death on every page (bye cast I just managed to get straighten out in my mind). I had moments of pure shock (the poor Sentinel Crews) and heartbreak (the brave 50 man holding force) and was left to the last page hoping beyond hope that the Tallarn would overcome the threat. Some things though didn't make sense to me more for a plot reasonings than anything else.

SPOILERS SPOILERS

First up the Colonel, so stubborn and arrogant, the other officer had a better plan but due to being from a rival tribe he ignores it, this is crazy in my mind. No matter how much you hate someone do you risk your men's lives to prove a point? Secondly the Colonel he commits suicide towards the end due to shame, Emperor be damned this man is a waste of genetic material. How did he become the regiments leader? Thirdly the commissar. He is another waste of space, starts the book with heat stroke, fails to rally the regiment together and slaughters about twenty men to bring about a grudging peace between the tribes. I just wish the commissar had took control sooner or at least got himself fragged! Up fourth the paradise caves, for me these were a missed opportunity. This is where the Tyranids should have come from! Creepy caves full of life on a desert world....come on this screams perfect plot action!? Fifth and final issue the distress signal. The beginning and the end? Ultimately being from the psyker that actually received it. Meaning she received a message from herself in the future but wouldn't realize until time caught up. I get that time flows differently in the warp, but it is a twist that was not wanted or needed for this tale.

Final Thoughts

A solid read that I really enjoyed. I felt it had excellent pace and action. Could have used a smaller cast to play off but ultimately a good read. 4/5

Now I move back into the Horus Hersey and False Gods by Graham McNeill.

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.

Book Review 45 // Jain Zar The Storm of Silence by Gav Thorpe

Welcome back for another book review of 2019, seven titles down so far this year! The following book was such a good I read, that I mana...