Songs of the Earth by Elspeth Cooper (Book Review)

Two and a half years ago I got it in my head to make an effort to read as many of the David Gemmell Morningstar Award shortlisted nominees as I could. Maybe it was because all these finalists were debut authors of the previous year or something, but I thought that it would be a fun little challenge to take on. One of the very first books I read as part of this impromptu challenge was Elspeth Cooper’s Songs of the Earth, which is the first in her Wild Hunt series. It ended up being a fairly interesting novel by all accounts, with a really fun magic system and some fun characters as well, so I was rather pleased with it in the end. If you want to read something different from the norm, then Songs of the Earth is definitely something to check out.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Judge Dredd: 99 Code Red by Jonathan Clements (Audio Review)

Up until mid-2011 I had never listened to an audio drama and didn’t even really know what it was. Then, I suddenly got on a kick to listen to all of Black Library’s various audio dramas that I could, and in 2012 I expanded that to Judge Dredd audios from Big Finish. These were some of my biggest exposures to the Judge Dredd franchise and Jonathan Clements’ 99 Code Red stands as one of my absolute favourites by a long margin. It has a great story with some great voice-acting and I certainly recommend it.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra R. Clarke (Book Review)

In 2012, Angry Robot Books launched its Young Adult fiction imprint Strange Chemistry. One of the very first titles to be released under the new imprint was Cassandra R. Clarke’s debut novel The Assassin’s Curse. This was one of the very first YA titles I’d read at the time, and it was kind of an eye-opener since that was also a time when I was experimenting with some different genres and YA just happened to be something that I found attractive. The Assassin’s Curse didn’t exactly wow me unfortunately, but it proved to be a good experience nonetheless.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Future’s End #21 (Comics Review)

The recent round of Future’s End issues have done much to deepen various mysteries, as well as tying together several stand-alone plot-strands that didn’t seem all that important until recently. One of the biggest mysteries however was how Green Arrow died back in Future’s End #1/Future’s End #2, or even what killed him. In this month’s Green Arrow: Future’s End #1, we learned that Oliver faked his own death, in quite a devious and masterful manner, to throw his enemies off his scent and here we are now, knowing full well that the hero-for-the-masses has several tricks up his sleeves, and one of them involves going up against Cadmus itself.

All the Future’s End issues till now, except for the FCBD issue, contained multiple storylines. With four writers working on the series, lots of characters were introduced to this vision of the future and lots of different events happened at the same time. It has all culminated to this issue, Future’s End #21, where we learn some details (finally!) about the war with Earth 2 that several characters have referenced before, and the part that some heroes played in it and what it ultimately means for Earth 1, or Earth Prime rather, and even why Green Arrow had to fake his own death. This was a stellar issue, one of the best in the series, and the art by Cully Hamner was simply astounding.

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Future’s End: Catwoman and G.I. Zombie (Comics Review)

This is the last and final week of Future’s End one-shots and it seems that this is kind of like the first week where the one-shots were all generally damn good. Most of the ones I’ve read so far have been excellent, such as Harley Quinn or Justice League Dark, thankfully enough. There’ve been a few titles that haven’t made it to my “good” list, but they are kind of insignificant when compared to the good ones. One thing has been for sure though, that much as with last year’s Villain’s Month, a lot of the stories haven’t been planned out properly so that the overall general effect of this event month is one of cohesiveness.

Catwoman: Future’s End #1 and Star Spangled War Stories: Future’s End #1 (alternative, G.I. Zombie: Future’s End #1) are among two of my favourite reads of the week. The former I was hesitant about picking up since I was dreading Ann Nocenti’s vision of Catwoman’s future, but thankfully it turned out that Sholly Fisch was the writer and she wrote a really cool story here. The latter I expected to be great since Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray have been doing some wonderful stuff on the new series and this one is more of the same. Story-wise, they are both two of the strongest titles this month and even art-wise I’d say, with all the artists being quite spectacular.

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Seven Wonders by Adam Christopher (Book Review)

Adam Christopher had two novels published through Angry Robot Books in 2012. The first was his debut Empire State which was a really strong novel in most respects. The second was Seven Wonders, a very involved and interesting superhero novel with a great cast for the most part. I was expecting the novel to be as good as Empire State but it turned out to be even better. In fact, Seven Wonders even made it to my “Best of 2012 Part 2” list as well, and it is a novel that I can recommend highly.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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The Age Atomic by Adam Christopher (Book Review)

The sequel to Adam Christopher’s 2012 debut Empire State didn’t arrive until much later in 2013, and it was a rather frustrating wait since I really liked the first novel and wanted more of the same from someone I considered to be among the best debut writers of 2012. But unfortunately, The Atomic Age seemed to exemplify the faults and negatives of Empire State far more it did the good things. The difference between the two is a phenomenal one for me and I was extremely disappointed by it.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Empire State by Adam Christoper (Book Review)

One of the very first books I read back in 2012, and my very first Angry Robot book too I think (might have been Matt Forbeck’s Carpathia actually!), was Adam Christopher’s debut novel Empire State, which mixed in several different genres together to create a really fun narrative. It could even be described as superhero noir-steampunk I suppose, which sounds awesome when you think about it and Adam definitely delivered on the promise as well.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Grimm Fairy Tales: Realm War #3 (Comics Review)

In the wake of the post-apocalyptic ending of Grimm Fairy Tales #100, Zenescope launched the Realm War: Age of Darkness mini-series that expands upon the victory of the Dark Horde and presents a world changed and shattered by the same. The heroes are all scattered and the villains have supremacy everywhere. In the midst of all this, a brave few such as Sela and Britney and Shang and Gideon are trying to stem the tide even as the intrigues and biases within the Dark Horde make themselves more prominent than before. I quite loved the first couple issues of the series and have been waiting for the third ever since.

This week’s Realm War: Age of Darkness #3 picks up from slightly after the previous issue ended and it shows Sela and Britney go up against a foe that they are hard-pressed to beat, Robyn Locksley, the prophesied Child of Darkness. Robyn was a Realm Knight alongside the other two women up until the events of Grimm Fairy Tales #100, but since then she has gone over to the Dark Horde. How and why, we don’t know, but that’s part of the fun of this issue. Joe Brusha really gets into the thick of things here as he begins to interweave several mysteries and the art by Sami Kivela is even better than before Read the rest of this entry

Deep Gravity #3 (Comics Review)

I’ve mentioned before that I love reading space opera, a lot, and recently I’ve started reading horror SF as well and am having quite a fun time of it with Caliban from Avatar Press and Deep Gravity from Dark Horse. The latter is a hot new title from Dark Horse and in its first two issues it has had a fairly good run, creating a new space opera vision that involves lots of suspense and thrills while also providing some fun monster action. Writers Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman have been quite incredible on this so far and so has the artwork from Fernando Baldó and others.

Deep Gravity #3 picks up from where the previous issue left off and we continue on with all the surviving scientists and crewmembers of the ship trying to get off. They can’t take anything for granted however, particularly as there might be a saboteur on board after all, and because many of the animal specimens that the ship was transporting back to the home world are now on the ship. There are a lot of twists and turns in this issue that keep you guessing what’s going to happen next, and the artwork complements that every step of the way, especially when it comes to the monsters.

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The Return of Nagash by Josh Reynolds (Book Review)

The End Times have begun for Warhammer Fantasy. The hordes of Chaos are pouring in from the North even as vast armies of Daemons lay siege to Ulthuan and the Skaven rise up from the Under-Empire to claim dominance on the surface world. Bretonnia and the Empire face enemies of their own and heroes and villains rise up as well, only to fall before each other. It is a dark time indeed for Warhammer Fantasy, made all the darker by the fact that the greatest villain of the ages, Nagash himself has returned to challenge everyone everywhere. The Return of Nagash is the tale of how the necromantic liche is resurrected and what part the Von Carstein vampires play in that.

In the age when the Nehekharan Empire was still strong and vibrant in the Southlands, Nagash rose to power as the greatest sorcerer of his times, and he eventually went on to become the grandfather of all vampires everywhere. He clashed with heroes like Sigmar of the Empire, who eventually went on to become a God to its people, and his is a name considered one of the foulest by all the good people of the Old World. His is a legacy that cannot be forgotten, and that is exactly what Josh Reynolds builds upon in this novel. Through the eyes of the liche Arkhan the Black and Mannfred von Carstein, we see how the End Times are changing the world, and get a hint of the role that Nagash is going to play in it, not to mention the immense challenges that must be overcome for his return to become an undisputed reality.

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Wayward #2 (Comics Review)

As has become the norm these days, I’ve started learning more and more about new books via social media and creator blogs. That’s how I learned about Jim Zub’s Wayward from Image. Jim is currently one of my favourite writers in comics, and Wayward #1 was a solid series opener when it debuted last month. Japanese urban fantasy with a great female protagonist? Hell, I’m all over that. The series opener had great writing, and the art by Steve Cummings, John Rauch and Jim himself was similarly enticing, really pulling you into the whole feel of the story and the world.

Wayward #1 introduced Rori Lane, an Irish-Japanese high school girl who moves to Japan to be with her mother after her parents’ divorce and then ends up getting embroiled in some really weird and supernatural things involving cats. Jim paced the first issue like a pro, developing the characters and the world in a sedate manner and that is exactly what he does in the second issue as well, out this week. A new character is introduced, Rori’s faces up to more challenges in the new city and every step of the Steve, John and Jim present some of the best art in comics right now.

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