Blog Archives

Comics Picks For 08.10.2014

This week turned out to be even less productive on the reading front than the previous one, mostly because we had some guests over this weekend, and I was busy entertaining them for the duration of their stay rather than focusing on my reading as is usual. As such, I only got done through 24 singles and a single graphic novel. But thankfully most of them were good, so there’s that at least, and I’m still reading more now than I was reading last year.

The surprise hits of this week were Birthright #1 from Image Comics, Charmed Season 10 #1 from Zenescope Entertainment and Batman #35  from DC Comics. The comics that disappointed me this week were Avengers & X-Men: Axis #1 from Marvel Comics, Caliban #7 from Avatar Press, and The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage #2 from Valiant Comics. Of the other titles, the ones that I really loved were recent ongoings like New Suicide Squad #3X-O Manowar #0 or even Death Vigil #4.

Anyway, here’s another edition of “Comics Picks For…”. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Upcoming: The Labyrinth of Flame by Courtney Schafer

One of my favourite reads of 2012 was Courtney Schafer’s debut novel The Whitefire Crossing (review). One of the unique things about it was how a significant portion of the novel focused on mountain-climbing and mountain-trekking, borne out of Courtney’s own fondness and hobby of such. Then again last year, when I read The Tainted City (review), I was similarly impressed. Courtney built upon the characters and the setting in a really nice way and she made both novels a worthy experience. For that reason she is one of my favourite authors in fantasy.

With Night Shade Books going under last year, the fate of her third novel, The Labyrinth of Flame was totally up in the air, since there was no word if the third novel would even be published. But it looks now that Courtney finally has her strategy ready, and next year will see the launch of a kickstarter for the novel, which I am very excited about.

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Van Horstmann by Ben Counter (Book Review)

Another one of Ben Counter’s recent (and great!) works, Van Horstmann is part of the Warhammer Heroes range, though that branding isn’t in use anymore and hasn’t been for a while either. This was also his first novel for Warhammer Fantasy and he proved himself to be a master given that his characters and the story and the magical action and everything were pretty top-notch. There are reasons why this novel made it to my “Best of 2013 Part 1” list and the above are some of them. If you want to read a standalone Warhammer Fantasy novel that also deals with magic and magical brotherhoods to a great degree, then Van Horstmann should be your first stop, without a doubt!

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

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Comics Picks For 24.09.2014

Lightning strikes in the same place for a third time. I mentioned last week that I read 38 singles and 2 graphic novels for that release week, and that holds true for this week as well. I had a chance to read a bit more, but I chose to use that time to get done with some of my novel reading and also catch up with some of my reviews. 15 titles out of 40 read were reviewed by me this week. I feel good!

The surprise hits of this week were Aliens: Fire and Stone #1 and Prometheus: Fire and Stone #1, both from Dark Horse Comics, Pathfinder: City of Secrets #5 from Dynamite Entertainment, Catwoman: Future’s End #1 from DC Comics, Hack-Slash: Son of Samhain #2 and Chew Volume 1  both from Image Comics. Comics which disappointed me this week were Edge of Spider-Verse #3 from Marvel Comics, Sensation Comics #7 from DC Comics, and… that’s it thankfully! The graphic novels of this week were Chew Volume 1 and Thor: God of Thunder Volume 3.

Anyway, here’s another edition of “Comics Picks For…”. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Grimm Fairy Tales: Robyn Hood #1-2 (Comics Review)

Thanks to Zenescope’s massive Age of Darkness crossover event that has been running since late last year, I came to know about their Robyn Hood comics, which feature Robyn Locksley as the publisher’s take on the Robin Hood tales. All the Robyn Hood comics I’ve read to date have been quite fun to read and in the Age of Darkness event I think that she has really come into her own, especially in the current Realm War: Age of Darkness series which is positioning her as a major villain. In the wake of the landmark Grimm Fairy Tales #100 issue, one of the new series launched by Zenescope is a Robyn Hood ongoing, something I’ve been wanting to see for a while now.

Before the advent of the new Robyn Hood ongoing, the character featured only in three 5-issue mini-series and a small handful of one-shots or ensemble offerings here and there. But now she has her own title and it really couldn’t be coming at a better time for her. Pat Shand guides the character in a post-Age of Darkness world where Robyn has taken on a vigilante aspect along with her friend Marian, where they’ve started working out as private investigators specializing in the mystical. It is kind of like how Angel did things in Joss Whedon’s Angel. It is fun, it is quirky, and Robyn and Marian are both awesomely kickass.

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Trinity Rising by Elspeth Cooper (Book Review)

Trinity Rising is Elspeth Cooper’s 2012 sequel to her 2011 debut Songs of the Earth, and is the second novel in her Wild Hunt epic fantasy series. Going into the novel, I had quite high expectations of it since the debut was a fairly strong debut novel on its own and was one of my better reading experiences in that year. But Trinity Rising failed a number of my expectations and it ended up being nowhere near as good as its predecessor. Still, my interest in the Wild Hunt remains undimmed and I’m planning on reading the third novel soon, so we shall see how it all goes.

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

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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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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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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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Gotrek & Felix: Kinslayer by David Guymer (Book Review)

A few days ago I brought to you a review of City of The Damned by David Guymer. Alongside last year’s Road of Skulls by Josh Reynolds, this novel was kind of a fresh breath of air in that there hadn’t been novel-length tales about one of Warhammer Fantasy’s greatest duos and biggest success in several long years. While, for me, Josh Reynolds’ two novels have done much to capture the feel of the original books by William King and the follow-ups by Nathan Long, City of The Damned didn’t really work for me, although it was a decent enough read I suppose.

About three weeks back Black Library launched Gotrek & Felix: Kinslayer, which is said to be the first book in the Doom of Gotrek Gurnisson Saga, ostensibly marking the beginning of the end for Warhammer’s greatest Dwarf Slayer. The new novel takes some plot-threads from City of The Damned and carries them on, but for the most part Kinslayer is a stand-alone, and is also a part of the greater End Times saga as well that is currently running through Warhammer Fantasy, akin to some of the events that Wizards of the Coast has done with Forgotten Realms previously. Unfortunately, while Kinslayer had lots of great moments and even revealed the shames of Gotrek and his friend Snorri, it also carries over several mistakes and negatives that can be found in City of The Damned.

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Obsidian and Blood by Aliette de Bodard (Book Review)

Before I started reading Angry Robot novels back in 2012, I hadn’t heard of Aliette de Bodard. And then in June of that year I read her Aztec mysteries trilogy Obsidian & Blood back-to-back in a single week. The trilogy was my first proper taste of non-Anglophone fantasy, and he experience was both surreal and amazing. I loved the books of course, and the short stories that were collected in the omnibus edition. Obsidian & Blood is one of a very, very small handful of trilogies that I’ve rated as high as I have, and the entire omnibus made my list of the best books I read in 2012.

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

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Gotrek & Felix: City of The Damned by David Guymer (Book Review)

The Gotrek & Felix novels by both William King and Nathan Long are among the very first Warhammer Fantasy novels I bought back in 2005/2006 when I was getting back into Black Library reading with the Warhammer 40,000 setting. I was already a huge fan of Bill’s Space Wolf series, and making the transition to the fantasy side of things with both Gotrek and Felix was rather easy as it turned out. Even Nathan’s own work was great once I started reading it. But then, eventually, Nathan moved on to other things as Bill had before him, and the tale of the Trollslayer and his rememberer passed into the hands of another new generation of writers.

Of these new writers, David Guymer is one of only two writers who have been asked to continue on the adventures of Gotrek Gurnisson and Felix Jaeger. I’ve read both of Josh Reynolds’ novels, Road of Skulls and The Serpent Queen and loved them both. With David however, the transition has not been easy, though I liked the audio drama he did with them last year. City of The Damned is a continuity-free novel like both of Josh’s novels, but it also is set up as a prequel to the more recent release, Kinslayer which is the first part of the Doom of Gotrek storyline and is the penultimate novel in the final ending of Gotrek’s saga. I read it earlier this month and I have somewhat mixed feelings about it.

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