As the title says, I was conflicted about what to post for today’s Advent Reviews. I didn’t want to do any negative reviews, for an obvious reason: today is Christmas Eve after all and it’s time for good cheer, not for me to rain down on someone’s parade! Doing negative reviews before was fine, kind of. I didn’t want to do a positive review either, since I do so damn many of them anyway. I often take a lot of flak for being that positive, especially when it comes to Black Library publications, so I wasn’t really on the mind for any of that either. Just thinking of any possible backlash rains down on my parade, you know? In short, I didn’t want to do a review period. What follows is a stream-of-consciousness post. Apologies for any incoherency.
For the second-last day of the “Advent Reviews” series, I have another novel that I read earlier this year, but never got around to reviewing, mostly because I did not enjoy the book at all and was somewhat reluctant to do a negative review at the time. Plus, I already had too much of a backlog in that regard (still do), so I passed over it. I love reading SF set within the solar system, such as Orson Scott Card’sEarth Unaware or Katy Stauber’s Spin The Sky, and that’s one of the reasons I picked up this book, in addition to the striking cover art. But the book failed to impress me and it left me pretty disappointed as a complete experience. Once again, this is a review from memory, so I do apologise for any details that I get wrong.
Paul’s Erevis Cale Trilogy was my first introduction to Forgotten Realms, and to Wizards of the Coast, earlier this year, and it’s turned into a fascination with the entire setting that just refuses to go away. I haven’t read as much within it as I’d like, but the stuff I’ve read has been fairly good so this fascination is definitely here to stay. Plus Paul is an excellent writer in my opinion. This is another from-memory review so if I get anything wrong, I do apologise.
I’m a huge fan of Matt Forbeck’s work: whether it’s novels or comics. I have yet to read any of his work that I didn’t like, and he has been the most consistent author for me to date, not to mention that he’s also the one I’ve reviewed the most! That creates certain expectations of course, and Hard Times In Dragon City fulfills those expectations quite nicely. As the first Shotguns & Sorcery novel, this is the fourth in his 12-for-12 project in which he aimed to write one 50,000-word novel a month. I’ve read the first trilogy, Matt Forbeck’s Brave New World, and it’s superb superhero fiction. Exciting stuff!
Guy Haley is one of the authors I discovered this year, when I picked up an eARC of his second Richards and Klein Investigations novel, Omega Point, and then requested the first novel, Reality 36, as well. I liked both novels and was hungry for more, which introduced me to his novel Champion of Mars which ties a bit into his novels above and was just plain fantastic. Then I heard that he was going to be writing for Black Library and that he had already been commissioned for two novels! In all honesty, Guy is definitely one of my favourite authors period. Strike and Fade is the first of his works for Black Library that I’ve had an opportunity to go through, and it is just mind-blowing.
Sorry for the late Advent Review today. I’ve been out of home and away from my laptop for pretty much the entire day and I was at a concert last night, which I got back from rather late. Anyway, my 14th Advent Review (Batgirl Volume 1 by Gail Simone) was posted yesterday on the SF Signal site, thanks to the awesome John DeNardo, who was gracious to allow me a guest spot. Hugo Award Winner 2012 – Best Fanzine, yo! To take things away from the comics for today, I bring to you a review of John French’s latest Horus Heresy contribution, the Advent audio drama Warmaster.
This year has seen me become quite the fan of the Judge Dredd franchise, from the movie to the audio dramas. I have a novel omnibus sitting on my desk, and I just recently finished reading the first issue of the new Judge Dredd comics being released by IDW Publishing, who are one of my favourite comics publishers. Judge Dredd himself has turned into one of my favourite characters ever, because of his personality, his attitude, and the entire mythos that’s been built around him over all these years. Duane Swierczynski’s comics are just one more outlet for all that goodness.
As most people who follow my reviews know, I rarely do negative reviews. Part of it is my experience with doing negative reviews, and another is that I consider myself to be somewhat easy to impress (more on all that here). Another part is that I do negative reviews when I feel strongly about the work in question. If a book, for me, is bad, then that means that I consider it to be pretty terrible. Especially when I have some high expectations of it. One such novel was The Emperor’s Knife, the 2011 debut by Mazarkis Williams. Now, I read the novel way back early in the year and this review is somewhat from memory, so if I get details wrong, I do apologize.
Discovering authors through Twitter was the grand theme of this year, and last. Some of the best fiction I read this year was a result of that discovery and I’m really glad that things worked out so well, since most of these authors came highly recommended from bloggers I followed at the time, or their interactions on social media were always entertaining and professional and something I could learn from. Michael J. Sullivan is one such author and his Riyria Revelations novels are some of my favourite fantasy novels, because they are tales without the super-complex adventures that have become the norm in mainstream fantasy. Michael offers this prequel short story as a freebie to promote his books and it was my first taste of Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater, two of the most charming rogues I’ve read about, period.
I picked up this title, because it said Earth 2 on the front cover. As a fan of the Crisis on Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis crossovers, alternate settings have been of quite a bit of interest to me. The “old” Elseworlds comics featuring Superman? They were awesome because of the alternate takes on the character, even though a fair bit of the stuff was tacky/campy/cliched. Robinson wowed me with the first four issues of the series, his take on Green Lantern, The Flash and Hawkgirl being really awesome. The #0 prequel issue went back into the timeline to explain what happened to all the Wonders, the first superheroes and especially the big 3 of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, at the start of #1. I got far more than I expected with #0.
Horror isn’t my favourite genre by any means. Especially not when it comes to comics. But I’m always ready to read something different, and that’s where Steve Niles’ Lot 13 ongoing series for DC Comics comes in. Lot 13 is straight-up horror with ghosts and brutal murders and so on, not the kind of comic I’d normally read. I read these two issues just today, and since I needed some sort of different reviewing fare for my Advent Calendar, I thought I’d talk briefly about this series.
I love Warhammer Fantasy more than any other shared fantasy world(s) I’ve read to date. It’s a wonderfully complex world with the typical high fantasy archetypes that I’ve come to love over the years, combined with a really dark and brutal stance to it that is unique in its own way. And Josh Reynolds is an author that I’m coming to think very highly of since he is one of those authors who can grab your attention right off the bat and hold it through to the end. He has only recently started writing in the Warhammer Fantasy setting and everything that I’ve read of his works so far, I’ve been quite impressed with, this flash fiction for Black Library’s Advent Calendar 2012 being no exception.