Blog Archives

Best of 2014 Part 2a: Novels

Doing one of these posts often takes a lot out of me because of all the linking and checking and verification and formatting and everything, but lists like this also help me crystalize my year in reading, so I value them quite highly. Thankfully, I’m able to get this list out in time and most of the books on the list have already been reviewed as well, so that’s something too.

With the year 2014 now done and over, it is time to do the first of my “Best of the Year” posts, for the period 1st July to December 31st. I didn’t read as many books this time as I wanted to, primarily because I got married in the first week of July itself, and things have changed a fair bit. But life remains exciting and interesting in equal measure, and my reading also happens to match that rather closely, so I’ll take that in full indeed!

Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!

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Dredd Omnibus (Book Review)

I read Dredd Omnibus back in 2012, just a few short months after Dredd, starring Karl Urban in the titular role, debuted on movie screens around the world, and unfortunately flopped. It was a great movie, truly, but I can see why it lacked a certain mass appeal, not to mention the other decisions taken with it. And then came this omnibus, which collected three novels featuring the titular character and proved to be one hell of a read when put together. The omnibus explored the culture of Mega-City One from many different angles and it also proved to be a great look into Dredd as a character, as he went about the city on patrol and dispensed justice to criminals.

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

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2014: Day #12

The twelfth and final book cover I pick for the 2014 edition of “12 Days of Best Covers of…” is for Erin M. Evans’ fourth and most recent Brimstone Angels novel, Fire In The Blood, the cover for which is done by Min Yum. I just posted my review of the novel, so you can head over to the post before this one to check it out, but suffice to say that Fire In The Blood happens to be the best novel in the series so far and that the ending of it gives me a lot of hope for the next novel, which Erin is currently in the process of writing and which will be called Ashes of The Tyrant.

The first of the twelfth and final set of comic covers I pick this year is for Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate #3 by Jim Zub, Max Dunbar, John-Paul Bove and Neil Uyetake with the cover by Sarah Stone. The second is for Hexed #5 by Michael Alan Nelson, Dan Mora, Gabriel Cassata and Ed Dukeshire with the cover by Dan. The third and final cover is for Secret Six #1 by Gail Simone, Ken Lashley, Drew Geraci, Jason Wright and Carlos M. Mangual with the cover by Dale Eaglesham and Jason. Legends of Baldur’s Gate, Hexed and Secret Six are three of the most recent and also best comics of 2014, and that’s aptly reflected by the internal and external content both, and it really gratifies to be able to share these great covers with you all.

So without further ado, hit the break to see all the covers in their full glory! The full list of all these covers is available here.

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Advent Review #24: Fire In The Blood by Erin M. Evans (Book Review)

Erin M. Evans’ Brimstone Angels series has proven to be quite a good one as it has progressed. These novels feature the tiefling twins Havilar and Farideh as the main characters, with a great cast of supporting chracters, each of whom is different from the other. And as great as the characters are, the plots themselves have been fairly engaging on a minimal level. I love reading the adventures of these two, with Farideh struggling to learn more about her warlock pact with the cambion devil Lorcan, and Havilar falling in love with a fellow young adventurer Aubrin Crownsilver, and both of them managing all of that while also taking down the bad guys one by one.

In the recently released Fire In The Blood, the fourth novel in the series, we pick up from where we left off at the end of The Adversary last year. The characters have all made their way to the city of Suzail, the capital of the Cormyr empire where Aubrin happens to be a noble, and even one with a half-strong claim to the throne itself. Things have been pretty rough for everyone, and Erin M. Evans revisits the concept of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”. Each character has to face a great many personal challenges as they are assaulted by tons of things on all sides, and have to figure out what they really want out of their lives and the events around them. Goes without saying really that Fire In The Blood is a pretty damn good novel and is certainly the best in the series so far.

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Brimstone Angels: The Adversary by Erin M. Evans (Book Review)

The Adversary is the third novel in both the Brimstone Angels series and in the crossover The Sundering series which was the big event for Forgotten Realms last year. Massive upheavals on a multiversal scale aside, the novel also featured some major changes to the status quo when Lorcan’s sister Sairche tricked Havilar and Farideh into a bargain that sent them forward in time almost a decade, time which they lost and never recovered from. But that wasn’t everything of course and as The Sundering progressed in the other novels, with many old heroes returning all over the multiverse, the tiefling twins also took their place in the grand scheme of things with a climactic twist that changed them completely. The Adversary also made it to my “Best of 2013 Part 2” list at the end of last year, a deserved spot.

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

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Brimstone Angels: Lesser Evils by Erin M. Evans (Book Review)

Erin’s second entry in the Brimstone Angels series was unfortunately not as good as the first, but it was still a rousing story in which she moved the story forward significantly as new challenges, new allies, new enemies and new complications presented themselves to the tiefling twins Havilar and Farideh. Here Erin explored their personal conflicts a great deal, and really made the novel about them, which is all you can ask really.

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

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Brimstone Angels by Erin M. Evans (Book Review)

Brimstone Angels is Erin M. Evans’ first novel in the series of the same name. I read the novel towards the tail-end of 2012, and it also happened to be the first book from the author that I’d read. And I was immediately a fan. The journey of the tiefling twins Havilar and Farideh was something that I enjoyed on a whole lot of levels, and it also got me much more interested in the Forgotten Realms sagas, much as Paul S. Kemp’s own Erevis Cale novels had done just a few months ago. If you want to get started with the Forgotten Realms setting, then the Brimstone Angels series is the way to go!

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

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Hardship by Jean Johnson (Book Review)

My first experience with Jean Johnson was back in 2012 when I heard her on the SF Signal podcast with host Patrick Hester. During the podcast she talked about her military SF series Theirs Not To Reason Why that features a female protagonist who happens to have some powerful natural abilities such as pre/post-cognition, telekinesis and the like and who is on a quest to save the galaxy from an extinction-level threat that will not occur for hundreds of years yet. I read the first three novels in the series last year and they all happened to be quite excellent stories that made me a Jean Johnson fan for life. And now, with the fifth and final book in the series just days away from publication, here’s my review of the fourth novel, which I read last month.

Hardship was originally intended to be the fourth and final book in the series, titled Damnation at the time. But as I learned from Jean herself lately, the final volume ended up being too big and the decision was made to split it into two parts. So Hardship is technically the first of a 2-part finale for Jean’s highly ambitious and grandiose story of Theirs Not To Reason Why. And it is just as excellent as the previous books. With things moving towards a conclusion, there’s a sense of finality in the novel and that there is a big confluence of events happening, so the novel checks off on all the things I wanted to see from it, and more.

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She Returns From War by Lee Collins (Book Review)

Lee Collins’ She Returns From War is the sequel to his 2012 debut The Dead of Winter and it continues the adventures of Wild West spook-hunter Cora Oglesby. After the strong debut, I expected and wanted Lee Collins to do a similarly grand job with the sequel, which is exactly where is excelled at since She Returns From War is a great follow-up to The Dead of Winter. It starts off many years after the evens of The Dead of Winter, and charts Cora’s return to spook-hunting, after she gave up following the events of that first novel, wherein she learned a terrible secret about herself. And just like its predecessor, She Returns From War also made it to one of my “best of…” lists, this time for the “Best of 2013 Part 1“.

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

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The Dead of Winter by Lee Collins (Book Review)

One of the many debut writers to get their start in 2012 with Angry Robot Books was Lee Collins, who arrived on the scene with his western urban fantasy novel The Dead of Winter, the first in his Cora Oglesby duology. When I picked up the novel, I didn’t really know too much about it, but by the time I was done with it, I was hungry for more. Lee mixed in western and urban fantasy really well in this novel and in Cora Oglesby he created a great female character that I wanted to see  a lot more of. The Dead of Winter, aside from being one of my top favourite debuts of 2012, was also one of my top favourite reads of the year.

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

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Bloodquest: Prisoners of the Eye of Terror by Ben Counter (Audio Review)

I remember reading the old Bloodquest comics quite fondly. Starring the disgraced Blood Angels Captain Leonatos and a bunch of other Blood Angels from across the Chapter’s divisions, Bloodquest was a great story about penance and redemption and heroism. In late 2012 Black Library published the first new Bloodquest story in several years, Prisoners of the Eye of Terror, written by one of my favourite authors and with a pretty damn good cast. The audio hit all the right notes for me and it even made it to my “Best of 2012 Part 2” list at the end of the year. That’s how good it was.

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

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Book Review)

The Hunger Games is one of the series I wanted to read in 2013 as part of my “25 Series To Read In 2013” reading challenge. Having seen and loved the movie adaptation of the first novel in the series, and waiting with high anticipation for the second movie, this was a series I was really looking forward to reading eventually last year. And read it I did. One of the great things about it was how it added more to my movie experience than I’d thought, helping contextualize a lot of the scenes. And that I suppose, is the true strength of the combined experience.

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

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