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12 Days of Best SFF Characters of 2013: Day #7

For this new seasonal list of the best SFF characters I’ve read this year, my seventh pick is Vulkan, Primarch of the Salamanders Legion of Space Marines, from Nick Kyme’s Horus Heresy novella Promethean Sun, which gave us the first in-depth look into the character after a truncated series of cameos elsewhere in the series. As a fan of the Salamanders, this was the kind of story that I’d wanted for a long time but was unable to get it on release since it was offered as an expensive limited-edition product and was out of my range. But a re-release was offered this year and was a quick pick-up for me.

Hit the break to see why I picked this character.

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Best of 2013 Part 2a: Books

Since 2013 is now over, its time to do my second “Best of the Best” list, for the second half of the year from July-December. There were some really good reads in this period, and as always, picking the best has been a chore. I always try to keep these lists as diverse as I can and hopefully you agree.

You can check out my top-of-the-month lists on my Reading Awards page and this list is both an extension, and a continuation of what goes on there.

Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then! Read the rest of this entry

12 Days of Best SFF Characters of 2013: Day #1

For this new seasonal list (another one!!), for the best SFF characters I’ve read this year, my first pick is the duo of Gotrek & Felix from Josh Reynolds’ Road of Skulls, a part of the Gotrek & Felix series, a mainstay for the Warhammer Fantasy setting from Black Library (Games Workshop).

Hit the break to see why I picked these two characters.

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Most Anticipated Books of 2014

For two years now, my goal has been to read as many different kinds of novels as I can. I’ve tried out several different genres/subgenres that I normally would not, and the experience has helped me in becoming a better reader and a reviewer. Being a prolific reader and reviewer is all about diversity, in all its different forms. And that’s what I’ve come to value most.

Still, its not that easy, dealing with the diversity, or just the sheer volume of all the reading. When I put together the 2013 list of my most anticipated books (link), I intended to read all of them. But sadly that never happened and somewhere along the way I just lost track. The 2013 list had 51 books on it. The 2014 list has 41 books on it. A much more manageable number I dare say.

We’ll see how the year pans out and whether or not I will indeed be able to get through all them. I remain hopeful as ever. And there will be some more lists going up in the next couple weeks, so stay tuned for those.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2013: Day #2

For this new seasonal end of year list, the second book cover that I pick is Ben Counter’s first Warhammer Fantasy novel Van Horstmann, published by Black Library and a part of the Warhammer Heroes brand that focuses on some of the biggest characters of the Warhammer Fantasy Battles setting. Ben’s written a number of novels for Warhammer 40,000 previously and this one marked a big shift for him, one that worked out very well for this reader who is also a fan of most of Ben’s work.

And the second comics cover that I pick is the first issue of Geoff Johns’ rebooted Justice League of America from DC Comics. The series was relaunched as part of the new wave of titles in the New 52 earlier this year in February and its a series that was quite consistent in terms of quality for its entire 7-issue first arc.

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

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NANP: Names On A Train

Joining me today on Names: A New Perspective is Black Library’s most recent debut author, Joe Parrino, who has been putting out a lot of short fiction from them of late. I haven’t had a chance to read anything by him as yet, but I’m certainly looking forward to it. Joe has some great insights on the Warhammer 40,000 setting and seeing his insights within the context of his stories should be fun indeed. While you and I wait for Joe to put out a full-length novel, here are some of his thoughts about names in fiction.

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Best of 2013 Part 1

I did two “Best of the…” lists last year, one for the half-year from January to June, and the other for the half-year from July to December. The lists proved to be quite popular, and I was recently asked if I was going to be doing any more. To which I said yes. I like putting together lists like this. It gives me a chance to reflect a bit on all the good stuff I’ve been reading in novels and comics, or listening to in terms of audiobooks, audio dramas and so on.

You can check out my top-of-the-month lists on my Reading Awards page and this list is both an extension, and a continuation of what goes on there.

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

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NANP: Why Did It Have To Be Names?

The first guest in July for Names: A New Perspective is Graham McNeill, the author of various Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000 novels, and also quite a few other tie-in stuff and a few comics as well. In all the years I’ve been reading Warhammer fiction, he’s written some of my favourite books: Heldenhammer, Storm of Iron (review), Priests of Mars (review), A Thousand Sons, Warriors of Ultramar. He has also written a few that I’m not overly fond of: Dead Sky, Black Sun and Angel Exterminatus (review). But by and large, my experience with his writing has been positive, and he is one of those authors that I can try without a second guess. He is also one of the mainstays of Warhammer fiction, and he’s been around for quite a long time, both as a tabletop game designer and as an author, so in terms of tone and mood, his work has been consistent and evolving, both. Today, he’s here to talk names, so check it out!

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NANP: Swords and Purposes

Today’s guest on Names: A New Perspective is Clint Lee Werner, better known as C. L. Werner to all fans of Warhammer Fantasy fiction, and also one of my favourite writers as well. Some of Clint’s early work, like Blood for the Blood God, was one of my earliest exposures to the world of Warhammer and he has stayed a staple of my reading ever since. His first Black Plague novel, Dead Winter (review), was one of my absolute favourite reads last year and I’m pretty excited for the upcoming sequel, Blighted Empire. I also have a copy of Writing Fantasy Heroes, an anthology of non-fiction work in which some of the top fantasy authors in the industry talk about, well, how to write fantasy heroes. Should be reading that one soon! Clint’s work is often very visceral and real, it gets you down in the trenches and always channels some pretty strong emotions. In terms of consistency, he is definitely one of the top writers out there. This is what he has to say on the subject of names and their purposes.

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NANP: The Names Dice

Participating in the first guest post for Names: A New Perspective Part 3 is Nathan Long, one of my top favourite fantasy authors (with some excellent sword-and-planet mixed in). I’ve been reading Nathan’s books for almost 6 or 7 years now, and have pretty much read all the work he’s done for Black Library to date. His The Blackhearts Omnibus remains a firm favourite for me, as do his Ulrika the Vampire books (review of Bloodborn, Bloodforged, and Bloodsworn), and his Jane Carver of Waar duology (review of Jane Carver, and Swords of Waar) from Nightshade Books. Just as with Matt Forbeck, Nathan is one of the most consistent authors I know, and his books are always engaging and entertaining. Here’s what Nathan has to say on the topic of names.

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NANP: The Geography of Names

Today, I welcome Gav Thorpe to Names: A New Perspective. Tabletop war games designer and author of numerous tie-in fiction novels, as well as a trilogy of original work, Gav is one of my favourite authors and he has penned some of the best novels I’ve read, one of which I consider to be a Warhammer 40,000 classic: Angels of Darkness. And he has penned one of the best Horus Heresy audio dramas as well, one that cemented my love and fascination with the Raven Guard and their Primarch Corax: The Raven’s Flight (review). His original work for Angry Robot Books, a sandals and sorcery tale that begins with Crown of the Blood (review) was a stand-out read for me last year, and I’m eager to progress with the series this year. Here’s what Gav has to say about the topic of names.

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February E-book Giveaway (Update)

As I mentioned here a couple days ago, if my February reading list poll hit 500 votes by midnight on January 31st, I would do a giveaway for a few eBooks. Since the polling hit that level a few short hours ago, the giveaway is live.

But first…

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