Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Teen Titans

Geoff Johns reboot of the Teen Titans is a great run, and shows what a great writer he is. It is hard to take a team of sidekicks and make them interesting in their own right, but this is what Johns does. He makes the characters three dimensional and people who you care about. Sure Tim Drake as Robin is pretty fleshed out, and so is even Superboy to a certain degree, but Johns gives these guys enough of the spotlight to show that they hate living in the shadow of their adult mentors and namesakes, just like others on the team.
This run is as much about growing up as about anything else, and what it means to be a hero. I really enjoyed reading these comics, and it just further reinforced my belief that Johns is one of the greats when it comes to writing comic books.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Magician's Apprentice

Trudi Canavan writes big fantasy novels. Inside you will find war, magic, family conflict and a quest, and The Magician’s Apprentice is no different. Set hundreds of years before Canavan’s best selling The Black Magician trilogy we follow Tessia as she tries to find her place in the world.
Tessia wants to be a healer like her father, but her mother and society would rather she settled down. A chance visit to the local magician changes everything when it is discovered that Tessia has magical ability. She then becomes his apprentice and a whole new world opens up before her, one she never dreamed possible. While this is going on, events in the outside world are coming to a head and they will have far reaching consequences for everyone, and Tessia finds herself in the middle of it all.
The Magician’s Apprentice is good solid fantasy and should appeal to genre readers, and fans of Canavan’s previous books. Don’t be put of by the large size of the book as the pages quickly go by as the story builds.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Karen Traviss knows how to write military science fiction, and this is very evident in the Star Wars Republic Commando series. While these books take place within the official Star Wars timeline the books stay away from the well known characters and this is to their benefit. Instead we get to know these overlooked characters from the movies, the foot soldiers. While not as wild as ARC (Advanced Recon Commando) troopers, the clone commandos are more skilled than regular clone troopers.
Doing the work deemed to hard for ordinary clone troopers, the clone commandos come to the rescue. We follow Niner, Darman, Fi and Atin as they get a chance to display their unique talents for battle, courtesy of their genetic father Jango Fett, and the special training from Fett's hand-picked associates.

The books also look at the human side of the clones, and tries to show what is going through the minds of individuals grown for one purpose only, to fight and die.

Well worth picking up and reading if you are a Star Wars fan or like military science fiction.

Monday, May 18, 2009

So it begins ...

The Horus Heresy is the biggest event in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, and Games Workshop are now telling the full story of how this happened. The story begins in Horus Rising by Dan Abnett and is told through the eyes of one of Horus' loyal Captains Garviel Loken, leader of the 10th Company of the Lunar Wolves. We follow the Lunar wolves as they continue the Great Crusade the Emperor has sent all the Adeptus Astartes (Space Marines) and their Primarchs, like Horus, on.
Horus has just been named Warmaster as the Emperor has decided to return to Terra (Earth) to let Horus prosecute the Great Crusade as he sees fit. But this new found power and prestige has started to change Horus as his idealism begins to be slowly warped.

As the short preface states:

"The vast armies of the Emperor of Earth have conquered the galaxy in a Great Crusade - the myriad alien races have been smashed by the Emperor's elite warriors ... First and foremost amongst these are the primarchs, superheroic beings who have led the Emperor's armies of Space Marines in victory after victory. They are unstoppable and magnificent, the pinnacle of the Emperor's genetic experimentation. The space Marines are the mightiest human warriors the galaxy has ever known, each capable of besting a hundred normal men or more in combat ... Chief amongst the primarchs is Horus, called the Glorious, the Brightest Star, favourite of the Emperor, and like a son unto him. He is the Warmaster."

The parallels with Milton's Paradise Lost are very evident, but Abnett does a good job of not making it seem like a simple retelling.

Overall Horus Rising is a pacy story that left me wanting to read the rest of the books in the series. Fans of Warhammer 40,000 will enjoy the background material these books contain, and fans of military science fiction will also get a kick from this book.

Monday, May 11, 2009

New Links

As you can see from my sidebar I've been adding links to more than just book sites as this blog begins to also reflect my other interests and hobbies.
I've played Warhammer 40k on and of for years now collecting various armies but usually enjoying my Dark Angels or Orks.
I got into Warmachine recently and have wanted to begin collecting a Khadorian force.
I also play wargames and board games in general, so occasionally I will talk about these things as well as my book reviews.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Derring do

Ed Greenwood wears his role playing background on his sleeve in his Band of Four novels. The Band of Four comprises a thief, a warrior, a sorceress and a healer, and it is their job to save the land of Aglirta from whatever happens to be threatening it.
Greenwood is famous for being half of the creative team that invented the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set for AD&D, and this shows in these novels. Overall the novels are a fun romp, with political intrigue, action, magic, combat and nasty villains. I enjoyed them a lot, but at the back of my mind was the feeling I was reading about some one's role playing campaign, and if it isn't it wouldn't be hard to turn the books into a successful campaign.

The books in the series are :

  • The Kingless Land

  • The Vacant Throne

  • A Dragon's Ascension

  • The Dragon's Doom

  • The Silent House

Recommended for fans of epic quest fantasy.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

War against Chaos

Ian Watson understands one thing about the Warhammer 40,000 universe and that is the fact that the universe is baroque. The only thing standing between humans and their complete destruction are brave individuals who root out the insidious influences of Chaos.
The Inquisition War deals with one such individual in Inquisitor Jaq Draco and his brave companions who help in this endless fight against the ruinous powers. Draco finds himself travelling across the Imperium of Man as he tries to end a conspiracy that threatens everyone with complete enslavement.

Watson is a wonderful writer, and he really brings out the gibbering nature of the followers of Chaos, and the constant threat to humans from them. In fact role players who are playing Dark Heresy could use this wonderful collection to find many ideas for their own campaigns.

I'll let Draco speak for himself:

"What does the name of inquisitor mean? Many people would answer: destroyer of mutants, hammer of heretics, scourge of aliens, with-hunter, torturer. Yet really the answer is: a seeker of truth, however terrible the truth may be. As a member of the Ordo Malleus I am already a secret inquisitor. Yet the truth I must disclose involves the revelation of an even deeper, more sinister secrets than those known to members of our covert order."

A fun read, especially if you know anything about the Warhammer 40,000 universe and setting.