When provoked, Sparhawk was not the most reasonable of men.
The Ruby Knight is a direct continuation of The Elenium, picking up almost exactly where ThWhen provoked, Sparhawk was not the most reasonable of men.
The Ruby Knight is a direct continuation of The Elenium, picking up almost exactly where The Diamond Throne let off, so don’t let grass grow beneath your feet between books. That said, this book doesn’t have the same impetus going for it; it takes a while to build up steam, and there is a lot of moving around from point A to B to C. There and back again…
“I'm starting to feel a very powerful urge to hurt some people."
“The Younger Gods of Styricum like symmetry. We were ten when we began this search, so now we have to be the same ten every step of the way.” Um. Really? As bizarre (and random) as some of the plot parameters appear to be, the big “revelation” at the end of the story actually puts everything nicely in perspective. It wasn’t a real surprise to me, since there are more than enough hints, to be honest. Eddings also seems to be foreshadowing events here that will only take place much later. As late as The Tamuli even.
"You're a bloodthirsty one, aren't you, Sparhawk?"
The action scenes are quite good. Counterpointed with the lighthearted vibe of the dialogue (and the story in general), though, it sometimes comes across as surprisingly dark and violent. Sparhawk is always entertaining though, since his impulses often place him (and his friends) in some rather awkward situations.
"Are you mad, Kalten?" Ulath exploded. "You want me to draw my axe on my own king?" "Of course not," Kalten grinned, "only on his funeral cortege. If he goes up against Sparhawk, he'll be drinking heavenly mead after the first pass."
The religious theme can be quite funny, since it touches on a reality that many can likely identify with: even among religious folk, there are different levels of commitment.
“You go with him, and if he tries to pray more than once a day, you have my permission to brain him." "That could have some interesting political ramifications, Your Majesty." "Lie about it. Say it was an accident."
In conclusion. It’s not as good as The Diamond Throne and it does get a bit repetitive, but it’s still fun, and I still want to finish the trilogy.
"That's a very ugly horse you've got there, you know?" "We're a matched set, Your Majesty."
Cover art – notes
Firstly: Keith Parkinson is responsible for the art, and it’s pretty good, but I’m not entirely sure what it relates to. That saurian fellow on the right confounds me. It isn’t The Seeker since that worthy is clearly depicted as insectile, and it most certainly isn’t Ghwerig the (stunted and hairy) Troll either. This leaves one possibility: namely the vaguely described being that Sir Tynan inadvertently summons by necromancy. Any thoughts?
Secondly, and lastly: Whoever designed the cover on the Del Rey mass market paperback should be severely chastened chastised. The cover art is cropped to death, and slotted into a little block at the bottom of the cover. It looks ludicrous, since you can only see the top half of the picture, like a child took a scissors to it. And to think, how marvelous the older editions looked…
“If he stops to pray one more time, I'm going to strangle him.” ...more
This Green Arrow series was part of the DC “New Format / Suggested for Mature Readers” imprint, which has gone on to become Vertigo. It’s gritty and violent and quite good. Mike Grell really managed to transform Oliver Queen from cheesy Robin-Hood-alike to troubled vigilante.
This series was my introduction to Green Arrow back in the day and is still the version I prefer. Recommended to fans of 80s comics and anybody following the evolution of the character.
Skullduggery and dark doings, he thought. A dangerous prize and a lovely lady!
Great fun, this.
It is shared world fiction (one of my occasional guilty Skullduggery and dark doings, he thought. A dangerous prize and a lovely lady!
Great fun, this.
It is shared world fiction (one of my occasional guilty pleasures), so my expectations were aligned accordingly. However, this one still managed to surprise.
It was an ominous-looking thing, with a silver skull embossed in the center and dire runes inscribed at each hasp. The title was stamped out in silver chasing: The Sarkonagael, or Secrets of the Shadewrights.
When written right, the Forgotten Realms setting still offers a formidable helping of atmosphere. I suppose if you’ve never dabbled in D&D at least a bit, the appeal could potentially allude you, but this story is crafted competently enough for even casual fantasy readers to enjoy.
The night's work demanded clothes that fit like a shadow over a grave.
I found Jack Ravenwild to be an endearing protagonist, despite (or perhaps because of) his ambiguous nature. He is a rogue and a thief and a scoundrel, but he is pretty entertaining, and his Dread Delgath personality is nothing short of hilarious.
"Come out, come out, little thief," the demon hissed. Its voice was thick oil poured over a hot stove.
As you would expect from a Forgotten Realms novel, there is more than enough action. It’s presented quite well too.
I especially enjoyed the portrayal of fighting sequences involving magic (the magic use in this novel is excellent throughout, Jack is pretty adept for a rogue class character, which may annoy purists. It is, of course, explained towards the end of the story.)
Jack picked himself up and launched a deadly magical attack of his own, a pair of streaking force globes that hammered into the shadow and detonated with brutal force.
Keeping track of the clues in the Game of Masks is quite a feat, but it adds another layer to the story. To be clear: there’s quite a lot going on in this book (Baker packs a lot of story into just a little more than 300 pages) and not everything is clearly connected other than the fact that the protagonist is involved in some way or the other.
The wind screamed like something flayed alive as they dropped into the darkness.
In conclusion: I found the story involving and very well paced, mostly because of the lively fashion in which the protagonist is portrayed. As a Forgotten Realms novel it succeeds in spades, but it can also be read in isolation. The weakest bit is the grand finale, where things inevitably get a bit OTT.
4 stars... because it was so much fun to read and because I still have a soft spot for the Forgotten Realms setting.
"Dungeon delving is an occupation for those unfortunate souls who have demonstrated that they are too stupid, ill-tempered, or incompetently noble to hold down any honest job."
Another review that’s far more difficult than the book actually warrants.
The story deals with the legendary retired hero Druss Kell, who wields the faAnother review that’s far more difficult than the book actually warrants.
The story deals with the legendary retired hero Druss Kell, who wields the famous battle axe Snaga Illana (um, in all fairness, the author does cite David Gemmell as a big influence) and the events surrounding an invasion by an army of vampires.
And no, they’re not real vampires either. The Vachines are basically a race of beings (humans) that have had their internal organs removed and replaced with clockwork machinery in order to make them stronger and more durable. Now they need blood-oil to, well, oil the workings. It’s a fairly interesting concept, if a bit grim, and somewhat more complicated than my quick description here will lead you to believe.
Speaking of grim. One can’t help but wonder about a story where (rather crude) expletives are used to refer to sexual organs during intercourse. It seems a bit juvenile, but that could just be me being prudish? On the other hand: almost every single female character in here is either brutally raped or exploited or tortured. It’s that kind of book… for better or worse.
Kell’s Legend most certainly is not for everyone. It’s got plentiful action (it’s fairly bloody as heck) which will appeal to some, but it is a bit “rough around the edges”. Only recommended to hardcore fantasy readers who like their fantasy gritty.gritty.gritty.
But, and here’s the thing, I actually find myself wanting to read the next one (Soul Stealers). I’m curious how this is going to pan out. One thing that Remic seems to be good at is cliffhangers. I may yet revisit this review one day.
damn this rating system I have no idea how much to give this book 2.5 stars ...more
While the Lucky Luke Adventures aren’t as consistently good as the Asterix Adventures, they are well worth following if you are a fan of Goscinny andWhile the Lucky Luke Adventures aren’t as consistently good as the Asterix Adventures, they are well worth following if you are a fan of Goscinny and / or European style comics. The work of Morris (a.k.a. Maurice De Bevere) is instantly recognizable, of course.
Back to the issue at hand: this particular Lucky Luke adventure was a bit of a letdown compared to the ones I read previously. That doesn’t make it a “bad” book by any means, just not as hilarious as, say, Ma Dalton or The Wagon Train: Lucky Luke 9. The colouring also seems to be a bit inconsistent; with some of the panels being presented in monochrome (all orange or all pink, for example). To be completely honest, I can’t remember whether my other Lucky Luke books have similar colouring problems so it’s not that big a deal. This is still an easy three, to three-and-a-half stars...
…and the best bit is, there are still quite a few to go! ...more
I wasn’t aware when I started reading this that it is actually the second book in a series. The author does fill the reader in, but I can’t help but wI wasn’t aware when I started reading this that it is actually the second book in a series. The author does fill the reader in, but I can’t help but wonder how much this affected my reading experience. For one thing, the character development here is rather lacking, and it is possible that the author fleshed them out sufficiently in book 1 (Beyond the Gap). I guess I’ll never know, since I don’t intend on going back to the first novel at this stage, if ever. I do, however, own book three (The Golden Shrine) and will probably read that at some stage.
While the premise of The Breath of God appealed to me greatly, I’m a bit torn about the execution. Harry Turtledove appears to be a very popular author, but I struggled to get used to his writing, and especially the dialogue. The easiest way to describe it is that it felt like it was translated from another language. I’m not saying that it’s bad, only that it wasn’t particularly to my liking.
The story is also slightly hampered by glacially slow pacing (pun intended) and a throwaway “love story” angle that I felt was at odds with what the author was attempting. There are also a delightful number of anachronisms: one of my favourites being a warrior looking at the stars and contemplating the way the “Milky Way” glitters. How much did prehistoric man know about this kind of thing?
I also didn't quite get some of the characters. Like Gudrid, for example. What on earth is that all about?
Anyway, maybe that’s just me nit-picking. On the whole I don’t have a lot to say about this novel, other than the fact that it does redeem itself a bit towards the end (I still want to read the next novel to see how everything unfolds). It wasn’t particularly bad but it wasn’t particularly good either.