Rivers of London is Aaronovitch's fun and humourous take on the urban fantasy genre. It's got a little bit of everything in it, an unsolved murder; maRivers of London is Aaronovitch's fun and humourous take on the urban fantasy genre. It's got a little bit of everything in it, an unsolved murder; magic; alternate history; ghosts and gods. What this novel did well in is combining all these different elements to create an amusing and fresh look into London. However this very same decision means that the story tries to be a bit of everything and in the end none of it made a big impact on me.
Rivers of London follows probationary policeman PC Peter Grant who is working on the streets of London. By chance a ghost gives Peter insights into a mysterious murder and suddenly Peter finds himself assigned to the only wizard in the entire police force. Peter might not the brightest copper but his heart is in the right place. What he lacks in judgement and experience, he makes up for it with hard work. In one scene, Peter has to intervene between two feuding river gods and Aaronovitch uses Peter's eagerness and awkwardness to great comedic effect. Peter's voice in the book matches his character perfectly as it really captures the whole fish out of water concept when Peter finds himself thrust into this alternate London that not many people knows about.
While I did enjoy Peter as a character, what failed to impress me was the plot for the book. The first half is wonderful as we follow Peter around, discovering a whole new side of London that few people knew about. We learn that Newton is not only responsible for defining the laws of motion but also that of magic. Instead of building on top of this foundation, the second half focuses on the crime investigation aspect of the novel, which was so dry that I needed a re-read to remind myself how the crime was solved.
Although I wasn't that impressed with the plot, I did find Peter's narration charming and the interaction between Peter and Inspector Nightingale more than makes up for the disappoinments. I think the Rivers of London/Peter Grant series is a bit like the Dresden Files in that it gets better as the series progresses and with each novel sucks you a little further into its world. Rivers of London remains a fun book to read and I'm interested to see how Peter will end up in the later books.
There are some interesting tidbits about the life of an Olympian and the thoughts they go through when getting ready for the games and their lives aftThere are some interesting tidbits about the life of an Olympian and the thoughts they go through when getting ready for the games and their lives afterwards. There's nothing going on in this book that will shock you or incriminate the author so I don't see why he remained anonymous.
If you are looking for dirt on athletes then this is not the book for you. What this book offers though are thoughts and insights into athletes who have made it and those that didn't....more
Now in the final book, everything comes together and we have one last standoff between the Defiance and the Delta Prime as Devastator, the world mostNow in the final book, everything comes together and we have one last standoff between the Defiance and the Delta Prime as Devastator, the world most dangerous villain makes his nefarious plans known. Resolution goes out with a bang with all the superpowered coming together to defeat Devastator and provides a fitting ending to the Brave New World trilogy.
Forbeck has done an impressive job for his first trilogy in his 12-for-12 project. Since he only has one month to write each story, you can understand why he has to limit the word count of each book. Despite each book being a little shorter than I would like, I really enjoyed the entire series as a whole. Each book reveals a little bit more of the BNW world and the variety of casts keeps the plot interesting and exciting. Forbeck really knows how to get you to root for the underdogs and to create villains that you despise.
I'd love to read more books set in this universe and I hope the author would revisit this series at a later date. In the meantime, I'll be reading his second 12-for-12 trilogy, Shotguns & Sorcery.
Dead Harvest is one of the best supernatural debuts to come out this year. An explosive thriller that gave us Sam Thorton, a body hopping soul collectDead Harvest is one of the best supernatural debuts to come out this year. An explosive thriller that gave us Sam Thorton, a body hopping soul collector who just happens to be the lynchpin of the Apocalypse. Sam was given a nigh on impossible task and must see it through while caught in between the manipulations of both angels and demons. A fantastic action packed story that had all the elements of a Jerry Bruckheimer movie!
In The Wrong Goodbye, Sam Thornton is back once again collecting the souls of evildoers. We're quickly thrust into the situation when the soul Sam was meant to collect ends up missing and the person responsible is an old buddy of Sam's. Now Sam must find and inter the soul before his own is blast into nothingness by an angry and ancient god. Joined by a dead mobster and a transsexual fortune teller, Sam takes the road across America as he searches for the missing soul. Sounds like an odd combination right? But you just have to read it to believe it.
You would be glad to know that the thrill and tension that you enjoyed so much in the debut is back and dare I say it, even better in this book. The recently deceased small time mobster, Gio, provides much of the comic relief in this book and makes a good contrast to Sam who can be a little too serious and grim at times. The mythology of the world is further expanded in The Wrong Goodbye and now we realise there are other entities besides angels and demons at play.
The book also references to skirmishes between angels and demons across the world as a result of the events in the first book. To me, it feels like the final book in the trilogy will be about the forthcoming Apocalypse, so I wonder why the angels and demons take a backseat in this book? Although I would have liked a stronger apocalyptic theme in this book, the story here still satisfied my appetite.
You don't need to have read Dead Harvest to enjoy The Wrong Goodbye as the story neatly fills in any gaps that you may have. If you really haven't read the first book then you should definitely get it now. This action packed novel will keep you reading late into the night and provide hours of entertainment. An irresistible treat for all the urban fantasy fans out there. Now that much of the mythology and groundwork has been laid, I look forward to the finale when the end of days draws near!
In this second book of the Ultramarines series, Captain Uriel Ventris is ordered to defend Tarsis Ultra from the imminent threat of the Tyranid Hive FIn this second book of the Ultramarines series, Captain Uriel Ventris is ordered to defend Tarsis Ultra from the imminent threat of the Tyranid Hive Fleet Leviathan. Along with two Imperial Guard regiments, the local Planetary Defence Forces, a company from the Morticators and the Deathwatch, the defensive force wage a bloody war against the invaders.
It's been a while since I read the first book, Nightbringer and I found Warriors of Ultramar a lot more accessible than the previous book. The plot here is straightforward. You have the good guys defending their world from the bad guys. The Tyranids make an awesome foe here because they don't think like we do and they don't have emotions so you don't have to analyse why they do the things they do. All you need to know is that they are the Great Devourer and will consume everything in their path.
The first part of the story took a while for me to sink my teeth into as I'm not a fan of Void battles but things started getting exciting when the battle moved to planetside. Once on the planet, the Tyranids began to transform the environment of Tarsis Ultra to make it suitable for their species. They then advanced against the defenders by throwing everything they had while the Guards have to use their wits to conserve the number of troops against this insurmountable foe. Despite heavy losses, the valiant Astartes and Guards manage to hold off the invasion in the end. A classic tale of triumph of good over evil.
In this story, we see Uriel Ventris grows as a character and finally coming to his own as he learns not to blindly follow the Codex Astartes to the letter. He chose to go with the Deathwatch on a suicide mission to inject a bio-toxin into the Hive Queen rather than sticking to his company as dicatated by Roboute Guilliman's teachings. As Uriel's devotion to the Codex Astartes wavers, we are treated to his comtemplations about what it means to be an Ultramarine and a warrior of the Emperor and his observations on how different the Morticators have become over the centuries despite sharing the same bloodline as the Ultramarines. Uriel Ventris is definitely growing on me and he is slowly becoming one of my favourite loyalist Astartes.
Another character that stood out in the book is the Fabricator Marshal Sebastien Montante. At first he seemed like the typical fool character that you would laugh at because he doesn't understand the severity of the Tyranid threat and you hope he will die in the most embarrassing way. However as the story unfolds, you realise that even though Montante is not be a warrior like the Astartes or the Guards, his heart is still set in the right place. He uses his logistical skills to ensure the defensive force has the provision it needs in the forthcoming battles. Even with no martial training Montante took up arms to help with the defence of Tarsis Ultra. He was a character that I didn't expect I would like but end up enjoying very much.
This book packs a ton of action and plenty of heroic moments to boot. McNeill strikes a fine balance between despair and hope as the remaining defenders fight back with everything they have. The moments of downtime in between battles offer readers time to reflect on the sacrifices and costs towards freedom. Warriors of Ultramar can be read on its own so you don't need to have read Nightbringer to enjoy this book. I would also say this is a good starting point if you have never read any Warhammer 40k books.
Another brilliant debut from Angry Robot's amazing 2012 schedule. If you love supernatural stories then you're in for a treat with this one.
The Dead oAnother brilliant debut from Angry Robot's amazing 2012 schedule. If you love supernatural stories then you're in for a treat with this one.
The Dead of Winter stars Cora Oglesby and her husband Ben who specialises in hunting things that even the most hardened hunters are afraid of. Think of them as a Western version of Supernatural's Sam and Dean Winchester if you will. Like Dean, Cora has a quick to anger temper and prefers action to words, whereas Ben is a more laid-back, thoughtful fellow. Despite how different they are, they do make an incredible pair and have a long history of monster slaying behind them. So that is why the marshal agreed to let Cora investigate the unnatural deaths of two local hunters in Leadville. But things are never this easy and soon they discover what is really lurking around in Leadville.
I really enjoyed the pacing and structure of this book. The first half serves an introduction to help you familiarise yourself with the characters and demonstrates just how effective and ruthless Cora is at her work. Once you reach the second half though, that is when the real meat of the story begins and you are exposed to a world bathed in rich lores and myths. Even though we've read these vampire stories hundred of times before, Collins still made it interesting and thrilling. I even managed to pick up a term for vampires that I never knew before!
A lot of credit goes to how well Cora is written. She is a conflicted character torn by a tragic event in her past. Cora wants to settle down to an easy life once she has made enough money but circumstances drive her to continue her journey on the road. Her character and attitude truly reflects on all the crap she has been through in her life. I can't wait to see how she will evolve after the events in this story.
The Dead of Winter is a fantastic Supernatural tale set in Western setting with plenty of action and quirky humour. Definitely not to be missed and it makes a wonderful addition to your (virtual) bookshelf. Did you know that Collins was discovered because of Angry Robot's Open Door Month? I'm just glad they did not pass on this gem.
“If Buffy hooked up with Doctor Who while on board the Serenity, this book would be their lovechild. In other words, GEEKOMANCY is full of epic win.”“If Buffy hooked up with Doctor Who while on board the Serenity, this book would be their lovechild. In other words, GEEKOMANCY is full of epic win.” - Marie Lu, author of Legend series. Honestly with that kind of endorsement, can any geek pass on this book?
Well Geekomancy is definitely a book written by a geek for geeks. It is a fun and entertaining story that combines what we love most about popular culture with a light-hearted mystery. I'm sure all geeks would love to have Ree's power in the story, which is Genre Emulation. With Genre Emulation, Ree gains power by watching TV shows and movies and the more she identifies with the characters the stronger her power gets.
From a geek's point of view, I love the little references and mentions littered throughout the book and the sudden aha moments that you get when you recognise where that line comes from. I also love the creativity and the way Underwood blends the source materials together in the story.
However from a reader's point of view, the constant barrage of irrelevant references is distracting and feels like they are there simply to gain geek cred rather than to move the story along. To me the references feel forced, unlike in Ready Player One, where it happens naturally and all mentions to things like Dungeons and Dragons, WarGames and Joust are all necessary because they are integral parts of the story.
Since Ree's case has a supernatural element to it, I thought a show such as Supernatural would fit perfectly as who can understand situation like this better than the hunters Sam and Dean Winchester? Instead the show was mentioned in a throwaway line and we see Ree stumble along with a bunch of fun but not terribly useful abilities.
I like magic systems with some type of rule, otherwise you can create any solution that you see fit in the story. And in some ways the magic in Geekomancy feels just like that. There are powerful magic artifacts just because they are somehow related to Popular Culture and there is magic for anything under the SFF sun, there's even one that draws power from Bromance... Yeah it's fun to read but the Geekomancy world just feels too chaotic and shallow to me.
To put it simply, if you are a geek then you will like this book because of the big fan service it provides. The story is a little uneven at times and even with the flaws I mentioned, the overall story has kept me entertained. It might not be the best thing that's ever happened in the Geekdom but I'll definitely recommended it to any geek that is looking for a light humourous read.
Shield of Secunda is an impressive debut that captures both the brutality of war and the camaraderie between battle brothers. This is not surprising aShield of Secunda is an impressive debut that captures both the brutality of war and the camaraderie between battle brothers. This is not surprising as Collins admitted to me that he grew up obsessed with the writings of Black Library authors and Fantasy greats such as Gemmell, Abercrombie and Martin and aspire to their standards.
If you’re a fan of Black Library books then you are already familiar with some of the concepts in the book such as the training of the initiates into knights and how the different Knightly Orders operate independently of each other. In fact the initiation scene reminds me a little of the training recruits went through in Mitchel Scanlon’s Descent of Angels. Even though some ideas are similar, Shield of Secunda has enough differences to keep the concepts interesting.
The story focuses on Uthiel Caellar and follows him as he is picked to join the Grey Wolves and prepare to defend Secunda from the forthcoming invasion by the barbarians. As the story progresses, we see the gradual transformation of Uthiel from a brash, untested youth to a battle-hardened veteran as he deals with the loss of his fellow brothers-in-arms and rejections from those that remain.
There are plenty of battles in the story and you won’t be disappointed by the fights in the book. There’s a sense of urgency and imminent danger in these scenes. Where there is battle, there is violence and it shouldn’t come as a shock to see how the captives are treated in the book. The tortures may be gruesome, but I feel they are necessary to show how depraved and twisted the enemies have become.
Like many stories that focus on telling the story of a heroic protagonist in times of peril, the secondary characters felt a little weak and less memorable in comparison. There are times in the story that made me pause and ask who those characters are. As the book approaches the midway point, we see one of the characters fall to the dark side but I felt the transition happened a little too quickly. I would have loved to see more internal struggles as he slowly accepts his new station.
That being said, the book ends at an interesting intersection, and I wonder which direction the next book will head in now? Can the fallen character ever be redeemed or Uthiel has to put an end to him?
I enjoyed this book and if you are a fan of epic fantasy or the Space Marines books then you will definitely like this one.
Waiting for Daybreak is a rather unique zombie tale. Instead of focusing on the horrors of flesh eating undead, the book reads more like a personal diWaiting for Daybreak is a rather unique zombie tale. Instead of focusing on the horrors of flesh eating undead, the book reads more like a personal diary of survival.
In the first part of the book, we are treated to Frieda's musings and generally how her life has changed since the outbreak. We learn that the zombie outbreak has created some inconveniences in Frieda’s life but otherwise she has been doing fine by herself, getting the resources that she and her cat need.
During one of Frieda's routine scavenges, she meets Mike, another survivor of the zombie apocalypse and quickly develops a romantic yet slightly awkward relationship with him. It is during this part that the book explores how these characters cope with the despair and loneliness of knowing that they are possibly the last surviving people on the planet.
If you have seen or read I Am Legend then you will see some similarity between that and this story. Both stories ask the question of what is normal if you are the last human left on the planet and whether it's better to just let nature runs its course.
Even though Waiting for Daybreak is a quick read, it has a fully fleshed out story with a fascinating and different lead character and is very entertaining overall.
A brilliant short story that offers a solemn and lesser seen side of the Space Marines when the Crimson Fists commemorates those who have recently falA brilliant short story that offers a solemn and lesser seen side of the Space Marines when the Crimson Fists commemorates those who have recently fallen. A powerful and emotional story....more
Wild Cards is a collection of short stories by a number of different authors but woven together and edited by none other than George R. R. Martin. YesWild Cards is a collection of short stories by a number of different authors but woven together and edited by none other than George R. R. Martin. Yes, the same George R. R. Martin that created Game of Thrones. You see Wild Cards actually predates Game of Thrones by a good decade and it’s interesting to find some themes in this book that are also present in his later books.
Unlike other collections, the short stories in this book all share the same world, one that is recovering from an aftermath of an alien virus that caused many people to die and others given strange abilities. Some stories also share characters, so it would definitely help if you read them in the order presented in the book so you don’t miss out.
When the alien virus was unleashed in 1946, many people died. Of those lucky few that survived, most of them are transfigured into horrible beings and only a couple came out with something beneficial. Since these abilities are so random, the virus was later known as the Wild Card virus and the lucky ones who were dealt the good hands are known as “Aces”, while the bad ones are “Jokers”.
The short stories deal with the survivors of the alien virus outbreak and how the world has changed now there are Aces and Jokers running around. There are also interludes in the form of newspaper articles that act as a bridge between stories and help fill in the gap of what else is happening and provide the readers with a richer experience.
One thing that you can’t miss while reading this book is how closely these stories followed real world events and politics. Instead of just hunting Communists during the McCarthy era, the G-men are also hunting down Aces and “recruiting” them to their cause. Instead of the race riots, there’re the Joker riots because the Jokers are treated even worse than Coloured people due to their horrendous appearances.
Just like any other collections, there are some great stories and there are some duds but the overall package is impressive and provides a good variation of stories. These stories are very different in terms of style to the other superhero books that I have been reading of late.
The stories that impressed me the most were “The Sleeper by Roger Zelazny”, “Witness by Walter Jon Williams”, “Powers by David D. Levine” and “Shell Games by George R.R. Martin”.
In “The Sleeper”, Croyd Crenson is infected by the alien virus and after every time he sleeps, he would wake up with a new appearance and a new ability. The abilities aren’t always beneficial and the story shows how this kid learns to cope with his ordeal while providing for his family.
“Witness” tells the tale of the Four Aces and how they fell from grace with the American public after they were indicted with links to Communist interests. This is a political story that really captures the mood of mistrust of that era.
“Powers” is just a fantastic story of an Ace who has decided to come out of hiding and help his country to rescue a pilot that has been missing in action ever since he crash landed in the Soviet Union.
In “Shell Games”, a bullied teenager grows up to become The Great and Powerful Turtle to right the wrongs of the world and in the process helps the alien Dr. Tachyon to overcome his depression.
I really enjoyed the alternate US history presented in the stories and it was fascinating to see how the virus was incorporated into real world events. All in all, this collection of stories has piqued my interest in this series and I will definitely be checking out the other books to read more about Aces and Jokers.
Revelation is the second book in Matt Forbeck's 12-for-12 project and a fantastic and action packed sequel in his superpowered Brave New World trilogyRevelation is the second book in Matt Forbeck's 12-for-12 project and a fantastic and action packed sequel in his superpowered Brave New World trilogy.
After breaking out of prison in Matt Forbeck's Brave New World: Revolution, Patriot is once again risking his life to save Deltas from the Primers. This time, the Primers are not going to take any prisoners and are bringing out their heavy weapons to end the wanted criminals. Patriot realises that he needs the help of the Church to buy themselves some time for the rebels to escape. However the Church has an agreement with the President not to grant any Deltas sanctuary. So now the Church must decide whether to give up the rebels knowing that they will die as soon as they walk out the door.
Much of the book focuses on the standoff between the Defiance and the Primers while the Church decides what to do next. The tension in this story is excellent here as we don't know how far Ragnarok and the Primers would go to kill Patriot, their number one most wanted. There's also plenty of superpowered action as both sides use the church as their battleground.
The story felt a little short, but there are plenty of things happening in the book which kept it exciting. Without spoiling anything, I'd just like to say I especially enjoyed the twist at the end.
I've been reading a lot of superhero novels lately and each book handles this subgenre differently. With Wild Cards you have very political driven stoI've been reading a lot of superhero novels lately and each book handles this subgenre differently. With Wild Cards you have very political driven stories and with Matt Forbeck's Brave New World series, you get a lot of action-packed entertainment. Now with Seven Wonders you have a story that stays true to its comic book origin and one where you can feel just how passionate the author is to these stories.
With a name like Seven Wonders, you might mistakenly think that the book is about the exploits and adventures of the superheroes in the title like the Fantastic Four or the X-men. In fact this story follows the rise and fall of Tony Prosdocimi as he suddenly develops super-powers. Tony tries to put an end to The Cowl, the last supervillain left on Earth and asks to join the Seven Wonders but realises that the local superhero team may not have the city's best interest at heart.
There is a wide variety of superheroes featured in this book. There's the aforementioned Seven Wonders, each with their own distinctive style and ability that makes for great reading. Towards the end of the book we are shown just how big the superhero family on Earth is when they gather up for the final showdown. I thought all these backstories would be great additions to Angry Robot's WorldBuilder project and was surprised that Seven Wonders hasn't been included in it. I guess that since the world isn't as unique as it is in Empire State maybe that's why Seven Wonders wasn't included into the project.
As we all know superheroes alone do not make a great comic story, we also need villains that we despise but secretly love and The Cowl fits perfectly into this role. There are certain points in the story where we see events through The Cowl's eyes and learn of his failing superpowers and later of his redemption. Christopher has seized these opportunities to expand and add a lot more depth in The Cowl and made him into a fully fleshed out character that you will not forget.
When I was reading the book, I was reminded of Nolan's Batman movies. The reason is that the story just keeps on giving. Just when you think the main villain has been stopped, you realise there are actually more afoot and the story continues on this fantastic yet unexpected journey.
The book was such a joy to read and the scenes were so vivid that I swear it was like reading the comic book version. I'm sure any superhero fan would appreciate and love this story too. This is a brilliant story that would make a great standalone novel but I wouldn't be surprised if we visit this setting again at a later date.
Feng Shui and Assassin are not two words that you would normally associate with each other but the book Feng Shui Assassin gives this concept a good gFeng Shui and Assassin are not two words that you would normally associate with each other but the book Feng Shui Assassin gives this concept a good go and brings a new angle to the ancient Chinese believe of Feng Shui. This book is essentially a tale of revenge and reminds me of those classic Hong Kong Wuxia movies, a little silly at times but extremely entertaining to read.
Harvey Barker is the aforementioned assassin in the book and he is killing off the people who are responsible for his sister's death by using Feng Shui. The idea of using Feng Shui to cause death is a neat idea but my only gripe is that the effects happened too damn fast. Harvey managed to cause one of his targets to commit suicide in the space of a few minutes just by offsetting some pictures and paperwork. If Feng Shui is so powerful then there would be many more people winning the lottery instantly because of how they dressed or how their rooms are laid out.
Anyway, Harvey is not the only supernatural killer out there and soon he faces a Yoga master, a hitman with the ability to kill people with his origami objects as well as others. The abilities sound funny but the fight between the Feng Shui assassin and the Yoga master was pretty exciting to read. If you've ever read any Naruto then you definitely have an idea how Chakra is used in the fight scene.
This was a fun read and Hall has done a wonderful job combining mystical arts from a number of different cultures into a highly imaginative story. The story has excellent pacing and never a dull moment. The story is a refreshing change from the magic spells, vampires or werewolves that we see so often in urban fantasy.
I don't know if the author is planning to write any more stories but I'm definitely looking forward to some more.