Excellent, one of my favourite DC Comics series until it finished but it's good to see that it won't be the last of the Phantom Stranger as we'll be g...moreExcellent, one of my favourite DC Comics series until it finished but it's good to see that it won't be the last of the Phantom Stranger as we'll be getting a new Trinity of Sin series that I can't wait for. JM DeMatteis is one of DC's most underrated writers and this is a series that I can strongly recommend. (less)
Read this as single issues and whilst Constantine may be no Hellblazer (I have filed this under the Hellblazer shelf for convenience purposes), the bo...moreRead this as single issues and whilst Constantine may be no Hellblazer (I have filed this under the Hellblazer shelf for convenience purposes), the book continues to be pretty entertaining. The mostly done-in-one stories are pretty solid and Fawkes' Constantine is relatively strong as well. Whilst it's dissapointing to see John get dragged into the mess that is World's End in #18, it does allow the potential to see Constantine meet his Earth 2 counterpart, which should certainly be interesting to see what happens.
If you can put aside the fact that this is not Hellblazer then you'll enjoy it. In my opinion, Constantine is one of DC's best series right now, not quite in the Top 5 but certainly in the Top 10. Very much looking forward to more and hopefully the World's End Crossover won't be dragged out too long.(less)
Oh yeah. One of my favourite Marvel ongoings right now I think, along with Daredevil, All New X-Factor, Punisher, Magneto & Secret Avengers. This...moreOh yeah. One of my favourite Marvel ongoings right now I think, along with Daredevil, All New X-Factor, Punisher, Magneto & Secret Avengers. This keeps getting better and better as it goes on. Definite recommendation - in fact it's probably more like a 4.5 than a 4. (less)
“A fast paced, entertaining novel that reads very much like an episode of the series. It’s always fun, blending some wacky conspiracies with interesting enemies to keep the momentum high throughout the novel.”~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields
“Well, I doubt you’ll ever see a bigger insect.”
Gabby Nichols is putting her son to bed when she hears her daughter cry out. ‘Mummy there’s a daddy longlegs in my room!’ Then the screaming starts… Alan Travers is heading home from the pub when something rushes his face — a spider’s web. Then something huge and deadly lumbers from the shadows… Kevin Alperton is on his way to school when he is attacked by a mosquito. A big one. Then things get dangerous.
But it isn’t the dead man cocooned inside a huge mass of web that worries the Doctor. It isn’t the swarming, mutated insects that make him nervous. It isn’t an old man’s garbled memories of past dangers that intrigue him.
With the village cut off from the outside world, and the insects becoming more and more dangerous, the Doctor knows that no one is safe. Not unless he can decode the strange symbols engraved on an ancient stone circle, and unravel a mystery dating back to the Second World War.
I’ve been a massive fan of Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor so far, even if the individual episodes of Season 8 haven’t exactly been spectacular to say the least. So it was welcoming then that when I did actually get around to reading my first Doctor Who tie-in novel featuring the new Doctor, It wasn’t a complete disappoint, instead providing something that allowed for a read that’s just simply sheer fun, and feels more like a conspiracy thriller than Doctor Who has in ages, making The Crawling Terror as a result feel very much like Dan Brown with aliens.
The novel itself feels as though it could easily be an episode of the series (case in point, when writing novel in this sentence, I accidentally wrote episode first) and it’s got all your ingredients there – a typical English backdrop (in this case a small village) and an alien twist on something historical, However, with the advantage of a novelization, Tucker doesn’t have to be held back by the constraints of budget and time-limit, and allows to as a result create a fast paced thriller that works very well, and I had very little issues with this given its intentions as a tie-in.
The characters are familiar and Tucker gets the interaction between the Doctor and Clara very well, for example, a highlight early on is when they first arrive in Wiltshire (the location of the events in this novel), and Clara is disappointed that it’s not an alien planet, and just Wiltshire. The exchanges between these two continue throughout the novel and it’s no surprise that the book is at its strongest when the two are together. But not everything is perfect though – The Doctor himself feels a bit flat and underdeveloped as a character, with nothing really distinguishing himself to be the Twelfth Doctor. He could have easily been the Eleventh or even Tenth and I wouldn’t have noticed the difference, but that in large part is probably due to the fact that this novel was released (IIRC) before the first episode of the new series even aired, meaning that the writer was probably constrained by what he had to show as a result.
The secondary characters however shined when it came to this novel with a variety of people getting plenty of pagetime. It was good to see Tucker not just making everything about the two main recurring characters, and as a result this allowed for a better novel character-wise, which was very good to see.
The plot speeds along at a lightning-fast pace and if this was an episode of the series then It would most certainly be more in tune with the fast-paced The Bells of Saint John or The Eleventh Hour as opposed to the recent Listen episode. The conspiracy element of the novel works well and there’s a reasonable explanation for the mystery that’s presented here, which dates back to the Second World War in a big way. I liked how Tucker used the TARDIS in this novel as well, making a refreshing change from where writers in either the show itself or the novels only use it to get the Doctor to a location where he will stay still for an entire episode.
The Crawling Terror then, is a pretty good tie-in novel. Don’t go in expecting to read the novel equivalent of instant-classics like Blink or The Doctor’s Wife, but it’s very much one of the stronger ones that I’ve been able to read from the series. Doctor Who fans will be entertained by this one for sure, and as a result I can wholeheartedly recommend it.
The latest Marvel event is a pretty positive one. Whilst it can't quite match the heights of Infinity, Original Sin is a relatively solid read that fe...moreThe latest Marvel event is a pretty positive one. Whilst it can't quite match the heights of Infinity, Original Sin is a relatively solid read that features some pretty neat team ups (I'd kill for a Dr. Strange/Punisher ongoing series) however, all-too predictably, whilst offering a decent conclusion, ends up being largely something designed to set up the next era of All New Marvel Now. We should get some interesting books out of this event though - Winter Soldier, Angela and Thor series I'm all pretty interested in picking up so we'll see what happens next.
This comes cautiously recommended - don't expect it to be Marvel's best event but it manages to not be entirely terrible either. The art isn't bad, as well. I've only read a few of the tie-ins as of writing this post (Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Fantastic Four, Amazing Spider-Man) and whilst some are hit and miss none are essential reading to understand the main event, a move by Marvel that I'm thankful for. I do kind of want to read the Thor/Loki mini-series though. That sounds kind of cool. (less)
This was an awesome read. Bunn is a great writer and he really handled Magneto well, not relying on guest stars and giving Erik some good solo adventu...moreThis was an awesome read. Bunn is a great writer and he really handled Magneto well, not relying on guest stars and giving Erik some good solo adventures. I'm reading this as individual issues, but if you've missed out than I strongly recommend that you pick up the trade. (less)
“A flawed but fun high concept steampunk novel that is pretty entertaining to read.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields
Following in the fine tradition of Felix Gilman’s spectacularly reviewed Half Made World comes a sweeping tale of Victorian science fiction, space exploration, and planetary romance.
In 1893 a storm sweeps through London, while Arthur Shaw—a young astronomer with a side career writing fiction—is at work in British Museum Reading Room. The storm wreaks unprecedented damage throughout London. Its aftermath of the storm Arthur’s prime literary market closes, owing him money, and all his debts come due at once. His fiance Jo takes a job as a stenographer for some of the fashionable spiritualist and occult societies of fin de siècle London society. Meanwhile, Arthur deciphers an encoded newspaper ad seeking able young men. It seems to be a clerking job doing accounting work, but the mysterious head man Mr. Gacewell offers Arthur a starting position at a salary many times what any clerk could expect. The work is long and peculiar, and the men spend all day performing unnerving calculations that make them hallucinate or even go mad…but the salary is compelling.
Things are beginning to look up when the wages of dabbling in the esoteric suddenly come due: a war breaks out between competing magical societies, and Arthur interrupts Jo in the middle of an elaborate occult exploration. This rash move turns out to be dire, as Jo’s consciousness is stranded at the outer limits of the occultists’ psychic day trip. Which, Arthur is chagrinned…"
Steampunk is one of my favourite genres, and as a result despite not being familiar with any of Felix Gilman’s novels I was looking forward to reading this one when it came through my front door mainly because of the concept, which sounded like it could be excellent. Steampunk with space exploration? That sounded like a must read to me, and whilst The Revolutions did impress in some areas, there were other parts where it didn’t quite meet the mark.
Revolutions-TheThe Revolutions is a fun, inventive and imaginative read that’s a bit different from your average novel. It’s not quite your typical Steampunk fiction either, with a big element of science fiction, specifically space exploration, being included to make for a read that’s got a wealth of ideas on offer. You won’t quite have seen anything like it before, and that can be both a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is that you won’t feel like you’re reading something that you’ve already read, but the negativity that comes with this is in times, it can often feel too confusing especially when there are several questions that don’t get answered over the course of the novel.
It does help though, that the novel itself is well written, with a confident narrative voice and strong prose. The characters are interesting, with Arthur Shaw, a young astronomer and writer leading the way and whilst they never quite leave a lasting impact on the reader they’re more than satisfying people to spend a novel with. You won’t be put off by them, for example, and rarely do they make stupid decisions that will throw you off. However, the side characters don’t get the same amount of attention, with the likes of Lord Podmore, Atwood and others perhaps not receiving as much pagetime to flesh them out properly.
The Revolutions has some excellent world building going for it. You really get a good feeling behind what Gilman has created, and there’s a lot of depth here. It also helps that the book moves along fairly swiftly as well, not quite a page-turner but there are certainly slower novels out there. Despite having a steampunk feel, and something that could be classified as part of the genre (like I’ve done in this review) the novel doesn’t spend a lot of attention on the steam element, focusing more on different elements that will become more clear if you read the novel.
There are some issues with the plot, however. For example, Arthur’s writing is ignored once we’ve been introduced to it and only receives a passing mention at the end, and a focus on an important character’s death which does originally seem of huge import, is ignored and when brought back, is solved in an underwhelming way. I would have liked to see these two issues been expanded upon in more depth, thus allowing for a more concrete novel.
That said, there’s plenty to enjoy about The Revolutions despite its problems. The aforementioned quality of prose is part of what still manages to make this book entertaining, and the ideas presented mostly pay off. It never feels dull, and there wasn’t any point where I wanted to abandon it completely. There was always that hook that kept me turning the pages and it’s something that should apply to your reading experience as well, because despite its flaws, The Revolutions still comes with a recommendation, albeit a cautious one.