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Review: Ecko Burning (The Ecko Trilogy Book 2) by Danie Ware

Hey everyone, I’m back with a review of the sequel to ‘Ecko Rising’ – Danie Ware’s debut and the first book in the trilogy. Yep, I’m talking about ‘Ecko Burning‘. :-)

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After reading book 1, Ecko Rising, I knew that an important and inventive new storyteller had hit the vast-and-always-busy Spec-Fic scene – Ecko Rising would put Danie and her creation, Ecko, to the test -

- which both passed without a hint of effort, it seems. :-)

‘Ecko Burning’ picks up after and slots neatly beside the ending of the first book, and quickly shifts into high gear, sowing plot-seeds that not only expand upon the events of the first book but also serve to add more background and ‘flesh’ to the characters introduced in the first book.

The principle character, Ecko, continues to be the star of the tale, and it is in this book that we get a much deeper sense of the conflicts raging within him as well as his reactions to what is happening around him. Danie makes an interesting and dangerous choice here – to leave Ecko effectively rudderless and confused, reacting to what’s happening around him, not having a clear idea of just what is happening around him. Why is it dangerous? Well, readers of SF and Fantasy will agree that, most times, the main characters have an idea of what’s going on, what their goals are, who it is they’re fighting or struggling against.

Taking a risk like can lead to a mess of a book as the characters struggle to find their place and purpose again, but it’s not what happens in this novel – Danie allows Ecko to explore, to confront, to hate, and more, which allows him to eventually make a choice that comes across as natural and unforced; and the choice leaves Ecko utterly changed, so he grows as a character, too. Ecko’s supporting cast are also put through the wringer, and there’s a great split-focus on them all. so the reader get’s that all-important look at their motivations and fears, even more so than in the first book.

Plot-wise, I was damned impressed – after the conflicts that the cast had to face in Ecko Burning I was really curious as to what would happen, and I’m happy to say that not only did the action and tension escalate, but more was revealed about the world and its cultures, adding yet more layers to the considerable world-building that Danie revealed in Book 1.

I have no-idea where Danie will take the story in the third book, and I’m happy to say that I trust her to do many awesome, memorable things with this tale. In two books Danie has proved herself a writer and storyteller of considerable talent, able to create unique characters that inhabit wonderful world-building, and I’m definitely looking forward to the finale and the surprises that Danie is sure to spring on us. :-)

9 / 10

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To order your copies of ‘Ecko Burning’, click here for Amazon US, here for Amazon UK, and here if you’re in South Africa. And check out Danie’s website here.

Many thanks to Titan Books for supplying me with an ARC – you guys rock!

Until next time,

Be EPIC!

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2014 in Reviews

 

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Review: Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie (Book 2: The First Law)

Hey everyone, Werner here.

When I read The Blade Itself, I was completely blown away. It was a success on every level – the story-line, the pace, but most of all the characters. It had everything that I look for in fantasy. So I was a little hesitant when it became time for book two. I had it so built up in my head and, hearing what other people had said, I wondered if the book would reach expectations. It did, boy did it…

The story picks up where it left off with the Union fighting a war on two fronts and a quieter war within. In Dagoska, the cripple questioner Sand dan Glokta is sent as the new Superior after the previous one disappears. His objective? Find out what happened, and keep Dagoska out of Gurkish hands. Glokta is only too happy to do this as years ago the Gurkish Empire tortured him and he has no intention of repeating the experience.

Win or lose, it doesn’t mater, all he knows is they will never take him alive again. In Angland the Union faces Bethod, the new ‘crowned’ king of the north. Marshal Burr is given the command and with his aide, Collem West, they need to stop the northmen. This is harder as it sounds – the dandy Ladisla, who is also the crown price of the Union, wants glory and, if given his way, West might not make it home. They meet some northmen who are not under the sway of Bethod, northmen who know the area and Bethod better than the Union. Northmen who once fought with Logen Ninefingers the most feared and hated man in the north.

And where is the Bloody nine? He is traversing the Old Empire with Bayaz, the first of the Magi, looking for something…

I enjoyed ever second of this book. It keeps the pace and complexity we have come to expect from Joe, and the characters, all of them, are some of the best drawn I have had the pleasure to read in quite some time.

But the most important thing to me was that they grow and change with the story, which they do. They are people that can make mistakes and some make big ones, and then they redeem themselves in the most unexpected ways. The story and characters are gritty and unapologetic, dark and beautiful at the same time, just like life.

If you are looking for something that’s just that little different, just that little more, then this might be for you.

8/10

Before They Are hanged

To order your copies of Before They Are Hanged, click here for Amazon US, here for Amazon UK, and here if you’re in South Africa. And don’t forget to check out Joe’s website here.

P.S. I was asked a question the other day: If I could choose five people to have dinner with, alive or dead, who would it be? Well, if I could have chosen fictional people then Glokta, Logen and West would have made the cut. Though with Glokta there we probably would only have soup.

Werner

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2014 in Reviews

 

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Review: The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie (Book 1: The First Law)

With over 38-thousand ratings on Goodreads alone, The Blade Itself needs no introduction. It’s a book that Fantasy readers world wide have read and, in the majority of cases, really enjoyed, and it’s also one of those seminal titles that I’ve been wanting to read since I started this blog in 2008.

Finally, I got it done! :-) And damn Joe Abercrombie to the Olympus-mount of Fantasy writers – because it’s a damned good read.

As I said, most of you will know this book, and the characters, so this review will just focus on my thoughts of the experience of reading the book and meeting the unforgettable characters that populate it.

First, you’ve got Logan Ninefingers – feared, a terror of the North, fighting and then tumbling off a cliff. Definitely not the barbarian that readers probably thought they would encounter. He’s stubborn, intelligent, naive, and a peerless combatant. But he has some crazy-cool secrets, too, and the whole package makes him one of the most interesting characters I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in any form of fiction.

And then comes Glokta – poor, poor Glokta, or should that be brilliant, scheming Glokta? ;-) He’s the most memorable character of the novel, in my opinion, because he was the hero, the one who achieved victory and was celebrated, and the one who lost it all…

Jezal was the character I most enjoyed – he’s an utter chauvinist and whiner, but his about-turns in the novel were excellently handled, showing the reader not only his strange sense of honour but testing his limits and opinions.

These were the stars of the book, but the world Joe created for this trilogy (and which he continues to explore in the stand-alones he has since published) is a star all its own – the various cultures are expertly described, neither too much nor too vaguely, and I got a real sense of the landscapes and vistas Joe explored. It doesn’t surprise me at all the Joe has managed to explore the world so successfully – even those aspects of it just hinted at, when compared with what he shows us, were memorable.

The action in the book is hard and brutal, gory in most instances but always hard, and I stopped counting how many times I winced when blows fell. But the actions suits the characters, too – Glokta can’t wield a sword, for example; Jezal is more of a fencer, and Logan is strong and brutal with almost anything.

Plot-wise, the novel ticks along at a good clip; Joe manages to keep the pace up, even in some of the more political-passages and chapters, and the climax was both satisfying and promising, so I’m eager to Before They Are Hanged and Last Argument of Kings.

More focused on the characters, but with a great balance between world-building, plot and pacing, The Blade Itself is unique, memorable, and damned enjoyable – different enough to all the myriad ‘sub-genres’ of Fantasy available these days to stand out. I now know what the fuss is about, and I heartily agree. :-)

9 / 10

The Blade Itself UK

To order your copies of The Blade Itself, click here for Amazon US, here for Amazon UK, and here if you’re in South Africa. There is also a boxed-set of the trilogy available: US, UK, South Africa.

Do go and check out Joe’s website – plenty of info on all his work to date, an entertaining blog, and regular updates on the graphic novel-adaptation of The Blade Itself.

On Friday Werner’s review of Before They Are Hanged will go live, so until then,

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2014 in Reviews

 

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Double Review: The Terminal Move and Project Hydra (Fox and Raven Publishing)

Double-Review time again! And since this’ll be the last review-post for 2013, let’s get to it, shall we? :-)

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The Terminal Move by Dilman Dila

Back when this tale was announced, Dilman was interviewed and after reading that interview I was very interested to read what he had written; while AfroSF had proved that the continent of Africa has great SF-storytellers, it also went a long way to showing how these storytellers flavoured their tales with cultural and mythological aspects unique to Africa – and I expected the same thing from Dilman.

The tale follows a tribe during their long search for a new home; they lost a conflict with a rival tribe and had to give up their home, which forced them into a long journey, taxing not only their bodies but also testing the tribe’s resolve. Eventually, they find an idyllic place, but this is when their troubles really begin, setting up not only a conflict that could ultimately destroy the tribe but also drive deep wedges between its people.

The tale is told in a style that most readers will find strange, or at the very least, different, to what they’ve encountered before.It has the flavour of a fable, or a story passed down through the generations with practically no alterations made to its rhythms and structure, so it isn’t told in a style that readers may consider ‘modern’, but I didn’t have any problems with it. In fact, if this tale had been written in any other style it would probably have come across as contrived, and the tale would have suffered for it.

As such, the characters’ foundation-roles as archetypes rings a bit stronger than anything else I’ve read, which made it difficult for me to connect with them on a level needed to create that sense of empathy which all storytellers strive to achieve with their characters. This kind of characterization suited the tone and timbre of the tale, though, so I guess it worked. :-)

In terms of world-building the reader is shown glimpses of the tribe’s culture and beliefs – there’s enough to keep it interesting, though a particular type of creature in the tale might strike the reader as being out of place, or at the very least something that that Dilman used to try and bridge the gap between the cultures he grew up investigating and those of readers on continents other than Africa.

‘The Terminal Move’ is definitely the most different tale that Fox and Raven has brought us so far – it is utterly unique and deserving of the spot it has claimed in Fox and Raven’s first anthology, but there is a chance that it may be a little too different to appeal to a wider readership. I’ll be reading Dilman’s work further, though, precisely because it’s so different. :-)

7 / 10

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To order you Kindle-copies of ‘The Terminal Move’, click here for Amazon US and here for Amazon UK, and check out ‘Son of Suns’, the story’s awesome accompanying soundtrack, over on SoundCloud.

Project Hydra by Anton Sim

‘Project Hydra’ is definitely one of the most original and disturbing tales I’ve read in a long time.

In this tale, the reader is introduced to a group of co-workers who have to deal with a new and mysterious project initiated by their superiors – the ‘project’ of the title. How each individual worker deals with the questions raised by this new workplace phenomenon, and how they react when it is revealed, is what this tale is all about – and it’s an awesome play on the term, ‘Hydra’.

Everything works wonderfully (and exceedingly creepily) in this tale – the characters are well-rounded and unique, each with their own mannerisms and character-arcs; the prose is flowing and uncluttered; the descriptions short yet vivid. The tension and horror of the tale builds steadily as its premise unfolds, and I’m sure plenty of readers will be keeping an eye on those office memos, just in case… ;-)

It’s a memorable and chilling tale, and I’m definitely looking forward to more from Anton Sim.

9 / 10

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To order your Kindle-copies of ‘Project Hydra’, click here for Amazon US, here for Amazon UK, and head over to Fox and Raven’s SoundCloud stream to give the awesome soundtrack, Cutthroat, a listen. :-)

And remember to check out Fox and Raven Publishing – big things coming in 2014! :-)

That’s it for me for reviews for 2013, folks. Wishing you all an immensely epic festive season / holiday / whatever-you-call-it, and I hope you all get some truly awesome books as presents! :-)

Until next time,

Be EPIC!

 

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Review: A Fury of Aces Book 1 – Burnt Ice by Steve Wheeler

Hey everyone, hope you’re all well. :-)

As many of you probably know, I read widely – mostly Fantasy, but I love a good SF tale, too; so when Steve Wheeler arranged copies of his novels for me (all the way from New Zealand, I might add!), I was looking forward to some great SF action – and I’m happy to report that Steve’s ‘BURNT ICE’ didn’t disappoint me.

The first novel in Steve’s ‘A FURY OF ACES’ series, the tale centres on a crew of soldier-engineers who are sent to investigate a planet – an act which quickly leads to battles in the sea, air, underwater, and in space, as well as forcing the squad to begin questioning their leaders and masters.

The first thing that impressed me about the novel was its scope – just reading the blurb put me in mind of the kind of Space Opera that Peter F Hamilton writes, and though I knew not to expect something similar, I was damned surprised but just how detailed the universe that Steve created is.

Earth has been left behind (a major catastrophe struck the planet, forcing humanity to leave behind the homeworld), and now inhabit what is called the Sphere of Humanity – a region of space encompassing hundreds (if not thousands) of planets linked by wormhole-travel. The Sphere is governed by the Administration, but they have their own control-struggle going on with the Games Board, a faction that runs every conflict and war for entertainment value and ratings. It’s unlike anything I’ve encountered in SF before, and Steve does an awesome job exploring the factions and their policies, motives and technology.

A word of warning, though – Steve doesn’t spoonfeed the reader. You may find yourself a bit lost in the beginning, as there are many names and acronyms you’ll read that you won’t immediately understand, but if you’re patient you’ll experience how everything builds into a coherent and understandable picture, and you’ll see just how many threads and ideas Steve packed into this novel.

Character-wise, there are plenty of stand-outs, with a slight leaning toward one character, Marko, but Steve gives everyone their time in the spotlight. Each member of the crew has specific abilities that not only set them apart but also bring them together in innovative ways, especially when they need to do something or build something. There’s a real sense of camaraderie among the crew, though there are the odd disagreements.

One aspect of the novel that readers might find strange is how Steve writes dialogue – it’s not something I’m used to, but in this case it worked well for me, and also went a long way to showing how each character thinks and experiences a situation.

The world-building of this novel is pretty damned cool, and I’m sure book one hasn’t yet scratched the surface of the universe Steve has built – you find out how wormholes are created, what goes into the making of weapons and armour, how long it takes to travel into orbit and then back down again, just how to deal with not being able to use wormholes to travel vast interstellar distances… I’m no expert, but it seems clear to me that Steve put a hell of a lot of thought into this book, looking at things from many angles to make sure he had covered all his bases and knew what he was talking about. Granted, this is SF and Space Opera, so we’re dealing with technologies that don’t exist (yet), but you get my meaning. :-)

The battles in the book (and there are plenty) are not only excellent but interesting, too, as Marko’s crew are drawn into conflicts that test their knowledge as well as their abilities to react and work as a team. And the relationships between the crew grow and change throughout the book – there aren’t any static characters here, another aspect of the novel that keeps things interesting.

Taken all together, I really enjoyed this book – it’s the kind of Space Opera (layered with Military SF) that is fun, engaging, interesting and intelligent, with great characters, excellent world-building and cool action. All SF-readers should be reading this – I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it!

9 / 10

Burnt Ice

To order your copies of ‘BURNT ICE’ click here for Amazon US, here for Amazon UK, and here if you’re in South Africa. And do check out Steve’s Facebook Page, ‘A Fury of Aces’ – plenty extra info there and many truly excellent models that Steve has built, showcasing specific ships and hardware from the series. In fact, check out this post I did for a taster of what you can expect. :-)

Until tomorrow,

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2013 in Reviews

 

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Review: Oasis by Joan De La Haye (Fox Spirit)

Ever since I read Joan’s ‘SHADOWS’ (reviewed here) I knew that Joan was a writer that I would continue to enjoy – and with her novella, OASIS, I wasn’t disappointed.

OASIS falls into the Zombie-Apocalypse sub-genre of Horror, yet it’s also an exploration of character- and family bonds in the face of horror and unrelenting danger.

The world of OASIS is a blasted wasteland – the planet has been ravaged by powerful and deadly solar flares, which decimated the world’s population and also changed humanity at the cellular level. The tale begins with a family that finally emerges from the relative safety of their bunker, having practically no choice but to brave this terrible new world – and when they finally do emerge, they are thrown into a situation that tests them on every level.

OASIS is a short tale -you can read it in one sitting- but Joan managed to illustrate the relationship this family has, gives us insight to how they managed to survive and keep their sanity, and how the isolation of the bunker and not knowing what was happening in the world affected them. When they emerge from the bunker and join up with a group of soldiers, they begin to realize that the world has changed utterly – the desolate, water-bereft landscape brutal and memorable, the effects of the solar flares hammered into the reader.

When the true danger that this group must face finally emerges, Joan does a great job of ramping up the tension, but also manages to interject some humour into the tale, nicely breaking the often grisly descriptions of wounds and violence. I also enjoyed the characters and how they reacted in the situations they faced – there isn’t ‘one’ hero upon which the plot turns, no easy way to fix what’s happened to the planet, no easy way to survive; but OASIS is in no way a bleak tale.

OASIS is sharp, brutal, spiced with humor, and a great addition to the ever-growing sub-genre of Zombie Apocalypse tales. It stands on its own and yet again showcases Joan’s great talents with words and storytelling. If you’re looking for a quick read that’ll give you thrills, terror and zombies, or if you’re a fan of Joan’s expansive and creepy imagination ;-) then this book is for you. :-)

8 / 10

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To order your copies of OASIS, click here for Amazon US (paperback, Kindle-edition) and here for Amazon UK (paperback, Kindle-edition).

Check out Joan’s website here, and check out her publisher’s website here: Fox Spirit.

Until next week,

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2013 in Fox Spirit, Reviews

 

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Review: Canticle by Ken Scholes (Psalms of Isaak Book 2)

A few years ago I was given Lamentation to read. At that stage it was a book that most people I knew were talking about. So, as you can imagine I was really looking forward to reading this book. I have to say that it was not as great as everyone kept saying and I found myself a little disappointed – though I will say that I could see the potential in the story. I had gotten book 2 and 3 at the same time and for a long while they just sat on my shelf. So with book 4 on the way I decided to read book 2 and later 3 so I would be ready when 4 dropped.

Now I can say after reading Canticle that I am angry with myself for leaving such a good book unread for that long! The potential I found in the first book comes out and punches you in the face! His writing is clear, the vision crystal and the flow so natural that hours pass around you without you being aware of it. The surprises in this book are so varied that I gave up trying to plot what would happen next, because just when you think you’ve got a handle on things, Ken kicks you in the stomach and laughs while you try to figure out what’s going on.

This book finds Rudolfo – The Gypsy King, trying to rebuild the library that was destroyed in the desolation of Windwir. At his disposal he has Isaak, friend and metal man with others like him who have locked in their memory scrolls most of the information that was lost. His wife Jin Li Tam is desperate to find a cure for he sickly son and will stop at nothing to find it.

Petronus moves back to his small hut in Caldus Bay hoping to find some quite so he can find the enemy none knew they had. Neb joins the gypsy scouts and when word reaches them of sanctorum lux they move with haste to the churning wastes, the ruins of the old world, to get there before anyone else does. Neb needs to go as he is, according to the queen of the Marchvolk, the home-seeker and this is his destiny – little does he know that some out there would see him as a abomination. While he struggles in the wastes the queen has some problems of her own. She is struggling to hold on to her people and the cause my be closer than they all realize.

8/10

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Canticle

And what of Vlad Li Tam? Ill just say this…what the hell!?

If you haven’t discovered the Named Lands yet then then jump on the wagon, we all must help to preserve the light.

For more info on Ken Scholes and his work, check out his official website here; to order your copies of Canticle, click here for Amazon US, here for Amazon UK, and here if you’re in South Africa.

Werner

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in Reviews

 

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Halloween / Samhain Review: Garbage Man by Joseph D’Lacey

Regular readers of this blog know that I’m a great fan of Joseph D’Lacey‘s work – ‘Meat’ stunned me, ‘Black Feathers’ rocked, ‘The Kill Crew’ was a damned fine zombie-tale, and ‘Snake Eyes’ was one of the finest short-fiction collections I’ve read.

So, when I got this chance to finally read ‘Garbage Man‘ -which Joseph arranged to send to me wayyy back, along with ‘Meat’- I jumped at it, and here, after years of having the book, is my review. :-) And just in time, too… It’ll have entered the Blogosphere just as the nameless things that we don’t see begin twitching toward wakefulness… ;-)

Here’s the blurb:

Shreve, a dead-end town next to the UK’s largest landfill. There’s nothing the bored residents won’t stoop to in an attempt to spice up their pedestrian lives. All wannabe model Aggie Smithfield wants is to escape before Shreve swallows her ambition along with a million tons of rubbish and dirty little secrets. Desperate, Aggie asks renowned but reclusive ex-photographer, Mason Brand, for help. The deal they make might be the only thing that can save her when the town’s fate catches up with it. Beneath everyone’s feet, something born of the things we throw away is awakening. And when the past is reborn, there will be no escape.

Garbage Man‘ focuses on that which we discard, which we no longer find value or meaning in, and takes it to an extreme exploration that could easily have become a sad, hilarious B-Movie plot-gone-stupid. But Joseph doesn’t write stupid, cheap-thrill stories.

The novel opens with a scene that’ll have you grimacing and squinting while you read (I won’t spoil it for you), introducing two -perhaps three- of the novel’s main characters – Mason, Aggie, and … well, you’ll see. It’s one of those portentous scenes, layered with much more than what the characters are doing or thinking. The reader gets a good introduction to Mason and Aggie -their outlooks on life, their personalities, what stresses them, etcetera- and from then on the novel, chapter by chapter, introduces the other players in the horrific drama which is unfolding, while building and expanding the plot.

The result is that the reader is insistently nudged along, without even realizing it. Some parts of the story do slide back in time, but the pacing of the tale isn’t affected at all, and these scenes serve to deepen our understanding of the character involved. When this character begins to do things no sane person would probably even consider, the reader understands why, and it even makes a twisted kind of sense. But Joseph doesn’t pull this feat off with only one character.

There are many others – a housewife engaged in something she would be roundly condemned for; a father and husband who finds himself helpless against his urges; a college-age teenager who spends his time doing anything else rather than study and attend classes; a husband who is trying to break a habit; a son helplessly and painfully in love; a daughter who wants a bigger and better life for herself, and others. The reader is immersed in their lives, in their relationships and the roles they play in those relationships, and the reader is also very subtly shown how things begin falling apart long before the appearance of the Garbage Man.

And when the titular Garbage Man appears, it comes across as the natural culmination of events and decisions, as if this -horrible and terrifying as it is- could not help but happen. As always, there’s no shielding the reader – whether it be sight, smell, touch, hearing or taste, there’s no quarter given – when people die, they die horribly and painfully, and when they don’t their emotional turmoil his heart-breakingly palpable.

But the violence and emotional shocks aren’t there only to make you groan or gag – every character and everything that happens to them is part of a larger tale, exploring an important theme that runs through Joseph’s work, which resonates no matter your background or beliefs. It’s just that kind of novel – shocking, emotionally powerful, memorable, and quietly thoughtful. In short, another masterpiece.

9 / 10

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Garbage Man‘ is published by Oak Tree Press. To order your copies, click here from Amazon US, and here from Amazon UK. Don’t forget to check out Joseph’s website here, and you can also check out an article in The Guardian wherein he discusses his Top Ten Horror novels. :-)

Until next time,

Stay terrified and

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2013 in Reviews

 

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Review: Fade to Black by Francis Knight – Rojan Dizon Book 1

They say not to judge a book by it’s cover. That is true, for with Fade to Black even though the cover drew my attention the story struggled to keep it. It felt a bit like paint by numbers where plot points were being ticked of a list.

Rojan Dizon is a bounty-hunter in the city of Mahala, a city ruled by the opressive Ministry. The Ministry is the new ruler after they did away with the old regime. Pain mage’s use to rule using their magic to fuel the city. The Ministry replaced their magic with ‘synth’ but people started dying slow, horrible deaths so ‘synth’ was replaced by the cleaner, safer ‘glow’. Rojan himself is a pain mage and that makes him good at his job.

Rojan I found was the stereotypical male detective / bounty-hunter. Womanising, likes beer and generally rough around the edges. The story kicks off when his brother’s daughter is kidnapped and Rojan is put on the case to find her. His search takes him into the bowels of Mahala.

I really liked the city as it is a character in its own right, and no matter where you are in the story, the city is there always looming around and above you.

The story read like a YA book though some of the themes makes it unsuitable for that group of readers. All in all I was a bit disappointed as I read a blurb promising a combination of “the fantastic imagination of China Miéville with the murky atmosphere of Sin City.” and it just fell short.

5 / 10

Fade-to-Black

Werner

To order your copies of Fade to Black, click here for Amazon US, here for Amazon UK, and here if you’re in South Africa. And don’t forget to check out Francis Knight’s official website here. You can also read an excerpt from the first chapter of Fade to Black here.

Until next time,

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2013 in Reviews

 

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Review: Blood Song by Anthony Ryan – Book 1 of Raven’s Shadow

Let me just start off by saying that it has been a long time since I picked up a book and halfway through didn’t wonder what was going on in the other books on my shelf. Also been a long time since I was mad at an author for writing only 500 odd pages and not 800. I’m talking about Blood Song the first book in the Raven’s Shadow.

The story focuses on Vaelin Al Sorna whose father abandons him at the gate of the Sixth Order of the Faith. The Sixth Order being the military arm of the Faith where he starts his training to become a brother of the Order. Training that has seen many a young boy dead and only hardened men emerge.

There are many people he meets though his training and travels, some with more definition to them than others, though my favorite was King Janus as I’m still not sure if he is mad or a genius or if I like or hate him, and his daughter… well like father like eh..daughter. The faith-aspect in this book is different from what I have seen (God is a lie) but it felt normal, since there are both good and bad people in the faith; it’s not bad in itself. The structure is straight forward and the different orders intriguing in the roles they inhabit within the faith.

The book begins where it ends and that made it fun for me. You know were Vaelin will end up, but how he gets there was what made it so much fun. He is given a lot of names by other people e.g. Hope Killer, and the names alone show that there is still a lot that Vaelin has to do (If you believe in prophecy that is).

The world they inhabit (The Unified Realm) feels cold and hard, like we always think the north would be. Even though 90% of the book plays off in the Unified Realm there is not a lot that you know about it and the rest of this world even less. That being said the ending of the book shows that we will learn more about what threatens them and that there will be more traveling that should fill in the blanks.

8 / 10

                                                    Blood Song Anthony Ryan

 

Well that’s it for now, I don’t want to give too much away with this one as the journey of discovery is really worth it. Just one more thing…READ IT

Werner

To order you copies, click here for Amazon US, here for Amazon UK, and here if you’re in South Africa. Also, don’t forget to check out Anthony’s official blog.

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2013 in Reviews

 

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