Sunday, 12 March 2017

Flight of the Eisenstein (Horus Heresy Book 4) - James Swallow

So I am still on the 'Heresy Train' and show no signs of stopping at the moment. The fourth installment of the series was less traumatic emotionally, which was a relief, but no less exciting.
The first thing I want to mention about this book is how damned exciting the narrative is. I ended up reading this at a break neck speed; the pace was phenomenal. I found myself consuming the words as fast as I could because it was so exciting! 

Wanting to know what happened also managed to keep me up at night and that had not happened for a long time. It is a real credit to Swallow, how he is able to keep the pace going and the action exciting enough.

Although the pace is break neck, it does not skimp on the development of characters either. They are no replacement for those lost in the previous novel, I don't think anyone could replace them. Instead. Swallow builds upon those introduced and fleshes them out to create characters that are worth caring about. The dry wit of Garro lightens a lot of the darker scenes within the novel and helps lift the spirits in the most dire of circumstances. The supporting cast, some known, some new, are realistic and for good or ill, add another layer to the novel

The writing in the novel is a lot less clunky than in the previous installments. There are a lot less similes and the metaphors are a lot more subtle. It makes for a clearer read in my humble opinion and is less jolting from the action of the story itself.

Up Next: Fulgrim - Book 5 by Graham McNeill

Check out the other blog for more war-gaming stuff

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Galaxy in Flames (Horus Heresy Book 3) - Ben Counter

Writing this without spoilers is going to be difficult...

It might come as a bit of a surprise to some of you that I have rather enjoyed reading about Space Marines in The Horus Heresy. I have watched every single character grow and change throughout the three books. Some for the better, some for the (much) worse.

I knew this book was going to be tough to read from an emotional point of view, I just wasn't prepared for HOW tough. I spent the last two books getting to really like two of the core characters. Their companionship grew throughout the novels and added a much needed lighter approach through some of the darker aspects of the novel. The characters are so well written, that they soom so real. I don't want to write spoilers in this but just make sure you either steel yourself because believe me, you will not be prepared for the way this novel ends!

What I am now going to talk about is the irony that struck me involving the Great Crusade. Clearly, this novel upset me but I take comfort in the characters standing up for what they believed in. They believed that their side of the argument was right, that they were doing the right thing and standing by their Emperor. Who told them to go and spread his word and destroy anyone who disagreed with the secular way of man. If that is what it right then what does that tell you about the other side? If I have learned one thing about the Imperium of Mankind, is that it has one warped sense of humour (no pun intended).

Either way, I enjoyedthe read and I have not cried over a book since Oy died in The Dark Tower, it goes to show how well written the book is and I look forward to the next installment. I doubt I will be prepared for that either!

Sunday, 26 February 2017

False Gods (Horus Heresy Book 2) - Graham McNeill

I was apprehensive. I will easily and readily admit that I adored the characters in Horus Rising by Dan Abnett and looked forward to reading about their trials in the next instalment of the story. That it was written by another person gave me pause. What if they were different? What if they were shown in a different manner and everything I liked about them was stripped away and they were left flat?

There was nothing to worry about, the characters were developed further from the point where Abnett left them and were still essentially themselves. In fact, it would be safe to say that I am even more emotionally invested in them now than before.

The book is so masterfully written and carefully thought out that there were times that I genuinely feared for some of them. It made picking up the book, and putting it down, incredibly difficult and I found I had to take a break now and then to prepare myself for the outcomes. My heart was genuinely thudding during some of the events of the story, while others made me want to scream, 'If you just listen to that guy....' I'll say no more because I want you to go and read these yourself.

McNeill is another master of the craft and I really don't have a bad word to say about the novel either. There is a balance of action, character and intrigue so as not to make it dull in any way and I was more than eager to read. The action scenes are incredibly well written and I was gripped, heart pounding and for want of a better phrase, on the edge of my seat, needing to know who lived and who died...

The third book is written by yet a different author but this change does not scare me half as much as it did the first time, I look forward to reading it, though am scared for the future of some of these warrior characters, and shall let you know my thoughts afterwards

Monday, 20 February 2017

Horus Rising (Horus Heresy book 1) - Dan Abnett

It had been a while since I read anything. Not even going to add a decent into that sentence because my work life has been manic. My own fault of course but that is not the subject of this post.

My stretch of non-reading has been broken by Horus Rising by Dan Abnett. This is not something I would normally read. I have very little interest in the Warhammer 40K universe and was determined to not really get on with this book and anything it might contain. I didn't like Space Marines so what could this story possibly do for me?

I was hooked from page one.

The characters this book contains are utterly engaging, adding a very human elements to the genetically enhanced super 'people' that are Space Marines. They have enough personality to make me care about what happened to them and I was gripped, forgetting to breathe at some points within the story.  The charisma of the main character is such that the reader really does care about what goes on, what happens to him and why he does what he does. Coupled with a cast that has a good sense of humour, it makes this story utterly engaging.

The world in which this is set is vast and I was a little daunted that I would not have a clue what was going on within the setting. No such thing happened! It was all explained carefully within the book but in such a way to make it interesting, there was no information dump at the beginning of the novel, which would have made it stale. I'm not going to say how it was done as that would be a spoiler but believe me when I say it is cleverly done.

Only thing I will say about Abnett's technical skills are his use of similes; there are rather a lot of them, which I found rather curious. When there was more than one if a paragraph it became a bit jarring but overall it wasn't much of an issue for me. The masterful way in which ABnett writes makes this a wonderful book to read, even for people who are not heavily in to the 40K universe. Give this one a go, it is well worth it.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Good Day

It's been a while.

I could make up some lame excuse as to why I've not been reviewing anything but I'm not going to. There was a career change and I've spent the past couple of years training to be a teacher. I am now fully qualified and got through my first year. I've not had the time I would have liked to dedicate to reading and reviewing, which has been unfortunate but it is what it is.

That's now going to change. I still love reading, I still write when I can and so I shall make more of an effort to post some reviews.

It also turns out that one of my reviews has made it onto the cover of a book; an actual book! I had no idea until this morning that this was the case. How amazingly cool is that?

Time to get reading I think!

Monday, 13 January 2014

Magic of Thieves: Legend of Dimmingwood book 1 - C Greenwood.

I have been a bit remiss with my blog posts of late, once again due to the lack of time to read during my teacher training year. That said, I did get time to read a fair bit over Christmas but failed to update due to lack of anything regarding motivation. January has rolled around and so has the guilt. Here is my latest read and my thoughts on it.

The best part of this novel by far was the characters. The story follows the journey of the protagonist through her early life up until her late teenage years. The reader is told on numerous occasions that she has inherited the ability of magic, an ability that she would be hunted for and slain by the evil types who currently rule that part of the world. Her entire village was slain and she was orphaned. She end up banding with a bunch of thieves and living in the woods with them until she leaves. She is engaging and certainly has her limitation. The progression from child to moody teenager is well written and she came across as a balanced character to me.

The overall plot for the novel is generally OK, however, to me, it seemed as though it was a set-up novel. The end sees our protagonist leaving her childhood home in search of something (I'm not saying what) and to me, it seems the rest of the novel was all back story. It was well written and held my interest well enough, however I feel a lot of it could have been paraphrased and inserted into another volume to skip over some of the more tedious details.

To say this story was bad would be a lie, it has some very good actions scenes in it and it is wonderfully easy to read - perfect for a Christmas evening or two when all you want to do is relax. However, if you want a perfectly crafted masterpiece with plot twists and turns at every intersection, this is not the novel for you. Good dialogue and interesting characters are present but it just needs something more than background information. I will say, it was a freebie on the Kindle Store and did offer some enjoyment. I am unsure about reading any followup however, unless they too are free and I have nothing better to read at the time.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Mistborn: The Final Empire - Brandon Sanderson

My word! I managed to finish a book in the five minutes a day I now get to read. That's the five minutes between getting into bed and passing out exhausted every night. My training course is intense and is keeping my very busy. I'm loving what I do though so nothing to fear there. Onwards to Sanderson's novel then...

This is the first high fantasy book I have read in a long time. I read it as a paperback (not on kindle *shock*) and I must say, it was a blinder. The plot kept me guessing throughout and there are some twists and turns that I didn't see coming. I was left guessing until the very end when the resolution happened and this left me a happy reader. I love to keep guessing, I detest obvious plot and this novel was far from that.

The world-building in the novel is right where it should be. I invested a lot of time reading the six hundred or so pagesof it and every one was worth it. The world was well thought out, highly developed and above all, believeable. The split between the nobility and peasent class, or Skaa, is well thought out and there is enough information to show the vastness of the world. The 'magic' system is like nothing I have ever read before, it was well balanced and had enough limitations to make it real. Top marks from me Sanderson, well done.

I shall also touch on character, which as you know, is a thing close to my heart. All the characters are believeavle, if not likeable (and most of them are). At first, one of the protagonists, Kelsier, appears to be a bit of a 'Mary Sue' type, like Kvothe in Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind but it soon becomes apparent that this is not the case, his flaws are just hidden to begin with. I do like a character with flaws, it makes them that much more real to me. The trials that he and his friends face are real and they each act according to their talents.

I'm going to leave it there for this novel, just leave with the final note of how much I liked it. It was a welcome change from some of the rubbish fantasy I have read. Go and read it, it is well worth the time investing in.