Archive for fauna

DESCENT OF ANGELS By Mitchel Scanlon – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2013 by stanleyriiks

This is not your normal Horus Heresy novel. It doesn’t read like a Horus Heresy novel at all, and by the end I was wondering how this fitted into the massive tale of betrayal and treachery. Having read all the other books in the series so far this came as a bit of a shock. I realise that since the original trilogy many of the books have told related but connected only marginally tales of the Heresy.

This book tells the tale of Caliban, a feudal-like world, and former Terra colony that has been out of touch with Earth for hundreds of years.

This feudal land is a dangerous place of deadly flora and fauna, and the knights of the orders that run the world have had enough and set out to rid the world of the beasts. Lion El’Jonson, a strange and mighty warrior, mysteriously found deep in the jungles of Caliban, takes charge of the largest order and sets his sights on removing the danger of the beasts.

Then the Imperial fleet arrives, after almost two hundred pages and the world of Caliban is gradually reconverted to the Empire, whether they like it or not.

This is a tale of friendship and brotherhood, and is a riveting. It shows a different side of the Empire we are familiar with. For the most part this doesn’t feel like an 40K universe book at all. The feudal world of Caliban is remarkably well portrayed, and two young trainee-knights are our protagonists, and we follow them as they struggled with becoming knights, and becoming men. It’s a quite fascinating tale, a fantasy that actually slides perfectly into the 40K universe. Brilliantly inventive for the series, but does it actually fit into the Horus Heresy sequence? And the next book in the series, Legion by Dan Abnett, doesn’t follow on the story of the Dark Angels either… It’s a perfectly good book, exciting, adventurous, cleverly plotted and inventive, and as a stand-alone novel is works well within the 40K universe and offers something different. My problems rests entirely on it’s fit into the Horus Heresy. Otherwise its one of the best 40K novels.

THE SKINNER By Neal Asher – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2011 by stanleyriiks

Three strangers meet on the way to the planet’s surface. That planet, which has little serviceable surface, is Spatterjay, a mostly water-filled world. And the seas of Spatterjay are filled with all manner of creatures all ready and willing to eat you and anything else that invades their watery home: including the strange leeches, whose bite, if not fatal, will change your body chemistry until you are immortal, or near as damnit.

One of the party of three is Sable Keech, several hundreds of years old, and finally returning to Spatterjay to complete his mission: to find the remaining survivors of Jay Hoop’s crew and execute them. They were an ancient gang who sold cored-human slaves to the alien Prador’s during the war. Despite the war now being over a Prador adult and adolescent have arrived on the planet in secret with one of Hoop’s old crew, intent on causing problems.

Another of the three is Janer, part of a hive mind that may have secret plans to colonize the planet.

Throw into this mix semi-immortal pirates; a monster that skins people alive; the various fauna that occupies most of the planet and is intent on eating everything else; an AI overseer that acts as the planet’s police and army; and a War Drone; and you get a massive amount of story, huge back-stories, and a huge amount of information that fortunately doesn’t slow down the plot too much.

It takes a little while to get into the book because of the sheer volume of stuff you need to know, but it’s so full of great ideas that you can’t help but keep reading. The book builds nicely, we have enough action and enough ideas to not only keep you entertained but make you want to discover more. Fortunately Asher’s produced not only more Spatterjay novels, but also Polity novels (based on the more organised part of the universe that only make a brief appearance here). Asher’s universe is massively detailed and cleverly put together, and the novel is the same. What it lacks in pace to begin with is swiftly made up for in the later stages, and you can forgive this because of the amount of detail expounded.

Full of great ideas, with a good solid story and plenty of twists and turns, this first book of Spatterjay is the ideal entry into this virgin territory, and I have high hopes for the other books in the series, which I will most definitely be seeking out.