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VAMPIRE WARLORDS By Andy Remic – Reviewed

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2011 by stanleyriiks

Posted with the permission of Morpheus Tales Magazine.

The third book in the Clockwork Vampire Chronicles sees us back at the dramatic cliff-hanger (literally) of the second book, where the immortal Vampire Warlords are brought back from the Halls of Chaos by the mass genocide of the Vachine race of Silva Valley by Graal and Kradek-ka. Myriam betrays Kell, Saark’s heart is ripped from his chest, and the Army of Iron, alongside the Harvesters, have taken over Falanor.

Kell and Nianna grab up Saark’s body and head down a hole in the mountain of Hill Top, leaving the Vampire Warlords to start the destruction of the entire human race. The Warlords start by turning the humans into vampire slaves as the split Falanor between them, each taking a major city, corrupting it and turning the people into the undead.

Kell cannot sit back and watch. He must fight, because that’s all he knows. Heading North, hoping to find something or someone that will help him, Kell manages to find the least expected army, and must try to drive the Vampire Warlords and Graal’s Army of Iron from Falanor before every human being is killed.

It was a couple of years ago that I discovered Kell’s Legend in Forbidden Planet and bought it because I liked the cover, and it  was a signed copy. It was about three months later that I bought another copy as my local Borders closed, I think it was half price. Little did I know at the time that the book was so worth buying twice. Kell’s Legend is the first book of this series, and it’s now one of my favourite books of all time. One of the most exciting, energetic and inspirational books I’ve ever read. Like the first Conan book I picked up at the age of fourteen. Like the first time I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. This is a book that sticks with you, a character who is far from perfect, but all the better for it. A hero that you can love for his grumpiness as well as his courage and determination. The third and final part of Kell’s adventure has more excitement, more action, more energy. It’s difficult to convey the energy and passion that Remic has imbued his books with. I don’t get excited very often (just ask my girlfriend!), but reading these books had me grinning ear to ear, bouncing up and down like a little school boy needing to have a pee.

If you’ve missed the first and the second books and want to dive into the third it’s very possible you’ll have a great time. But you’ll still be missing out. The first and second books are fabulously rich with drive, action and experience. Never have I been so riveting with a book as at the end of Kell’s Legend when I reached the final page, lying down in bed (where I do most of my reading), and I jumped up and down and screamed and shouted that I had to buy the second book (which wasn’t out at the time), and was left fidgety and nervous for several hours afterwards as I tried to calm down.

Ok, so now Kell is seemingly invincible, but Remic remedies this by making him all the more human emotionally, and filling in a rather distasteful back-story.

The secret to these books is that Remic draws you in, he makes you feel, he tricks you, he hurts you, he draws you in further. Reading a Remic book is not like reading, it’s like playing the most immersive video-game, or watching the best film, you believe you are there, you feel every cut, every crash of steel, every heartbeat, every gasp of breath. The excitement comes from this interactive experience, which is beyond what other writers do.

Andy Remic is a nasty genius who wants to kidnap you and take you for the ride of your life.

I urge you to read the Clockwork Vampire Chronicles. If you only pick up one fantasy book in your life you should read Kell’s Legend and you will certainly pick up the Soul Stealers and Vampire Warlords. You won’t be able not to.

Angry Robot should offer a money-back guarantee with Andy Remic’s books, their money would be perfectly safe.

An amazing book in a truly outstanding fantasy series. I hope, I beg, I pray, I beseech Mr Remic to provide us with more tales of Kell. Books really don’t get much better than this. A thundering fantasy thriller. A rip-roaring action-adventure. A suitably exciting conclusion to an epic and massively entertaining series.

KELL’S LEGEND By Andy Remic – Reviewed

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2010 by stanleyriiks

How do you create a possible successor to one of the greatest fantasy characters to ever live? I’m obviously talking about sword and sorcery legend Conan. The Cimmerian Barbarian has entertained readers for eighty years, and film goers for thirty. There hasn’t been a new Conan novel for a long time, but if you read any of the Tor novels you’ll find them remarkably similar – a plot on rails with very little imagination.

Conan is a prototypical fantasy barbarian, with well-known characteristics that many have tried to emulate.

Kell’s departure from these characteristics is what makes this story work so well. He’s a grumpy old man, a warrior past his prime and discarded by society, hiding away in a small northern town where he makes soup and is visited by his granddaughter, Nienna. After one such visit, the ears of the old warrior prickle as he hears screams. His door is kicked in by albino warriors who bleed white blood when he kills them using his trusted blood-bond axe, Ilanna, and the fight is on to save Nienna. It soon becomes clear that the albino soldiers are part of an invading army, and Kell is joined in his cause by a seducer and popinjay Saark, who’s more interested in saving his own skin and bedding Nienna or her friend Kat.

The invasion is led by General Graal, a leader of the Vachine, a race part vampire part machine. Graal is a cruel and twisted warrior who will stop at nothing to capture the entire human race, so that he and his people may feed.

Kell is a hero for the modern era, complete with idiosyncrasies, a deep and troubled history, and dealing with his own set of problems whilst struggling desperately to survive. The other characters in the novel are also very well drawn, and as the world gradually expands on their voyage, so too does the world become more detailed.

This book isn’t read as much as it is experienced. It draws you in deeply in the first hundred pages and then, as more and more dangers are thrown at our band, you feel you are surviving with them. Remic isn’t afraid to kill off a great character or throw in another challenge to spice things up and ramp up the tension. You can’t help feeling like you have to hold on tight just to stay on for the ride. It’s that tension and excitement that make the book stand out. There is real danger here. In most fantasies you know that the main characters are always safe because they have to appear in the next book, but although this is Book I of the Clockwork Vampire Chronicles, it’s not the Tales of Kell chronicles and you really do believe that at any moment another character could be killed. There’s an evil and twisted streak to Remic, which not only gives us added danger (and a little torture), but also provides the grim humour that is sadly lacking for many modern fantasy novels.

Okay, so it’s not perfect. For a start, you have to wait for the second instalment. (Grr! I have no patience.) There are far more typos than you would expect from a major publishing house and this can be bothersome, but not overly so. Also, the start of the story is a little slow, but only for the first couple of chapters and then it’s full speed ahead!

Kell’s Legend is a rare book. It’s one of those reads that makes you sit up and slaver with excitement. It has the page-turning quality of a thriller, the depth of an epic, the kind of protagonist that comes round one in a lifetime, and a story that twists and turns like a snake. It’s imaginative, brilliant, exciting, amazing, and truly inspiring. Yeah, I really did fucking love this book!

The cliffhanger ending will leave you on the edge of your seat begging for the next instalment. This series has the potential to be truly legendary and I really can’t wait for the next chapter.

This review appeared in Morpheus Tales 8 Reviews Supplement: