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RETRIBUTION FALLS By Chris Wooding – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2015 by stanleyriiks

Don’t be fooled by the cowboy on the cover, this is pure pirate SF.  Frey is a crook, a poor captain, and not a particularly nice man. He’s also the owner and captain of the Ketty Jay, a hunk of a ship, but his one and only love. Frey and his crew take on a simple smash and grab job that will earn them enough to retire, but something goes wrong, and Frey and his crew become target number one for the Navy and bounty hunters, both sides of the law want to kill them! They have to try to come together as a team and find out what the hell went wrong and why…

Pirates and SF, you can’t really go wrong, or can you?

Wooding’s bunch of disparate characters actually grow together quite nicely, and despite them generally being quite a rag-tag bunch, he manages to imbue them with enough humanity that you want to find out what will happen to them next. They do seem to find themselves in terrible situations organically, the plot doesn’t feel planned (it’s rather directionless), and that means it lacks a bit of pace and action for the most part. This is not the rip-roaring ride I’d expected, but after reading a Richard Kadrey novel everything is likely to feel a little slow to start.

The world the book is set in is interesting and exciting enough, but some of the later parts of the book, the better parts, feel like missed opportunities. Much more could have been made of them.

A solid and entertaining read, but ultimately not as good as expected. The book doesn’t quite live up to the cover, and with so many other options on offer I think I’ll give the rest of the series a miss. May be an author to come back to in the future. We’ll see.

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FALSE GODS By Graham McNeill – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2009 by stanleyriiks

The second instalment of the epic Horus Heresy legend sees the beginnings of rebellion. A betrayal by the commanding officer on Davin brings Horus and the Mournival (his elite champions and advisors) to the moon of Davin on a quest for revenge and justice. But they all get more than they bargained for, the moon of Davin, the betrayer, it is all a part of an intricate plot. A plot to kill Horus.

When Horus is injured and on his death-bed, desperate measures must be taken to save the most important soldier in the Universe. Unfortunately they are left with only one choice: to take Horus to Davin’s surface and leave him in the Snake Temple to be administered to by its priests. Despite the entire idea being completely against the Emperor’s teachings, the desperation of those left to make the decision means that any measures will be taken to save Horus’ life.

Up to this point we have the traditional war-torn savagery of the Warhammer 40K universe. But as Horus is on his death-bed, we have a kind of A Christmas Carol scene where Horus is visited by a ghost to be shown the future of the universe to try to convert him over to the dark side. As this is the turning point of the entire Warhammer universe it just feels weak, insubstantial and not entirely convincing. After this halfway point not much happens, the intrigues continue to build, but most of the plot of this novel has already been told. The thing is, it’s still gripping. The petty intrigues, and lies and schemes keep your attention. This is not the blockbuster of the first book, but a good solid second instalment (similar to The Empire Strikes Back), which can’t help but fail in its turnabout of the Warmaster, but other than that continues to entertain.

Can’t wait for the third instalment.