Archive for world

THE DESERT SPEAR By Peter V. Brett – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2011 by stanleyriiks

The second book in this epic series is huge, weighting in at seven hundred and fifty pages. Set in a world ravaged by demons every night, where in the North the people hide and cower in their houses behind wards which keep the demons at bay, and in the south where they fight and trap the demons in a huge maze until sunlight returns and destroys them.

This time we follow the story of Jardir, the southern warrior who comes to rule the warring tribes of the south and bring them together as an empire. He then starts his invasion of the north.

We also get to follow the Painted Man of the first book, as he continues to grow his numbers of followers (whilst trying to bring the northern Dukes together to stop the invading hordes of the south) and his past comes back to haunt him, and Lesha as she develops her skills as a warder and gatherer and meets Jardir who falls in love with her.

The world has been waiting for the coming of the Deliver or Shar’Dama Ka for centuries, and not one but two appear. Both willing to kill the other, and a war with the demons  is inevitable. But will the north or the south be destroyed, and will it be before or after the demon war?

On such a vast scale, this book is a bit more polished than the first book. The movement between characters’ points of view is much less jarring, at least after the first two hundred pages of Jardir’s history. Brett has allowed himself the time and space to develop his characters, their history, their beliefs and their world to such an astoundingly accurate level but you can’t help but be swept away. The richness of this book is truly immense.

Awe inspiring in both its detail and its scale, with both its petty bedroom intrigues, vast battles to come, and clever twists, this is a excellent book. I hope it’s not a long wait for the third book in the series. Truly epic. Truly immersive. Truly original.

DEATH’S HEAD: MAXIMUM OFFENCE By David Gunn – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2011 by stanleyriiks

Futuristic warfare is brutal. Just ask SvenTveskoeg, Lieutenant in the elite Death’s Head regiment of the Octovian Army, head of the go-to squad for General Jaxx, and seconded to the U/Free (superior alien race) to search for a missing ambassador on the artificial world of Hekati. Except nothing is ever as easy as it first appears for Sven, as his mission is a cover, and he doesn’t even know what his real mission is as it’s on a “need to know basis” and despite him being in charge of carrying out the mission, his superiors don’t believe he needs to know. Sven and his small team, the Aux, have to do their best to be diplomatic as they search for the missing U/Free on a world inhabited by bandits and gangs, all the while being chased by the Enlightened (humanity’s greatest enemy), and having to cope with a nineteen year old colonel who thinks he’s in charge.

But the Death’s Head series isn’t so much about plot as it is about action, here it’s delivered by the bucket-load. Fighting, battles, warfare, snipers, talking guns, spacecraft, treason and treachery, missing arms and all sort of action, excitement and adventure. There aren’t many books that could even keep pace with this face-stomping, arm twisting, rip-roaring riot of a novel. There’s little room here for developing characters (except for Sven who is our trusty narrator as well as our hero), clever plotting, or realistic futuristic worlds, all of these are secondary to the action-packed fun.

That’s not to say they’re missing, the second book in the series shows a slightly more complex structure than the first novel, there’s even a twist at the end. And the general narrative has a lot more depth, but this never takes away from the speed and excitement of the journey we’re on with the Death’s Head squad.

Only Andy Remic can hold a candle to the sheer blood-fuelled adrenaline shot that the Death’s Head books give you. There are few books as pacey or as exciting, and the second book leads so well into the third that you can’t help but leap up after finishing it, ready for more. Bring on the third book!

ODD AND THE FRONT GIANTS By Neil Gaiman – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2010 by stanleyriiks

This short book was made available for World Book Day in 2008, and sold for a £1.00. Worth every penny.

It’s now being re-released.

Odd is a young Viking boy who runs away from home after another argument with his step-father, and sets off into the forest, only to find himself helping out a bear trapped when trying to get some honey. After Odd helps the bear he finds out that not only can the bear, and his companions the fox and the eagle, talk, but they are also Norse gods trapped in animal bodies by a Frost Giant. They ask Odd to help them out, and with nothing better to do the young boy sets off with them to enter Asgard to help them take their rightful place.

This is part myth part fairy-tale, it’s exactly the type of story that Gaiman seems to revel in. Familiar enough, but new and fresh enough to make us keep reading. You have to find out what happens to Odd and his friends, and you can’t help but enjoy the simple tale. Gaiman is a great story-telling, his created world is brilliantly portrayed, and his characters are pretty much as real as you can get.

Gaiman tells stories like no other, and his unique ability is perfectly showcased in this brief story.