Empire (Warhammer: Legend of Sigmar #2) DNF@5%

empire (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Empire
Series: Warhammer: Legend of Sigmar #2
Author: Graham McNeill
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 420/DNF@5%
Format: Digital Edition

 

My Thoughts:

After slogging through The Deaths of Tao and giving up because I didn’t care 2 farthings for Tao, I realized that I didn’t care even 1 farthing about Sigmar or the ultimately failed world of Warhammer. So I dnf’d this before I got frustrated. As such, I’m not rating this. If you like most other Warhammer books, I’m sure you’ll like this one. If you don’t like Warhammer, then I highly doubt this book will change your mind.

Sorry Dave, I tried. But the Warhammer universe just isn’t for me. But at least my initial interest helped get you online and blogging, right? And our friendship is definitely worth this little adventure, no matter how it turned out for me.

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

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Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby #3) ☆☆☆☆½ DNF@22%

ghostlyechoes (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Ghostly Echoes
Series: Jackaby #3
Author: William Ritter
Rating: 0.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 353/DNF@22%
Format: Digital Edition

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

[Miss Rook] “Miss Lee was really a boy, wasn’t she? Underneath”

He slowed and then came to a stop and looked me square in the eyes, “That’s up to her to decide,”

~page 56

 

Yep, I’m done with this author now. Ritter’s going to push the SJW line about gender and cross dressing down my throat, forget it. As much as I enjoyed the previous 2 books, no amount of enjoyment is worth listening to lies for.

By the by, cross dressing is a moral deviancy that indicates some real brokenness inside. It isn’t normal and it shouldn’t be treated as such. It’s an indicator and Christian professional help should be sought. Just like you wouldn’t tell a man with a broken leg that he’s ok. Even if you can’t fix it, you can tell him to go to a doctors. But denying that there is anything wrong is the height of foolishness.

Man, this is NOT the way I wanted to start out a new month…

☆☆☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

War Master’s Gate (Shadows of the Apt #9) ★★★★★

warmastersgate (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: War Master’s Gate
Series: Shadows of the Apt #9
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 737
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The 8th Imperial Army marches on Sarn, the last surviving Ant City. With the help of knowledge from previous encounters, the military leaders of Sarn have a ghost of a chance of surviving.

Collegium is facing the 2nd Imperial Army, “The Gears”. Having fought off the Gears twice before, the citizens are certain they can do so again. After the decimation of the Imperial Air Force in the previous book, Collegium now rules the air and that might be their chance to survive.

General Tynan,general of the Gears, now allied with the Spiders, must overcome Collegium and gain access to its library, which holds texts that Empress Seda has commanded him to take. But without an airforce, with “allies” known for betrayal and facing technology from the brains of Collegium.

Seda has found a wellspring of power, the tomb of Argastos. Argastos was a moth sorceror-warrior from the Age of the Inapt, the War Leader of the Host of all the Inapt. They all came together to fight against the Worm kinden but were unable to truly defeat them. So their sorcerors all came together and sealed the Worm away. They also sealed away Argastos and his war-horde, as “guardians” of the Seal.

Che is chasing down Seda to prevent her from getting her hands on this power of Argastos. In the world of the Apt, a sorceror-Empress would be something the world wouldn’t know how to deal with. Che must prevent Seda from becoming all powerful.

In the end, Che and Seda both gain Argasto’s power but in the struggle break the Seal of the Worm, a kinden that want to to make every kinden into their own kind. The Gears capture Collegium and all those who resisted are either killed or in hiding. Sarn drives off the 8th Army but the Empire and the Spiders have a falling out that prohibits any further advances by the Imperial forces.

 

My Thoughts:

Hmmm, where to begin? Well, knowing that there is only 1 more book after this one, unlike last time, I could appreciate this particular story arc a bit more. I wasn’t constantly thinking about “what was next” but could focus on the here and now.

The other thing was that I had forgotten it took this long in the series for Collegium to finally be conquered. For some reason I thought it happened earlier in the series, even though I’m reading this series all over again. Just goes to show why I need to re-read things!

The end of the Felylal, the mantis kinden taking shelter in Collegium, that was heart breaking. What is left of a whole nation, men, women, children, grands, all throwing themselves against the Gears and dying. It really hit me hard this time around and honestly, I’m not even sure I noticed it last time. Kids. I actually put off writing this review for quite a few days just to deal with that.

On a “magic” note, Che and Seda’s journey was just as interesting, if not more so than the fight between the armies and cities. Last time I kind of just skimmed it. This time, I considered it to be the main part of the book. We see how much Che has changed through the eyes of those who are now in her entourage. Instead of being dragged around, or sent off, or somewhere on someone else’s behest, she is here because of her own will. Seda on the other hand is shown to be more afraid than ever, even while having more power than almost any other woman in the history of the world.

This is the kind of series that is complex enough that new things will emerge upon every re-read. I bumped it up a full star from last time because I enjoyed it even more than last time and have no doubt that when I get around to re-reading this series yet again that I’ll enjoy it just as much then.

★★★★★

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Critical Failures (Caverns & Creatures #1) ★★☆☆☆

criticalfailures (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Critical Failures
Series: Caverns & Creatures #1
Author: Robert Bevan
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 284
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A group of RPG gamers have put an ad out to a Cavern Master, as none of them want to do the hard work. A man shows up at the Chicken Shack, in cape and with all the other accoutrements a Cavern Master could need.

These gamers are jackasses. So they hassle the guy for wearing a cape and take their game playing very casually. This enrages the Cavern Master and has each of the players roll his special dice. This transports them into the game as their characters. The Cavern Master is interrupted by the sister of one of the players and her boyfriend. They too are transported into the game.

Shit happens and the gang gets separated, some in jail, some in the forest, more hijinks, mixups, etc. They all eventually get together, find out that the Cavern Master has done this to other people and trick him into a situation where he has to release them or die. Unfortunately for them, he dies and they’re stuck in the game world with no way to get out.

The end.

 

My Thoughts:

Swords and Spectres has been reviewing this series and I thought I’d try it. He did warn me about the profanity and folks, he was NOT kidding. These are 20 something losers with the accompanying attitude. Self-absorbed, filthy mouthed, caring about no one or anything but themselves. I was actually rather glad that they got theirs by being pushed into the game. Unfortunately, they are just as horrible in game as they are out of the game.

The humor was right up my alley and I kept snorting and laughing out loud but honestly, it was wicked crass and relied on a juvenile humor about death and body functions.

Even with that, I’l be reading the next book. However, since I’m pretty sure it is just more of the same, I expect to stop the series then.

★★☆☆☆

 

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Heir of Sea and Fire (Riddlemaster #2) ★★★★☆

heirofseaandfire (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Heir of Sea and Fire
Series: Riddlemaster #2
Author: Patricia McKillip
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 215
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Raederle, the woman betrothed to Morgan, sets out to find him as he has gone missing. She hooks up with some others, one of them being Morgan’s younger sister and sails all over. Morgan has thoroughly disappeared though and the landheir power has been passed on to his brother. This usually means the original holder of said power is dead and almost everyone but Raederle believes Morgan to be dead.

Part way through Morgan is revealed to be alive and chasing after the Bard who betrayed him AND that the wizard Ohm has been masquerading as The One (the magical master of the whole land). Raederle must convince Morgan to not take his vengeance against the Bard as it will destroy who Morgan is.

Raederle also comes into powers of her own. She finds out that one of her ancestors was a shapeshifter from the sea and this blood has bestowed peculiar power to her. Considering that the shapeshifters were doing their best to kill Morgan in the previous book, Raederle isn’t sure how Morgan is going to act when he finds out his betrothed belongs to those who wanted him dead.

The book ends with a showdown between the dead of Hel, controlled by Raederle and the Bard and Morgan. Morgan is convinced to show mercy and then he and Raederle set out to track down Ohm and get some answers for all the mysteries going on.

 

My Thoughts:

While I am giving this 4stars this time, I completely understand myself for giving it 2 stars back in ’07. This was trying to tell a fantasy story that needed a trilogy and McKillip kept going between fantasy writerstyle of the day and her own style of lyrical prose. It makes for an unsettling read as at one point you’ll have everything spelled out for you and then 10 pages later some monumental revelation is made as an aside in some oblique reference to some myth.

That was the weakness of this book and I am not sure that it can truly overcome that weakness. It’s the same problem I had with Riddlemaster of Hed and the main reason I wouldn’t recommend these as starter books for someone looking to get into McKillip.

Now that being said, since I have already read almost everything of McKillip’s and am currently re-reading everything, I can appreciate this book for its strengths.

This borrows heavily from Welsh/Welch (love that grapejuice by the way!) myth with the lands of Hel, Awn, etc and the unsettled dead and magic held by the lands rulers. If you’ve ever read The Prydain Chronicles by Llloyd Alexander, you’ll recognize a lot of the places and situations McKillip uses in this book. I think having that pre-existing knowledge will help a lot in understanding just what is going on, since there is so much happening without being spelled out. McKillip was writing for a well-read audience and I think a more modern audience will miss out on a lot of references, references that make this a much fuller, richer story.

Raederle was a great character. She wasn’t pie in the eye in love with Morgan, since she had only known him as a friend growing up. But since he was her betrothed, she was going to find out what happened to him. It showed a core of steel in her character. That showed her as strong but not some kickass heroine where her femininity was completely overshadowed by her being a man with breasts. She wasn’t a warrior, she couldn’t sail the ship she was on but there was NEVER any doubt that it was Raederle driving and leading everyone else on. When she confronts Morgon about his quest for vengeance, she doesn’t kick his legs out from under him and pin him down until he submits. She supports the parts of him that she does admire and lets him see that and lets that support decide him.

The supporting characters, from Morgon’s younger sister to the ghost of the King of Hel (that is him on the cover, lusting after his skull, which had been nailed to a midden pile and that Raederle used as a bargaining chip in obtaining his help) to Morgon himself were just as good.

To end, I once again thoroughly enjoyed another McKillip story while definitely not recommending this as a starting place for anyone thinking about a McKillip journey. Get some “experience” with her as an author and then come back to this.

★★★★☆

 

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Heldenhammer (Warhammer: Legend of Sigmar #1) ★★★☆☆

heldenhammer (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Heldenhammer
Series: Warhammer: Legend of Sigmar #1
Author: Graham McNeill
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 341
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Sigmar, son of a local king, has a dream. A dream of uniting all the various tribes as a single united human empire to withstand all the creatures of chaos. This is his story of how he unites the warring tribes whether with force, guile or brave deeds.

He loses his bloodbrother in a fight against orcs and the twin brother, Gerreon, holds it against Sigmar for years. Sigmar is betrothed to Gerreon’s sister Ravenna but Gerreon ends up killing her as well when he attempts to kill Sigmar. Gerreon flees and is seen no more.

Sigmar is turned back from the doors of death by his father and told he has a destiny to prevent the end of humanity. Once king, Sigmar begins uniting the tribes and providing mutual protection against the various orc raiders and wild animals, etc. A few human clans resist and are wiped out. Then an Orc Warlord arises and unites the orcs and goblins into one massive army and descends onto the human occupied lands to wipe them out. Sigmar and all the kings, along with some of the dwarves, face off against this monstrous horde. Sigmar kills the orc Warlord and breaks the horde and all the kings bow to him as Emperor.

The book ends with the remnants of the tribes destroyed by Sigmar taking Gerreon in and plotting vengeance.

 

My Thoughts:

This didn’t do much for me. The big things, the action and adventure, those are gone into. But the little things, like why does Sigmar have a comet with two tails as his emblem, is completely ignored. Obviously McNeill has a lot to pack into 3 books and can only make room for a certain amount but why did a boy getting cut with a sword on a training field take precedent over the freaking symbol of Sigmar himself?

If you’ve ever read Dicken’s A Childes History of England, you’ll get that same vibe here. “This” happened and then “that” happened and then Sigmar did “Exploit” and then everybody made him Emperor.

Part of why I’m so pissy about this is that I went into this with the attitude that this trilogy had to really impress me for me to keep reading in the Warhammer universe even while I KNEW it couldn’t and wouldn’t. So I’m feeling hypocritical. Bleh. At the same time, I DO want to know how Sigmar became a god and I’m hoping why he didn’t stick around and save the bloody world is answered. Just in case you didn’t know, the world that Warhammer takes place in was destroyed by the forces of chaos when the creators of Warhammer ended the Warhammer game.

This was very much the quintessential media tie in that I’ve come to expect from most franchises. In other words, if you’re invested in the game, media, whatever, you’ll like the books simply because it tells more. If you’re not invested in Franchise X, it probably won’t do much for you.

I did give this the Ultra-Violence tag because the hammer of Sigmar really does some damage and McNeill doesn’t shy away from describing it. Lots of brain matter enters into the equation, yuck.

★★★☆☆

 

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A Path to Coldness of Heart (Last Chronicle of the Dread Empire #3) ★★☆☆☆

pathtocoldnessofheart (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: A Path to Coldness of Heart
Series: Last Chronicle of the Dread Empire #3
Author: Glen Cooke
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 445
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The world has come as close as it ever has to having some peace, so obviously the Star Rider will stir things up. However, due to him having been so visible in the last 50 years, the main characters on the stage all know about him, from The Dread Empire to the King without a Throne to Bragi to Varthlokkur.

Mist, queen of the Dread Empire, secretly assembles a cast of people all presumed to be dead who have had interactions with the Star Rider. They begin a massive plot to take him down, all along parallel tracks not connected so that if one plot fails, another may get through.

This involves a whole new generation of people and we get hints of horrible things the Star Rider has actually been keeping contained for the world’s safety. The plotters succeed and the tale peters out.

 

My Thoughts:

While there is a book of short stories still left in the Dread Empire saga, this was pretty much the wrapup to the overall story. Except it didn’t really wrap anything up, it just “ended” while introducing the vague new threats the world would have to face and vaguely introducing the next set of people to face those threats. Cook seems to revel in showing the heroes growing old and failing in one way or another.

And here’s my biggest caveat about this book. We are introduced to a minor wizard who is, for all intents and purposes, a pedophile. He’s into pre-pubescent girls and while its made clear nothing is done against their will, the whole idea is abhorrent and Cook makes it out to be “just another thing”. I don’t think I’ve seen that before in any of his books and if I do come across it again, that’ll be it. The wizard is a major side character in this novel, so that keeps popping up.

Overall, it is apparent that Steven Erikson, of Malazan fame, stole much more from Cook’s Dread Empire than from his Black Company series. When I finished this book, I just felt “ehhh”. Between the pedo-wizard and the non-closure of an ending, I had to ask myself “What did I get out of this”and the answer is “not much”.

The writing is at the same level as all the previous books, so without pedo-wizard this probably would have been a 3 ½ star book, but that inclusion dropped things pretty hard. I do plan on reading the collection of short stories to truly wrap up the Dread Empire series and then I have to decide what of Cook’s writings I want to read next. I’ve got one or two trilogies/short series and then his much longer Garrett, PI urban fantasy series. I’m thinking of holding off on Garrett just because me and Urban Fantasy don’t get along for the most part. Ahh well, that is months away, plenty of time to make up my mind and change it several times too!

★★☆☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)