Archive for November, 2017

The Bastard Legion by Gavin G Smith

November 15, 2017 - 7:41 pm No Comments

The Bastard Legion
Author: Gavin G Smith
Published by: Gollancz, 5th October 2017
ISBN: 978-1-473-21725-6
322 pages
Reviewer: Ken Norman

The title is enough to make most teenage boys snigger, and I guess that is the point. It’s a book that seems to be aimed squarely at that young adult male sector of the market.
This space-war-opera revolves around a hard hitting, gun-toting slip of a girl called Miska who’s lost her Mummy and her Daddy’s a simulation, as he’s been toasted by persons unknown. She used to be a soldier in her youth, so she’s nicked a prison barge full of dangerous lifers and has decided that a mercenary’s life on the frontiers of the law is a winner, especially as barge has provided her with a private supply of grunts to send into conflict to die. If they don’t die quick enough, or look at her in a funny way, she blows their head off with a remote controlled neck collar. The problem is, she’s got a bit of an existential crisis going on, and worse, can’t quite work out what to call her band of brothers (they’re all dudes). Oddly, there’s almost no other women in the story, apart from the odd evil executive or about-to-be-cannon-fodder adversary. However, she’s going to kill a bunch of bad people and find out who killed her Daddy whilst getting paid for whatever mercenary activities can be found in the nearest G-class star.

There’s a voluminous whiff of fantasy here – mainly the authors’. Gavin Smith would appear to have a bit of a crush on Miska, as she’s a bit of a murderous villain, a bit vulnerable and a bit sexy all at the same time. She’s something of a superhero too, with a big bag of techy upgrades to her personal self. It’s the sort of universe where you’d hope humanity would have overcome some of the issues happening in the book, but you apparently never run out of the need for a printed AK-47, even when you’ve got FTL travel. If anything, there’s too much in this first volume – too many ideas about what’s cool, fun, possible (or not) all thrown into the pot to create a future world that’s not quite consistent.

It’s a fun read, if you like a good battle scene, or your inner male mental age has settled around 15. The fast and loose mix of ideas from left, right and centre is a bit confused, but that might settle down in the next installment. The book’s title tries to keeps you guessing right to the end, but in the end, it’s pretty obvious.

 

Immortal Unchained Argeneau 25 Lynsay Sands

November 14, 2017 - 10:42 am No Comments

Immortal Unchained
Author: Lynsay Sands
Publisher: Gollancz
Page count: 369pp
Release date: 28th March 2017
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

The Argeneau Vampires rule the world – well, not literally, but they are top players in all forms of modern industry – particularly blood banks.
In Lynsay Sand’s ever expanding world (this is book 25), the Argeneau family is governed by Lucian Argeneau who represents them on a council of immortals – nano engineered ‘vampires’ who are refugees from Atlantis – who need blood to stay at peak fitness level.
There are certain rules the immortals have to follow. To control population they are only allowed to turn one human in their long lives, this person normally being their life mate. They also survive on bagged blood, and eating ‘on the hoof’ or from the tap as it were, is only permitted in emergencies. The immortals can read and control others’ minds, unless drugged, but the single person they can’t hear is their future life mate.
During the last few books, immortals have been mysteriously disappearing. It was at the end of the last big where we had the big reveal – the name of the villain. So – SPOILERS HERE …
No surprise once you start reading – it’s Dr Dressler.
Dressler has invited celebrated chef Domitian to work for him on his island. Domitian is convinced his identity as an immortal is secure, so when a helicopter arrives he climbs on board but is immediately drugged.
Back on the island, police officer Sarita, is growing impatient waiting for a helicopter to take her to the mainland to see her grandmother who has had a fall.
Finally having enough, she storms into Dressler’s lab to find him, but finds a body cut in two instead: the torso strapped down on one small table, the legs strapped to another.
Dressler and his assistant walk in, use Sarita to help put the pieces of the tables back together, like a demented magician, pouring blood on the corpse until the pieces stitch back together to form a screaming, writhing man.
Two seconds later she’s drugged, unconscious, then waking up in the weirdest, white honeymoon paradise lodge stuck in the middle of the jungle island.
She’s alone.
But she won’t be for long.
In this, the 25th Argeneau novel, Sands again delivers a fun blend of romance, sexual chemistry, adventure, danger and humour.
Where it switches up though, is in the inhabitants of this mysterious island where Sarita finds herself imprisoned. Problem is, I just can’t tell you more! Because the surprise in store is worth it. Whole new story arcs will emerge I think, n the back of this book, and the end has another cliffhanger to potentially lead to more avenues.
I loved this book, and can’t wait to read the next one.
5/5

Willow Woods Academy for Witches: Blood Moon Coven by RL Weeks and Skylar McKinzie

November 12, 2017 - 6:48 am No Comments

Willow Woods Academy for Witches: Blood Moon Coven by RL Weeks and Skylar McKinzie
Published 12th November 2017
171 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Willow Woods Academy, Harvest Moon Coven’s institute of education has known its problems. 10 years before it was attacked by students of the Blood Moon Coven. Not aware of the history, Katarina(Kat) and Angelina(Angie) defy their parents and run away to enrol at Willow Woods Academy. Now trouble is brewing, will history repeat itself.
Kat and Angelina were BFFs and in most friendships, you always get the one who knows best. Angie was the headstrong one, the friend who knows what’s best. Kat went with the flow, not wanting to upset anyone and would see the good in people. But this relationship worked, you could feel the love for each other. Whilst they had a strong friendship, there was the odd disagreement, and whilst reading this story, I had the sense that there will be more major disagreements as the series continues.
Just like any school, Willow Woods had all the same group of students, “It” girls, smart ones and even the slightly strange and I hope I get to know these characters more as the series continues. Having 4 houses with a magical theme, helps you distinguish what powers the students have.
The story is descriptively written, and scenes can be instantly imagined. Knowing both author’s work, I could not tell who wrote what as the story flowed seamlessly. The school and the student’s past were explained in detail, which helped tell the story.
This is a book for any age group who love magical stories. A good start to the series