Sunday, 28 February 2016

The Crimson Campaign, Brian McClellan Youtube Review

Here's my Youtube review of Brian McClellan's epic fantasy novel The Crimson Campaign.

Don't forget to like, comment and subscribe if you enjoyed!

Thursday, 25 February 2016

George R.R. Martin Rewards Readers with New Twist in The Winds of Winter!

Today IGN posted an interview with A Song of Ice and Fire’s author George R. R. Martin, who everyone knows is the author of A Game of Thrones which the hugely popular TV series is based on.

Though the new book The Winds of Winter won’t be released until after Season 6 of the show is aired, the new novel won’t be totally spoiled by the TV show! In his interview with IGN, Martin explains that he has taken his own artistic license to deviate from the plot of the show and add a new twist to his novel; explaining that he will reintroduce a character that is dead in the show but not dead in his books! This new change in The Winds of Winter will give an answer to the question ‘why would you read the book when you can watch the TV show?’ It shows that though it may be easier to watch something than to read something, Martin is giving his loyal fans, some of whom have read the series for over 30 years, something to look forward to. I think that this nod to his fans needed to happen as many book lovers were starting to feel left behind (myself included).

For anyone that doesn’t know, Martin’s books are massive and go well into the hundreds and sometimes thousands of pages. So much so that two of them had to be split up into two parts because they were deemed too long. I read the first five books back-to-back and it took me months to finish them and like everybody else, I’ve been waiting a good five years for a new one to be released! So then to be told that the show will out pace the books really annoyed me, because it made me feel like I was being punished for taking the time to read the novels. However, knowing that Martin will add extra plot lines and maybe even different characters to his next novel is extremely exciting and takes away the bitter taste I had in my mouth about the TV series.

Now I am looking forward to reading The Winds of Winter and catching up with Season 5; even though I heard it wasn’t that great! Nonetheless, I will still wait to watch Season 6 until after I’ve finished the new book! Just in case there are spoilers!

What do you think of this development in A Game of Thrones? Are you like me and a long-time fan of the books and annoyed that TV audiences are given priority over book lovers? Or are you a TV fan and just happy that you’ll be getting the next installment of this epic series? Plus, who do you think this mysterious character will be? Let me know in the comments below or head over to my Facebook channel.

Monday, 22 February 2016

The Crimson Campaign, Brian McClellan

Publishers: Orbit

Pages: 596

Main Characters:

Taniel, Tamas, Adamat

The Crimson Campaign is the second book in Brian McClellan’s epic Powder Mage series and pretty much picks up the story where it was left off in The Promise of Blood. Like the first novel, book two is also split into three different plot lines which revolve around three different characters: Tamas, Taniel and Adamat.
Field Marshal Tamas is protecting Adro’s borders from a gigantic Kez army that plans to invade and reinstate the monarchy Tamas worked so hard to topple. Though his army is greatly outnumbered, the Field Marshal feels confident that his well trained and disciplined troops will overcome the rabble of Kez soldiers. Though he believes in his troops, Tamas knows that nothing in war is certain and when a chance arises to outflank his enemy and possibly end the war; Tamas takes two of his best brigades and his infamous Powder Mages to finally wipe out the Kez threat. However, the Field Marshal is deceived and has to watch as his army is destroyed. Now Tamas is trapped behind enemy lines and must march his men hundreds of miles through enemy territory to get back to Adro and save his country from another despot.
Killing a god can have serious consequences and when Taniel Two-Shot put a bullet through Kresimir’s eye, his life changed forever. After waking up from a coma, Taniel tries to forget his old life as a soldier and falls into a vicious cycle of drug abuse and denial as he wastes away in a Mala Den. However, when a new breed of assassin is sent to kill him, Taniel decides that his fate lies with the army and returns to the front-line to help defend his country. Nonetheless, life in the army has changed drastically since his father’s (Tamas) disappearance and Taniel finds that he is no longer the golden-boy of the Adro army. Plus, with defeat after defeat pushing the Adro forces back towards the capital Adopest, Taniel feels that something is amiss with the ruling elite and has to ruffle a few feathers to find a traitor in his father’s camp.

Art from Napoloenic Wars, reminds me of Adro's army!
Inspector Adamat is still on the hunt for his kidnapped family. With the help of Tamas, he manages to free his youngest children from the lair of Lord Vetas; a conspirator against Tamas and a royalist who wishes to see Adro returned to the rule of the King. Vetas is even more cunning than Adamat imagined and though he saved his children, the Lord still has Adamat’s wife and eldest son locked away in his stronghold. Adamat has to face the challenge head on and tasks himself with recruiting allies to tackle Vetas. However, when Adamat learns the Lord has a Privileged, the Inspector must look to someone from Adro’s despotic past for help.

My Youtube Review
Like the first book in the series (which I’ve read but haven’t reviewed) The Crimson Campaign was amazing! I am a huge fan of fantasy books and authors, but for me Brian McClellan goes above and beyond with this series for his original story and setting. Basing a novel in a Napoleonic-like era really hits a soft spot with me because I am such a history nerd about the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Then to mix in the fantasy of magic, sorcery, Powder Mages (mages that gain their power from gunpowder) and epic Gods ultimately makes this series truly great.
Honestly, if you are into fantasy books or authors like Mark Lawrence or Patrick Rothfuss you have to check out this series. I thought the first book; The Promise of Blood was equally as good as this one and I can’t wait to read The Autumn Republic! It’s so exciting to find that there are these great fantasy trilogies out there and that they are not just dragging out series like what seems to be happening in the historical-fiction genre at the moment.
For author’s official website click here.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Star Wars: Kanan The Last Padawan Youtube Review

Here's my YouTube review of Star Wars, Kanan The Last Padawan.

If enjoyed the video please be sure to leave a like on it and subscribe to my YouTube if you want to see more videos!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Star Wars, Kanan The Last Padawan Volume 1, Weisman, Larraz and Curiel (Comic Book)

As some of you may know, I am a massive Star Wars nerd. I love all the movies, books, video games and TV series that have been spin-offs from George Lucas’s original trilogy.

When The Force Awakens launched in cinemas at the end of 2015, I spent many months prior to the release date trying to get myself pumped for the new chapter in the Star Wars story. Ingesting anything Star Wars, I came across the animated series Rebels which is shown on the Disney XD TV channel.

The series is based around a young boy called Ezra who accidently learns that he can use the Force. In his adventures Ezra meets a smuggler called Kanan who later turns out to be an exiled Jedi. Kanan takes Ezra on as his Padawan learner and tries to teach him the ways of the Force. However, it is clear in the TV show that Kanan has some sort of dark and mysterious past as he struggles to be the mentor Ezra needs.

Kanan intrigued me as a character in the show. Firstly, he looks bad ass and secondly, the hints towards his past made me do some further research to try and discover more about this troubled Jedi.

In doing research I was pleasantly surprised to find that an entire comic book series had been dedicated to Kanan and his days as a young Padawan. The series is called Star Wars, Kanan The Last Padawan and issue 1 was released in April 2015. Since then, issues have been released on a monthly bases and a Volume 1 (a collection of the first six comics) was released in November 2015.

Finding out there was a comic book series about Kanan really excited me because I’ve wanted to get into comic books for such a long time and never really knew where to start! The oversaturation of Marvel and DC Superhero movies put me off trying any of those comics, as there seems to be loads of different series of those comics too. However, when I learned there was some recent Star Wars comics in circulation, I thought this might be the time to dip my toe into the comic book world!

Kanan and crew from Rebels
So at the weekend I headed down to my local comic book store and picked up Volume 1! I read the whole book in one night; the story was so good! It tells the tale of Kanan as a young Padawan under the guidance of Jedi Depa Billaba on the planet of Kaller. The Jedi and Clone Army have liberated the planet from the iron grip of the Separatists and Kanan is enjoying his victory. However, when his friends Captain Styles and Commander Grey receive order sixty six from the newly crown Emperor, Kanan’s sheltered life as a Jedi apprentice is soon cut short.

Kanan manages to escape with his life as Depa Billaba sacrifices herself to save the young Padawan. He finds himself alone in Kaller’s capital city, scrounging for food and trying to keep a low profile as he plans to escapes the planet. As always, the Force works in mysterious ways and leads Kanan to a smuggler and rogue called Janus, who takes the starving and scared child under his wing. The former Padawan thinks he can get on with his new life and though he has disappeared, his two old friends Styles and Grey are still on the hunt for the young Jedi traitor that got away…

This comic was everything I wanted; it told a compelling story about a character who I thought was interesting but knew would never get a movie or TV series of his own. In addition, the artwork was beautiful and I felt there was an almost Anime feel to Pepe Larraz’s and Jacapo Camagni’s art which I really appreciated. The colourist David Curiel made his art very dark and grungy, using lots of browns and oranges which I think added an atmosphere to Greg Weisman’s writing; helping show Kanan’s distress at losing his master and starting a new life.

Example of art
I really enjoyed reading this comic and I am looking forward to picking up the other editions in the series that have been released. I hope my review was ok, it’s my first one so please be kind! I don’t know that much about art or comic book artists, but approached this review as I would any other book review and gave my honest opinion!

If you are an avid comic book reader please suggest some series to me, I would love to get into more obscure comics, as I assume any Star Wars comic is pretty popular!

My YouTube review

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Northern Lights, Youtube Review

For anyone who's interested, here is my YouTube review of Philip Pullman's Northern Lights.

If you enjoy the video be sure to leave my a like and if you want to see more subscribe to my channel!

Friday, 5 February 2016

Northern Lights, Philip Pullman

                                                                                                                          Publishers: Knopf Books

Pages: 399

Main Characters:

Lyra, Iorek Brynison, Lord Asriel, Mrs Coulter

Based in a magical alternative reality, Northern Lights tells the tale of Lyra Belacqua and her animal-daemon Pantalaimon. ‘Pan’ (as he’s known to Lyra) is a magical embodiment of Lyra’s soul and accompanies her in many different animal forms wherever she goes. The two best friends live in the oldest and dustiest part of Jordan College in Oxford. Lyra is like any child living in an old and prestigious college. She loves to investigate and play in the ancient buildings and get up to no good. However, one day her mischief directs her down a path that has been long preordained for her, as she witnesses the attempted murder of her Uncle; Lord Asriel. As a sort of thank you, Asriel lets Lyra secretly watch his presentation to the scholars of Oxford and introduces her to the secretive and fascinating world of Dust.

What Lyra doesn’t know is that the revelation has long been foreseen and many people are looking to her to help guide and protect them. However, for the prophecy to come true Lyra must walk this path alone and discover the meaning of Dust all by herself, without any direct help from other people. Of course, there are also people who want to harm her; chief among these is Mrs Coulter. The beautiful woman with the silky voice and scary monkey daemon is stealing children from families in England to do experiments on them in the far North. When Lyra’s friend Roger is kidnapped by Mrs Coulter’s group, she takes it as her personal mission to go North and find him. With the help of the magical alethiometer, Lyra travels North to the lands of the Aurora and fighting ice-bears. But what she finds there is way beyond her comprehension and she will need the help of her new found friends to overcome the adversity there and discover the secrets of Dust.

Golden Compass Trailer

This book really surprised me because at first I thought I wasn’t going to like it! I’ve seen the movie The Golden Compass which is based on Pullman’s novel and thought it was awful! So awful, I’m pretty sure the movie franchise was dropped as the first installment did so badly. So after reading about twenty pages of The Northern Lights I can happily say that I was hooked! This was because of the world Pullman creates in this novel. Like I said, it is an alternative reality because the book is based in England and the Arctic, but they are very different to the countries we know and love.

The first big difference in this world is daemons. They show a physical embodiment of a person’s soul and you can tell a lot about a person from the form of their daemon. Pan can change form anytime he wants because Lyra is not yet an adult and therefore has not fully matured into the person she is going to be. I really liked this feature as it added a dimension to the protagonist which is not that common. It gave the main character two personalities as Lyra and Pan were the same person but with different views and thoughts. I also liked trying to guess what type of person a new character was going to be, by reading about their daemons and trying to guess if they were a goody or a bady!

In addition, I thought the steam-punk world was very cool and it gave a very scientific and industrial feel to the novel without having to base the world in a modern era. The idea of Zeppelins flying around and huge clockwork machines also gave the world a great atmosphere, as it made me think of 19th Century England with smog in the air and whole cities being covered in coal dust.

My YouTube review of the novel

This was a great novel and came at a good time for me because I have been looking for something different to read for ages and this series really fits the bill! I can’t wait to check out the next novel in the series; The Subtle Knife! I would suggest this book to anyone who is a fan of fantasy novels like The Name of the Wind or The Promise of Blood.

For author’s official website click here.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Long Time No See!

Sadly over the last few years I've been neglecting my Youtube channel. However I plan to be much more active over there and will be posting book reviews and some other cool things which I think you guys will like!

Please remember to like, comment and subscribe to my channel!

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