miniatures.

Black Library Submissions and Other News

I was informed by several people that once more, Black Library are asking for submissions from the general populous. I was unsure whether I should submit anything this time around. I’m setting up the commission business and it is keeping me very busy, which is nothing to complain about for sure, and I wondered whether I would have the time to dedicate to it or not.

A quick discussion with my good friend Stormy however changed my mind. The themes were interesting, based around Brotherhood and it got me thinking about what I might want to write about. Chaos Space Marines is a given, as I feel most comfortable with them. As I was thinking, I remembered I already have several characters with most of a story drafted about them already, I wrote it while I was teaching and quite frankly, if I found the time to write it then, I can find time to finish it off and do some editing and redrafting.

It features Menskera, Kaphiri and Shui, three Thousand Sons Sorcerers and their attempt to steal The Athenean – A Reaver Titan that gets in the way of their mission to plunder a world for hidden knowledge. Of course, there is more to it than that. I remember being pleased with some of the dialogue in the story so far, but I am going to have to give it a re-read to refamiliarise myself with the tale and make the right changes. I do worry that it might be a bit silly, but I will never know if I do nothing and it will give me the motivation to get the tale finished regardless.

I do have a miniature of Menskera that’s finished, and I have the other two build, just not painted. Of course, the Reaver Titan is still in its box – I am a little scared to start that monster project, but that will happen when I am ready. For now, here is Menskera!

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book review · miniatures.

Review: Soul Hunter – Aaron Dembski Bowden

Soul Hunter

Several friends of mine pestered me to read this for a while. One of them loaned me the physical copy, another loaned me a digital copy and eventually I relented. I do not get a lot of time to read books, and I do not like to waste my time on bad ones. This book is not a bad book.

This book is in fact, a very good book.

I knew within the first couple of pages that I was going to like the Night Lords due to one incident. One of the characters gets shot in the middle of a discussion and his so called friend had to switch his vox off because he was laughing so hard about it.

The book is full of gems like this. You quickly come to realise that the Night Lords all hate each other. It is the typical dynamic however that as soon as an outsider starts to hate on the individuals, that they pull together and deal with problems – mostly.

I never like to write spoilers in my reviews and I do not plan to start now. Some key players appear in the book, and they are all true to their character. The novel provides another perspective on these characters which is insightful and interesting.

The story is well constructed, cleverly written and easy to read. Some of the fight scenes it contains were so good my coffee went cold as I was so engaged. There is no abundence of overly floral language, though there is no lack of description either. Some of the scenes push the boundaries of what is ‘sensible’ (I know, it’s 40K but…) however, they are not ludicrous and are certainly exciting.

I really look forward to Blood Reaver, and enthusing about this awesome read to those who encouraged me to read them in the first place.

40K · book review · Warhammer 40000

Review: Dark Imperium – Guy Haley

815M7vUNz+L Talk about late to the party! This was released a while ago now and I’ve only just gotten around to ‘reading’ it. Bit of a confession, I listened to it on Audio Book instead. This was a new venture for me, and after I got over the voices and overly English accent of the reader, I found it enjoyable. I was able to paint and listen at the same time. Who knew…

I’ll start with the good. There are some really well constructed scenes in this story that enable the characters to show their core values well. For example, there is a part of the tale where Calgar and some of his cronies are dealing with an uprising. The opponents are mainly youths who are being used by adults because they are impressionable. The Ultramarines quickly realise how shoddy the work is but instead of just wading in to kill them, they decide to capture them and re-educate them so next time they can do a proper job of it. It made me laugh, could anything be more Ultramarine?

There are other interactions as well, Mortarion, Typhus and a daemon prince are talking via phychic ‘phone’, to which the Death Guard Primarch is outraged. The part where Uriel Ventris introduces himself to Guilliman is also marginally hilarious. All the characters play to themselves and are enjoyable in one way or another. The internalisation of Guilliman’s thoughts are also interesting and the contrast between the modern Imperium and what he knew are good to read. His frustrations are very relatable too. The language used to convey the characters, and the setting as well, is easy to follow.

Description wise, I think there are good and bad parts. The language used to describe the Death Guard and the Nurgle aspects of the novel are exceptionally well done. I had no idea there were that many words for guts. It allows the reader to really picture what the disgusting creatures look like. Some of it is quite nauseating and I liked that part. When it came to describing arches and other such things, I was less bothered. Some of the pacing of the novel is lost due to long descriptive passages or history lessons, which while vital for the background, I found rambly. There are some that enjoy such aspects, I am not one of them. I like to read the action and I like it to be fast paced.

There is also a lot of information on the Primaris marines and how much superior they are to the older spec of marine as well. It was when they had first been released however and I suppose they needed to be bigged up to the readership. They are fine by me and I rather liked the characters, especially when they they were relaxing in the mess hall lamenting that there was no booze to toast with. It made them seem human in many ways and I have always enjoyed reading about the human side of Space Marines.

This novel ambles, rather than surges, along and I am sure that if I was to tackle this as a read rather than a listen, I would have struggled with it. Still, it is worth reading all the same to get an insight into the mind of Guilliman. The other characters are no less engaging either and are certainly interesting.

40K · science fiction · Wh40K

Review: Prince of Crows

Time for reading is limited at the moment, however when I found myself with an hour to spare I knew what to do. I had left the Night Lords Trilogy at home but knew I had Prince of Crows on my iPad. I didn’t get it all finished in the one hour, I am not that quick at reading, but I certainly wanted to. I could not put this story down.

I shall try and relate its merits without too many spoilers.

Prince-of-Crows

The novel occurs after the disasterous Thamas Crusade and depicts the Kyroptera trying to piece back the broken fragments of their legion and work out what to do next. The first thing that struck me with this novel is that Sevatar is hilarious. I don’t think detatched, mass-murdering bastards are supposed to be that funny but he is written in a way that makes him utterly relatable. From the moment he decides to clean house, to the end of the novella, he is cracking one liners and shows an irrepressable cynicism that keeps the reader on his side. There are aspects of his personality that surprised me, and he does the COOLEST thing I have read about for a long, long time.

The narrative shifts in the middle of the novella to show an exploration of the childhood and growing up of Konrad Curze. I enjoyed the insight into the homeworld of the Night Lords. It was interesting, dark but interesting. It made me feel more sympathetic to him as well, in many ways.

Moving on from the great characters, I want to talk about the superb minimalist writing of the author. I always enjoy Aaron Dembski-Bowden and this novella is no exception to that. There was a particular line that gave me goosebumps when I read it, ‘The pale man burst the minister’s heart in his hand, in a rustling squeeze of abused meat.’ I don’t want to think waht thay says about me but this line really got me. It is not over described, it’s not over written and it allows the reader to fill in with their own imagination what it actually looked like. I discussed this with a friend of mine and they indicated this was one of the aspects that made the author brilliant and I find I am inclined to agree with them.

I won’t waffle on further about how amazing this novella is. Just go and read it. Do it for the quick witted, one liners. Do it for the immense action scenes, it is well worth the read.

figures · fine detail · hobby · miniatures.

The Novelist.

I wanted to talk about these two lovely miniatures that I painted over Christmas. How they came about was rather strange in a way and I want to share it.

I will show the miniatures first and then tell of their tale.

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The images are darker than I first thought but they will suffice for now. I have also never painted tartan before, so please don’t judge me too harshly.

I painted these for Graham McNeill – that is the McNeill tartan, or thereabouts at least, after a conversation on twitter. I have spoken to him a few times here and there and have always found our conversations to be encouraging and him to be exceptionally pleasant.

So, these two came around after a conversation that went a bit like this:

GMN: (after watching the Outlaw King) I want to write a high fantasy novel with loads of warring factions.

Me: Do it, that sounds amazing.

GMN: Alright, but you’re painting the miniatures to go with it.

Me: Deal, but I want a signed copy.

GMN: Done.

I am paraphrasing of course. My husband then suggested I should paint his tartan on the back and I am loathe to turn down a challenge. These two were selected and painted up and the result is for you all to see. Of course, these miniatures now belong to Graham McNeill; when we meet in person, I will hand them over. I am way too scared to ask for a place to send them, though the prospect of meeting someone you really look up to is also rather terrifying. I will have to try not to run away in a nervous fit of excited energy…

Anyway, I do not expect anything in return, the conversation was pretty tongue-in-cheek after all and I would never impose in that way. I am just pleased that it was remembered and brought some smiles about. I also got to paint some tartan, which was fun!

40K · book review · Uncategorized · Warhammer 40000 · Warhammer 40k · Wh40K

Review: Black Legion – Aaron Dembski-Bowden

BLPROCESSED-Black-Legion-coverThis book is so awesome I am going to leave the picture huge. I was fortunate enough not to wait long for the second installment of the Black Legion series, which was a relief seeing as I loved the first one.

The story picked up a ‘few’ years on from where the last one left off, once again being told through the eyes of Iskandur Khayon, former Thousand Son Legionary. He has become Abaddon’s assassin and seems to be struggling with the role. I won’t go into details because spoilers but I will say when he overcomes these inhibitions, awesomeness ensues.

The narrative of the novel is in the first person once again, something I found well crafted before and was not let down this time. The voice of Khayon comes through clearly throughout; you can definitely tell that he was a member of the Thousand Sons before his change of allegiance. When he is explaining things to you, he does so from the stance of a scholar – it is a little like being in a lecture. Instead of detracting from the pace of the novel, it explains things about the Eye of Terror that the reader doesn’t know. Khayon never gives up the opportunity to enlighten the reader about the trials and tribulations he and his brethren face on a daily basis!

Although the book deals with the serious, and often deadly, threats that face the newly established Black Legion, there is no shortage of funny aspects either. Each character is well established with one another and there is no shortage of bickering and sniping a one another, which provides the novel with some much needed comic moments. We all know and understand that life in the grim dark future is just that but these interactions remind the reader that there is humour too.

Also: Abaddon fights Sigismund… Well paced, perfectly written and oh my word what a page turning ending to the novel! Just amazing! The rest of the fight scenes are amazing – highlighting the brutality needed to win and the lengths of the character’s ambitions too. There is also a wicked space battle that had me turning the pages quicker than I thought possible.

It is a perfect follow-up to an epic start, I just hope the next installment isn’t too far in the future!

book review · Wh40K

Review: A Thousand Sons – Graham McNeill

Thousand Sons I had the distinct pleasure of reading this novel on the decks of the Thompson Majesty while on my honeymoon – often with a cocktail or two; it would be rude not to after all.

What a real pleasure it was to read too! I’ll start off by celebrating all of the rich description within this novel. During parts of the novel, I could easily picture the setting, to the point where I felt as though I was actually walking down some of the Tizcan streets with the characters as they spoke. Maybe that could be attributed to the warm climates I was in too but it was a real pleasure. The choice of words used paints a truly wonderful picture, one that I devoured gladly and you should too! It was as though I could smell what was being made in the markets, hear the traders calling and feel the heat of the sun too.

Characters in the novel are spectacularly well written; the leading cast are well rounded and layered. McNeill carefully ensures that the Space Marine characters are not carbon copies of each other and that they are different from the contingencies of remembrancers (humans) too. Not all the characters are likeable, they’re not meant to be, but they are well written. I found it very difficult to be sympathetic to the Primarch of the Thousand Sons; he came across as an aloof, arrogant being without a trace of thought for those he used – he was meant to. I could find solace in the fact he was well written and that his sons were far more likeable than he was.

The pace of the novel was perfect too, there were no points where the story lulled or seemed to drag on either. Each twist and turn of the novel is woven carefully together and the differences of opinion of the characters are artfully displayed.

I cannot stress enough how I enjoyed the novel and really look forward to reading a lot more about the Thousands Sons legion. I hear there are some pretty devastating turns in store for Ahriman and his friends.