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Review: Mephiston City of Light – Darius Hinks

So, I finally finished the the Mephiston trilogy and I must say I will be sad to see the end of it. I have thoroughly enjoyed the other tales of Mephiston and friends and the last one in the set was every bit as good. As usual, I will try not to give anything away in the review.

The final tale sees Mephiston, Rhacelus and Antros finally catching up to the demon that has been irritating them for some time. Mephiston, having survived the Primaris embiggening – the rubric that makes him bigger and less likely to lose control of himself and blast anyone who gets too close, finds out that the demon is up to hi-jinks in the Prospero system and asks to go and sort it out.

Dante agreed in a heart-warming scene so long as he takes Rhacelus with him.

What follows is a whirl-wind of events that culminate in a heart-aching scene, which I won’t say about here.

The tale flows very well and contains more interesting characters. We are treated to some wonderful interactions between the three librarians but we are also introduced to some interesting characters from the Imperial Guard. The fellow who survives is far from a two dimensional man who is only there to support the main characters. He has his own goals and works towards them in what must be terrifying situations.

The pace of the tale is good too. I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened and this led to at least one late night. The language is easy to read but not too simple either. It doesn’t distract the reader from what is happening and for me, is very balanced.

I shall miss reading about these Blood Angels, they are responsible for a new army appearing in the cabinet after all. I do hope there will be more adventures around them in the future. Go and read these tales, they are well worth it.

book review · miniatures.

Review: Dante – Guy Haley

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As many of you know, I went on holiday, which was an amazing opportunity to relax and read! And read I did! I picked this up due to the portrayal of Dante in Devastation of Baal and wanting to know more. This book did not disappoint. It follows two lines of story – one of child Dante and how he became a Blood Angel, and that of Chapter Master Dante just before the events of Devastation of Baal.

I don’t put spoilers in my reviews because the details of the story are part of the joy of reading. In this story, we are treated to so many anecdotes and memories that have happened during Dante’s long life. One of the funniest was how he got into trouble when he was a scout the first time he saw rain. It is an act we can all relate to – looking up and trying to catch it with your mouth is something I think we have all done – and it shows Dante as attached to his humanity more than other Space Marines. This is just one such tale in a book filled with them.

The side characters are not neglected in the tale either. We all know that Dante goes on to become a Blood Angel, so that is no mystery to the reader, however it does not make the tale redundant. The journey is filled with characters who are interesting and their stories are just as good. None of them feel flat or as though they are there to just pad out Dante’s story. They are individual and worth reading about too! One of them had me in tears of sorrow – a difficult feat to acomplish so well done!

Guy Haley’s use of language in this novel is great too. None of the book feels like redundent description, it is all relevent and none of it is too floral or poetic. Meaning is clear and well thought out. I read this book in less than two days, which is really quick for me.

The short part is that this book made me fall in love with Dante, it is worth reading, full of emotion and just all round fabulous! Go read this!

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Review: The Dark Tower series.

I have had a long and lasting love affair with The Dark Tower series; it is one of the novel series that has resonated with me, and still does so. When I first read it about ten years ago, I was captivated by the characters and world setting, and that hasn’t changed. Periodically, I have gone back and read the first three and a half books, but usually stopped part way through the fourth. Now that I listen to audio books while painting, I found the perfect opportunity to listen to the whole tale again.

Let’s get a picture of The Gunslinger in here, for it is his story after all:

Good points of the story the second time around include how amazingly well written the characters are. From the smallest role to the largest, all the characters have a surprisingly well developed sense of purpose and self. I remember taking nearly three books to decide whether I liked Roland and that when I did, it was a whirlwind. The same applies on the second reading, though perhaps not as intensely. The pace of the first four books is intense and keeps you reading, or listening, even when you know what is going to happen.

What surprised me too is the amount of phrases I use in day to day language that come from this series. Language I had forgotten the source of, phrases like ‘never in life’ and ‘say true?’ just became part of my language. It has a poetic ring to it certainly, and the different accents and nuances contained within the Dark Tower are wide and varied. The world setting is dense, detailed and wide, it is a real treat to read about and journey through. Nothing in this story is coincidence. Everything happens for a reason and the smallest detail in book one unfolds into a big part of the later story. The forward thinking of the author is incredible.

I’m still not sold on Stephen King writing himself into the story.

Everything else about the tale is great, I laughed, I cried and was taken along an emotional journey with the characters; still caught up in their lives despite knowing what happened. If you only ever read one (set of) books again, make it The Dark Tower!

40K · book review · miniatures.

Review: Devastation of Baal – Guy Haley

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I won’t lie, I was a bit wary of reading this. I did not get along with Dark Imperium when I read it and so was unsure whether I would get along with this. All hesitation was blown away after the first few pages however and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel.

What makes this novel exceptionally good, is how invested I was in the characters. I knew of Mephiston of course, and his friends Rhacelus and Antros, and I knew names of the others but not what they were like. It did not take long for me to become truly involved with them and want them to win. Every character in the novel plays a part but there are no carbon copies, not one of them is the same as the other, despite claims to the contrary and it comes off well. They all compliment one another in some way and seeing them all work together is a delight – even if they don’t want to! This is a true writing skill, and shows how masterful Haley is.

I don’t do spoilers in my reviews because I want readers to go out and wnjoy books for themselves but character highlights are fine:

  • Gabriel Seth of the Flesh Tearers being an angry meathead at everything forever.
  • Dante’s speeches, actions and general heroism despite his personal doubts.
  • Mephiston’s questionable deeds, and the dynamic between him and the other librarians.
  • The genuine sadness as the planet and its system is devastated.
  • The Lictor.

Other points that made this book readable: pace, dialogue and balance. The pace is good. It kept me reading until late as I wanted to know what happened. It was punchy, didn’t linger too long on a single point and wasn’t too heavy on the description either. The dialogue between the characters is good, whether a rousing speech, bickering or banter, it works well. Again, it is not over written but in some places, it is funny. It hits the right tone throughout.

This novel is well balanced, quick paced and has some truly emotional points in it. I didn’t cry (only Graham McNeill makes me do that these days), but it was close. I was afraid, gutted and relieved through the book and that is down to the skill of Guy Haley.

I also bought Gabriel Seth so I can have my very own Angry Meathead to glare at the other Angry Meatheads in the cabinet!

Thanks for the great read!

 

 

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Book Review: Blood of Sanguinius – Darius Hinks

It’s been a while since I have done a book review, though that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading. I have indulged in a lot of short stories, which would take forever to review them all. It doesn’t mean they are not good, or engaging and they certainly are worth reading however I would be here forever if I posted about them all.

One group of short stories has led me down a rather delightful path, and those feature the oddity that is Mephiston. Recommended by a close friend, I decided that it was time to venture out if the realms of chaos and see what the Imperium had to offer. I must say I was very well surprised with the two short stories: Eclipse of Hope and Lord of Death by David Annandale, however the character really comes into his own when penned by the capable hand of Darius Hinks.

Technically, the language is beautiful. While reading, there were no clumsy sentences, wonderfully crafted metaphors which were wrought in a careful, considerate way. Hinks’ choice of language complimented the carefully crafted world he created for the story and it was neither heavy handed or awkward. The pace of the novel was excellent and it kept me turning the pages until many a small hour – always a successful point. I was gripped.

What truly seized me however were the interactions between the three main protagonists. After reading a lot of novels set in the realm of chaos, it was a true pleasure to read about characters that liked one another. The dynamic between the young Antros, the older, sterner Rhacelus and the enigmatic Mephiston is expertly executed. The three compliment one another, even if they often do not understand each other. I never felt as though there was deceit between them and it was clear that although there was definite fear of death, none of them would die alone.

I don’t post spoilers in my reviews, but I want to discuss one point at the start of the book that was refreshing. Antros seeks the aid of a guardsman in locating a position in a dangerous place. When the inevitable danger occurs, he is desperate to ensure the guardsman survives. The fact that there are Chapters that still regard mortals as valuable and worth saving was brought into this novel clearly, however it never forgot the elements of Grimdark that are associated with Warhammer 40 000 either.

Darius Hinks has done a wonderful job with this novel, and I do look forward to reading the next one, right after Devastation of Baal, which is what I am chewing through rapidly at the moment.

40K · book review · miniatures.

Talon of Horus – An Audio Book.

I will freely admit that in the past I have denounced the fact audio books exist and that I have no love for them. I always thought that it detracts something from reading, the characters have their own voice and hearing them in your head is a large part of the enjoyment of reading – for me at least. I always felt that in order to get close to the characters, you need to read them for yourself.

That said, I have started to listen to some while I am painting, as I got fed up of the radio and found watching Youtube too distratcing. When I saw Talon of Horus for the princy price of £2.99, I thought I had nothign to lose.

It was a most enjoyable experience. I really like the story anyway and have read it a few times since my first review some years ago when the blog started out. I felt Jonathan Keeble did a good job of giving the character’s voices and none of htem were far wrong from what I imagine them to be. Abaddon’s voice was gravelly, the World Eaters had mild cockney accents which worked really well in my mind, and Khayon came across was affably evil as well. He is still whiny, he still likes to lecture but it’s the Khayon we all know and love from before.

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Champion of Lectures: Khayon the Black

I think it helps that I already love The Black Legion, if I didn’t I’d not have a long running comic based on it’s Warmaster, but I did enjoy listening to the story and I am veyr glad they got the voices right – this is always my concern when listening to audio books.

Have a picture of Abaddon because I feel this needs to be in this post!

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This is his happy face…

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Book Review: Void Stalker – Aaron Dembski Bowden

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading these novels and the last one was no different to the last in that factor. It was a whirlwind of a read with some definite high points. I don’t want to spoil any of the novel, and you should definitely go and read this for yourselves. However, here are some of the high points:

Uzas – The Night Lord struggling with Khorne comes through with some excellent insight and character development.

Lucoryphus risking his butt to save a tech adept on the outside of the ship.

Cyrion’s sharp wit and one line quips are as good as ever.

Variel being his glorious self.

Talos trying to be something he isn’t and not doing a bad job of it.

The writing is spot on as always, which made the reading a pleasure. The development of the characters and setting is engaging and of course the world setting is very familiar too. The last part of the book is tough on the feels but the ending is worth it.

Give this one a read, the entire series is great!