Tuesday 1 March 2011

Book Reviews

The Wall of Night - Book One: The Heir of Night
Helen Lowe
Little, Brown

Available from Thursday 3rd March - £11.99 (Trade Paperback)
Review by Kelly Prior

Malian, the daughter of the Earl of Night, is a young girl who is currently in training to rule her kingdom. It is her duty, and the duty of her people, to protect the mountain range known as the Wall of Night against an ancient and deadly enemy, who want to cause suffering. Malian knows little of real danger until the day when her precious home and fortress city is attacked by the dreaded enemy.

Women and children, warriors and priests, no one can escape the wrath of the creatures with twisted and ferocious magic flowing through their angry veins. When Malian flees to safety into the Old Keep, her own hidden magic comes to the surface. But everything seemingly good, comes at a price...

The Heir of Night is a beautifully written piece of fantasy fiction. Malian is a very well wrought character with a likeable presence within the story. Helen Lowe writes with the passion and dedication that is often missing in works based in a fantasy world. The action is exciting and quick paced, and really does get us biting our nails and sitting on the edge of our seats.

With a touch of sci-fi and a host of enjoyable characters, this book is going to please any fantasy fan who reads it, and the demons give the book a horror edge that is often left out in fantasy literature. The book is slow in some places, and maybe even a little boring in others, but over-all it is quite enjoyable. Any book that has a glossary at the back to aid the reading experience is probably a little bit too complex and detailed to be a light read. However, if Tolkien did it, then why can’t we all? It is a little confusing at times and you will find that the glossary becomes a very welcome reading aid. My only concern is that maybe a better planned novel wouldn’t need such an aid to keep its readers in the know.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Quite a lot of violence.
Sex/Nudity: Nothing memorable.
Swearing: None.
Summary: For fantasy fans this is a must, for people who are wary of fantasy, it is a good introduction to the genre. 7/10
Warhammer: Broken Honour
Robert Earl
Black Library/Games Workshop

Available from Thursday 3rd March - £7.99 (Paperback)
Review by Kelly Prior

Broken Honour, a military fantasy novel by Robert Earl, is set in the war-torn province of Hochland. Feral beastmen launch attacks on all sides, their appearance tormenting and eerie, their battle skills impossible to match, their approaches impossible to predict. Mercenary Captain Eriksson sees this conflict as his opportunity to profit in the war. By paying to grant the freedom of a wayward bunch of criminals, Eriksson sets out in his attempt to create an army for hire. The prisoners know their freedom has come at a terrible price: to fight or die on the battlefields.

This sometimes gritty, sometimes hard to endure, novel is the incredible story of the men who really make the difference in wars. Forget about the fantasy elements for the moment. Earl shows us aspects of real war, and the people who fight on the front lines. Broken Honour depicts the struggles that men face at the centre of war times, up close and personal. It is a psychological, physical and emotional look at war, done cleverly through the mask of fantasy fiction.

We are thrown straight into the action from the offset, and the pace is fast and unrelenting throughout. The grotesque beasts and beastmen are pretty cool, and do actually create a sense of terror when we read that they are coming. The narrative is descriptive and indulgent, but that’s exactly what we expect from Warhammer, and we love it. Earl demonstrates a great understanding and impressive knowledge of warfare. We are shown a medley of classes, from high society aristocrats, to lowly prisoners, and are subsequently shown the many faces of war.

The battles are exciting, but we also get to experience the strategy talks that go along with the battles and the formal events that seem to walk hand in hand with war. This is a well told tale of bribery, betrayal and fellowship. The criminals are particularly enjoyable to read. Yes, it will definitely sell more copies amongst guys than it will girls, but if you are a lover of fantasy, or love books about war, then gender need not be an issue, this book is for you.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Lots of battle scenes, killer beastmen.
Sex/Nudity: None.
Swearing: Not a great deal actually.
Summary: The war in Hochland can be easily paralleled with any war in our history. It’s an interesting and gripping read. Maybe a bit too long, and just a little bit too blokey for us girls. 7/10
The Horus Heresy: Horus Rising
Dan Abnett (Writer) & Martyn Ellis (Narrator)
Black Library/Games Workshop
Available Now - £20.00 (Abriged CD)
Review by Brad Harmer

It is the 31st millennium. Under the benevolent leadership of the Immortal Emperor, the Imperium of Man has stretched out across the galaxy. It is a golden age of discovery and conquest. But now, on the eve of victory, the Emperor leaves the front lines, entrusting the great crusade to his favourite son, Horus. Promoted to Warmaster, can the idealistic Horus carry out the Emperor's grand plan, or will this promotion sow the seeds of heresy amongst his brothers? Horus Rising is the first chapter in the epic tale of the Horus Heresy, a galactic civil war that threatened to bring about the extinction of humanity.

Like the audio dramas from Black Library, the production on this release is absolutely awesome. The music and occasional sound-effects really augment the experience, without ever overshadowing the book itself. As someone who listens to a lot of audio books, I love it when a publisher goes the extra mile like this. That audio book is a format that deserves to be optimised, and who better than Black Library to push it?

The real star, though, is Martyn Ellis. His voice suits the Warhammer 40,000 setting, and he makes each character sound unique – which proves invaluable as a lot of characters are introduced in this book, and even with Ellis’ excellent reading, it can get a little confusing!

The third disc is basically a non-stop Starship Troopers style battle sequence, which is nothing short of awesome.

If you’re a fan of WH40K or The Horus Heresy, then you’ll enjoy this. If you’re a complete noobie, then it may still prove a little confusing.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war.
Sex/Nudity: None.
Swearing: Some British swearing.
Summary: A well-produced audio book, and the story itself is entertaining enough, but the abridging can make the story leap all over the place. On second thoughts, maybe that’s just early Dan Abnett for you. 8/10


Best buds Rick and Fred (Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis) have both been married for many years. When they begin to show signs of restlessness at home, their wives (Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate) take a bold approach to revitalize their marriages: they grant the guys a “hall pass,” one week of freedom to do whatever they want. No questions asked.

At first, it sounds like a dream come true for Rick and Fred, but they quickly discover that their expectations of the single life—and themselves—are completely and hilariously out of sync with reality.

Hall Pass is in cinemas from 11th March


After more than thirty years, one of the very first strips to appear in 2000 AD is to return in blood-splattering, eon-spanning dinosaur-hunting glory.

Dino-terror classic Flesh is to return to the weekly comic with Prog 1724, out on Wednesday 9th March.

Written by the series original creator, Pat Mills, and drawn by James McKay, the new series is the long-awaited sequel to the much-loved original Flesh - part of the line-up in the very first issue of 2000 AD in 1977. Penned by Mills and drawn by Spanish artist Boix, Flesh was a futuristic Western where time-travelling ranchers farmed dinosaurs like cattle and sent their meat back to a hungry future.

The dinosaurs fought back and destroyed the Trans-Time base - the new series follows the survivors as, stranded millions of years in the past, they are ordered to drive their herds across the prehistoric American landscape to Texas - where another base promises safety...and profit!

The new series will premiere with a stunning gatefold cover by Death's Head II and Testament artist Liam Sharp.

Matt Smith, editor of 2000 AD, said: "Flesh was one of the original strips from the very first issue of 2000 AD in 1977 and while there have been spin off stories, we never found out what happened to the survivors of Trans-Time Base Three.

"It's great to see the sequel make it into 2000 AD, thirty years after it first appeared - it's a great strip with some fantastically gory dinosaur action that will appeal to both old fans who read the original and new readers who want comics with some real bite!"

2000 AD #1724 will be on sale from Wednesday 9th March, priced £2.25.


Gray Matter is the first adventure game by renowned author Jane Jensen since the release of Gabriel Knight 3. The story mixes eerie goings-on with supernatural events in best Jensen-style. In Gray Matter, players control both Dr. David Styles as well as Samantha Everett in their bid to uncover the secrets and find out the truth. Gray Matter tackles questions concerning the nature of reality and the power of the human mind in constructing the world we take for granted.

Neurobiologist Dr. David Styles is one of the game's central characters: since losing his wife in a horrible accident some several years ago, he has become a recluse, seldom leaving Dread Hill House, his English country estate. When student and part-time street performer Samantha Everett shows up at his doorstep, she unexpectedly becomes his assistant.

Hailing from America, she has been travelling through most of Europe the last couple years. Her first task: finding six test subjects at Oxford University for one of Styles' experiments. The experiment starts off innocently enough, but then inexplicable incidents start mounting and Styles is visited by his dear departed wife. Now it's up to Sam to solve the mysteries of Dread Hill House.

Thanks to our friends at Lace Mamba Global, we've got three copies of Gray Matter to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name and full postal address to emotionally14@hotmail.co.uk before midday on Tuesday 8th March, making sure to put "Gray Matter" as the subject. The first three entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy!

Don't forget to put "Gray Matter" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

Get this in the E14 Store for £15.55

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland.

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