Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Book Reviews

Dan Abnett
Angry Robot

Available Now - £4.48 (Digital Download) & £10.99 (Trade Paperback)
Review by Brad Harmer

Lex Falk, a journalist, gets himself to the front line by being chipped into the brain of a combat soldier. However, when that soldier is seriously injured in an ambush, he has to take over the body and get himself back home again, broadcasting live on an open feed...

Dan Abnett does damn good military sci-fi – that much we know already, right? This is the guy who almost single-handedly forged the Warhammer 40,000 fiction line as it stands today; in fact he’s probably the best military sci-fi writer since David Drake. And Embedded is another success.

Falk is an excellent protagonist, starting out as something of a ‘grizzled reporter’ cliché, it soon becomes apparent that there’s more of a good guy there than the reader – or even Falk himself – realises. The supporting cast, also, start out as rather cookie-cutter clichés, before their real personalities (for both good and bad) are revealed.

The pacing is excellent, with plenty of action scenes and scary moments along the way. The tension during the night fighting and house-clearing sequences is so tight you could throttle a badger with it. The combat scenes (of which there are more than a few) are terrifyingly realistic; intentionally jumbled and confusing as though you are a war journalist, or watching it through a hand-held camera. The ending is highly satisfying, and all in all...yeah, this is definitely a good read.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Dan Abnett writing a novel set in a warzone? Yeah, there’s a fair bit. Explosions, gunfire, bullet wounds, stab wounds, gore, blood – the lot.
Sex/Nudity: Full nudity, one “curtains blowing in the wind” sex scene.
Swearing: Frequent and strong – censorship of swearing satirised.
Summary: A highly enjoyable sci-fi action-fest. Makes some nice points about war journalism without cramming them down your throat. 8/10

The Demon Collector
Jon Mayhew
Bloomsbury Publishing UK

Available Now - RRP £8.99 (Hardback)
Review by Rob Wade

In the time before time, Satan ruled the molten Earth, worshipped by his demons. One demon turned against him and imprisoned Satan deep in the bowels of the earth. When Satan escaped, as punishment, the demon's heart was torn from his chest and his body hidden deep in the polar ice. Only Satan knows where he lies. The heart is hidden elsewhere. If the two are brought together, the demon will be reborn and darkness will reign. Edgy Taylor sees demons when nobody else can. He is a prime collector, wandering the streets of London collecting dog muck for the tannery. The only thing Edgy is good at is setting and solving riddles, and evading his brutal and abusive master. One night, when his master seems genuinely intent on killing Edgy, Professor Janus intervenes, and takes him to the Royal Society of Daemonology where Edgy will now live. It is here, though, that Edgy discovers chance had nothing to do with their meeting, and that he holds the key to a deadly demon prophecy…

The Demon Collector is a book that reads slightly like Harry Potter in the sense that it deals with the story of a boy from a lowly lifestyle who finds out that he has a cooler and more noble calling in life. It’s also similar to Harry Potter in the sense that it’s made of win. This book blends elements of Van Helsing, Harry Potter and the like in order to bring forward a really strong book with a strong openness for future instalments should Mr Mayhew wish to do so.

As a personal rule, I generally find that the best books to read (or at least the easiest and most accessible) read so well that you can see a film of it playing out in your head. This is one of the many things that The Demon Collector does well. Reading through it, I found myself very easily able to picture characters and set pieces, through the good use of descriptive language and effective characterisation. The book reads effortlessly, to the point that I could pick it up and read it all in the same evening. The story itself, in terms of plot and exposition, is done pretty well. However, at times there were elements that turned out slightly predictable in that I was piecing it together ahead of the reveal. However, the story more than makes up for that by throwing a number of intriguing sub-plots, false hooks and tricks your way as you read. It’s not just riddles in this story which make up the brain-hurting elements (though the riddles themselves are awesome).

Having said all these positive things, Edgy Taylor is possibly one of the worst names I have come across in literature. I realise that it’s got storyline reasons for why the first name is the way it is, but come on! That said, the book itself is excellent, and well worth picking up if demons are your bag.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
: Demon fights, but no gore or anything like that.
Sex/Nudity : None.
Swearing : None.
Summary: An enjoyable read for fans of Mayhew’s work as well as those interested in these sorts of stories. 8/10


Known as 'The Little Dragon' to legions of adoring fans, Bruce Lee is regarded by many as the greatest martial arts legend who ever lived. Now, discover his amazing untold story in this stunning biopic from the studio that brought you Jet Li's Warlords and the acclaimed Infernal Affairs Trilogy.

From his birth on November 27th 1940 to his departure for San Francisco in 1959, discover how Bruce Lee lived through war and persecution and survived the brutal street-gangs of 1950's Hong Kong before going on to live his dreams.

Produced by Robert Lee, Bruce Lee's younger brother, and based on his own first-hand experience, Young Bruce Lee is a breathtaking and evocative homage to the man who, uniquely, brought the power and majesty of Chinese Kung Fu to millions around the world.

Showcasing an incredible hi-impact tribute to the celebrated Coliseum fight from Way of the Dragon, Young Bruce Lee is an inspirational motion picture event that is not to be missed!

Thanks to our friends at Cine Asia, we've got two copies of Young Bruce Leeto give away! For your chance of winning, send your name to emotionally14@hotmail.co.uk before midday on Tuesday 31st May, making sure to put "Young Bruce Lee" as the subject. The first two entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy!

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

Young Bruce Lee is available from Monday 30th May.

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

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