Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Book Reviews

Blood Ninja II: The Revenge of Lord Oda
Nick Lake

Available Now
Review by Brad Harmer

Taro was just a fisherman's son...but then his father was murdered and he was forced to become a Blood Ninja, fated to live by night, doomed to live on the blood of others. But he has had his revenge. He has killed Lord Oda, the warlord who had his father assassinated. But Lord Oda is not quiet in his grave. He has found a way to reach beyond death and Taro and his friends soon find themselves facing samurai armies, a deadly enemy from the past and strange ghostly creatures who suck life from the living.

Dangerously weakened, Taro, must recover the one object that Lord Oda was desperate to find before he died: the Buddha Ball, the source of limitless power. But if Taro is to complete his perilous quest - to save himself, his friends, his mother, and the girl he loves - he must go to hell and back and face his arch enemy once again. For Lord Oda has returned - as a Blood Ninja.

Blood Ninja II picks up straight from where the original concluded, and hits the ground running. The new characters it introduces are all awesome, and the action set-pieces are as great as the original. You wouldn’t have thought that kung-fu sequences would work in a book, but I’ll be buggered if Nick Lake hasn’t found a way of making it work. The fights are all easy to visualise and are always engrossing.

The latter half of this book takes a turn for the weird as Taro and some of this travelling companions journey into the Lands of the Dead. It’s not an unwelcome twist, but it does feel very different to what has gone before, and some fans may find it a little jarring.

If you haven’t already read the first Blood Ninja book, now is the time. Things have gotten very interesting indeed.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Frequent gore, blood, swordplay, hyperviolence and dismemberment.
Sex/Nudity: None.
Swearing: None.
Summary: The ending feels a little rushed and odd, but otherwise this is a great, action-packed fantasy novel; full of kung-fu, magic and monsters. 8/10
The Monster’s Corner: Stories Through Inhuman Eyes
Various, edited by Christopher Golden
Little, Brown Book Group

Available Now
Review by Brad Harmer

In most stories we get the perspective of the hero, the ordinary, the everyman, but we are all the hero of our own tale, and so it must be true for legions of monsters, from Lucifer to Mordred, from child-thieving fairies to Frankenstein's monster and the Wicked Witch of the West. From our point of view, they may very well be horrible, terrifying monstrosities, but of course they won't see themselves in the same light, and their point of view is what concerns us in these tales. Demons and goblins, dark gods and aliens, creatures of myth and legend, lurkers in darkness and beasts in human clothing ...these are the subjects of The Monster's Corner.

The Monster’s Corner, as with so many short story compilations, staggers into the pile marked “decidedly average”. Some stories – such as the one offered by David Moody, which present the 1950s B-Movie Giant Monster in a prose format are different, original and highly enjoyable. Then there are the rest of them that just stagger through the motions, offering absolutely nothing new; and there are few things more emotionally destroying than great writers churning out “horror by numbers”.

The two or three great stories in here (including David Moody’s, above – an an excellent tale from Kevin J. Anderson) are brilliant, but wading through all the crap to get to them becomes far too demoralising after a while.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Some scenes of murderising, mass-destruction, medical experimentation and general horror overtones.
Sex/Nudity: Occasional, but nothing especially memorable.
Swearing: Mild.
Summary: A resoundingly average collection of short-stories. The one or two shining stars don’t really justify the cost, and even the big names seem to be phoning it in. 5/10


Director Lucky McKee’s harrowing but darkly comic study of the darkness of human nature, The Woman, has polarized opinions since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. The film’s journey to the UK has taken in a premiere at FrightFest, where it was one of the most talked about and enthusiastically received films, a UK-wide cinema release and from this week, The Woman is available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray.

To celebrate we have a limited edition cinema poster signed by Lucky McKee and Pollyanna McIntosh and a Blu-ray to give away to one top prize winner, plus two runners-up will receive a Blu-ray.

Find out more at the Official Website.

For your chance of winning, send your name and full postal address to emotionally14@hotmail.co.uk before midday on Tuesday 25th October, making sure to put "The Woman" as the subject. The first entry out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a copy of this awesome movie and a signed poster - with two runners up receiving Blu-ray copies!

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

The Woman is available now, courtesy of Revolver Entertainment.

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

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