Tuesday 23 November 2010

Book Reviews

Star Wars – Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil
Drew Karpyshyn

Available Now - £7.99 (Paperback)
Review by Brad Harmer

The Sith are gone - all except Darth Bane, creator of the 'Rule of Two', which states that the new Sith Order will consist of only two: a Master and an apprentice. But how does one train an apprentice whose ultimate goal - and proof of success - must be to kill the Master?

Darth Bane is beginning to suffer the effects of drawing heavily on the dark side of the Force for so many years. At the same time, he's beginning to doubt his apprentice, Zannah, because she hasn't yet tried to kill him and take his power. Is she weak? Unworthy of being his apprentice? When he learns of an ancient Sith holocron that holds the secret to immortal life, he sends Zannah off on a mission and heads out to search for the holocron on his own. But Zannah is anything but weak, and now that she guesses his doubts, she decides the time is right to take him on.

Admittedly very slow to get started, but the time you’ve hit the 100 page mark, Dynasty of Evil is obviously the best book of the Darth Bane trilogy. The addition of extra characters – including a Dark Jedi and a Iktotchi bounty hunter help keep things fresh, whilst still keeping the focus on Bane and Zannah. As in both Path of Destruction and Rule of Two, when the story is focusing on the darker corners of the Star Wars universe, it is absolutely incredible. The Sith move in the shadows, having now escaped the concern of the Jedi, with only a handful believing that they exist at all.

Dynasty of Evil wraps up all of the loose strands of the first book, as well as introducing us to Darth Andeddu, who had originally appeared as an avatar in Darth Krayt’s Holocron in Legacy - things like this always help to enhance the feeling of an "expanded universe".

It’s a testament to how strong the writing and characters are that I was totally unable to predict how it would end, even up to the very last page. There aren’t many Star Wars titles you can say that about!

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Several explosions, lightsaber duels, blaster fire, torture and murderising.
Sex/Nudity: None.
Swearing: None.
Summary: Works perfectly in rounding off the loose ends from the first two books, whilst also leaving enough room to continue, with plenty of Star Wars action along the way. 9/10

Runescape: Betrayal at Falador
T.S. Church
Titan Books

Available Now - £7.99 (Paperback)
Review by Brad Harmer

With over 100 million active accounts, RuneScape is widely recognised as the world’s most popular MMORPG. And not that other one. Apparently.

Betrayal at Falador is the first ever tie-in novel to RuneScape. In the kingdom of Asgarnia, though the Knights of Falador defend the land and protect the people, they face threats that clamor from all sides and from within. Enemies mass at the borders, and a killer stalks the night, killing innocents and slipping away unseen. When a young woman appears in the storm, her sudden arrival launches a chain of events that endangers the very fabric of magic. And unless the knights can solve the riddle of Kara-Meir, everything they hold close may be lost. Their one hope may lie in the hands, not of a knight, but of an untested squire named Theodore.

Does that sound generic to you? Does that sound like every fantasy novel you leave on the shelf and don’t bother buying? Yeah, I thought so, and it doesn’t get any better inside, either. Betrayal at Falador is an obvious cash-in on a video-game, so maybe I was expecting a little too much, but considering that Fantasy is a genre that is all too often accused of being uninspired and derivative, it’s a real shame that this book doesn’t even try anything new.

For all its hack content, it’s pretty well written; it’s easy to read and the dialogue is often excellent. It also has a nice 1980’s fantasy movie (The Dark Crystal/Ladyhawke/Krull) feel at times that – for me, anyway – was another plus point. With a little more inspiration, there could be hope for both Church and the RuneScape franchise.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Medieval/fantasy combat.
Sex/Nudity: Partial female nudity.
Swearing: Some mild uses.
Summary: Sword and sorcery by the numbers. One for fans of the games only. 6/10


In 1968, George Romero traumatized a whole generation with his legendary and revolutionary Night of the Living Dead, which truly marks the birth of modern horror movies. This movie was followed by the cult classic Dawn of the Dead in 1978 and the apocalyptical Day of the Dead in 1985 and Night of the Living Dead (1990).

The George Romero trilogy became instant classics. Camera in hand, Nicolas Garreau crossed the Atlantic Ocean from France to realize his dream. Roaming the steep roads day and night of a sometimes lugubrious Pennsylvania countryside, he found the locations and people who made the Romero zombie trilogy come alive.

This DVD contains exclusive interviews with cast and crew members and reveals all the filming locations of the trilogy including locations not known to the public, like the missile launch pad of Day of the Dead and the real basement used in Night of the Living Dead, a guided tour of the mall with Ken Foree and others, along with extras and bonus footage.

Thanks to our friends at Wienerworld, we've got three copies of Fan of the Dead on DVD to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name and full postal address to fanofthedeadgiveaway@yahoo.co.uk before midday on Tuesday 30th November. The first three names out of the hat will win a free copy each!

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