BOOK TRAVELING THURSDAY: A BOOK YOU’VE READ THAT WAS TRANSLATED FROM ANOTHER LANGUAGE

booktravelingthursdays5Book Traveling Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Catia and Danielle.  Each week everyone picks a book related to that week’s theme, then you write a blog post explaining explain why you choose that book and spotlight all the different covers from different countries. To find out more check out about BTT go to the Goodreads group!

This week’s theme is: A BOOK YOU’VE READ THAT WAS TRANSLATED FROM ANOTHER LANGUAGE!  

A different kind of topic.  Not one I’m familiar with answering very much on a week to week basis, but it is worth taking a look at, especially since I never even think about whether my fantasy first saw publication in another language.  But one did come to mind.

ORIGINAL COVER 

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I am almost positive this is the original cover for the book.  It was published in 2005 by Альфа-книга.  I’m also almost one hundred percent certain the publication language is Russian since the author is from the Russian Federation.  If I’m wrong about any of this, please correct me so I can correct my error.

FAVORITE COVERS

Nothing especially unique about these two covers, but they both catch the eye.

LEAST FAVORITE COVERS

None of these are absolutely horrible, I guess, but they aren’t very good either.  Or,a t least, they aren’t what I look for in fantasy covers.

So what do you think.  Agree?  Disagree?

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Posted in Book Traveling Thursday, Cover Lover | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY: WRATH OF EMPIRE

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Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to let readers share their excitement for books coming out soon, and the novel I’m eagerly awaiting is . . .

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wrath of empireWrath of Empire by Brian McClellan

Genre: Fantasy – Flintlock

Series: Gods of Blood and Powder #2

Publisher: Orbit (March 6, 2018)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Length:  624 pages

The country is in turmoil. With the capital city occupied, half a million refugees are on the march, looking for safety on the frontier, accompanied by Lady Flint’s soldiers. But escaping war is never easy, and soon the battle may find them, whether they are prepared or not.

Back in the capital, Michel Bravis smuggles even more refugees out of the city. But internal forces are working against him. With enemies on all sides, Michael may be forced to find help with the very occupiers he’s trying to undermine.

Meanwhile, Ben Styke is building his own army. He and his mad lancers are gathering every able body they can find and searching for an ancient artifact that may have the power to turn the tides of war in their favor. But what they find may not be what they’re looking for.

Purchase at Amazon.

Posted in Waiting on Wednesday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

TOP TEN TUESDAY

TOP TEN TUESDAYS

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday! This is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where a new top ten list hits the web every week!

This week I’m revisiting an older topic I missed …

TEN FAVORITE HEROINES

When I began researching this topic, I assumed it would be a snap to find ten heroines whom I liked.  With near a thousand fantasy/science fiction stories to choose from, it seemed a reasonable assumption.  Boy, was I wrong.

Naturally, the main issue I encountered was that most of the speculative fiction I had read (especially decades ago) did not have a strong, female lead.  A fact which I never really noticed at the time, since most fantasy/science fiction was male dominated.  But, now, the lack of strong females was pretty striking.

My second problem (and just as huge of a hurdle) was the fact more recent heroines were fairly hit-or-miss with me.  Some were definitely interesting, damn skilled, and tough-as-nails, but few of them struck a chord with me personally.

Eventually, I did recall ten heroines whom (at various times in my life) I did adore, as they took me on some amazing adventures.  A few of these women are young, others old.  A couple are from recent releases, more are from years gone by.  What they all have in common are those undefinable qualities which all great characters have whether they be men or women.


impersonations10. Caroline Sula — Dread Empire’s Fall

Skilled and tenacious, this Terran naval officer is a mystery.  Something in her past haunting her, even as she fights to combat a deadly menace to mankind.  Sula just a great character, whom a reader wants to learn more about, because you are certain the secret she is hiding will be fairly earth shattering.

Buy The Praxis: Dread Empire’s Fall at Amazon.


THE LIGHTNING THIEF9. Annabeth Chase — Percy Jackson

I’ve been fortunate enough to read this series to all three of my sons, and so every few years I’ve been able to revisit this grand adventure.  One thing that hasn’t changed over time is my respect and fondness for Annabeth, who is exactly the type of person I hope all three of my sons are lucky enough to befriend during their own teen years.

Buy The Lightning Thief at Amazon.


MORDANT'S NEED8.  Terisa Morgan — Mordant’s Need

An unlikely heroine Terisa overcomes her withdrawn personality to travel to a magical land named Mordant, where she encounters love and lust, power and court politics; the threat of death and destruction forcing her to use skill she never dreamed she possessed.  Great heroine in the traditional mold.

Buy The Mirror of Her Dreams at Amazon. 


best left in the shadows7. Alys — Best Left in the Shadows

This tough-as-nails heroine is an enigma waiting to be revealed.  In the past she tried to rise above Lowside where she was born, but now she has returned to her roots, trading and selling secrets among the gangs and factions of the underside of the city.  She is a daughter of the underworld. Bold. Cunning. Free.  Damn interesting too.

Buy Best Left in the Shadows: Volume 1  at Amazon.


DARKWAR6. Marika — Darkwar

This young pup of the Packstead is loyal to pack and family, but with dark times coming, she finds within herself a great power is awakening, one which will take her far from home, embroil her in amazing deeds, and perhaps save her very world!  Marika is just a great character, whose drive is unparalleled.

Buy Darkwarat Amazon.


daughter of the lion5. Keely — Daughter of the Lion

Daughter of Niall, the ruler of Homana, Keely is gifted with the power to shapechange into any form she wishes; a gift of magic which is far above all her kin; and she will not be used as a pawn by her father or by ancient prophecies.  Sometimes, however, strident determination can be turned against even the strongest person.

Buy Daughter of the Lion at Amazon.


TIME OF THE DARK4. Gil Patterson — Darwath

Graduate student.  Survivor.  Warrior.  Gil Patterson goes through quite the transformation, as she leaves California behind to travel to another world gripped in a desperate struggle for survival after the apocalyptic rising of the Dark.  What has always made her a personal favorite of mine is her intellect and sense of humor.

Buy The Time of the Dark at Amazon.


sins-of-empire3. Vlora Flint — Gods of Blood and Powder  

Vlora showed brief flashes of greatness in The Powder Mage Trilogy, but it is this series where she takes center stage.  Naturally, the fact she is a badass powder mage instantly makes her a personal favorite, but Vlora also has many compelling qualities that draws me to her, including compassion and strength, devotion and resolve.

Buy Sins of Empire at Amazon.


polgara2. Polgara — Belgariad

She is a woman of passion, sarcasm, and complex emotions, whose bark is only exceeded by her bite.  She has her issues, her hang ups, but also her strengths.  What sets Polgara apart, however, is her determination to not only overcome the darkness but due so with companions who have taken a bath.  Gotta love Aunt Pol.

Buy The Belgariad at Amazon.


Chronicles of the Black Company1.   Lady — Chronicles of the Black Company 

Beautiful.  Cunning.  Passionate.  Fearless.  Deadly.  She is the woman of a man’s dreams, and the female who inhabits his worst nightmares.  She does evil without qualms, yet appears as elegant and demur as her moniker when it suits her designs.  All love her and despair.  And, yeah, I’ve always both respect and adored her, so, obviously, the Lady is my favorite heroine, because, sometimes, she does do heroic stuff.

Buy Chronicles of the Black Companyat Amazon.


 

Well, that is my list.  Agree?  Disagree?  Tell me why.  And feel free to add some other characters to the list.

Posted in Fantasy, Lists, Top Ten Tuesday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

FUNDAY MONDAY, OR THE BOOKS THAT WILL HELP ME SURVIVE THE WEEK AHEAD (OCTOBER 16, 2017)

funday-monday

Another week begins.  I quickly slip into my business suit and head back into the office to save a few innocent people. But while I try to fool myself into being excited about the promise of a new year and the continuation of the regular grind, deep down, I’m not, so I’m going to escape dreary reality by reading some great books.

I really try to be dedicated and follow a reading schedule.  Promise.  But, sometimes, I get distracted.  Like I did last week with some DC graphic novels.  And my schedule goes to hell.  But, I’m going to do better this time around, stay focused, and play catch-up — as usual.

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the court of boken knivesThe Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark

Genre: Fantasy — Grimdark

Series: Empire of Dust #1

Publisher: Orbit (August 15, 2017)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Length: 473 pages

It is the richest empire the world has ever known, and it is also doomed. Governed by an imposturous Emperor, decadence has blinded its inhabitants to their vulnerability. The Yellow Empire is on the verge of invasion–and only one man can see it.

Haunted by prophetic dreams, Orhan has hired a company of soldiers to cross the desert to reach the capital city. Once they enter the Palace, they have one mission: kill the Emperor, then all those who remain. Only from the ashes can a new empire be built.

The company is a group of good, ordinary soldiers, for whom this is a mission like any other. But the strange boy Marith who walks among them is no ordinary soldier. Young, ambitious, and impossibly charming, something dark hides in Marith’s past–and in his blood

Dark and brilliant, dive into this new fantasy series for readers looking for epic battle scenes, gritty heroes, and blood-soaked revenge.

Purchase the book at Amazon.

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she who waitsShe Who Waits by  Daniel Polansky

Genre: Fantasy — Grimdark

Series: Low Town #3

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (October 30, 2013)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Length: 405 pages

Low Town: the worst ghetto in the worst city in the Thirteen Lands. Good only for depravity and death. And Warden, long ago a respected agent in the formidable Black House, is now the most depraved Low Town denizen of them all. As a younger man, Warden carried out more than his fair share of terrible deeds, and never as many as when he worked for the Black House. But Warden’s growing older, and the vultures are circling. Low Town is changing, faster than even he can control, and Warden knows that if he doesn’t get out soon, he may never get out at all. But Warden must finally reckon with his terrible past if he can ever hope to escape it. A hospital full of lunatics, a conspiracy against the corrupt new king, and a ghetto full of thieves and murderers stand between him and his slim hope for the future. And behind them all waits the one person whose betrayal Warden never expected. The one person who left him, broken and bitter, to become the man he is today. The one woman he ever loved. She who waits behind all things.

Purchase the book at Amazon.

Posted in Funday Monday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

SUPERMAN: SON OF SUPERMAN

superman son coverSuperman: Son of Superman by Peter J. Tomasi 

Patrick Gleason

Genre: Superhero Comics

Series: Superman #1 (Rebirth)

Publisher: DC Comics (January 4, 2017)

Author Information: Tomasi’s Twitter 
                                         Gleason’s Twitter 

Length: 176 pages

My Rating: 4 stars

Since I pretty much hated the New 52 Lois and Clark, it didn’t take much to improve things in my eyes, but I have to say WOW! I really loved this book. The art was great. The story was fast-paced, exciting, and explosive. But, mainly, I loved it because of the characters: Lois, Clark, and their son Jon.

The core theme of Son of Superman is family. This pre-Flashpoint Clark Kent dealing with guilt and worry over danger to his family, as he comes out as the new Superman. Lois is right there beside Clark, doing what she always does be smart, tough, and kind in equal measure, fighting to keep her husband and her son safe and headed in the right direction. And son Jon is struggling to learn his new role in the family as he grows into powers he is having a hard time dealing with.

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I won’t go into the specifics of the actual plot other than say it involves the Eradicator, who takes a special interest in Jonathan Kent. There are some damn fine fight scenes with Superman. There are even a few with Lois.  (If you’ve heard the old adage about not messing with a momma bear’s cubs, then you will understand what sparks Lois’ wrath.) And, yes, even young Jon gets into the mix, showing the Eradicator he did inherited both his father’s badassery and his mother’s tenaciousness.

superman son 1_4

Like I said earlier, this is a damn good book. Part of that is the art and the fights, but the real key to the fun is the family element: Clark and Lois just better together. To quote a sappy 90s romcom, Lois “completes” Clark and he returns the favor. And now the real power couple is not only back together and married but raising a son who is trying to come to grip with growing powers. This allows lots of family scenes, family dynamics, where Lois and Clark are deciding what to do, how to protect their son yet help him mature into a man. These pages of non-superhero action very touching and quite memorable.  This the Superman Family I’ve always wanted to read about.

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As for the new Superboy himself, Jon is a great character: a young man who has great powers and big expectations. I mean, who would want to try living up to your dad Superman’s legacy? So, Jon has his issues and his moments. He can be a naive, sweet kid one second then a whiny, petulant youth the next. He has super powers to rival most heroes, but he is still just a child whom his father wants to both shield and protect yet teach how to become a good man and a great Superboy. Jon’s struggles so realistic and touching that they are the foundations of this story, even as the title to the book proclaims.

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Yeah, I know some readers might not like an older, mature Superman, preferring the more youthful, New 52 version. As for me, I’m really liking this more family centered Man of Steel and definitely recommend it to other Superman fans. At least, give it a try guys. You might be like me and find yourself loving it.

Purchase the book at Amazon.

Posted in 4 Stars, DC, Graphic Novels, Rebirth, Superman | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

ACTION COMICS: PATH OF DOOM

action 1 path of doomAction Comics: Path of Doom by Dan Jurgens 

Genre: Superhero Comics

Series: Action Comics #1 (Rebirth)

Publisher: DC Comics (February 17, 2017)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Length: 128 pages

My Rating: 4 stars   

Okay, I really didn’t like the New 52 Superman. Sure, there were a few stories I read and thought were okay, but the main problem I had with the book was Clark Kent: the guy was a weak, emotional loser. At least, that is how I felt about him.

Well, DC jettisoned that New 52 Superman. In comes the Rebirth Superman, who just happens to be a Clark Kent from pre-Flashpoint where he is happily married with a growing son. This hero-in-hiding now stepping back into the limelight, taking up the Superman mantle again. And I have to admit really digging this new direction with Supes.

The story here starts off as the new Superman comes into conflict with Lex Luthor, who has turned good, built a super suit (envision a DC version of Iron Man armor), and taken to hero-ing across Metropolis with the familiar Superman “S” emblazoned across his chest. Naturally, the real Superman can’t let that slide, so a confrontation ensues. The big outcome of which is the appearance of a non-Superman Clark Kent!

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Meanwhile, there is a shadowy figure lurking just off screen. This individual pulling strings, moving pieces across a game board for some unknown reason. It isn’t clear exactly who this person is or what endgame he/she is targeting, but no doubt, the mystery man/woman has something to do with Doomsday’s reappearance and his targeting of Supes’ son Jonathan.

The rest of the tale is a running fight between Doomsday and Superman. Rather ho-hum, but still okay for establishing this new Superman as a hero and family man as well as ending a few story threads from the New 52, specifically the Wonder Woman and Superman relationship.

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What I really liked about this book was the return to the old Clark Kent I read about back in the 1990s. You know, the mature, dedicated hero who revealed his identity to Lois, got married, fought Doomsday to the death, came back to life, and all the rest. At heart, that Clark was a family man through and through. The guy who loved his parents, respected and loved his partner Lois yet expected that same respect and love to be returned. That Superman was the quiet leader where ever he went; a man who would follow others when needed but never was led around by the nose by anyone. That old Supes was a hero who derived his unwavering determination from his bonds of familial love and viewed every person on the planet as part of his extended family. He was a real hero, not a whiny manchild trying to act like a hero, and finally we have that Superman back, and I for one am overjoyed to finally see him again.

Equally as important here is Jurgen’s outstanding portrayal of the two people closest to Superman: Lois and their son Jonathan Kent. Both these key characters adding immensely to the dynamics of this new story direction.

Quite honestly, I disliked the New 52 Lois almost as much as I did Clark. Mainly this was because she was a pale reflection of the former strong, confident, but caring Lois I grew up reading about. You know, the pre-New 52 Lois who would stand toe-to-toe with any corrupt politician or super villain, but was secure enough within herself to be in a committed relationship with Clark and put that relationship and her family on equal footing with her own ambitions and desires. Well, now, that woman is back, and the fact she is also a dedicated mother only makes her that much more interesting.

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As for Jonathan Kent, the son of Lois and Clark is a real revelation. This young man adding yet another dimension to the story, as he is an amazing mixture of both parents; a farm boy whom most readers will instantly likes, because he is just a normal child who finds himself dealing with his dad becoming a hero, coming to terms with his own powers materializing, and trying to process how all of this puts he and his mother in danger. And I hear he is even better in Super Sons, where his career as Superboy really takes off! (Bad pun, I know.)

Does my love for Clark, Lois, and Jon mean I adored every second of this book? Nope, it means that even though this book had some boring parts (The running Doomsday fight was predictable.), stupid parts (The Lois and Wonder Woman reconciliation was way too quick and easy.), and underdeveloped parts (The mystery villain was teased and not developed at all.) I can forgive all that due to Jurgens nailing the core characters and making me empathize with and like them. Quite honestly I’ll overlook a hell of a lot if I like someone, and after putting down this book, I know I like this family and want to read more about them.

For those who are interested in my thoughts on the art, all I can say is that I really liked it. Tyler Kirkman, Patrick Zircher and all the rest of the team bringing their A game to this iconic character. Definitely, this was done in the current DC style, but that is fine by me since I adore what DC does these days.

To close, I thought this was a very good beginning to Superman’s new Rebirth era. Kudos goes to whomever at DC decided to return the Man of Steel to his glory days and focus on his family man persona. Love the potential with this going forward, will definitely be reading more of it.

Purchase the book at Amazon.

Posted in 4 Stars, DC, Graphic Novels, Rebirth, Superman | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: HORSECLANS

flashbackfriday

Flashback Friday is something I do here at Bookwraiths every once in a while; a time when I can post my thoughts about books that I’ve read in the past. With the hectic schedule of day-to-day life, there never seems enough time to give these old favorites the spotlight that they deserve, but with a day all to themselves, there is no reason I can’t revisit them.

Today, I’ll be taking a look back at a pulp fiction series from the past: Horseclans!

coming of the horseclansThe Coming of the Horseclans by Robert Adams

Genre: SciFi / Fantasy / Post-Apocalyptic / Pulp

Series: Horseclans #1

Publisher: Various (Initial Publication January 1, 1975)

Length: 199 pages

My Rating: 3 stars

The Horseclans series by Robert Adams (no relation to yours truly) is a post-apocalyptic, pulp fiction series that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is about gory battles, psychic animals, a brutal world, and larger-than-life heroes and villains. Or as the author himself put it:

The following tale is a fantasy, pure and simple. It is a flight of sheer imagination. It contains no hidden meanings, and none should be read into it; none of the sociological, economic, political, religious, or racial “messages” with which far too many modern novels abound are herein contained. The Coming of the Horseclans is, rather, intended for the enjoyment of any man or woman who has ever felt a twinge of that atavistic urge to draw a yard of sharp, flashing steel and with a wild war cry recklessly spur a vicious stallion against impossible odds.

The tale is set in a 27th century post-apocalyptic America, where a past nuclear and biological war has completely transformed the world. The protagonist Milo of Morai, a mutant from the 20th century, has survived all these centuries, returning now to the horseclans he helped create to fulfill his own prophecy by leading them to their ancestral homeland.  (Well, sort of.)   Naturally, the journey is fraught with danger, as the clans cross a near unrecognizable America where decadent city-dwellers, other Immortals, and vicious survival rules the day.

horses of the northWhat drew me to this series back in the early 1980s was the concept of the story and the amazing, pulp covers. Being a huge lover of sword and sorcery fiction by Robert E. Howard and others at the time, Robert Adams Horseclans seemed like a can’t miss for my reading tastes.  I mean, if I loved Conan the Barbarian fighting wizards and monsters across the Hyborean world of the distant past, why wouldn’t a story of a post-apocalyptic world where nomadic warriors (Think Mongolian horde with mutant horses!), telepaths, ancient technology, and Immortals fighting for control of the world not entertain me?  It was pulp fiction fun with a modern twist.  A can’t miss like I said.

Now, to be completely transparent, I didn’t ever love this series as much as I wanted to. It was a bit too brutal for my tastes back then. The heroes and villains both too violent, callous, and prone to rape anyone who didn’t move out of the way quick enough. The plot lines fairly straight forward and predictable. And the writer’s style was adequate but never very refined. So while I did read several books in this massive series, I soon lost interest and never returned.

Even with my lack of love, I still feel Robert Adams’ Horseclans series is one which should not be forgotten. For its time, it was a thrilling, realistic, pulp fiction story which was short (The longest novel was only 253 pages. The average length of a novel was 202.), violent yet realistic (The author was a Vietnam veteran who understood the horrors of combat and their aftermath.), and mixed science fiction with fantasy into a nice mixture. So I’d encourage lovers of pulp fiction to go out, grab copies of the first few books, and see if this adventure series is the entertainment you crave.

Purchase the book at Amazon.

Posted in 3 Stars, Flashback Friday, Post-apocalyptic, Science Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

FUNDAY MONDAY, OR THE BOOKS THAT WILL HELP ME SURVIVE THE WEEK AHEAD (OCTOBER 9, 2017)

funday-monday

Another week begins.  I quickly slip into my business suit and head back into the office to save a few innocent people. But while I try to fool myself into being excited about the promise of a new year and the continuation of the regular grind, deep down, I’m not, so I’m going to escape dreary reality by reading some great books.

Another week and even more books to fit into the hectic schedule. I’m finishing off a series with my first book and beginning a new one with the second.
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she who waitsShe Who Waits by  Daniel Polansky

Genre: Fantasy — Grimdark

Series: Low Town #3

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (October 30, 2013)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Length: 405 pages

Low Town: the worst ghetto in the worst city in the Thirteen Lands. Good only for depravity and death. And Warden, long ago a respected agent in the formidable Black House, is now the most depraved Low Town denizen of them all. As a younger man, Warden carried out more than his fair share of terrible deeds, and never as many as when he worked for the Black House. But Warden’s growing older, and the vultures are circling. Low Town is changing, faster than even he can control, and Warden knows that if he doesn’t get out soon, he may never get out at all. But Warden must finally reckon with his terrible past if he can ever hope to escape it. A hospital full of lunatics, a conspiracy against the corrupt new king, and a ghetto full of thieves and murderers stand between him and his slim hope for the future. And behind them all waits the one person whose betrayal Warden never expected. The one person who left him, broken and bitter, to become the man he is today. The one woman he ever loved. She who waits behind all things.

Purchase the book at Amazon.

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children of the fleetChildren of the Fleet by Orson Scott Card

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: Fleet School #1

Publisher: Tor Books (October 10, 2017)

Author Information: WebsiteTwitter

Length: 384 pages

Children of the Fleet is a new angle on Card’s bestselling series, telling the story of the Fleet in space, parallel to the story on Earth told in the Ender’s Shadow series.

Ender Wiggin won the Third Formic war, ending the alien threat to Earth. Afterwards, all the terraformed Formic worlds were open to settlement by humans, and the International Fleet became the arm of the Ministry of Colonization, run by Hirum Graff. MinCol now runs Fleet School on the old Battle School station, and still recruits very smart kids to train as leaders of colony ships, and colonies.

Dabeet Ochoa is a very smart kid. Top of his class in every school. But he doesn’t think he has a chance at Fleet School, because he has no connections to the Fleet. That he knows of. At least until the day that Colonel Graff arrives at his school for an interview.

Purchase the book at Amazon.

Posted in Funday Monday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

JLA/AVENGERS

guest-post2Today, I’m happy to have my son, Connor, return to the blog for yet another of his graphic novel reviews.  Thankfully, this is becoming something of a regular occasion, and I personally will be enjoying it for as long as it lasts.

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JLA_AVENGERS COVERJLA/Avengers by Kurt Busiek/George Perez

Genre: Superhero Comics

Series: JLA/Avengers

Publisher: DC Comics (December 1, 2004)

Author Information: WebsiteTwitter

Length: 288 pages

Connor’s Rating:   connor-capconnor-capconnor-capconnor-cap

JLA/Avengers is an old superhero team-up story by Kurt Busiek and George Perez. My dad says both of these guys use to be big deals, so I decided to read this one and see how good it was.  And weird as it is to say this was a good comic story where good guys work through their problems to find a way to defeat the bad guys, and it was actually FUN!

Universes are dying. An unknown entity destroying everything, then moving on. And finally this force has come to the Marvel Universe, where the Grandmaster confronts this seemingly unstoppable entity. But if power alone can’t stop this god, perhaps cunning might.

Flash forward. Strange things are happening on both earths, Marvel Universe and DC Universe. The Avengers and the JLA fighting cosmic entities they have never seen or heard of before. Both super groups struggling to defeat these new threats and find out where these villains are coming from and why.

Naturally, both groups soon find themselves caught up in a cross universe power struggle. JLA members coming into conflict with Avengers, and a cosmic game of chance developing, pitting hero against hero with the fate of both universes in the balance.

JLA-Avengers-1

Okay, I know that description makes this book sound like fairly meh. But it really isn’t. I mean, there isn’t any deep messages in this one, and it really is just a chance to see old, male Thor try to beat Superman’s butt, and the non-Nazi Captain America square up against Batman, but the comic was actually fun to read, delivering a cool, action-packed story from first page to last with really cool artwork from George Perez.

Would others like this one?

I don’t know. It all depends on what you look for in your comics. If you like fun stories with cool artwork where heroes are heroes and try to defeat villains, then this one is well worth the time reading. I mean where else are you gonna see stories with pictures like below.

JLA_Avengers_2

Well, I hope you liked this review, and if you are on Goodreads, friend me any time to talk about my reviews or comic books in general.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.

batman-V-superman-logoAbout Connor (In his dad’s words):

Connor is a teenager who enjoys graphic novels (DC Comics are preferred!), superhero movies (Spider-Man:Homecoming is his current favorite.), watching episodes of The Flash, Arrow, and Inhumans, as well as the NFL, NCAA football, and the NBA on t.v., will happily accept any and all caps (because you just can’t have too many caps), and whose favorite music right now revolves around AC/DC.  And, no, Connor did not have any input into my paragraph about him.  Being a dad does have it’s privileges.

Purchase the book at Amazon.

Posted in 4 Stars, DC, Graphic Novels, Justice League, Marvel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

THE FIFTH EMPIRE OF MAN

the fifth empire of manThe Fifth Empire of Man by Rob J Hayes

Genre: Fantasy — Grimdark

Series: Best Laid Plans #2

Publisher: Self-Published (September 26, 2017)

Author Information: Website | Twitter | FB

Length: 371 pages

My Rating: 3.5 stars

The Fifth Empire of Man is the sequel to Rob J. Hayes grimdark pirate tale Where Loyalties Lie, and it continues the ferocious nautical adventures, dousing the pages with blood, battle, and cutthroat action!

Drake Morass is now the “king” of a fledgling pirate kingdom, but how long will it remain? With a a huge armada set to attack the new realm, survival seems a slim hope. But even this coming crisis pales in comparison with his most immediate problem, for, you see, Drake has made promises he can’t keep and probably never intended to keep, and now he has to keep a close eye on his “trusted” lieutenants since he knows it is only a matter of time before one turns on him.

Topping Drake’s list of potential traitors is Keelin Stillwater. This gentleman pirate (I’m stealing that description from C.T. Phipps, because – well, it was a damn good description.) views himself as a true leader, who attempts to be fair in his dealings and take care of those under him. His natural ability making him a key concern for Drake, because the pirate king knows if Keelin turns against him others will join his cause.

Nearly equal to Keelin atop the “watch list” is the pirate Elaina Black, who has been breed to be the most vicious pirate to ever sail the seas. She is cunning, nasty, and has the respect of those she commands. Hell, with her on again off again relationship with Keelin, she might also be able to prod him to turn or gain his help if she decided to take over. Both equally possible in Drake’s eyes.

What comes out of this delicate situation is tons of killing, loads of cutthroat intrigue, an intense nautical battle, and even some piratical romance. All of it told in a fast paced style, which keeps the surprises (Oh, there are lots of surprises. No character safe from brutal death!) coming at a blistering pace, as piratical mayhem rules all from first page to last.

But, alas, nothing is perfect, and neither is The Fifth Empire of Man – though the issues I’m going to raise might merely be my personal tastes rather than true deficiencies.

First, this was a much darker, bloody, and violent book than its predecessor. A fact which took me by surprise, since I felt Where Loyalties Lie was fairly grim. Don’t take this to mean I’m in any way suggesting these elements were handled inexpertly or were out of place in the narrative, because I’m not. I truly believe Mr. Hayes set out to craft a realistic portrayal of vicious pirates, and he did so in fine fashion, but at times the depth of the grimdark here did bother me.

Second, the fight scenes (especially the huge naval battle) were too difficult for me to follow. There was just so much going on that I got lost and had to go back and reread whole sections to keep everything straight in my head. Certainly, the sort of chaotic fighting and events portrayed were completely realistic and accurately captured the nature of a battle at sea, yet I wished it would have been a bit more focused.

Lastly, I found myself missing Drake. Yeah, he is a sociopath, a liar, a vile sack of shit, but he was pretty damn interesting to follow in book one. This time he played a lesser role in the story, and I felt that the book suffered a bit from a lack of Drake.

Overall, The Fifth Empire of Man is a very good conclusion to a grimdark pirate series. It is exciting, violent, bloody, and filled with nautical scum who would kill their own mother if it suited their needs. Fans of grimdark will probably love this duology best, but I feel comfortable recommending this book/series to everyone who has an interest in what real pirates looked and acted like, not those Hollywood fop versions most of us have seen far too many times.

I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank him for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.

Purchase the book at Amazon.

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