Friday, 19 September 2014

CRIME THRILLER REVIEW: A Trick of the Mind - Penny Hancock

Release Date: 11/09/14
Publisher:  Simon and Schuster

SYNOPSIS:

Have you committed a crime ... or are you the victim of one?
Driving down to the cottage in Southwold she's newly inherited from her Aunty May, Ellie senses she is on the edge of something new. The life she's always dreamed of living as a successful artist seems as though it is about to begin. So excited is she that she barely notices when the car bumps against something on the road.
That evening Ellie hears a news flash on the radio. A man was seriously injured in a hit and run on the very road she was driving down that evening. Then Ellie remembers the thump she heard. Could she have been responsible for putting a man in hospital? Unable to hold the doubts at bay, she decides to visit the victim to lay her mind to rest, little knowing that the consequences of this decision will change her life forever.


REVIEW:

To be blunt here, this isn’t a book that I thought much to. What didn’t help was for me that I couldn’t associate with the principle character who felt like a woman that had everything, which whilst I’m not saying is impossible, for me put this as a person with no real understanding of real life.

Don’t get me wrong, the concept was strong, it followed a linear chain of thought and did have immense potential but when you can’t identify with a character you really don’t care what happens to them. All round, Penny is an author who has had a lot of success with other books she’s written but for me, this book felt fairly flat, a little too simplistic and the messages contained within aren’t strong enough for today’s modern person. A great shame.

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: The Remaining 2: Aftermath - DJ Molles

Release Date: 24/06/14
Publisher:  Orbit

SYNOPSIS:

A SOLDIER'S MISSION IN A WORLD GONE TO HELL: SURVIVE, RESCUE, REBUILD Nothing has gone according to plan. To Captain Lee Harden, Project Hometown feels like a distant dream and the completion of his mission seems unattainable. Wounded and weaponless, he has stumbled upon a group of survivors that seems willing to help. But a tragedy in the group causes a deep rift to come to light and forces him into action. In the chaos of the world outside, Lee is pursued by a new threat: someone who will stop at nothing to get what he has. This is the second book in the bestselling Remaining series, telling a gritty tale of survival, perseverance and fighting to get back what has been lost.


REVIEW:

Whilst this is the second instalment for the reader, it’s a cracking outing for zombie officionado’s the world over as hard line combat, survival as well as emotional conflict keep the reader not only on their toes but gripped to the pages as the story wends its way through the dark recesses of your mind.

Whilst there’s a lot of error with spelling within the book, if you ignore this and concentrate on the overall arc, you’ll soon find yourself on one hell of an adventure which when accompanied with solid pace will give you that special read that can leave you seeing the sun rise at the end of the book.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

CUISINE REVIEW: Meal in a Mug - Denise Smart

Release Date: 07/08/14
Publisher:  Ebury Press

SYNOPSIS:

If you like eating delicious, balanced meals but can't cook/won't cook/don't have any time to cook, then this is the book for you. All you need is a large mug and a microwave, a handful of ingredients and a spoon. Forget retro microwaving of the 90s, these are bang-up-to-date, imaginative recipes for busy people. Every meal time is covered with 80 recipes, so whether you're a student on a budget, stuck at the office and starving, or just can't be bothered to dirty a saucepan and preheat the oven, you'll find an idea to satisfy every hungry moment and all your flavour cravings.


REVIEW:

There are plenty of times you’ve got some leftovers and not enough to make a huge meal, so rather than throw them away in a time when we all know the price of food, you try to be inventive to find ways to make the best of what you have.

Whilst this isn’t a full banquet type of book, its one that helps use those left over scraps and gives you something hot with just a few minutes work. It’s tasty, its very simple to follow and all round, in my opinion would be a good book to give to students or those looking to help extend a few ingredients.

All round a solid book, one that provides some sweet treats as well as savoury meals and something that will help you make the most of what you have.

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: A Discovery of Witches 3: The Book of Life - Deborah Harkness


Release Date: 15/07/14
Publisher:  Headline

SYNOPSIS:

THE NO.1 SUNDAY TIMES AND NEW YORK TIMES HARDBACK BESTSELLER Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew once more in the stunning climax to their epic tale, following A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES and SHADOW OF NIGHT. A world of witches, daemons and vampires. A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future. Diana and Matthew - the forbidden love at the heart of it. After travelling through time in SHADOW OF NIGHT, the second book in Deborah Harkness's enchant-ing series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew's ancestral home in France they reunite with their families - with one heart-breaking exception. But the real threat to their future is yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on a terrifying urgency. Using ancient knowl-edge and modern science, from the palaces of Venice and beyond, Diana and Matthew will finally learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.


REVIEW:

I’ve been a huge fan of this series for quite some time and whilst a lot of others have read it previously to me, I wanted to wait for that special time when I could devote a lot of my time to the experience especially having waited quite a while for this title. Its nothing new to me and whilst a fair few people complain about it, my philosophy is that I’d rather wait for a book that the author was happy to release that have something that followed a schedule and was upset with the finished result. Rushing tends to have a lot of errors, continuity errors and also leaves the reader more than upset.

What I received was a book that kept me not only glued but one that delivered what I was expecting, a kickass tale that had romantic elements, great pace and of course prose that just leapt off the page. Back this up with dialogue and cracking emotional aspects and I was a more than happy reader. A real treat all round and one that I was pleased that I set aside to give it my full attention and would advise others to do the same. You won’t be disappointed.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: Hereward: Wolves of Rome - James Wilde

Release Date: 31/07/14
Publisher:  Bantam

SYNOPSIS:

1072 - The great battle has been lost. King William stands victorious. And for the betrayed and abandoned English rebels, the price of their crushing defeat is cruel: exile. Cut adrift from family, friends, home, their hopes of survival lie with one man, their leader Hereward. But can even that now-legendary hero navigate a safe course across a world torn by war? Their ultimate destination is the jewelled heart of the Christian emperor in the East, the New Rome - Byzantium. Here the English hope to find gold and glory by joining those pledged to protect the emperor, the elite and savage Varangian Guard. But this once-mighty empire is slipping into shadow. Beyond the vast walls, the endless Turkish hordes plan for an attack that could come at any moment. And within the sprawling city, rival factions threaten bloody mayhem as they scheme to seize the crown. Here begins a new chapter in the stirring tale of England's forgotten hero. But now the enemies are hidden, their methods bloodier, the battlefield and weapons unfamiliar and to stay alive in this cauldron of plot, betrayal and murder, Hereward and the English must fight as never before.


REVIEW:

OK, so here Hereward is out on his own away from any other ancient tales surrounding him from books that have gone before and boy, what a cracking tale we have with the hero. As usual with James’ writing the reader is in for a tale of heroics, of daring and of course action that doesn’t let up as enemies from the past merge with new foes.

Back this up with prose that just leaps into the readers imagination gives the reader a tale that will be hard to miss and if you haven’t tried the series to date, where have you been, its cracking British Heroism at its best. Magic.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: The Rain-Soaked Bride - Guy Adams


Release Date: 31/07/14
Publisher:  Del Rey UK

SYNOPSIS:

How do you stop an assassin that can't be killed? When several members of the diplomatic service die in seemingly innocent, yet strangely similar circumstances, it seems a unique form of murder is being used. Toby Greene is part of Section 37, known as The Clown Service, a mostly forgotten branch of British Intelligence tasked with fighting exactly this kind of threat. However, the Rain-Soaked Bride is no ordinary assassin. Relentless, inexorable and part of a larger game, merely stopping this impossible killer may not be enough to save the day...


REVIEW:

OK, I wasn’t overly enamoured with the first book in this series, The Clown Service, I wanted to give this title a go as I know that a lot of others out there have had a lot of fun with it, I thought I’d try the second in case I wasn’t fully in the right frame of mind with the original reading.

So settling back and opening the pages, I began to read. What happens within the book is a story that really didn’t strike me as original, it felt yet again like I’ve seen something like it before and whilst the characters were solid enough, I did feel that the author extended the story without giving the reader really anything new that hasn’t been seen before. All round I was a little disappointed and whilst I still like a number Guy’s series, this is one I’m going to let fall by the wayside.

Monday, 15 September 2014

GUEST BLOG: The Lies of a Father - Edward Cox

Here at Falcata Times we love to feature guest blogs from authors both new and established.

Edward Cox tells us how he smashed the ice when moving from a busy city to the country and how a lie can sometimes make a huge difference:

"As a responsible parent, I’m trying to impress upon my five-year-old daughter the importance of telling the truth. She likes to lie sometimes, as children must, so she can do the things she shouldn’t be doing and avoid getting into trouble for it. My daughter has lots of spirit. I love that about her and don’t want her to lose it, but she needs to understand the difference between right and wrong. She must learn to take responsibility for her actions.
   
“Always tell the truth,” I tell her, “and everything will be all right in the end.” She doesn’t believe me. She knows there are some lies that will make daddy very angry before everything is all right again. And I must confess to feeling guilty as I explain to her how lying is wrong, while knowing deep down that her daddy is a liar himself. Because daddy knows that some lies can be of immense benefit to a child, especially if that child is desperate to improve his social position. Even if that means telling a big fat whopper to an entire school.
   
When I was eight, my family moved from the squalid and sinister east end of London to the sprawling green freedom of a country village. For a city kid, the change of surroundings was perfect, and in my new home I thought I’d discovered paradise. This feeling lasted until I started my new school.
   
On my first day, the teacher stood me in front of the whole class and introduced me. “This is Edward,” she said. “He comes from London.” So far so good. But then she added a warning: “People from London are terribly tough, so you all need to be very careful around him.”
   
Outstanding work, right?
   
For the next two weeks I spent nearly every break time running and hiding from a gang of boys who wanted to prove themselves against this supposedly rough and tough kid from London. I ate lunch on my own, sat at the back of the class reading Tin Tin books, hoping that I wouldn’t get noticed or picked on. I had no friends, no one would talk to me, and all because of a stupid statement (itself a lie) spouted by the stupidest teacher who ever taught. It became clear that if my situation was to improve, I needed to take matters into my own hands. But how?
   
Salvation came the day Stupid Teacher was telling the class about meteorites, and an idea came to me. You have to understand that what I did next was driven by desperation and flawed logic. Firstly, I put up my hand and kept it in the air until all eyes were upon me. Secondly, with a straight face, I proceeded to tell everyone in that classroom that a meteorite had once landed in the back garden of my house in London. A big one, too, I assured them, as big as a car, and it crashed to the ground with a thunderous roar loud enough to break a window.
   
Outstanding work, right?
   
Now, I take responsibility for lying to every person in that room, but a part of the blame has to be laid at the feet of my teacher’s gullibility. She didn’t know that my only point of reference to meteorites was a Steve McQueen film called The Blob; she didn’t find it strange that I didn’t know meteorites weren’t just lumps of cosmic rock. She didn’t question the fact that I’d just described a strike by meteorite so large that it probably would’ve levelled a hundred mile radius, but, according to me, did no more damage than create a smoking crater in the back garden of a terraced house, which my dad contained with a bloody garden hose.   
   
No. Instead of calling bullshit, she acted like she had just struck oil. She couldn’t believe that one of her pupils had such a fascinating story to tell, and she demanded that I write it down there and then. A lot of what happened next is lost to my memory, but I do remember that my dubious tale sort of got away from me, uncontrollably snowballing until it reached the ears of the headmaster. Amazingly, he believed me too! And he was so impressed that he insisted I present my story at the next school assembly. I have to confess, I loved the attention, and Stupid Teacher looked so gratified while I stood proud and lied to the entire school.
   
Outstanding work, right?
   
But here’s the moral. After my school assembly gig, I admitted to the gang of boys who had been trying to beat me up every break time that my story was a lie, not a word of it true. Not only did they find that hilarious, but they also admired what I had done. The ice had been broken, I now had friends, was even a little famous, and school was so much easier from that point onwards. All because I solved my problems with a lie.
   
Nowadays, I like to think of that whole experience as the beginning of my development into a novelist. But one thing is for damn sure – it will be many years before I tell this story to my daughter.


Release Date:18/09/14
Publisher:  Gollancz

SYNOPSIS:
Magic caused the war. Magic is forbidden. Magic will save us.

It was said the Labyrinth had once been the great meeting place, a sprawling city at the heart of an endless maze where a million humans hosted the Houses of the Aelfir. The Aelfir who had brought trade and riches, and a future full of promise. But when the Thaumaturgists, overlords of human and Aelfir alike, went to war, everything was ruined and the Labyrinth became an abandoned forbidden zone, where humans were trapped behind boundary walls 100 feet high.

Now the Aelfir are a distant memory and the Thaumaturgists have faded into myth. Young Clara struggles to survive in a dangerous and dysfunctional city, where eyes are keen, nights are long, and the use of magic is punishable by death. She hides in the shadows, fearful that someone will discover she is touched by magic. She knows her days are numbered. But when a strange man named Fabian Moor returns to the Labyrinth, Clara learns that magic serves a higher purpose and that some myths are much more deadly in the flesh.

The only people Clara can trust are the Relic Guild, a secret band of magickers sworn to protect the Labyrinth. But the Relic Guild are now too few. To truly defeat their old nemesis Moor, mightier help will be required. To save the Labyrinth - and the lives of one million humans - Clara and the Relic Guild must find a way to contact the worlds beyond their walls.



FANTASY REVIEW: The Ballad of Sir Benfro 1: Dreamwalker - JD Oswald

Release Date: 14/08/14
Publisher:  Penguin UK

SYNOPSIS:

Dreamwalker is the first spellbinding novel in the new epic fantasy series from J. D. Oswald - The Ballad of Sir Benfro. In a small village, miles from the great cities of the Twin Kingdoms, a young boy called Errol tries to find his way in the world. He's an outsider - he looks different from other children and has never known his father. No one, not even himself, has any knowledge of his true lineage. Deep in the forest, Benfro, the young male dragon begins his training in the subtle arts. Like his mother, Morgwm the Green, he is destined to be a great Mage. No one could imagine that the future of all life in the Twin Kingdoms rests in the hands of these two unlikely heroes. But it is a destiny that will change the lives of boy and dragon forever...And so begins The Ballad of Sir Benfro - the unputdownable tale of the great dragons returning to the kingdom of men. Breathtakingly compulsive and beautifully written, The Ballad of Sir Benfro is for readers hooked to the world of George R R Martin's Game of Thrones and those longing for the next Tolkien film adaptation. Dreamwalker is followed by The Rose Cord and The Golden Cage. J. D. Oswald is the author of the epic fantasy series, The Ballad of Sir Benfro. Currently, Dreamwalker, The Rose Cord and The Golden Cage are all available as Penguin ebooks. He is also the author of the Detective Inspector McLean series of crime novels under the name James Oswald. In his spare time James runs a 350-acre livestock farm in North East Fife, where he raises pedigree Highland Cattle and New Zealand Romney Sheep.


REVIEW:

A weird and unusual story and one that whilst following some of the many used tropes in the fantasy genre, concentrates more on the characters than on the overall arc, allowing you to get to know them before the adventures really begin. Its definitely something quirky and whilst at times it feels like its poking its tongue at the genre, its one that not only keeps you glued due to caring about the characters but wondering how the tale would end up.

Overall its definitely something different and whilst I wasn’t that enamoured of the “human” characters the dragons filled my imagination enough to see what occurs next for them.



Sunday, 14 September 2014

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: Midgard 1: Black Ice - Susan Krinard

Release Date: 01/09/14
Publisher:  Tor

SYNOPSIS:

New York Times bestselling author Susan Krinard continues the thrilling urban fantasy series that began with Mist in Black Ice.

Centuries ago, all was lost in the Last Battle when the Norse gods and goddesses went to war. The elves, the giants, and the gods and goddesses themselves were all destroyed, leaving the Valkyrie known as Mist one of the only survivors.

Or so she thought.

The trickster god Loki has reappeared in San Francisco, and he has big plans for modern-day Earth. With few allies and fewer resources—but the eyes of the gods and goddesses of an old world upon her—it’s up to Mist to stop him before history repeats itself.


REVIEW:

Whilst I’m a huge reader of Fantasy, there are times when I just can’t get into a book. Sadly this was one of those times as I had a hard time getting into it. The start was a bit jumpy, the pace for me was all over the place and when you add into this a principle character that I felt was a two dimensional space filler rather than someone I could get behind and want to spend the time with really left me feeling flat.

Back this up with an arc that felt a little bit too predictable alongside dialogue that really didn’t sell the whole situation and all round I was left feeling a little cheated.



HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: The Last Dragon - MK Hume

Release Date: 19/06/14
Publisher:  Headline

SYNOPSIS:

The first part in an epic sequel to M.K. Hume's King Arthur trilogy The legend of King Arthur lives on...King Artor lies slain and Ector, a mere boy, is acknowledged as the legitimate heir to the kingdom. But the land of the Celts is weakened and Ector grows up torn between a sense of doom and duty. Meanwhile, in the Forest of Arden, it is revealed to young Arthur that he is the Bastard Prince, son of King Artor and Lady Elayne. Trained in the skills of a warrior, Arthur cannot challenge the position of his ruler and childhood friend, but nor can he stand back and watch Briton crumble under the threat of invasion. As the Last Dragon, he must ensure that his father's legacy lives on...


REVIEW:

I’ve been a huge fan of the Arthurian series by this author and for me, it was a thoroughly enjoyable modern retelling that worked wonderfully well.

The skills that MK learned from that series, has transferred wonderfully to this new one. The characters spring to life from the pages, the prose is wonderfully descriptive and transports the reader into this world to the forefront of the battles, the descriptions and when added to cracking dialogue all round gives you a tale that that is hard to put down.

MK really is a delightful author to spend time with and if you’re looking for something a little different to a lot of the other HF authors out there with a story that concentrates more on characters with some action rather than the usual other way round. Then give this author a try. You won’t regret it.



Saturday, 13 September 2014

FANTASY REVIEW: The Falcon Throne - Karen Miller

Release Date: 09/09/14
Publisher:  Orbit

SYNOPSIS:

EVERY CROWN IS TARNISHED BY THE BLOOD OF AMBITION. In a divided Kingdom, some will do anything to seize the crown. A BASTARD LORD, rising up against his tyrant cousin, sheds more blood than he bargained for. A ROYAL CHILD, believed dead, sets his eyes on regaining his father's stolen throne. A DUKE'S WIDOW, defending her daughter, defies the ambitious lord who'd control them both. And TWO BROTHERS, divided by ambition, will learn the true meaning of treachery. All of this will come to pass, and nothing will remain as it once was. Royal houses will fall, empires will be reborn, and those who seek the Falcon Throne will pay for it in blood. WITH THE FALCON THRONE, A MAJOR NEW EPIC FANTASY BEGINS.


REVIEW:

A new fantasy series from Karen Miller and whilst it follows the tropes of the fantasy genre, it also seems to have taken a leaf out of the highly successful Song of Fire and Ice series with the nobles fighting for power. Its pretty basic and whilst its nowhere near as complex as George RR Martin, following a fairly basic and predictable plot line, right down to an expected twist within the novel.

All round, its nothing that stands out from the crowd for me and at times it feels that the characters are only there to fill a gap rather than to add a fully rounded personality alongside intrigue for the reader.


FANTASY REVIEW: The Splintered Gods - Stephen Deas


Release Date: 19/06/14
Publisher:  Gollancz

SYNOPSIS:

Praised by the likes of Joe Abercrombie and Brent Weeks, Stephen Deas has made dragons his own. Captured by an unknown enemy and forced to wage war on his rivals, the Dragon Queen has found herself hated and feared by all the people of this new land. There is little they can do to hurt her while she has her dragon, but she cannot escape while the magic necklace she is forced to wear remains active - or it will throttle her. And the enemies of her new master are gathering for revenge...Lost in a body that isn't his own, Berren - the Bloody Judge - continues his search for the man who stole his life. Accompanied by a single Adamantine soldier, they scrabble to survive in a world shaken by the Dragon Queen's attack and suspicious of all those who are strangers. But there is another power inside Berren, one which escapes when he is in danger and has the habit of disintegrating those around him. And that power has its own agenda...One that will lead it to the Dragon Queen, and battle. The critics, fellow authors and readers alike are agreed - if you love dragons and epic fantasy, Stephen Deas is the writer for you. The man who brought dragons back to their full glory, might and terror.


REVIEW:

I’ve read Stephen since he burst onto the scene with the Adamantine Palace in 2009. I love his writing, the hard gritty combat, the difficult choices made by individuals (be they beast or man) and overall, I love the way that the double dealing of those in power as they seek to fulfil their own agenda’s rather with the problems of the people a secondary problem to deal with.

The writing is always to the point, it gets to the meat of the matter and with some of the subtle hints and wordplay within generates a story that is pretty unique out there. A great read and definitely a series as well as author who is surfing the new British wave of Fantasy.

Friday, 12 September 2014

VIDEO GAME REVIEW: Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls - Activision

Release Date: 19/08/14
Publisher:  Blizzard/Activision

SYNOPSIS:
Diablo III Reaper of Souls Ultimate Evil Edition XBOX One contains Diablo III and the expansion Diablo III Reaper of Souls

FACE ULTIMATE EVIL

Over 13 million players have battled the demonic hordes of Diablo III. Now, it’s your turn to join the crusade and take up arms against the enemies of the mortal realms. This Ultimate Evil Edition contains both Diablo III and the Reaper of Souls expansion set, together in one definitive volume. So stand ready. Something wicked this way comes.

Call upon your allies - Play solo or form a party of up to four other heroes - either with local players together on the same screen or online with players via Xbox Live.
Rise as a champion - Stand as one of humanity’s last defenders - crusader, barbarian, witch doctor, demon hunter, monk, or wizard - and level up with devastating powers and legendary equipment.
Lift the demonic siege - Lay waste to hordes of evil throughout all five acts of the Diablo III storyline. Or explore the open world in Adventure Mode to hunt bounties on the elder evils that lurk throughout the mortal realms

Features

Deluxe edition contains Diablo III and the Reaper of Souls expansion pack
Form a party of up to 4 other heroes, either locally or via Xbox Live
Play as a crusader, barbarian, witch doctor, demon hunter, monk, or wizard
Lay waste to hordes of evil throughout all 5 acts of the Diablo III storyline
Explore the world in Adventure Mode to hunt bounties on the elder evils



REVIEW:

OK, I played the original Diablo 3 on the Xbox 360 and whilst I had fun with it, I did wish I could have done more with the character and achieved higher levels. So when this update landed I couldn’t wait to try not only the new Crusader class but also to see how far I could push my favourites (the Demon Huner and Monk) to the max to see what I could manage to do with so many new skills as well as items to unlock.

Whilst it was a little strange getting back into it, what the game designers have done is to modify some of the existing levels so that you get new monster attacks or area’s to discover that weren’t available in the original. It adds a bit of variety and as a veteran of Diablo 3, I loved this as it showed me that they really care about giving the gamer the best experience possible.

Add to this a whole new set of problems for the gamer to embark upon alongside levels to achieve all round gave me a whole heap of fun as some of the skill runes I didn’t manage to unlock which I spent quite a bit of time testing.

All round I had a whole heap of fun with this game and when you add all the extra’s, it made this a great experience to go through, add a friend or two online and it becomes even better which when you can send gifts to each other allows the player the chance to boost their own levels. Magic.



HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: The Shadow of War - Stewart Binns

Release Date: 17/07/14
Publisher:  Michael Joseph

SYNOPSIS:

The Shadow of War is the first novel in Stewart Binns' new series which will see a book release for each year of the First World War. June 1914. The beginning of another long, prosperous summer for Britain. But beneath the clear skies, all is not as it seem - as the chill wind of social discontent swirls around this sceptred isle. Shots ring out in a distant European land - the assassination of a foreign aristocrat. From that moment the entire world is propelled into a conflict unlike any seen before. This is the story of five British communities, their circumstances very different, but who will all share in the tragedy that is to come. All that they have known will be changed for ever by the catastrophic events of the Great War. This is a story of love and comradeship, of hatred and tragedy - this is the story of the Great War. The Shadow of War, the first novel in The Great War series from Stewart Binns, is a thrilling read and perfect for those who enjoy the writing of Conn Iggulden and Bernard Cornwell. Praise for Stewart Binns: "Anyone with even a vague interest in Britain and the Great War should read Shadow of War". (Celia Sandys, granddaughter of Winston Churchill). "A fascinating mix of fact, legend and fiction ...this is storytelling at its best". (Daily Mail). "Stewart Binns has produced a real page-turner, a truly stunning adventure story". (Alastair Campbell). Stewart Binns began his professional life as an academic. He then pursued several adventures, including a stint at the BBC, before settling into a career as a schoolteacher, specializing in history. Later in life a lucky break took him back to the BBC, which was the beginning of a successful career in television. He has won a BAFTA, a Grierson, an RTS and a Peabody for his documentaries. Stewart's passion is English history especially its origins and folklore. His previous Making of England series: Crusade, Conquest, Anarchy and Lionheart, were published to great acclaim.


REVIEW:

Whenever you tend to read information from the first world war, it tends to be either a dry historians voice or the point of view of the generals who in my own personal opinion treated those on the front line not as men or people but numbers, legitimate losses in their search for glory.

So for me, I like to read about the real soldiers, those who were on the front lines facing the dangers. Stewart’s book is wonderfully written, the research bringing the real men to life, from the home front to the front line, the reader cares about those they’re reading about and with a time that is faded along with the generation that fought it, it needs to be brought again into the light so that people can not only understand the sacrifices that were made on both sides but see the men as they were, tall, brave and fighting for their nations.

All round, it was a very harrowing book, the battlefields brutal but for me, it’s the comraderie of those in the trenches that made this book stand out and for me, a book I am more than pleased I read. This is a WW1 fiction that needs to be read.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Assassin's Creed: Unity Heist Mission - Ubisoft


Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
As many know we're huge fans of the Assassin's Creed franchise so we've been following the news in association with the title pretty tightly so much so that we can't wait to get our hands on the latest outing in the French Revolution for the Next Gen of consoles.

As you've already seen it's a very high end product, they're pushing the current boundries of the systems and with the gamer being able to enter 1 in 4 buildings you know that its going to be huge.

Here today, they've released the new trailer with a co-op heist mission, which as you'll see looks pretty swish:



 
Hopefully like us you can't wait to embark on this historical period and of course the new dawn for the next gen consoles.  

All the best and keep you blades sharp but your minds sharper,  



Gareth and Lady Eleanor

VIDEO GAME NEW: Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor: Behind the Scenes with Troy Baker and Nolan North - Warner Brothers Interactive

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our friends at Warner Brothers Interactive have asked us to remind you that Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor will now be released on the 3rd October.

The title will be released for the following formats:
PC
PS3
PS4
Xbox 360
Xbox One

In addition to this there's also a brand new trailer talking about the work behind the scenes with Troy Baker and Nolan North:


    


Also remember that fans who pre-order  Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor will get access at the game’s launch to  The Dark Ranger exclusive bonus pack. Available at all participating retailers, the pack will provide exclusive content and challenges for players including:  
  • Dark Ranger Character Skin
    • Begin your own quest for vengeance with a new Dark Ranger character skin that embodies Talion's darker side
  • "Test of Power" Challenge Mode
  • Face Sauron's Captains and defeat them to earn powerful Runes and gain a head start in the game
  • Test your speed, skill and strategy and measure yourself against your friends on the leaderboards 
  • Access to Exclusive Leaderboards for "Test of Power" Challenge Mode
    • Test your speed, skill and strategy and measure yourself against your friends on the leaderboards in this challenge mode



    Hopefully this will have whetted your appetite so remember to keep your blades sharp and your wits sharper.

    Gareth and Lady Eleanor

FANTASY REVIEW: The Fire Prince - Emily Gee

Release Date: 11/09/14
Publisher:  Solaris

SYNOPSIS:

The Seven Kingdoms are in the grip of an ancient and terrible blood curse. Thousands have died. Thousands more will die. Only one man can end the curse. The fugitive Osgaardan prince, Harkeld, is that man - whether he likes it or not. But the bounty on Harkeld's head is high. He has outrun his father's soldiers, but he can't outrun the assassins who seek him - Fithians, trained in the art of killing. Even the Sentinel mages who guide and guard him are no match for Fithian steel. Faced with the ever-present threat of death, Harkeld must learn to use his fire magic. Or die. Meanwhile, dark plots are unfolding in Osgaard's gold-tiled palace, snaring Princess Brigitta and those she loves. And in the eastern kingdoms, young orphan Jaume journeys with a band of mysterious and dangerous fighters, heading north for a purpose he does not understand.


REVIEW:

The second outing in the Cursed Kingdom series and to be honest its been one I’ve been enjoying.since I read the original back in 2011. What comes across well is the characters, the whims of their desires as ell as the way that the interaction between what is perceived as enemies demonstrates that they have a lot more in common against a common foe.

It’s well written, the dialogue is sharp and when added to a love angle all round gives you a wonderfully rounded experience. Unlike a number of other second books, this one doesn’t suffer from book two blues or acts as a filler giving the reader a full on live story in its own right. Back this up with a rollercoaster pace as well as some wonderfully imaginative prose and all round I was a more than happy reader. Great stuff.

FANTASY REVIEW: The Dark Blood - AJ Smith


Release Date: 03/07/14
Publisher:  Head of Zeus

SYNOPSIS:

In the court of every city in the lands of Ro, a sorceress sits. And in the minds of that city's people, each sorceress weaves a song. She and her sisters sing of the liberation of the land, the taming of the highland tribes, and the birth of a precious new race: the children of a dead god. Of course, they do not sing of the death of young Prince Christophe at the hands of that god. Particularly as his replacement dances so well to their tune. Yet all songs have an end. An ending speeded when the assassin Rham Jas Rami accepts a commission from Bromvy Black Guard, traitor duke of Canarn. The rebellion of Ro has begun...Please note: Great care has been taken to make sure this ebook is both beautiful and highly functional.



REVIEW:

I tend to forgive errors in an author’s first book and whilst I’m still forgiving to a certain degree for the second, I do tend to get a bit annoyed when for me, the tale doesn’t deliver the sort of punch I’m hoping for.

What occurs within this book is a tale that has a lot of problems within. The overall arc is sadly lacking for me as a reader, it felt that there were too many get out clauses available and lets be honest here, any civilisation that has flourished for years has had time to fix most of the problems that may occur and this one seems pretty solid.

Back this up with a pace that I felt sadly lacking and with an overall arc that felt very flat and all round its not one I’ll be reading again in the future.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

SCIENCE FICTION CRIME REVIEW: World of Fire - James Lovegrove


Release Date: 11/09/14
Publisher:  Solaris

SYNOPSIS:

A brand new SF series from the author of the Pantheon series, which included the break-out hits Age and Ra, Age of Zeus and Age of Odin. Dev Harmer wakes in a new body with every mission, and he has woken this time on Alighieri, a planet perpetually in flames, where the world's wealth lies below the elemental surface, and humanity is not the only race after it.

Dev Harmer, reluctant agent of Interstellar Security Solutions, wakes up in a newly cloned host body on the planet Alighieri, ready for action.
It’s an infernal world, so close to its sun that it surface is regularly baked to 1,000°C, hot enough to turn rock to lava. But deep underground there are networks of tunnels connecting colonies of miners who dig for the precious helium-3 regolith deposits in Alighieri’s crust.
Polis+, the AI race who are humankind’s great galactic rivals, want to claim the fiery planet’s mineral wealth for their own. All that stands between them and this goal is Dev. But as well as Polis+’s agents, there are giant moleworms to contend with, and a spate of mysterious earthquakes, and the perils of the surface where a man can be burned to cinders if he gets caught unprotected on the day side...


REVIEW:

I love spending time with James Lovegrove and having completely fallen for his Pantheon Series, so I was hoping that the magic he wove into the tales that I’ve loved would make its way into this new one.

What James does well is generate characters that the readers want to spend time with. They’re complex, they’re rounded and whilst some of the story elements may seem far-fetched the believability of the principle character really keeps you glued. What occurs within is a story of Science Fiction Crime with a detective who has to adapt not only to differing environments but also different bodies as each one is specially vat grown for him to suit the world that he is being sent to, with his consciousness being implanted into the new body. It works wonderfully well, allows a whole host of different concepts to be explored and all round allows you to hope and dream as it wends its merry way. Back this up with solid prose, some wonderful twists and the chance to see that the stranger things may seem to us, the more they are the same with emotional conflicts and murder speaking many languages and crossing different evolutionary paths. Great stuff.

FANTASY REVIEW: Fool's Assassin - Robin Hobb

Release Date: 12/08/14
Publisher:  Harper Collins/Voyager

SYNOPSIS:

'Fantasy as it ought to be written' GEORGE R.R. MARTIN Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably in the manor house at Withywoods with his beloved wife Molly these many years, the estate a reward to his family for loyal service to the crown. But behind the facade of respectable middle-age lies a turbulent and violent past. For Tom Badgerlock is actually FitzChivalry Farseer, bastard scion of the Farseer line, convicted user of Beast-magic, and assassin. A man who has risked much for his king and lost more...On a shelf in his den sits a triptych carved in memory stone of a man, a wolf and a fool. Once, these three were inseparable friends: Fitz, Nighteyes and the Fool. But one is long dead, and one long-missing. Then one Winterfest night a messenger arrives to seek out Fitz, but mysteriously disappears, leaving nothing but a blood-trail. What was the message? Who was the sender? And what has happened to the messenger? Suddenly Fitz's violent old life erupts into the peace of his new world, and nothing and no one is safe.


REVIEW:

The latest Robin Hobb story and one that I absolutely loved, especially after feeling a bit disappointed with other recent releases from the author. As with Robin’s other Fool books, it has great storytelling, a familiar feel for fans and for me was a real pleasure to dive back into her familiar world that has given me so much pleasure over the years.

Add to this great characters, wonderful prose and a mystery or two to uncover and I was hooked from start to finish. If you haven’t read any of her various Fool books then please do, they are so much fun and for me a great series to introduce young readers to on their journey into adult fiction. Magical.



Tuesday, 9 September 2014

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Batman: Arkham Knight, Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham and Lord of the Rings: Shadow of Mordor - Warner Brothers Interactive

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
We're keeping up with all the current releases from Warner Brothers Interactive and there's quite a lot today, so here we go:
 
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced today that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor will take more time in development, and the release dates for these versions are moving to November 18 in the Americas and November 21 in the UK. The street dates for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One remain September 30 in the Americas and October 3 in the UK. PC and Steam versions are now slated for release in the Americas and Europe on September 30.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor delivers a dynamic game environment where the player orchestrates their personal plan of vengeance as they bend Mordor to their will. The game begins on the night of Sauron’s return to Mordor, as his Black Captains brutally execute the Rangers of the Black Gate. Players become Talion, a ranger who loses his family and everything he holds dear, only to be returned from death by a mysterious Spirit of vengeance. Based on the player’s actions with the in-game Nemesis System, every enemy encountered is distinct and can evolve to become a personal archenemy through the course of the game. As Talion’s personal vendetta unfolds, players uncover the mystery of the Spirit that compels him, discover the origin of the Rings of Power and confront the ultimate nemesis. 
 

Today, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment revealed a DLC Season Pass for LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham – the first Season Pass for a LEGO videogame. 

The Season Pass will include 6 DLC packs each with a unique themed mission level with story and free play modes. Players will be able to unlock a total of over 40 characters, vehicles, achievements and more. The first three of the DLC packs will be available on 14th November and 3 more will be announced at a later date. The Season Pass will be available for the PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, and PC for a great price of £12.79. Each pack can be purchased separately at £2.55

The Season Pass includes:

● The Dark Knight Pack (available 14/11/14)
Experience the heart-pounding chase scene from the iconic film complete with cool vehicles and explosive action. Play as the legendary Dark Knight and Commissioner Gordon, as well as the Joker and his goons as they chase down Harvey Dent’s police escort. Bane and Catwoman from the third film are also playable.

● Man of Steel Pack (available 14/11/14)
Help Jor-El, his wife Lara and their robot Kelex send the infant Superman “Kal-el” into space towards the safety of Earth as Krypton falls into chaos. Find a way inside Jor-El’s home, fight General Zod’s invading forces and battle against Zod himself to save Superman.

● Batman 75th Pack (available 14/11/14)
Play as Joker and Harley, setting up a variety of celebration set pieces. Be the Batman and play as some of the most iconic faces of Batman through the years, including his first appearance in Detective Comics #27.

● Access to Future DLC Content
Gain access to three additional game packs, featuring new playable characters, vehicles and levels. Details about the additional content will be revealed at a later date.

Download images for The Dark Knight, Man of Steel, and Batman 75th packs at the following link: games.premiercomms.com/release.asp?i=1834

In LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, the Caped Crusader joins forces with the super heroes of the DC Comics universe and blasts off to outer space to stop the evil Brainiac from destroying Earth. Using the power of the Lantern Rings, Brainiac shrinks worlds to add to his twisted collection of miniature cities from across the universe. Now the greatest super heroes and the most cunning villains must unite and journey to different Lantern Worlds to collect the Lantern Rings and stop Brainiac before it’s too late.

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, the ultimate super hero game for the entire family launches on 14th November 2014 on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PS Vita, Wii U, 3DS and PC.




Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment today announced Batman™: Arkham Knight is scheduled to release worldwide beginning June 2, 2015. 

Also revealed, are two collector’s editions – Batman: Arkham Knight Limited Edition and Batman: Arkham Knight Batmobile Edition. Both will be available in limited quantities at launch in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft. Batman: Arkham Knight Limited Edition will also be available in Europe, Australia and New Zealand for PC.

Batman: Arkham Knight Limited Edition will include:

· Custom Art Book – 80 Page, Full Colour Art Book Showcasing the concept art of Batman Arkham Knight
· Limited Edition SteelBook™ – Unique SteelBook™ case and game disc
· Comic Book – Limited Edition DC Comics Batman: Arkham Knight #0 Comic Book
· Exclusive Character Skin Pack – Three Unique Skins from DC Comics – The New 52
· Batman Memorial Statue – Imposing statue commemorating Gotham’s Protector, the Dark Knight
· SRP:
o Console – £89.99
o PC – £74.99

Batman: Arkham Knight Batmobile Edition will include:

· Custom Art Book – 80 Page, Full Colour Art Book Showcasing the concept art of Batman Arkham Knight
· Limited Edition SteelBook™ – Unique SteelBook™ case and game disc
· Comic Book – Limited Edition DC Comics Batman: Arkham Knight #0 Comic Book
· Exclusive Character Skin Pack – Three Unique Skins from DC Comics – The New 52
· Transforming Batmobile Statue – Fully transformable Batmobile statue realised in exquisite detail by TriForce
· SRP: £169.99 (Console only)

Images for the Collector’s Edition packages and contents can be found at the following link:
http://games.premiercomms.com/pics.asp?i=3124

Batman: Arkham Knight is based on DC Comics’ core Batman license and will be available exclusively for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, and Windows PC.

Batman: Arkham Knight brings the award-winning Batman: Arkham trilogy from Rocksteady Studios to its epic conclusion. Developed exclusively for the New Generation of consoles and PCs, Batman: Arkham Knight introduces Rocksteady's uniquely designed version of the Batmobile. The highly anticipated addition of this legendary vehicle, combined with the acclaimed gameplay of the Batman: Arkham series, offers gamers the ultimate and complete Batman experience as they tear through the streets and soar across the skyline of the entirety of Gotham City. In this explosive finale, Batman faces the ultimate threat against the city that he is sworn to protect, as Scarecrow returns to unite the super criminals of Gotham and destroy the Batman forever.

For more information on Batman: Arkham Knight, please visit www.batmanarkhamknight.com, https://www.facebook.com/BatmanArkham or https://twitter.com/BatmanArkham.

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: The Quick - Lauren Owen

Release Date: 04/09/14
Publisher:  Vintage

SYNOPSIS:

You are about to discover the secrets of The Quick - But first you must travel to Victorian Yorkshire, and there, on a remote country estate, meet a brother and sister alone in the world and bound by tragedy. In time, you will enter the rooms of London's mysterious Aegolius Club - a society of some of the richest, most powerful men in fin-de-siecle England. And at some point - we cannot say when - these worlds will collide. It is then, and only then, that a new world emerges, one of romance, adventure and the most delicious of horrors - and the secrets of The Quick are revealed.


REVIEW:

Right, I managed to avoid the hype surrounding this novel and whilst I know that a number of other readers have been disappointed in their viewing of the title, however personally I just found it to be so so rather than anything special. Whilst there is a twist quite early on, its predictable, the characters sadly two dimensional and whilst I liked the potential found it didn’t live up to what I was hoping for.

All round an OK book, but nothing that jumps out from the vast crows of Historical Fiction out there. What a shame.

CRIME THRILLER REVIEW: Confessions - Kanae Minato

Release Date: 14/08/14
Publisher:  Mulholland Books

SYNOPSIS:

When Yuko Moriguchi's four-year-old daughter died in the middle school where she teaches, everyone thought it was a tragic accident. It's the last day of term, and Yuko's last day at work. She tells her students that she has resigned because of what happened - but not for the reasons they think. Her daughter didn't die in an accident. Her daughter was killed by two people in the class. And before she leaves, she has a lesson to teach...But revenge has a way of spinning out of control, and Yuko's last lecture is only the start of the story. In this bestselling Japanese thriller of love, despair and murder, everyone has a confession to make, and no one will escape unharmed.


REVIEW:

This was an unusual read for me as it dealt with child murderers and vengeance. Its something that is completely different to any other books out there and for me, whilst quite a thin title was one that allowed me to delve into a fiction that I normally wouldn’t have read. It is very well written and whilst its not only uncomfortable to read, it was a tale that as it unfurled allowed me to think and examine a number of things that are often overlooked in busy modern lives.

All round a tale that made me not only uncomfortable but was a story that I was pleased I put the time into. Definitely something to read if you’re looking for something not only different but one that makes you think and will stay with you long after the final page is turned.

Monday, 8 September 2014

FANTASY REVIEW: Age of Iron - Angus Watson

Release Date: 02/09/14
Publisher:  Orbit

SYNOPSIS:
LEGENDS AREN'T BORN. THEY'RE FORGED.

Dug Sealskinner is a down-on-his-luck mercenary travelling south to join up with King Zadar's army. But he keeps rescuing the wrong people.

First, Spring, a child he finds scavenging on the battlefield, and then Lowa, one of Zadar's most fearsome warriors, who's vowed revenge on the king for her sister's execution.

Now Dug's on the wrong side of that thousands-strong army he hoped to join ­- and worse, Zadar has bloodthirsty druid magic on his side. All Dug has is his war hammer, one rescued child and one unpredictable, highly-trained warrior with a lust for revenge that's going to get them all killed . . .

It's a glorious day to die.


REVIEW:

OK this book is set in Iron Age Britian, however to be honest what I’d tell readers to do is accept it as a fantasy set around that time. What this title does is bring the bloody combat of Conan, the heroism of Eldric with what feels like a Drussesque hero ( from David Gemmell’s Drenai series) into one title.

It’s a difficult path to tread and all round was a debut fiction title that I really had a hard time putting down. Add to this that it’s the first of a trilogy and I’m really looking forward to seeing what other titles bring to the fore. Of course it only gets more complex from there and when added to solid dialogue and of course a supporting cast that helps bring this world to life all round gives you a real treat. Magic.



CRIME THRILLER REVIEW: Disappeared - Anthony Quinn

Release Date: 14/08/14
Publisher:  Head of Zeus

SYNOPSIS:

DISAPPEARED introduces Celcius Daly, a Belfast Police Inspector laden with flawed judgment and misplaced loyalties. One of 2012's top ten crime novels. A retired Special Branch Detective succumbing to early-stage dementia disappears from his remote home in rural Northern Ireland. An ex-intelligence officer is tortured to death. But why was his obituary printed in the local paper before his death? A son seeks his father's long-lost body and vengeance against those who murdered him. A stone-cold killer stalks the outskirts of Belfast. But at whose behest is he hunting his targets? And why? All are connected by a single strand spun out of the past...but as Inspector Celcius Daly knows, the past is never dead...it's not even past.


REVIEW:

I love spending time with a crime thriller and when one brings history to which I’m familiar with to the fore as well as giving me a story that is not only dark but reveals a lot about the society to which it’s based all round gives me a story that I can really get my teeth into.

The prose is very sharp, the pace wonderful but it’s the way that the author brings the hidden elements of the history into the tale with clever use of dialogue and plot devices that really made this a book that I couldn’t put down. All round a cracking story and one that I’m definitely going to be championing for other crime fans to sit back with. Great stuff.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Warhammer 40K: Commissar Yarrick: Imperial Creed - David Annadale

Release Date: 18/04/14
Publisher:  Black Library

SYNOPSIS:

Yarrick: the very name carries the weight of legend, of great deeds and of wars won for the Imperium. But Sebastian Yarrick, who fought on Armageddon, who Space Marine Chapter Masters show their fealty to on bended knee, was not always Lord Commissar. He was once just a man, a newly minted officer from the ranks of the schola progenium.

His first mission under the tutelage of Lord Commissar Rasp was on Mistral. Here, an uprising of barons had upset the delicate balance of power. But, as Yarrick was soon forced to learn, Mistral and Imperial politics are often murky, the truth seldom clear cut. As war engulfs the world, a plot unravels that pits old friends against one another and fashions unusual alliances. Chaos cults, the fanatical Adepta Sororitas and clandestine inquisitors all stand between Yarrick and his mission. Here is where the legend began. In this crucible was Lord Commissar Sebastian Yarrick forged in blood.


REVIEW:

I’m a huge fan of the 40K world and whilst its been a while since I dipped into it, I thought that it was about time I returned with, in my opinion, one of the best Commissar’s out there, Commissar Yarrick. As you’d expect from a Yarrick story, it hits hard, has some great action sequences and douses the pages with Imperial Zeal washing planets clean in the blood of their foes.

It’s a great piece of writing and for me, one of my highlights of Sci-Fi for the year, although the one thing that always niggles me with prequel stories is that you know damn well that there’s never any serious threat to the principle character as their timeline is already written. Don’t get me wrong, it does what you want, but when you know that there’s no real threat of death, it’s the subsequent supporting characters within that really become the ones you care about.

All round, it’s a great piece of 40K fiction and whilst some of the danger was missing for me on a personal level, I did love the whole arc with the politics carefully balanced against the action. A great piece of writing and I really can’t wait to embark again with Yarrick on his next adventure.



SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Afterparty - Daryl Gregory

Release Date: 15/08/14
Publisher:  Titan

SYNOPSIS:

In a world where God is a drug, one woman has to get sober. Lyda Rose was one of the neuroscientists who helped create Numinous, which produces the illusion of a personal deity, but since unwittingly overdosing, she has been haunted by her own visions of an angel she calls Dr. Gloria. After a stay in an asylum, she thinks she's put it behind her. Then others start overdosing. Who is still producing the drug, and why?


REVIEW:

To be honest this is a difficult book to review as whilst some of the subject matter delves into mental instability alongside drug use, the original opening which wound me in, seemed to have sadly died for the second part of the book and left me feeling that after such an usual opening that I was let down.

I did like the way that the author brings an unlikely hero to follow, she has a lot of her own problems and when she has to delve into what she not only helped to develop but facing her own demons did keep it interesting. Add to this a few quirky twists, a surprise or two along the way and all round it was an OK book, but had it stuck with the type of telling that the book opened with I’d have been way happier.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

VIDEO GAME REVIEW: Metro Redux - Deep Silver

Release Date: 29/08/14
Publisher:  Deep Silver

SYNOPSIS:

Metro Redux is the ultimate double game collection, including the definitive versions of both Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light, each rebuilt in the latest and greatest iteration of the 4A Engine for next-gen consoles and PC. For the first time, console owners can expect smooth 60FPS gameplay and state of the art visuals that were once only available on high-end PC hardware. Newcomers to the series will get the chance to experience two of the finest story-driven shooters of all time in one vast package; an epic adventure combining gripping survival horror, exploration and tactical combat and stealth. Fans of the original games will find the unique world of Metro transformed with incredible new lighting, physics and dynamic weather effects, as well as a host of gameplay improvements and new features. All the enhancements from the acclaimed sequel 'Metro: Last Light' have been transferred to Metro 2033 Redux - superior AI, controls, animation, weapon handling and many more. And both campaigns benefit from all-new melee animations, the ability to check your watch and ammo supplies on the fly, and new full-body player animations. Those who favoured the more survival-horror oriented gameplay of 'Metro 2033' can play both campaigns in the 'Survival' Play-Style, a fraught, slow burn fight for survival. Those who enjoyed the more action-oriented gameplay of 'Metro: Last Light' can try the 'Spartan' Play-Style, providing Artyom with a powerful set of combat skills. With the legendary Ranger Mode included to offer an extra layer of challenge and immersion, and all previous released DLC, Metro Redux offers 50+ hours of AAA FPS gameplay for an incredible price.


REVIEW:

OK, so I read the books when they were released by Gollancz, and to be honest I was left wondering how well it would translate from the page to a game from the start. I loved the dark underground passages with twists and turns where life and death is the price of a bullet (which is currency in the game) and all round I couldn’t wait to get it on the console.

Originally I played the second title, Metro Last Light, on the Xbox 360, and even then I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, yet on the Xbox One, its another experience altogether as both titles have been reworked with a lot of subtler shades, his res quality and flows beautifully with each sequence.

Add to this great voice acting, a choice of weaponry to suit the gamer alongside solid storytelling, all round gave me an even better experience than I had before. You really have to try it on the next gen. Magic.