Thursday, 17 September 2020

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: Rivers of London 8: False Value - Ben Aaronovitch

Release Date: 17/09/20

Publisher:  Gollancz


The massively anticipated brand new Sunday Times bestselling RIVERS OF LONDON novel.

Peter Grant is facing fatherhood, and an uncertain future, with equal amounts of panic and enthusiasm.

Leaving his old police life behind, he takes a job with Silicon Valley tech genius Terrence Skinner's new London start up: the Serious Cybernetics Corporation.

Drawn into the orbit of Old Street's famous 'silicon roundabout', Peter must learn how to blend in with people who are both civilians and geekier than he is. Compared to his last job, Peter thinks it should be a doddle.

But magic is not finished with the Met's first trainee wizard in fifty years...

Because a secret is hiding somewhere in the building. A technology that stretches back to Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, and forward to the future of artificial intelligence. A secret that is just as magical as it technological - and twice as dangerous. 



I love the books by Ben and whilst I'm glued each time a new one arrives, I have to say that this one didn't feel quite as polished as a number of other titles.  It felt that the dialogue felt forced, the characters didn't feel like they were developing despite major changes in their lives and when an old foe returned it left me disappointed as they were there more for a cameo and not to do or say anything.

All in, whilst I felt disappointment with this title, I did enjoy it and against a lot of other writing out there it is still a cracking british urban crime fantasy, but when you look against what has come before, for me, this one was sadly flat. 

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

FANTASY REVIEW: Age of Madness 2: The Trouble with Peace - Joe Abercrombie

Release Date: 15/09/20

Publisher: Gollancz


Second in the AGE OF MADNESS trilogy, THE TROUBLE WITH PEACE is the next instalment of a series which is revolutionising fantasy . . . Conspiracy. Betrayal. Rebellion. Peace is just another kind of battlefield . . . 


Savine dan Glokta, once Adua's most powerful investor, finds her judgement, fortune and reputation in tatters. But she still has all her ambitions, and no scruple will be permitted to stand in her way. 


For heroes like Leo dan Brock and Stour Nightfall, only happy with swords drawn, peace is an ordeal to end as soon as possible. But grievances must be nursed, power seized and allies gathered first, while Rikke must master the power of the Long Eye . . . before it kills her. 


Unrest worms into every layer of society. The Breakers still lurk in the shadows, plotting to free the common man from his shackles, while noblemen bicker for their own advantage. Orso struggles to find a safe path through the maze of knives that is politics, only for his enemies, and his debts, to multiply. 


The old ways are swept aside, and the old leaders with them, but those who would seize the reins of power will find no alliance, no friendship, and no peace, lasts forever. 



The second book in Joe's Age of Madness series is another wonderfully written epic tale where twists and turns keep the reader guessing as to what is going to happen. As you'll expect from his writing, the prose is razor sharp, the pace even through quieter sections wonderfully brisk and whilst you do get chance to breath, he knows what to do to keep you on the edge of your seat. 


When it happens, action is fast, deadly and precise with no extra fuss, just letting it speak for itself which when backed with top notch characters that you what to spend time around, all round makes this another gem that will be reread (if not before) in time for the next outing.

Monday, 7 September 2020

YOUNG ADULT COMPENDIUM REVIEW: The Time Travelling Caveman - Terry Pratchett

Release Date: 03/09/20

Publisher: Doubleday


*A brand new collection of short stories from the incredible Sir Terry Pratchett!*

Imagination is an amazing thing.

It can take you to the top of the highest mountain, or down to the bottom of the deepest depths of the sea.

This is where it took Doggins on his Awfully Big Adventure: a quest full of magic and flying machines. (And the world's best joke - trust me, it's hilarious.)

It took three young inventors to the moon (where they may or may not have left a bottle of lemonade) and a caveman on a trip to the dentist.

You can join them on these adventures, and many more, in this incredible collection of stories . . . 



If you're wondering how to introduce your child to the wonderful writing of Terry Pratchett, before you get on to my personal favourite of the Discworld. However whilst there are books for younger readers by the author, I've always found that short stories are the way to go. This recently released title brings his imagination to the fore with a collection of stories originally published (and since polished up by Terry) in his local papers.

Its has a story for every type of reader, is easy to dip into and also accompanied with art that will just fire your child's brain with wonderful images and hopefully, at the end of the day, help the explore their own world and find the wonderment within. Magic.

Thursday, 3 September 2020

VIDEO GAME NEWS: The Falconeer Beta - Heaven Media


Hail Might Readers and Devotes of the Calloused Thumbs,

Our Friends at Heaven Media have asked us to let you know about your chance to play the Beta of the The Falconer via Discord.  Here's the info:


"Join The Falconeer Beta exclusively via Discord to play one of 2020’s most anticipated games one month prior to release

Sign up now and become the saviour of The Ursee in Tomas Sala’s open world epic

Watford, UK – September 2, 2020 – Wired Productions and visionary independent developer Tomas Sala are proud to announce that open-world air combat game, The Falconeer, has opened sign-ups for the beta process, launching in October, ahead of the game’s launch on PC and the Xbox family of devices in November.

To sign-up for the exclusive beta, head to The Falconeer Discord channel:

In October, the unknown will be revealed as The Falconeer Beta sets the path of discovery for the growing Falconeer community, in an astounding open-world environment serving as the backdrop for classic dog-fighting mechanics and immersion. Set within the mystery, darkness and hope of The Great Ursee, The Falconeer features a world populated by fighting factions vying for dominance over sea, land and sky.

Check out some of the latest Falconeer gameplay in the Beta announcement video:

For more info on the PC Beta, and to register your interest head to where players will be able to enlist in their first flight as a Falconeer. Wishlist the game on Steam now:

The Falconeer is a day one Xbox Series X title that will also be available on Xbox One S, Xbox One X and PC.

For more information, visit, join the Discord at or follow the game now to receive future updates on Facebook or Twitter"

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

SCI-FI REVIEW: Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising - Timonthy Zahn

Release Date: 01/09/20

Publisher: Century


Beyond the edge of the galaxy lies the Unknown Regions: chaotic, uncharted, and near impassable, with hidden secrets and dangers in equal measure. And nestled within its swirling chaos is the Ascendancy, home to the enigmatic Chiss and the Nine Ruling Families that lead them. 


The peace of the Ascendancy, a beacon of calm and stability, is shattered after a daring attack on the Chiss capital that leaves no trace of the enemy. Baffled, the Ascendancy dispatches one of its brightest young military officers to root out the unseen assailants. A recruit born of no title, but adopted into the powerful family of the Mitth and given the name Thrawn. 


With the might of the Expansionary Fleet at his back, and the aid of his comrade Admiral Ar’alani, answers begin to fall into place. But as Thrawn’s first command probes deeper into the vast stretch of space his people call the Chaos, he realizes that the mission he has been given is not what it seems. 


And the threat to the Ascendancy is only just beginning. 




Thawn is one of those characters I just love to spend time with. I love the way he wove his way into the star wars universe and feels like he's never been apart from it, with the way he's carved his own career path within the Empire as well as his early introduction. 


Its well written, has great characters throughout and whilst its obvious because its a look back on his life that he's in no real danger of dying its the supporting cast members that you really get to feel for as you really don't know whats going to happen. As expected with Zahn, they're very well fleshed out, feel great in the way that this is presented and when added to solid prose as well as dialogue really does make this latest reveal about the Admiral's past a joy to behold. Great stuff.