Thursday 24 January 2019

Dark Forge by Miles Cameron - A Blog Tour Review

 Welcome to Day 4 of the Blog Tour for Miles Cameron's Dark Forge. Also, it's release day here in the UK so congrats Miles.

 'Some may find their bravery as worriors, or as captains, but others tend to the fallen or feed the living. Yet on the magic-drenched battlefield, information is the lifeblood of victory, and Aranthur is about to discover that carrying messages, scouting the enemy, keeping his nerve, and passing on orders is more dangerous, and more essential, than an inexperienced soldier could imagine . . . especially when everything starts to go wrong.

Battle has been joined - on the field, in the magical sphere, and in the ever-shifting political arena . . .'

 The first book in this series, Cold Iron, was my Book of the Year for 2018 so Dark Forge has a big job on following that. Thankfully it's mission accomplished.

 Whereas Cold Iron was largely based around hero Aranthur's training with Dark Forge he is forced to grow more as the story is a lot more battle/warfare based.

 As a general rule I prefer my fantasy fiction focusing on Epic Quests but Cameron managed to make me connect with this book, mainly because Aranthur doesn't start out as a super warrior type, he's just a messenger. That's not putting down on his position - the messenger is vital to the battle as much as all the soldiers. Seeing him dashing between the different sections of the army, the reactions of the message recipients, the different reactions to orders... yes, this was certainly a different angle to story telling that I definitely enjoyed.

 Add to all this the fact that (in my opinion) Cameron is one of the best battle scene writers around at the moment and you have a cracking second volume.

 Many thanks to Stevie Finnegan and Gollancz for providing a copy of the book for review and please take time to look at the other posts on the tour

Monday 14 January 2019

I Like Big Books...but sometimes...

 It's no big secret that I love big, sprawling epics. You know the kind - several books long, thousands of pages. Sometimes though, especially if I'm feeling under the weather, I like something quick and easy. If it's fun then all the better.

 So this past week has been one for quick and easy reads. I started out with Race Me In A Lobster Suit by Kelly Mahon. The author posted a ridiculous advert online (as the title suggests, for someone to have a race around Mahon's apartment both wearing lobster suits). The ad was replied to and the following online conversation is recorded here in the book.

 After this more adverts for more ridiculous situations were posted, replied to and the insanity continued with Mahon pushing the silliness to see how far they could push until the respondee folded. The amount of crazy some people were happy to agree to was ridiculous at times but it all made for a good read. All the people who responded were let in on the joke eventually.

 Next up came a children's favourite. Last weekend Marie and I visited one of our favourite local spots, Creswell Crags, an Ice Age era visitor centre with caves and a pleasant walk. As usual we visited the gift shop and I noticed a copy of Stig of the Dump. I thought I'd read this as a child (didn't we all?) but on looking at it I remembered nothing.

 On getting home I got a kindle copy and dived in. I guess you all know the story, boy falls into dump site and discovers a strange boy living there, they become friends and learn from each other etc, etc...

 I actually, all these years on in life, found this a really enjoyable read, maybe a bit dated at times but that didn't really matter. I guess kid's books don't have to be just for kids.

 Next up is Splatterpunk Forever, an anthology of, as you might guess, Splatterpunk tales. It promises to be gruesome, grotesque and just the right thing to fill the reading gaps between the epics.

 I guess you can't say my tastes aren't varied.

 Happy reading friends