Friday, May 20, 2016

Promising Sci-fi, horror & Fantasy - April 2016

Wow, I am so damn late this time. But at least I made time to do the list. Here goes nothing -

"In The Labyrinth of Drakes" by Marie Brennan
The thrilling new book in the acclaimed fantasy series from Marie Brennan, as the glamorous Lady Trent takes her adventurous explorations to the deserts of Akhia.

Even those who take no interest in the field of dragon naturalism have heard of Lady Trent's expedition to the inhospitable deserts of Akhia. Her discoveries there are the stuff of romantic legend, catapulting her from scholarly obscurity to worldwide fame. The details of her personal life during that time are hardly less private, having provided fodder for gossips in several countries.

As is so often the case in the career of this illustrious woman, the public story is far from complete. In this, the fourth volume of her memoirs, Lady Trent relates how she acquired her position with the Royal Scirling Army; how foreign saboteurs imperiled both her work and her well-being; and how her determined pursuit of knowledge took her into the deepest reaches of the Labyrinth of Drakes, where the chance action of a dragon set the stage for her greatest achievement yet.


[The fourth book in yet another series I have yet to start, and this one is quite different and seems so much like my kind of interesting.]

"Every Heart A Doorway" by Seanan McGuire
Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.
  


[Another tor.com released novella from a well known author, should be quite good.]

"The Emperor's Railroad" by Guy Haley
Global war devastated the environment, a zombie-like plague wiped out much of humanity, and civilization as we once understood it came to a standstill. But that was a thousand years ago, and the world is now a very different place.

Conflict between city states is constant, superstition is rife, and machine relics, mutant creatures and resurrected prehistoric beasts trouble the land. Watching over all are the silent Dreaming Cities. Homes of the angels, bastion outposts of heaven on Earth. Or so the church claims. Very few go in, and nobody ever comes out.

Until now…


[The setting is so very interesting and Guy Haley is already a writer I expect much from since his involvement with Black Library.]




"Illidan: World of Warcraft" by William King
Behind the legend stands a being hungry for justice and vengeance as the adventure, intrigue, and heroism of World of Warcraft, the global phenomenon, rise to a new level.

You are not prepared.

Illidan Stormrage is one of the most powerful beings ever to walk the lands of Azeroth. He is also one of the least understood. Behind his legend, beneath his enigmatic mission, lies a brilliant mind whose machinations are comprehended by few—and trusted by even fewer. Illidan’s righteous reign of justice and vengeance has begun.

Long ago, the night elf sorcerer Illidan infiltrated the demonic Burning Legion to ward off its invasion of Azeroth. Instead of hailing him as a hero, his own kind branded him the Betrayer, questioning his intentions after he appeared to aid the demon lords. For ten thousand years, he languished in prison—vilified, isolated, but never forgetting his purpose.

Now the Legion has returned, and there is only one champion who can truly stand against it. Released from his bonds, Illidan prepares for the final confrontation in the alien realm of Outland, gathering an army of grotesque fel orcs, serpentine naga, cunning blood elves, and twisted demon hunters to his side. He alone knows what deeply hidden motives guide his hand; he alone understands the price that must be paid to defeat the enemies of creation. Yet as before, he is assailed by those who see his schemes as a cynical quest for power, including the night elf Maiev Shadowsong, his former jailor. Warden Shadowsong and her Watchers have pursued the Betrayer to Outland to exact retribution for his crimes, and she will not rest until Illidan is in her custody . . . or in his grave.


[Will William King deliver again, and this time he has got such a bad-ass character to write on. Can't wait to dig this one.]

"Throneworld" by Guy Haley
A new threat arises on Holy Terra – the eldar, attacking the Imperial Palace from beneath. And in the depths of space, an unlikely alliance discovers a secret that might save the Imperium from the marauding orks. But can they survive long enough to tell anyone?

The Imperium’s situation has never been more grim – an ork attack moon hangs over Terra, and ork armadas ravage human space. To make matters even worse, eldar strike at the heart of the Imperial Palace, forcing humanity’s defenders to fight on two fronts at once. Though it seems nothing can stop the orks – neither brute force, science, nor faith – an unlikely alliance in the furthest reaches of space uncovers the first clue how to defeat the greenskins. The Adeptus Astartes now face an almost impossible task - taking news of this discovery back to Terra through a galaxy teeming with orks.

Mysteries abound as the eldar make their presence felt in the midst of humanity's war for survival. And fans of the Imperial Fists and Iron Warriors will be thrilled – or appalled – to see rivalries (sort of) put aside as loyalists and traitors work together against their common foe...
 


[Second entry on this list from Guy Haley, this time from Black Library, and part of a very well executed series, need I say more?] 

"Roboute Guilliman: Lord of Ultramar" by David Annadale
Roboute Guilliman, the Battle King of Macragge, leads his Legion, the mighty Ultramarines, in conquest of the galaxy as part of his father's Great Crusade. Faced with an alien empire, all his dreams of a shining galaxy of peace threaten to fall into ruin...

Long before the coming of the Imperium, the realm of Ultramar was ruled by Roboute Guilliman, the last Battle King of Macragge. Even after learning of his true heritage as a primarch son of the Emperor of Mankind, he strove to expand his domain as efficiently and benevolently as possible, with the XIII Legion Ultramarines as his alone to command. Now, facing a rival empire on the ork-held world of Thoas, Guilliman must choose his weapons carefully – otherwise his dream of a brighter future could be lost forever.

It's the start of a brand new series of 18 books focusing on the greatest of heroes, the primarchs themselves. This volume kicks it all off with a tale of Roboute Guilliman at the height of his powers, leading his legion into battle at the apex of the Great Crusade.
  


[Wow, yet another promising new series from Black Library, and the first book is from one of my favorite authors from their line-up, this does seem a great year for the publication.]

This month has quite a short list, and really seems quite dull compared to the previous months of this year.  

Friday, May 6, 2016

April 2016 New PC Games To Watch For

Like March, April also has been a quiet month. So, my April list also features 5 titles. But this time some of these are very highly anticipated and should be on the end of the year list as well.

Quantum Break
Quantum Break is an action-adventure science fiction third-person shooter video game developed by Remedy Entertainment and published by Microsoft Studios. Directed by Sam Lake and Mikael Kasurinen, the game features Jack Joyce, the main protagonist, trying to stop Paul Serene, a close friend and Monarch Solutions CEO, from enforcing the End of Time after a failed time-machine experiment, which gives Jack time manipulation powers. Quantum Break is mostly a third-person shooter, but includes elements of a platform game in less action-oriented segments, and "junction points" that interact with the game's outcome, much like a gamebook, with episodes of an integrated live-action television show, featuring the actual actors of the characters, interacting with the player's choices, displaying the outcome of the choices made. The game was released worldwide for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One on 5 April 2016.

Dark Souls III
Dark Souls III is an action role-playing video game developed by FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows. The fourth entry in the Souls series, Dark Souls III was released in Japan in March 2016, and worldwide in April 2016.


Final Fantasy IX
Final Fantasy IX is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square. Originally released in 2000, it is the ninth title in the Final Fantasy series and last to debut on the original PlayStation console.Final Fantasy IX's plot centers on a war between nations. Players follow a young thief named Zidane Tribal, who joins with others to defeat Queen Brahne of Alexandria, the one responsible for starting the war. The plot shifts, however, when the characters realise that Brahne is working with an even more threatening person called Kuja. A port for Microsoft Windows was released in 14 April 2016.

Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is a visual novel adventure video game developed by Spike Chunsoft. It is the second installment in the Danganronpa series, and a direct sequel to the 2010 game Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. It was first released in Japan for the PlayStation Portable on July 26, 2012. The story follows a group of high school students who are trapped on an island by their high school's headmaster Monokuma, a sentient stuffed bear. In order to leave the island, a student must kill one of their peers, and not be caught in the subsequent investigation and trial. A port for Microsoft Windows was released on April 18, 2016.



The Banner Saga 2
The Banner Saga 2 is a tactical role-playing video game developed by Stoic and published by Versus Evil. It is a sequel to The Banner Saga. The game was released for Microsoft Windows and OS X on April 19, 2016, with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions due later.





[The real hotshots of this list are 'Dark Souls II' and 'The Banner Saga 2', these two happens to be among the most anticipated games of the year and the responses all around the web does make them seem to be contenders on the end of year lists too.]

Thursday, April 14, 2016

April 2016 New Comics To Watch For

So April has come with some fresh and new releases, are any of them worth it? Frankly that is for you to decide.

BLOODLINES #1
Written by J.T. KRUL
Art and Cover by V. KEN MARION
When a meteor crashes to Earth, bringing with it an unspeakable alien presence that terrorizes a nearby small town, the lucky ones die first. As for the rest, they find themselves locked in a hellish struggle for control of their bodies and their minds. This isn’t just an invasion. It’s an infestation. What would you do if the greatest threat to humanity was hidden away inside you?
Award-winning writer J.T. Krul (Teen Titans, Green Arrow, Jirni) and superstar-in-the-making V. Ken Marion (All New Soulfire, Jirni) bring you their dark and horrifying science-fiction epic about tortured souls who are cursed to a fate worse than death...much worse.


BLACK PANTHER #1
Written by TA-NEHISI COATES
Art and Cover by BRIAN STELFREEZE
A new era for the Black Panther starts here!
Written by MacArthur Genius and National Book Award winner TA-NEHISI COATES (Between the World and Me) and illustrated by living legend BRIAN STELFREEZE, "A Nation Under Our Feet" is a story about dramatic upheaval in Wakanda and the Black Panther's struggle to do right by his people as their ruler. The indomitable will of Wakanda -- the famed African nation known for its vast wealth, advanced technology and warrior traditions -- has long been reflected in the will of its monarchs, the Black Panthers. But now the current Black Panther, T'Challa, finds that will tested by a superhuman terrorist group called The People that has sparked a violent uprising among the citizens of Wakanda. T'Challa knows the country must change to survive -- the question is, will the Black Panther survive the change?


MOON KNIGHT #1
Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art and Cover by GREG SMALLWOOD
THE BOOK YOU'D BE INSANE TO MISS!
Marc Spector (a.k.a. Moon Knight/Jake Lockley/Steven Grant) has been fighting criminals and keeping New York City safe for years... or has he? When he wakes up in an insane asylum with no powers and a lifetime's worth of medical records, his whole identity (indentities) are called into question. Something is wrong, but is that something Marc Spector himself? Jeff Lemire (EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN) and rising star Greg Smallwood are calling everything you know about Moon Knight into question.


DEPT. H #1
Written,  Art and Cover by MATT KINDT
From New York Times best-selling MIND MGMT creator Matt Kindt comes an exciting new undersea sci-fi mystery.
Mia is a special investigator hired to uncover possible sabotage taking place at a deep-sea research station. What she finds is a mind-blowing crime scene filled with suspects with terrible secrets, strange deep-sea creatures, and an impending flood! 






HOUSE OF PENANCE #1
Written by PETER TOMASI
Art and Cover by IAN BERTRAM
The Winchester House—famous for its original owner’s bizarre compulsion to incorporate a multitude of architectural curiosities. But as the bereaved Sarah Winchester’s workers toil on stairways to nothing and doors to nowhere, a mysterious stranger arrives . . . and he could make Sarah’s demons all too real.




BLACK ROAD #1  
Written by BRIAN WOOD
Art by GARRY BROWN & DAVE McCAIG
Meet Magnus the Black, neither clean nor sober, neither Christian nor Pagan, but a man true to his word. When a ranking official under his care is brutally murdered, he's prepared to hunt the killers to the frozen tip of Norway, religious war be damned.
Northlanders creator BRIAN WOOD returns to the Viking genre along with artist GARRY BROWN (The Massive, Catwoman) and DAVE McCAIG (Batman, American Vampire) in this all-new series.


THE FIX #1
Written by NICK SPENCER 
Art and cover by STEVE LIEBER
A story of the crooked cops, scheming mobsters, and corrupt politicians that run things--and the sex toy that can bring them all down. Oh, and the hero is a drug-sniffing beagle named Pretzels. Bad people do bad things to each other in this frenetic, outrageous, sometimes off-putting new caper! If you liked classic crime comics like CRIMINAL and 100 Bullets we apologize in advance for letting you down!


GOLD KEY: ALLIANCE #1
Written  by PHIL HESTER
Art by BRENT PEEPLES  
Turok, Dinosaur Hunter. Magnus, Robot Fighter. Solar, Man of the Atom. The Mighty Samson. The legendary heroes whose adventures have thrilled comic book readers for over half a century are back, only this time they all share the same time and the same world – ours! In this breakneck first issue, each warrior wrestles with the perils of the twenty-first century, but a greater evil is approaching, one that will unify the legendary champions in a struggle that will change each forever. Join Eisner-nominated writer Phil Hester (Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, The Bionic Man) and rising star artist Brent Peeples (Last of the Greats, Legenderry: Green Hornet) for the latest and greatest chapter in the Gold Key saga.

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS #1
Written by JIM ZUB  
Art by NELSON DANIEL
MINSC AND BOO ARE BACK! And things have never looked more dire, as mysterious forces draw the legendary ranger and his crew of adventurers to RAVENLOFT, the Realm of Terror... where they find themselves face to face with undead horrors in the land od eternal night!
 
    

Friday, April 8, 2016

Mini-Comic-Review - Mockingbird #1


Name - Mockingbird #1
Published by - Marvel
Writer - Chelsea Cain
Artist - Kate Niemczyk

Coloring - Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer - Joe Caramagna

 
It seems it is a great time for marvel fans who enjoy comics about female spies, as this new series featuring one of the lesser known characters is a very unique and equally engrossing as the new Black Widow series. Great storytelling with a firm grasp on the goal and planning the story arc precisely can make a seemingly disjointed story be actually quite intriguing.

This series focuses on Bobby Morse, who having been injected with two experimental serums is under constant medical monitoring by S.H.E.I.L.D. This is her story going through her life as a super-spy while having to deal with these encounters and the story is told in a unorthodox way as to being a bit funny as well as keeps the reader wondering as to what is actually going on.

The character of Bobby is quite interesting with her sharp sense of humor as she keeps trying to totally ignore the problems she is facing until she faces then straight on. The story progression is quite hectic and despite having no real action I just couldn't stop turning the pages trying to get my grip on what is really happening. There is fun cameos by various well known marvel characters and the drawing is also done in a realistic way as to give the characters believable attributes. And another strong aspect about the drawing is that it draws attention to the various side gags and cameos that makes this a much more fun read.

The one thing that can be called a shortcoming is once again the disjointed approach, as before reading the last page where Chelsea explains about her unique method of storytelling, everything might seem a bit too strange.

I quite enjoyed this first issue and will definitely return for more, I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Mini-Comic-Review - Black Widow #1

Name - Black Widow #1
Published by - Marvel
Writer - Chris Samnee & Mark Waid
Artist - Chris Samnee

Coloring - Matthew Wilson
Letterer - Joe Caramagna

Comic is a medium that can convey so much enjoyment with so little words if it is in capable hands and this first issue of 'Black Widow' just showcases that. It only has minimal dialogue and barely any plot, yet it provides its entertainment through non-stop action and reminds readers of the opening of a masterfully done spy movie.

This issue does not provide any backstory or puzzle readers with status quo or world building. You don't have to worry about reading back issues or search the net for info, rather you can just sit tight and start to enjoy the ride. It effortlessly throws us into a chase and the thrill of it. Natasha has taken something from S.H.I.E.L.D. which turns her into an instant enemy and everyone starts chasing her to get it back. The story is very fast paced with top notch action sequences which just focus on the fact that despite having no real power Natasha is quite a formidable foe for any adversary. Throughout the issue Natasha battles her pursuers across various locations and the reason remains a mystery. 

Chris Samnee does an excellent job with drawing as his drawings sound way louder than any words and makes it so much more fun reading than a comic choke full of texts. The panels are executed perfectly conveying movement and urgency and the excellent coloring by Matthew Wilson adds much more to the overall mood as well.

This is one of the most promising new series by marvel without a doubt and I am quite sure most of the people who had the pleasure of reading it will pick up the series due to its uniqueness and simple and pure entertainment value.

A well deserved 4.5 out of 5 stars from me.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Mini-Game-Review - Tap Titans

Game Name - Tap Titans
Publisher & Developer - Game Hive Corporation
Platform - Android, iOS
Genre - Clicker / RPG

Tap Titans as a game is a total mixed bag. In terms of game play it is as simple as can be with being a mindless clicker, yet on the other hand it also features rpg elements in a very fun and easy way. You have level ups, skills, other heroes to recruit as well as a simplistic and often times quite boring method of grinding to make you fell like playing a rpg.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

New Novella Review - The Devil You Know

Novella - The Devil You Know 
Writer - K. J. Parker       
Published By - Tor Books

No action or extravagant world building is necessary, only two characters can a make a story work if you know how to tell it. K. J. Parker proves that with this work of his. There are only two characters telling us their story in alternative first person narrative and the prose and setting are so skillfully engrossing that it is really hard to put down.