Pandorax by C Z Dunn (Book Review)

The original review can be found at The Founding Fields, here.

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Jain Zar: The Storm of Silence by Gav Thorpe (Book Review)

When I first got into reading Warhammer fiction and when I first came upon the Eldar race, I was always fascinated with their concept of the immortal heroes known as the Phoenix Lords. Warriors of great skill who laid down the foundations of what would be known as the Path of the Eldar, they are figures both historical and mythological, and they are utterly fascinating. When I eventually started playing the tabletop game, my first Eldar army featured lots of jetbikes and other fast units, emulating how a Shining Spear army would perform. The Phoenix Lords are a concept that is fairly unique and exciting to explore, which is why the new series from Black Library interests me a lot.

Jain Zar: The Storm of Silence is the second novel in the Phoenix Lords series, and the first of its kind that I’ve read. Written by Eldar-maestro Gav Thorpe himself, it offers a compelling origin story of the first Howling Banshee juxtaposed against a tale of conflict and sorrow in a more modern time as she leads a strike-force against the bestial Orks. A largely-sedate story with some gripping action scenes, Jain Zar is very much a definitive Eldar novel, exposing some of the xenos race’s greatest secrets and myths.

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Desperate Hours by David Mack (Book Review)

Star Trek: Discovery was one of the most hyped new television shows of last year. Following on such legends such as Star Trek: The Original Series, or Star Trek: The Next Generation to name a few, the show promised a great deal in a kinda-sorta-familiar era of just a decade prior to the first events of the Star Trek: The Original Series. However, for me the show failed to live up to its hype, primarily because the protagonist was uninspiring and the scripts more so. Plus the writers seemed intent on changing around too many things and the entire show is a big visual and narrative dissonance from what we know of the Federation of the times.

Desperate Hours by Star Trek stalwart David Mack attempts to fill in some gaps left in the viewer’s understanding of who the show’s protagonist Michael Burnham is. She is a brand-new character for the show, and in this novel David attempts to show who she is and why she does what she does on the show, among other things. For me, the novel proved to be an even more disappointing experience than the show, as it seemed to rely too much on internal conflict and… disagreements among Starfleet officers. It just failed to deliver on its own promise.

Note: Some medium spoilers about Star Trek: Discovery are mentioned here.

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The Defenders Season 1 (TV Show Review)

It has been two and a half years since Netflix began releasing shows based on Marvel’s various superhero characters. It all began with Daredevil, then moved to Jessica Jones, then Luke Cage and rounded off the introductory cast with Iron Fist. And all of this has now culminated in The Defenders, which brings these four heroes and their supporting cast together for what’s meant to be a big explosive start to a shared television programming from Netflix.

Sure, we’ve had some crossovers in the superheroes’ individual series, but it has been rather light aside from Luke Cage debuting on Jessica Jones as a main character. And now The Defenders takes it all to a whole new level as each of these four heroes follows their own investigations and then teams up for the greater good, realizing they are better off when working as one unit. The Defenders is a fairly good show with lots of fan-pleasing and wonderful moments throughout, but often it suffers from terrible villains and a rather weak overall plot. Undeniably however, it is still a far better outing than either Luke Cage or Iron Fist, both of which were rather lackluster.

Note: This review contains  some spoilers for the four individual Marvel Netflix series and also for this show.

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Crossfire by Matt Farrer (Book Review)

Some of the best Warhammer 40,000 fiction that I’ve read to date has been rather unique in that it hasn’t focused on the “war” aspect of the setting so much. Dan Abnett’s Eisenhorn and Ravenor books for instance, have shown us how Imperial society works at a remove from all the wars in which the Imperial Guard and the Space Marines fight, and it has been really good. The same goes for some recent novels like Chris Wraight’s The Carrion Throne. However, as it turns out, one of the early pioneers of such was Matt Farrer with his Shira Calpurnia series which focused on an Imperial law-officer, Arbiter-Senioris Shira Calpurnia as she transfers over to a bustling Imperial world and has to navigate its politics and other less obvious dangers. The first novel, Crossfire, does a lot to set the stage for Shira’s new adventures and it is a fantastic read that really takes us across many levels of Imperial civilian life through a very unique perspective.

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