Book Review 188 // The Reaper's Gift by Ray Cluley

Continuing my short reads with what, in my opinion, is one of the strongest Age Sigmar tales out there. Unfortunately, this title is actually a part of the anthology titled the Accursed and as such doesn't have it's own cover or much info on it.

Title: The Reaper's Gift

Author: Ray Cluley

Disclaimer: This title actually appears in the anthology titled the Accursed; as I haven't read the whole book yet, I will not be sharing any amazon links at this time.

Review

Well, I said it in the opening line, for me is one of the best Age of Sigmar stories out there. Ray Cluley has created such a depressing and bleak world that could fit almost any fantasy setting. He has done such a great job; with minimal tweaking, this could be made into a real-world story.

In this tale, we join a soldier who has deserted the front lines, and as he flees the forces of death, he finds himself in a farming community that is a little too quiet. Seemingly suffering from a harsh famine, the soldier holds up with a family and discovers the tale of the Reaper's Gift and how far a people will go to survive. It is haunting and addictive to read and captivates me until the end. This is genuinely a standout. 

The only problem I have is that Cluley only has one more tale in the Black Library catalogue. I really hope this changes soon as I want more!

Audio Review 76 // All That Remains by James Swallow

We are now about halfway through the War Without End title, and it would seem we have ourselves an early Grey Knight story to enjoy, so let us jump in.

Title: All That Remains

Author: James Swallow

Link to buy off Amazon.

Fluff: As Horus's rebellion consumes the galaxy, the dead number in the billions – far greater, however, are the countless casualties evacuated from front line duties to tend their wounds and someday return to the fight. On one particular vessel cast adrift in the warp, a handful of ragged Imperial Army soldiers make a startling discovery, and the question of why so many more of their comrades have been lost is soon answered...

Get ready for a mystery like no other. A derelict ship harbouring sick and dying men gets caught up in a secret mission straight from the Emperor's right-hand man, Malcador, to create a new army to save the Imperium. Too bad the citizens on board don't know that. This story is a fascinating revelation about the birth of the Grey Knights and exactly how the seeds of their Chapter were sown.

Review

The story takes place on a damaged Battleship, basically drifting through space. This ship is described as a hospital ship full of injured, shell-shocked troopers. Some are even damaged by exposure to the Warp. So overall, a very damaged group of imperium soldiers. But as the story progresses, we discover some unusual traits among the survivors; it would seem, in one way or another, they are all "gifted" with warp gifts. 

As they drift through space, their ship is boarded by a lone Space Marine, bedecked in the grey armour and symbols of the Sigillite. He commandeers the ship and, with his psychic might, sets the ship's course to Titan and heavily hints at the idea of the Grey Knights organization.

This basically seems like an origins tale for the 40K Grey Knights. Overall a pretty good story. Nothing blew me away, but in no way was I disappointed. Where does it sit in the timeline, though? As it made mention to daemons being summoned by Thousand Sons, which I felt happened later in the war? Maybe I am wrong? These collected stories do seem to make a mockery of the timelines.

As always, I appreciate the read. Thank you!

Judge Dredd Table - Dan Abnett Block WIP



It's been a while since I've done a gaming table update. It has been slow going, to be honest. Though I want to start doing battle reports, it is hard to find time to finish terrain. If I have time, I prefer to use it on painting minis. But I will knuckle down and start pushing forward on this project. I want to show you what I have and list what I still need to do with that in mind.

As you can see, my 3'x3' table base is complete apart from some touch-ups, so honestly, it is just the buildings and some scattered terrain to get done. Here is what I feel I need to finalize.

A Road

Warehouse unit

Long Shop

Shed Shop

Scatter terrain - planters, signage etc.

Ruined block

Industrial zone - which includes the wastage pit (bottom corner).


Now that it is written down, it doesn't seem that bad, and I honestly think this is going to be a goal for the rest of the year one project a month (ideally more if I can) with the ultimate goal of a December battle report with fully painted terrain and miniatures. I need positive videos, and I think I will start with the warehouse unit, so check back soon and keep me honest!

As always, thanks for reading.


 

Comic Review 194 // Star Wars Adventures Volume 8 - Defend the Republic!


Back at the Star Wars Comics. I promise I will get back to Slaine, but as these are library loaners, the priority is to finish and bring them back for the next reader to enjoy. Today we dip into the Clone War Era, which I have always wanted more than the OG trilogy.

Title: Star Wars Adventures, Vol. 8: Defend the Republic!
Writing Team: Delilah S. Dawson, Cavan Scott, Nick Brokenshire
Art team: Derek Charm, Mauricet.
Fluff: Join Padmé, Yoda, Jar Jar Binks, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Anakin Skywalker in these young-reader-friendly tales set during Episodes 1-3!

Padmé Amidala joins Jar Jar Binks on a quest to recover a legendary Gungan artifact, but this one will be very messy! Then, legendary General Obi-Wan Kenobi undertakes a daring operation for the Republic Army during the Clone Wars, guest-starring Captain Rex! And Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker and Jedi Master Yoda embark on an urgent mission, where Anakin's rebellious nature could spell trouble for the Republic.

Collects issues #18-20 of the Star Wars Adventures series.

Paperback, 80 pages

Review

This issue has five stories, all set in the Clone War Era. Like the other books in this set, it is aimed at a younger audience than myself, so I will keep this in mind as I review.

This is an excellent read for a comic aimed at a younger reader, but this is a bit of a miss for me. Stories are slightly too short, lack depth and, at worst pointless and straight-up goofy. We seem to have lost the "adventure" in this adventure series and are now stuck with meh.

Lucky for us, though, Cavan Scott came to the rescue with 'Roger, Roger.' Obi-Wan and Rex are befriending a damaged battle droid who now wishes to side with the Republic! Unlike the other stories, this droid is a very likeable character, and by the end, he is a standout piece of the book (though the bar is not high, sadly). The story is also assisted by the artwork, which was above the other artists' quality.

I am worried the series has turned for me, and maybe I need to give it a rest? Do you ever get burned out on a series? Is that what I face here, or has the series honestly gotten worse as it continues? Let me know if you have read these?

As always, cheers for reading.

Gale Force Nine: Another Glorious Day in the Corps - Assets & Hazards Unboxing.


A quick and dirty Youtube video today as we unbox the Aliens: Assets and Hazards by Gale Force Nine.

I was on the fence about getting this kit as it is basically a token replacement from the main game, but the completionist in me needed this. After opening and building I am glad I purchased as the the eggs and Facehuggers are just too cute!

For more videos head this way: Gale Force Nine Aliens on Youtube.

Thanks for watching.

Book Review 187 // A Light Beam for Faith: The Making of A Restorer

Something a little different this Friday. I discovered a new Ottawa-based Sci-fi writer releasing her first book, and after a quick chat, I decided to treat myself to the kindle version of the title. I hope you will take a moment to read and, if interested, treat yourself to a copy.

Title: A Light Beam for Faith: The Making of A Restorer

Author: E.K. Highland

Fluff: She’s not waiting for a hero to come to save her; instead, she becomes her heroine. Hazel’s world comes crashing in front of her in an instant during a family trip to Mont-Tremblant. What she doesn’t know is that she is from the stars, and so it’s no wonder she must return to find the answers she seeks.

She embarks on a trek aboard the Imperial Bona Fides, the mothership of the Alpha Cygnians people. With the help of her best friend Zita and the others she will meet along the way, she will journey to places she never knew existed. Hazel will learn to tame her fears and become the woman she wants to be.

This is the story of different worlds that must learn to co-exist. They must all put their differences aside, and with a bit of faith, they will all witness a new dawn. We are all compelled to be inspired when faith is with us.

Review

I was convinced to give this a try as a local author wrote it, and it is essential to support new voices and broaden my reading. All I can say is that I am glad I did. We join Hazel, your average girl living in the year 2334. She has a classic back story of a father disappearing and a strange twist of an alien ship kidnapping her twin sister during a holiday at a local resort. During this kidnapping, Hazel's mother is drugged via injection and forgets who she is and who her children are. Now alone, Hazel is forced to attempt to find her father, and through this adventure, we watch her grow into a strong, inspiring adult.

A lot is going on in the book, and the book's central theme is co-existence and the importance of life. Will there be more in the series? Who knows, but I'm interested to find out.

This book wasn't what I expected at all, and though not my regular sci-fi read, I enjoyed it.

Audio Review 75 // The Harrowing by Rob Sanders

Having a double feature this week! I am not going to lie. I am looking forward to another Alpha Legion story. Whenever they appear, they are cunning and ruthless. Let's see if it continues in this short tale from War Without End.

The Title: The Harrowing (The Horus Heresy #Short Story)

Author: Rob Sanders

Fluff: Death has come to Callistra Mundi. The Space Marines of the Traitor Legions are coming, but when it's the Alpha Legion, you never know how they might appear... or who might be working for them.

The garrison world of Callistra Mundi is threatened by traitor forces – none other than the insidious Alpha Legion. Like so many before it, this attack will not come as a traditional legionary assault but as a Harrowing. Operatives and turncoats are revealed within the Mechanicum ark freighter Omnissiax and her attendant battlegroup, and confusion will reign amongst the loyalist defenders. And only when none can tell friend from foe will the true destruction begin...

The Alpha Legion assault a garrison world in their own inimitable style, turning friend against friend until no one knows who is responsible... Jump in and see if you can figure out the mystery behind the Harrowing.

Buy now: Amazon

Format: ebook

Review

Okay, okay, this was freaking awesome! A great little insight into the Alpha Legion's tactics. Overall, we discover that the Harrowing tactic involves misdirection, infiltrators, and good old-fashioned turncoats. We actually get to experience the damage that can be done from within and the confusion that can be sowed with very few agents.

This is like a SAS/Special Force mission, and it was so cool to watch the Mechanium undone by these tactics. Overall a fantastic tale that I highly recommend, and I can't wait to see what the Alpha Legion does next!

As always, I appreciate you stopping to read, and I hope you will check out my Youtube Channel, Adventures with Peps, for more content.

Audio Review 74 // By the Lion's Command by Gav Thorpe

I am continuing my run of short listens of Horus Heresy stories with this title from the War Without book. By the Lion's Command has my favourite BL author Gav Thorpe once again taking the helm with the Dark Angels. Let's get into the details.

Title: By the Lion's Command (The Horus Heresy #Short Story)

Author: Gav Thorpe

Fluff: Following the splitting of the Dark Angels fleet in the aftermath of Perditus, Seneschal Corswain continues to hunt down the Death Guard forces under the command of the infamous Typhon. Now, a tense standoff erupts in the heavens over the supposedly independent world of Terra Nullius, and Corswain must either bend the local population to his own cause or make an example of them to other worlds that might secede from the Imperium. In this war, there can be no innocent bystanders.

It's a tense stalemate from start to finish. An ultimatum is set for the Free Army of Terra Nullius by the Dark Angels. They can rejoin the forces of the Emperor or be destroyed along with the traitor Death Guard. This is one of the first instances where a system declares independence rather than joining either side in the Horus Heresy, forcing the Loyalists to make some hard decisions about them.

GET A COPY: Amazon/Audible

Published: March 31st, 2015, by Black Library

Review

I love Dark Angels in the Horus Heresy era. Who's side are they on? Are they good guys? Are they bad guys? Or are they playing both sides? I love it. In this title, we are treated to Seneschal Corswain as the lead. It follows his forces after splitting the legion forces, as Corswain attempts to locate the traitorous Typhon and his Death Guard.

Believing to have discovered the Death Guards' destination, the Dark Angel forces head to Terra Nullius to engage. Here they find a world protected by orbital stations; the only problem is the world has not chosen a side and hopes to ride out the war as a neutral force. Unfortunately, the war has arrived, and they must decide who to join. The devil they know (i.e. the Imperium) or the new Overlords (the Deathguard).

A very tense story which could have easily swung either way and Gav Thorpe does a great job at adding this pressure into the account. A really standout piece in these short stories so far. Well worth the purchase and listen to!

Enjoy.

Comic 193 // Star Wars Adventures (Vol 4): Smugglers Blues


How many more library finds can I discover before they fully dry up? This week it is the turn of volume 4, Smuggler's blues. With a young Solo and Chewy in trouble once again.

Title: Star Wars Adventures, Vol. 4: Smuggler's Blues

Creative: Cavan Scott, Derek Charm (Illustrator)

 Fluff: Set before the events of Episode IV: A New Hope, join everyone’s favourite stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder on a daring new caper!

Feared bounty hunters Zuckuss and 4-LOM are hot on the heels of the most notorious scoundrels in the galaxy, Han Solo and Chewbacca! Han and Chewie will risk landing on a mysterious planet that somehow shuts down all electronics to evade their pursuers. How will the boys escape with the Millennium Falcon unable to take off?

With a mix of characters from all across the Star Wars film series, Star Wars Adventures is perfect for Jedi and Padawans alike.

Review

As the name suggests, we are getting the stories of smugglers in this volume, with a Han Solo/Chewy adventure, a Lando Calrissian tale and finally, a Jaxxon the green rabbit tale (I am a big fan of Bucky O'Hare, so I better like this one!).

Opening tale is the cover also with Solo and Chewy attempting to flee from the bounty hunting duo of Zuckuss and 4-LOM. After a failed attempt to escape, the duo crash land on a planet that kills all electronic devices. As they are forced to team up, we are faced with double-crosses, killer spiders and blaster action. A great way to start the book off; I really enjoyed it.

The follow-up tale is all about the smooth as butter Lando Calrissian. During his days in Cloud City, he attempts to be an honest man and is contacted by an old friend to help steer a kid from entering a life of crime. Not a sinister tale, also not that thrilling, to be honest. A safe story.

Now I was looking forward to Jaxxon, the green rabbit, in Disney canon! An exciting story that will seem very similar to a Mandalorian tale (which I assume was inspired by this). Jaxxon has been hired to transport a batch of endangered eggs, the last in a long line of a Royal family. Of course, nothing goes to plan, and it is soon discovered to all be a ruse to allow the real eggs to be smuggled away by Hans. A short, sweet tale. I do hope we get more.

Overall a solid outing, not perfect, but when is it? It's nice to see Jaxxon and have an excellent Solo story, so it wins there. It was also interesting to see a bit of Bespin. Overall I would recommend reading if you have a spare evening.

Alien Isolation Part 14 - That made me jump


Unlucky for some, we have reached part 13 of my Alien: Isolation gameplay series. This episode was a joy to play. I died and jumped so much, my heart was racing by the end, and I actually struggled to fall asleep that night. Hahaha.

Hope you enjoy it!

Book Review 186 // No Use for Good Men (Short Story) by Guy Haley

Enjoying these Black Library short reads, I fear this story is tempting me into the crime series they have been creating of late. Here is the fluff for No Use for Good Men.

Fluff: 

In the grim darkness of the far future, there is a vast city… The urban sprawl of murder and corruption. A den of vice and illicit deeds where the law fails, and justice is fleeting.

Glutted merchant-kings turn the wheels of industry, feeding the engine of war on distant worlds while the lowly dream only of survival. As the gilded prosper, hidden behind their fortress walls, the masses must find a place within the underbelly. But regardless of station, whether criminal or law-keeper, one fact remains true – this city is dirty, and no one escapes it without a little sin. For in Varangantua, there are no good men.

Review

Damn, this was good if quick read. Guy Hayley does excellent work in bringing the City of Varangantua alive. It is a depressing place where good people are crushed under the iron fists of gangs and corruption. How the people survive is beyond me, and the complete feeling of powerlessness the law enforcement faces is just numbing. Order is a fleeting dream that seems to slip further away every day.

As I mentioned, though, it was a quick read, but it was enough to add the series to my to-be-purchased list, and that alone speaks volumes to how good a read this was. I will review as soon as I have that title and have consumed it.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

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Book Review 188 // The Reaper's Gift by Ray Cluley

Continuing my short reads with what, in my opinion, is one of the strongest Age Sigmar tales out there. Unfortunately, this title is actuall...