Book Review 168 // The lost king by Robbie MacNiven


Hitting up some short stories from the worlds of Warhammer 40,000. It is easy to see what the account will be about; Space Wolves! Let us dive into the details.

Title: The Lost King (Legacy of Russ #1)
Author: Robbie MacNiven
Description:
Part 1 of the War Zone Fenris Quick Reads series

The Fenris system, home of the savage and feral Space Wolves Chapter, is overrun by the forces of Chaos. On planets and moons, armies of daemons manifest to enact a campaign of slaughter, and the Wolves are forced to defend themselves on all fronts. As the fighting escalates, all contact with Logan Grimnar is lost. Can the Space Wolves find their missing Chapter Master, or is he dead, as the daemons claim?

Fenris is besieged, and the Space Wolves – with some unlikely allies – battle daemonic invaders across the system. When contact with the Chapter Master is lost, are the Space Wolves doomed to destruction?

Review

We have part one of a new series here. Didn't realize this as I started it. Now, I will have to hunt out the other 7 stories (damn it). Then to add to the reading list, I discovered after reading this story that it follows on from Curse of the Wulfen by David Annandale. So it seems we need a space wolf session soon.

Now back to the story. This tale is set during the Fenris war, the embattled Wolves have faced off against the Thousand Sons and Magnus. But at the start of this tale, it feels like the main threat has been blunted. Now battles are waging over the system as the Wolves attempt to reclaim territory from the Chaos forces. In this time of confusion, rumours are running wild; some warn that Logar Grimnar has been killed, while others warn that the approaching Dark Angel fleet comes to boosettle scores with the Wolves rather than aid them.

As this is happening, you can't shake the feeling that something more dangerous is plotting away and setting up the board in a game no one realizes they are playing. We get to experience multiple viewpoints in a short page count, which is confusing as we jump from Wolf Lords to Dark Angels and then back again. MacNiven is attempting to set up a story that deserves more time. It does help create confusion and a fog of war across the sector; as a stand-alone tale, I am not sure it works but once read with the other installments, I am sure it will make sense. I will leave off a final judgement until I read them.

Hope you enjoyed this quick review. Cheers for stopping by.



Audio Review 63 // The Predator by Christopher Golden


Getting through some of the backlogs finally. Starting with the Movie Novelisation of The Predator. I reviewed the prequel about four reviews ago titled: The Predator Hunters and Hunted, I enjoyed that piece, and the movie was an interesting take on the franchise; it didn't blow me away, but I didn't hate it. I hope this title can add to the film and fill out parts.

Title: The Predator (Aliens / Predator / Prometheus)

Author: Christopher Golden

Description: The official novelization of the summer blockbuster The Predator, Shane Black's new movie with a screenplay by Shane Black and Fred Dekker

The official novelization of the summer blockbuster The Predator, Shane Black's new movie set within the universe of the previous films. With a screenplay by Shane Black and Fred Dekker, the film stars Yvonne Strahovski, Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Alfie Allen, Thomas Jane, Sterling Brown, Keegan-Michael Key, Edward James Olmos, Jake Busey, and more. Author Christopher Golden (Alien: River of Pain) will work closely with James A. Moore, author of the official prequel novel.

From the outer reaches of space to the backwoods of southern Georgia, the hunt comes home in Shane Black's explosive reinvention of the Predator series. Now, the universe's most lethal hunters are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before. And only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and an evolutionary biology professor can prevent the end of the human race.

Review

The author did an excellent job of converting the movie into a novel. They cover all the critical points with plenty of action, and the whole story moves along quickly. It did have some issues. Firstly it moved quicker than the film, the predator's arrival was fast, the main human villain's death was so quick I missed it and had to go back to find it. It lacked any additional material like you get added to a book like this, but sadly, this book is a straight-up script reading. It even felt like some parts were taken out. The characters came across a bit flat; it was hard to connect with them or care when they died. I would save myself the time and straight-up watch the film only if I could do a do-over.

With this in mind, I will not offer you a link to the novel; instead, go get the movie! Come over to youtube and say hi instead: Subscribe Now



Beer Review 176 // Clean Cut Inspired by Kolsch Unfiltered

I am so ready to go exploring; with my birthday rapidly approaching, I have the urge to travel, but with the world currently, how it is, it is hard to justify going somewhere when everything is closed. So instead, I kept my money and spent it locally, real locally; I spent it at work and purchased some Beyond the Pale beer.

This week's brew is a classic after-work beer for me called Clean Cut. This beer is inspired by German-style Kolsch. Traditionally filtered until transparent, BTP (Beyond the Pale) when they started brewing this didn't have the equipment needed, so they went with an unfiltered version. Jump forward a few years, and now Clean Cut is filtered, but at least once or twice a year, BTP releases the Unfiltered to see how far the brewery has come. Here are the details.

Beer: Clean Cut - Kolsch Inspired  - Unfiltered
ABV: 5%
Brewery: Beyond the Pale Brewing Company
Location: Ottawa, Ontario.
Fluff: To make a truly "inspired by" beer, you have to visit the people who make it the best. After shipping the brew team to Koln, Germany, they came back and created our Clean Cut recipe. Using 100% German malts and yeast, the brewers could produce our most on-style beer ever. Crisp, Clean and refreshing, this is a fantastic patio beer and perfect for sharing.

Review

Well, this beer delivers. The pour is a beautiful, strawlike yellow brew with a lively creamy white head that looks delicious. It settles lovely in the glass, with the head crisping up to line the inside of the pint glass as we drink it. Aromas are biscuity and bread forward, very gentle, but very welcoming. The taste is as described, super clean, crisp and refreshing. Due to the unfiltered nature of this brew, it has a bit more bitterness and a creamier mouthfeel, but it is so delicious. I usually have at least 4 cans of the filtered version in my fridge at all times.

As always, I appreciate you stopping by and reading. Why not start your own beer blogging adventure and keep a record of your drinks using this great Beer Journal (Link is to Amazon.ca and is an affiliate link). I personally like this one as it is clean, easy to use and prompts you on the key points.

Until next time Cheers!

Comic Review 170 // Aliens: Resistance by Brian Wood


Xenomorph fans rejoice! We have more Aliens content for you this week with Aliens: Resistance. I discovered this title in my local library (support and check out you're local), now I knew of its existence due to having completed the Aliens: Defiance Volume One and Two. I remember not being blown away by the characters or the writing, so I am nervous going into this. I am excited to see Amanda Ripley as I am seriously enjoying Alien Isolation at the moment on Youtube.

Here are the details.

Title: Aliens: Resistance
Author: Brian Wood
Illustrations: Robert Carey (Illustrations)
Page Count: 96 pages
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Fluff:
An evil corporation's secret bio-weapons program puts all of humanity at risk. Ellen Ripley's daughter must fight the horrific xenomorph threat.

Following Alien: Isolation, Amanda Ripley is kept silent by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation about the xenomorph threat. Enter Zula Hendricks, an Ex-Colonial Marine, in need of Ripley's help to expose a sinister bio-weapons program. The duo teams up against the sinister corporation's upgraded arsenal as they journey through space from the research lab to a test facility designed to keep the darkest atrocities secret!

Critically acclaimed writer Brian Wood (The Massive, DMZ, Briggs Land) returns to Aliens to pen the strenuous efforts of Ripley and Hendricks to bring down the Weyland-Yutani weapons program. With hair-raising art by Robert Carey (Power Rangers, The Phantom).

Collects Aliens: Resistance 1-4 comic series.

Review


This comic series drops in after the Game Alien: Isolation in the grand timeline of things. It, of course, follows Amanda Ripley and reintroduces Zula Hendricks, an Ex-Colonial Marine. They are teaming up to expose Weyland-Yutani's bio-weapon program in this title. Image ragtag team vs the evil corporation.

This comic kind of has it all; we have space adventures, xenomorphs, androids and nuclear bombs; we also have colony ships full of soon-to-be victims and, of course, the puppet masters Weyland-Yutani.

But it turns out even with all the best parts, we have a bit of a dud. The writing is dull, leading to a failure to capture my imagination. The characters seem to not mesh or even like each other. Then combine this with xenomorphs that don't feel like a threat, and the story rapidly becomes dull. This was a real shame as I found myself zoning out as I read the story. With a weak story, you hope for incredible artwork to carry it, and sadly this failed as well. The planet that the story was set on was impressive at times and could make me pause for a moment, but the characters themselves seemed so plain and doll-like, faces lacked emotion, and for most of the comic, they seem 100% dead behind the eyes. 

Ultimately Aliens: Resistance, felt rushed and maybe it was? It just seemed like it was all thrown together last minute to fill a gap in the publishing schedule and attempt to cash in on some success from the game. It lacks in plot, direction and artwork. So I have to say this is a miss for me.

Typically I would link to Amazon now and a buy it links. But I'm not today as you deserve better. Instead, head to my Youtube channel and support me there.

Alien Isolation Walk-through Part 5 - Seegson Androids Part Two.


Alien Isolation gameplay, these damn Seegson Androids are everywhere; after watching the video come back and read more about these grey-skinned monsters. I am struggling to get past these Android menaces. Watch as I jump, sneak and attempt to avoid these Seegson Androids. The vent system is the key to victory.


Here is a little background blurp I found:

Working Joes, also referred to as Maintenance Synths, were a line of rudimentary androids manufactured and sold by the Seegson Corporation. They were encountered aboard the decommissioned space station, Sevastopol, in 2137 and later in 2202, on the surface of LV-895, by Amanda Ripley-McClaren and the Colonial Marine fireteam, respectively.

I want to make some of these for games of Alien or as Droids wandering the streets of Mega-City One. I hope to use some bolt action figures as the base and maybe make a crowd of these.

Book Review 167 // Alien Isolation by Keith R.A. DeCandido


Hopefully, you have been following my Alien: Isolation gameplay? If not for shame! Head over to Youtube now to watch. Okay, all caught up? This game has me hooked and scared in equal measures. While visiting my local library (support libraries, please), I discovered this title on the shelf and knew I owed it to myself to read. Definitely spoilers to the game in this book.

Title: Alien: Isolation 

Author: Keith R.A. DeCandido

Fluff:

The product of troubled and violent youth, Amanda Ripley is hell-bent on discovering what happened to her missing mother, Ellen Ripley. She joins a Weyland-Yutani team sent to retrieve the Nostromo flight recorder, only to find space station Sevastopol in chaos with a Xenomorph aboard. Flashbacks reveal Amanda's history and events that forced her mother to take the assignment aboard the Nostromo.

Amazon CA: Alien Isolation

Page Count: 336 pages

Review

As I already confessed, I am in the process of playing through Alien Isolation, and I have so far been really enjoying it. Such a scary game and sucks you in, so I was really hoping the book would do that too.

Firstly though a game adaptation, it would seem DeCandido was given space to fill out some back story. Allowing him to explain what happened to Amanda Ripley before we met her. Though interesting, they started to become rather annoying as we kept having "flashbacks," which for me ruined the flow of the story. These parts should have been combined to produce a prologue to the main story. That way, we still get the character's background without destroying the horror flow.

Thankfully the representation of the game is well portrayed and can create a lot of atmospheres and capture all the essential parts. He does well to showcase the environment as a critical part of the game; we read about the graffiti and posters that litter the station. We also hear about her creating items from scratch, another critical play point. These were very nice touches to help merge the two in my mind.

Overall I really enjoyed the book. It is an excellent adaptation; the author used the game and brought it to life. Yes, there are issues, but there will always be a computer game adaption. This excellent introduction to the Alien series and has enough horror to keep me hooked.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the review and will come back soon for my next post. Check out more of my Xenomorph adventures here. LINK.

Audio Review 62 // Deathfire by Nick Kyme (The Horus Heresy #32)


Diving into the Horus Heresy series once more, and we are at number 32 in the series. Deathfire by Nick Kyme continues the Salamander Story arc, and damn, is this a long story 15+ hours. Let us see how their role in the war evolves and get into the details:

Title: Deathfire (The Horus Heresy #32)

Author: Nick Kyme

Narrator: Saul Reichlin

Publisher: Black Library

Fluff:

Vulkan lies in state beneath the Fortress of Hera, yet many of his sons still refuse to believe that he is truly dead.

After a seemingly miraculous rescue by the Ultramarines, Artellus Numeon, once captain of the Pyre Guard, urges the other Salamanders on Macragge to leave Imperium Secundus and return their primarch's body to the homeworld of Nocturne - there to be reborn in the flames of Mount Deathfire. But Numeon grapples endlessly with his doubts and fears for the future of the Legion while their foes seek to carve out new destinies of their own...

Amazon link: Buy Now

Review

Well, that was long, worst yet was that it felt twice as long. What is going on with the Salamander arc? I don't think I have truly enjoyed any of them yet. I was initially excited when we had Ruinstorm travel, daemons and a fantastic chase happening, but then it started to fizzle out. We had a lot of "how many unexplained characters" can show up, "Why are some of the characters acting weird or out of character?", or why has this character gone from interesting to lame?

There are parts to enjoy in this book. Unfortunately, these points are buried under the noise, which is a lot. Like I said, the Ruinstorm chase, daemons, aka Sirens, and some of the Word Bearer action stand out for me, while being planetside on Nocturne was also intriguing and new to me as I've not read much on this Legion. Even that enjoyment was marred with downsides; the build-up of travelling through the Ruinstorm made it seem like we were going to have a horror of a time. Instead, they managed to jump in and out with hardly much issue. A lot of the characters were forgettable and played pointless roles. This also leaked into the Deathguard, who for scenes are super deadly, unbreakable wall of death killing all in their path, then they landed on Nocturne and become useless. Almost in a single paragraph, they are wiped out, and one of the main villains is instantly killed mid-sentence by a cheap shot? What the hell, Kyme?

Overall I think the flaws outweighed the pros. As a completionist, I need this title in my life but did it add to the entire arc or war? NOPE

Give this one a miss.

Beer Review 175 // Ball Dropper by Beyond the Pale Brewing Company Ottawa

Welcome to 2022 and another basic lockdown edition of me drinking. As I have mentioned in the past, Ontario has an indoor lockdown on dining, bars, cinemas etc. Meaning it is hard for me to explore new locations to grab new brews. Lucky for me, I work at a brewery that produces excellent beers. So though I would generally avoid promoting my job, I feel that this is the time to do it.

Today's beer is Ball Dropper and is released for the New Year's Eve crowd, and here are the details.

Name: Ball Dropper (BUY HERE)
Brewery: Beyond the Pale Brewing Company, Ottawa, Ontario. Canada.
Style: DIPA
ABV: 8.0%
Fluff:
"We didn't drop the ball this year!"

2021 deserves a big beer to help finish it off, so we brewed a DIPA loaded with Comet, Simcoe, Cryo Simcoe and Cryo Idaho7 hop. This combination has helped create a dank & resiny brew with Grapefruit, Pine and Tangerine note. This beer is a big, bold brew and will kick start your new year in style.

Grab them now!

Review

This is a big beer. It is an orange-hued brew on the pour with a beautiful, lively head. You get all the aromas of a classic American West Coast IPA. Pine, resins, citrus, grapefruit pith. It smells great and reminds me of all those traditional brews from 8 years ago. As you sip, you are greeted by the citrus again; there is also a little melon from Simcoe sneaking through, making for a pleasurable drink. I am taken by surprise by how easy this is to drink. At 8%, you expect a boozy hit in the end but are instead greeted with a gentle bitterness that makes you take another sip while completely forgetting that 8%. I did make the error of drinking too many in a row, but that is a personal mistake.

If you are in the Ottawa area, go treat yourself to some cans before it sells out. Otherwise, cheers to you all and see you next week.

Comic Review 169 // Alien: The Original Screenplay


I am so excited to review this comic book. I have read a lot of good things about this Aliens Original Screenplay. I really hope it delivers. Here are the details:

Title: Alien: The Original Screenplay
Notes: Collects issues #1-5
Illustrators: Cristiano Seixas, Guilherme Balbi, Walter Simonson & Candice Han (Color Artist).
Writer: Dan O'Bannon.
Fluff:
In 1976, Twentieth Century Fox bought a screenplay by Dan O'Bannon entitled Star Beast. Three years later, with Ridley Scott at the helm, Alien was unleashed on unsuspecting filmgoers.

En route back to Earth, the crew of the starship Snark intercepts an alien transmission. Their investigation leads them to a desolate planetoid, a crashed alien spacecraft and a pyramidic structure of unknown origin. Then the terror begins . . .

Writer Cristiano Seixas and artist Guilherme Balbi have attempted to stay true to the characters, settings, and creatures described in O'Bannon's original screenplay--without replicating the famous designs of Ron Cobb, Moebius, and H.R. Giger. A new experience, but still terrifying!

Page Count: 112
Buy Now: Alien: The Original Screenplay

Review

By now, you should all realize I am a big Alien fan, with the original film ranking in my top five of all time. I've been lucky over the last few years to get my hands on a lot of the Dark Horse comics and the old Bantham books. This has led to a reignition of my enjoyment for it, combined with the Gale Force Nine board game. So when I discovered via the web about an original screenplay, I had to go looking, and I am glad I did.

This version of the opening story was created using Dan O'Bannon's screenplay; this formed the base of the rewrite created by David Giler and Walter Hill. It is truly the first step into a series that has shaped my hobbies since I first saw it. It is hard not to try and compare it to the film, there is, of course, so much in common, and the script matches up at times as well, causing you to slip into the movie imagery before being grounded back into the comic. But these are rare moments as the comic artwork does a fantastic work of readjusting the known imagery. The plot though basically the same (crew find alien craft and shit hits the fan), is narratively different and exciting in its own way. One significant change is the gore. This comic has a lot! The film uses your imagination to create horror and fear; the comic instead just throw it at you? I can see how this version would not have worked in the cinemas at the time and the need for a rewrite.

The artwork is unique, but I can only imagine how hard it was for the art team to create. Imagine years of knowing "this is a xenomorph" before being told to 'change it!'. Overall, the Giger Alien wins. But let us be honest and state that this is a full-on bias opinion; how could I think otherwise?

 Once you are a few pages in, you forget the film for the most part as the artwork is beautiful, and I have to say the navigator of the comic creeped me out more than the film version. The comic version has this sense of otherworldly, cyclopean nightmare of a Lovecraft creation. It is so different and terrifying to look upon. Is the star head a helmet or its face?

Other keynotes are the crew, so many more characters to get killed off, and with the extra characters, we are treated to a more rounded view of how dangerous a Xenomorph is. The blood tears through crew and ship alike, causing them to react with more caution, which seems so much more believable than the film. This leads the comic team into attempting to capture the Alien rather than just shooting it. Opening up for the classic crawl through the vent system scene we all love.

Overall, this will be a classic case of you will either enjoy it or hate it. I can see hardcore fans/narrow-minded/gatekeepers hating it, stating that this is not their Alien! But for the open-minded, this is a view into what could have been. How different would our experiences be if this film had been made? All I can tell you is that I genuinely enjoyed this, and if you get the chance, pick it up and read it!

Thank you for stopping by and reading. If you are a fan of the alien series, you may enjoy my Youtube channel where I slowly build, paint and play the Gale Force Nine Game and play through the Alien: Isolation game. Here are some links:


Cheers!

Alien Isolation Part 4 - Working Joe Android Update.


Just as I was fearing the Xenomorph, it turns out more than one villain is moving around the station. Enter the Working Joe Android by Seegson industry. Their primary function is to aid and repair the station as Seegson slowly decommission it. But with the arrival of the Xenomorph, it would seem a new priority program has taken over, one that allows the model to injure and kill humans. These are creepy androids having a more limited cosmetic look about them; they stand 5'9" and have a rubbery grey skin. Don't get to close!


I hope you enjoyed Part 4 of my Alien Isolation series. Missed any episodes? Head over to my youtube channel and catch up. You could also drop me a follow which would be amazing.


Thanks for reading.

Book Review 166 // Silver Skulls: Portents by S.P. Cawkwell


Today is a title I didn't expect to review. I firstly didn't know it even existed, and secondly didn't ever expect to find it at a thrift store. This book was highly intriguing as I knew very little about the Silver Skulls Space Marines. I am definitely excited to learn more.

Book Title: Silver Skulls: Portents
Author: Sarah Cawkwell
Page Count: 362
Fluff: Combating an insurrection backed by the Traitor Legions, the Silver Skulls may be manipulated by the very powers they fight against...

They may be Ultramarines successors, but they're certainly not Codex-compliant... and the Inquisition wants to know why. How the Silver Skulls work and why it might just be their downfall is explored, with a series of shocking twists that will ensure that you never look at the silver-armoured Space Marines in the same way again.

The Silver Skulls Space Marine Chapter deployed on the world of Valoria Quintus to combat an insurrection backed by the dread forces of the Traitor Legions. Sent there by the visions of their Prognosticars, the mysterious psykers whose premonitions decree the path forged by the Chapter and the wars they wage, they expect victory to be swift and easy. But they have not reckoned with their own allies, the servants of the Inquisition who are interested in the Prognosticars, their importance within the Chapter and the possibility that the Silver Skulls may be being manipulated by the very powers they fight against...

Review

This story is all about the Silver Skulls and continues on plot seeds created in the Gildar Rift story. We have our main character Sergeant Gileas Ur'ten upfront and centre, and through him, we discover the culture and background of the Chapter.

The main plot is about the Silver Skulls having caught the eye of the Ordo Hereticus. They are now under investigation for heresy due to their reliance on the Librarians of the Chapter. To this end, an Inquisitor is sent to the Silver Skull's homeworld of Varsavia to seek out the proof to condemn this Chapter. They are called upon to wage war on a planet taken over by the Thousand Sons during this time. This was a significant part of the story, and I really enjoyed it. The Thousand Sons seemed deadly, while the flow of battle was well-paced and written.

Another aspect of the book that was rather interesting was the tribal/racial animosity of the people of Varsavia that seeps into the Silver Skulls Chapter. It would seem there is a North-South divide with the Northern tribe's men believing themselves to be better and nobler than the "feral" Southerners. This is unique and shows that a Chapter isn't necessarily a brotherhood and full of prejudices.

These twists made this novel such a joy. I rapidly consumed this novel and really enjoyed it; I am interested in finding more from this author and more Silver Skull novels.

Do you want to read this novel? Please use this link to purchase through Amazon and get me a kickback (hahaha): Kindle Edition.

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Book Review 168 // The lost king by Robbie MacNiven

Hitting up some short stories from the worlds of Warhammer 40,000. It is easy to see what the account will be about; Space Wolves! Let us di...