Review: Ragnar Blackmane

Ragnar Blackmane
Ragnar Blackmane by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very fine book about the Vlka Fenryka and one of their most famous heroes, I enjoyed this book immensely. Also, on the very last day of the year, a precise hit for my reading challenge 🙂

Usually, I like properly written Chaos stories much more, even more so if they are less bolter porn and more Lovecraftian in style, but in this book we follow Ragnar as… Ah, no, I won’t write this, better read all about it yourself 🙂

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Review: After The Dying Time

After The Dying Time
After The Dying Time by Raymond Dean White
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not as gripping as the first installation in the series, this story is less about the asteroidycalypse and the following rebuilding of civilization but more about a huge war fought with the remaining technical artifacts left over from before the Dying Time.

It was interesting food for thought to see how King Joe was actually doing a better job of rebuilding civilization but at the same time drifting closer and closer to Nazi community with slaves and “nobility”.

On the other hand, the war took up nearly all of the story while I would have loved to read a bit more about the rebuilding efforts and how the world changed but that might be personal preference 🙂

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Review: Impact

Impact by Raymond Dean White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A nice book in the vein of The Hammer of God. An unexpected rock is en route to the little blue planet, of course it strikes nearly true, and we are treated to the near total collapse of civilization as we know it.

The story kept me hooked, reading just about every free minute I could spare. What lifts this story above many other rock-strikes-blue-planet-oh-woe-is-us stories is a nearly believeable “Project Genesis” and the ways well-prepared people use the remains of civilization to start anew. Nice touch that scavengers are sent out to collect primarily books instead of more bullets.

I think my next book will be After the Dying Time, I really really want to learn how people continue on rebuilding their world.

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Review: Asurmen: Hand Of Asuryan

Asurmen: Hand Of Asuryan
Asurmen: Hand Of Asuryan by Gav Thorpe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An excellent tale about the greatest of Eldar warriors, with insights about his life before and during the Fall.

The other part of the story, a run-of-the-mill fight between Chaos and Eldar, was interesting on its own, but would have merited a four-star “liked it”, but for me, the main selling point was how the first two Phoenix Lords came to recognize their fates in life.

Hoping that the other stories will be as interesting as this one, I really really look forward to further installments in the “Phoenix Lords” series.

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Review: Last Argument of Kings

Last Argument of Kings
Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

TL;DR: Slightly worse compared to the first two books of this series. Still an enjoyable read.

The first two books started painting a nice world without too much unexaplainable magic, maybe even close to high middle ages. But then, towards the end of the book, the story got cut off very rapidly, introducing huge amounts of magic (read it, writing about the specific scenes would be too spoilery). And after that, every chapter tied the loose endings of another character or two, feeling very hurried.

I will leave some time before starting on Joe’s other series, First Law World, and hope for more down-to-earth sword and less sorcery.

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Review: Angles of Attack

Angles of Attack
Angles of Attack by Marko Kloos

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The third installment in a very readable military hard sci-fi (except the Alcubierre drive and the amazing acceleration rates that is) yarn. Having finished everything Marko Kloos has written, now I wait breathlessly for Chains of Command to see how he will work his way out of the trap everyone was put into 🙂

Our friends find their way back to good old Terra, which is by now all that is left of the nascent interstellar empire. And they are followed. Of course. The last few chapters seque nicely with Measures of Absolution, the second short story set up in the Lankies universe. You might want spent the small amount of money to read that story first, as it rounds out the story quite fine.

I can imagine a few reasons why the gambit from the end of the second book was not used in quite the same way again, but it would have been nice to read it in-universe from the point of view of the actors in the story.

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Review: Lines of Departure

Lines of Departure
Lines of Departure by Marko Kloos

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Similar to the first book in the “Frontlines” series, this book continues in the same hard sci-fi setting. Except of the Alcubierre chutes, which are the only hand-waving ingredient, everything is possible, or at least imaginable.

The last few chapters with the “single missile” (you have to read it, it would be a major spoiler) is also very nicely written, one is left with the feeling that the author really had a scientific advisor and actually listened to his opinions.

The social part, though, is starting to get a bit old. I had to suspend belief quite a bit to follow the yarn about 95% of the population on good old Terra is on starvation levels but that the military can still keep a lid on things. Some people actually have to work in the factories that produce all those weapons that in turn are used against the very same population. A very grim-dark setup indeed.

On the other hand, we see that a nice life is indeed possible for the 1% who survive military service or are otherwise well-connected. Slightly Heinleinesque, this 🙂

I’m looking forward to the third installation, Angles of Attack and after that, the fourth book, Chains of Command. It will be interesting to see how the author spins the yarn about the near-invincible Lankies and the welfare riots back on Terra.

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Review: Terms of Enlistment

Terms of Enlistment
Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t really remember how I stumbled upon this unexpected gem of military sci-fi yarn but I am very grateful for the coincidence / algorithm that led me to it.

If you enjoyed your Starship Troopers, and want something similar but with modernised setting (believable battlefield automation and communication, anyone) without Heinleins political background which never did really gel with me, HURRY AND FETCH THIS GEM 11!1!!1

Ah, oops, sorry, the excitement getting the best of me again… Now, if you excuse me, I will be in my mancave, enjoying the two short stories in this universe before settling down to read the second book…

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Review: Ansible 15717

Ansible 15717
Ansible 15717 by Stant Litore

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

O.k., it’s official, I am a supporter of Stant over at Patreon. His prose deserves nothing less.

Not only does he explore what life could feel like for a plant-like lifeform, he also writes intriguing prose about a life where Islam is portrayed in a positive way. Given how hard I found it to discover good storytelling which does not portray Muslims as towel-heads at worst, and scientific ignoramuses at best, the Ansible series are a very welcome breath of fresh air.

The rest of the story you have to read for yourself, but I would suggest to RUN AND GET YOUR COPY NOW 🙂

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