Hellboy (2004) – Review

In the last days of WWII, desperate to change the course of the war, occult Nazis open a portal to hell; this is a classic occult Nazi tactic that will doubtless be familiar to you. Although US special forces eventually manage to close the portal before reality itself is unwritten, something still manages to come through.

That something is a juvenile demon, named “Hellboy” by the remaining allied troops. Initially intended to be a world-ending weapon for the Third Reich, the baby monster is instead adopted by a scientist and taken to the US. Years pass, and the demon becomes a vital asset to humanity, fighting monsters as part of the BPRD (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence).

In 2004, occult Nazis are nothing but a distant memory, except – surprise! – they’re all still alive and now they’re back to open a new portal to hell and unleash chaos. Hellboy’s attempts to stop them are hampered by both his complicated personal life and the way that everything he does plays right into their hands.

Continue reading “Hellboy (2004) – Review”

The Binding – Bridget Collins (Review)

‘Imagine you could hide a secret. Forever.’

Set in an alternate past in which the binding of books is a magical process, people have their most traumatic memories erased and bound into books.

I have to admit, I initially wanted to read The Binding mainly because I kept seeing the gorgeous cover in the bookshop where I used to work and I coveted it, which feels quite appropriate. Having read it, I really don’t know what genre I would peg The Binding as being.

Continue reading “The Binding – Bridget Collins (Review)”

Spellslinger – Sebastien De Castell (Review)

SS.jpg

In a society where power, status, and freedom are only given to those with magic, Kellen has a problem. Despite being from a powerfully magical family, and with only days to go before he either demonstrates his powers or is enslaved, Kellen’s magic has yet to appear.

It’s not a great situation to be in, and his personal problems pale into insignificance compared to the increasingly unstable political situation – an internal power vacuum, spies from a hostile kingdom, and the re-appearance of an extinct enemy. Kellen has little time(and even less power) to fix anything, but apparently it’s all his responsibility.
The setting is non-standard – it’s low fantasy but with more magic than normal, displaying little technology but with aesthetics somewhere between Arabian Nights and Westerns. It’s difficult to place the world against an equivalent mundane era, or tie it to a specific mythology. There’s a definite Eastern influence, but not to the exclusion of all else. I like things like that – it takes longer to work out what’s going on, but the creatures and magic are fresh.

Continue reading “Spellslinger – Sebastien De Castell (Review)”

Doctor Strange (2016) – Review

A1dZex6UxyL._RI_SX300_After a brilliant but arrogant surgeon loses the use of his hands in an accident, his search for healing takes him beyond science and medicine to strange realms of magic.

With new power comes new responsibility, as though that’s a common theme to all Marvel plots or something. Our reality is under threat, and Doctor Strange has to fully embrace the powers he only half-understands in order to fight back.

 

Continue reading “Doctor Strange (2016) – Review”

The Witcher (2007) – Review

The_Witcher_EU_box.jpgWitchers are mutants – monsters created to defend normal people from worse monsters. They take dangerous jobs for little pay and less thanks. Geralt of Rivia is the most famous of witchers, but he doesn’t know that – he’s forgotten all of his pasts and all of his monster-hunting knowledge.

You take on the role of Geralt as he struggles to recover his memories, do witcher work, and navigate the complex politics of a kingdom riven by sectarian and inter-species conflict. Continue reading “The Witcher (2007) – Review”

Blackwoods Marauders – K. S. Villoso (Review)

bwm.jpg

Luc is an innocent. He loves his family, spending his days helping his father on the farm and defending his disabled brother. He doesn’t get on well with his step-mother, but he tries to, and he’s not really sure how to deal with pretty girls showing an interest in him. He’s a nice lad.

One failed exam and a string of poor decisions later, Luc winds up the de-facto leader of a band of unsavoury mercenaries. His new companions are thieves, murderers, and rapists. Unable to return to his placid life, Luc has no choice but to fulfil the mercenaries’ contract as best he is able, despite the dangers he faces and the secrets he uncovers.  Continue reading “Blackwoods Marauders – K. S. Villoso (Review)”

Red Sister – Mark Lawrence (Review)

red sister.jpgAs everyone knows, there are four types of nun: prayer nuns, stealth nuns, magic nuns, and murder nuns. The convent of Sweet Mercy trains them all.

Nona Grey – a child steeped in blood almost since birth – is saved from the gallows and taken to the convent. For the first time ever, she has friends, and enough to eat. She learns to read and fight and use her talents to their fullness. Outside the walls, as the world grows colder, her enemies gather and strengthen.
Continue reading “Red Sister – Mark Lawrence (Review)”