The Dark Defiles by Richard K. Morgan

My relation to the Land fit for Heroes series is a strange one, you could say. I’ve never read the first book. Some years ago I found The Cold Commands in a bookstore and bought it. It wasn’t readily accessible that the book was the second installment of a series. That became obvious early on, but reading books not in the intended order isn’t actually that much of a problem. I’ve done it a couple of times. Continue reading

Gemini Cell by Myke Cole

Myke ColeGemini Cell, author of contemporary military fantasy infused with a heavy deal of magic, struck again, this time with the beginning for a new series set in the same universe as his Shadow Ops series. Called by the same name, but set at the beginning of the reawakening of magic in the world, Jim Schweitzer, a Seal, replaces Oscar Britton as the protagonist. It’s somewhat of a prequel to his successful series and hits the same pressure points as his other series starting with Control Point.

It’s contemporary military fiction written by a military guy for military guys or anyone interested in the workings of US special forces. As someone who doesn’t care much about this, I’m certainly not the main target audience. I could enjoy the book nonetheless, even though the protagonists fixation on his training and his burning patriotism became a bit much over time. I have nothing against hearing him describe himself as an artist in what he does, or stress his professionalism, but it gets old when that’s repeated again and again.

After a successful operation (gunning down apparently hundreds of “terrorists”), the danger follows Jim home. He gets raised from the dead near instantly after his violent demise, now sharing his body with a Djinn, a bloodthirsty creature full of rage and violence that gives him strength beyond the means of any human. Our protagonist becomes effectively an undying killing machine in the service of a shady part of the US government. That he doesn’t question these people and what they have him do is a minor annoyance. As is that he’s content with what the organization tells him in regard to his family. Someone as fixated on his wife as much as him (enough to push his child into a small corner of his mind apparently) would need more than just getting told what happened to them, I believe.

But I digress.

Most of the book is a struggle between man and Djinn for control of their shared body. The Djinn, a thousand-year-old creature, has the upper hand and makes Jim do unspeakable things. In the end, there stands the question of what the organization actually is, what their goal is, the mystery of his own death, and much more. The book doesn’t stint with things that don’t seem to fit right, a sting in your mind while you read, bugging you to read ever onward, to figure out what the hell is going on.

My main issue with the book, despite it being very heavy on the military side with its US seal protagonist, was that this book’s main emotional part gets cut off immediately. Instead of using these emotions – the rage and denial – the author so expertly evokes in the reader, these emotions get destroyed near instantly again, leaving only a hollow behind that doesn’t get filled throughout the book. Instead of riding this emotional wave, the reader instantly gets pulled down into the ice-cold water again, feeling cheated.

Concluding: It’s a book for lovers of Myke Cole’s other books. I liked Control Point well enough (even though I had some issues especially with the ending), but I think Gemini Cell puts on too much military makeup and rehashes the same points again and again. It spells the win of the machine against the monster time and again. It’s a book for lovers of contemporary (US) military and while I’m not an expert in this regard, I believe the author does a very good job of portraying the expertise of these people. Jim Schweitzer makes killing an art. On a mission is where he feels fulfilled and his infatuation for his job is only barely rivaled by the need for his wife. And I’m purposely not saying “for his family” here, even though his inferiority complex towards his brother can be seen as some sort of twisted love. If you can deal with this straightforward simple-mindedness, this might be just the book for you.

Wheel of Time TV pilot episode creating a stir

Wheel of Time pilot

If you’ve been in any kind of fantasy community these last days, you should have already heard about it. Basically unannounced a pilot episode for a possible Wheel of Time TV series was aired Monday. It can be found on youtube, but I’m not sure I should encourage you to actually watch it. You can find it below, but I suggest you don’t get your hopes up…

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About the Good Human and Generosity

I’ve written about the hard times I’m facing at the moment already and you might have come over from that post. Before I get to the actual reason for this post I wanted to give some more background information on how I fucked up and made a huge miscalculation that has led to me having to take steps back in how I spend my money. If you haven’t read the other post yet, I suggest you do that, as it gives some valuable information as to why this is so important to me.

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About Hard Times and Miscalculations

A very long post about my current affairs and the problems I’m now facing. I hope you forgive my longwindedness. It is, at times, necessary.

I’m a person that makes ends meet rather modestly. I’ve never needed or wanted much and I saved most of the money I’d ever made (mostly through mandatory civil service instead of going to the military, called Zivildienst, and saving my allowance). I still remember being positive ill at the thought of wasting money as a child.

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Game of Thrones Season 5 HD Trailer

After a Trailer was uploaded a few days ago, we’ve now access to an HD Trailer for Game of Thrones. It’s an awesome insight into the new season and I’m already looking forward to it. Even though I’m still unsure whether or not to actually watch this season.

Not only are there supposedly larger changes to the storylines, there could be spoilers for the books too (as we’ve already seen in a small scale in season 4). I’m not sure what to think of both of these possibilities. The changes in storyline could very well enhance what many thought was a dry spell in the books. Or they could fail to capture GRRM’s vision and spell a drop in quality. I don’t expect that, but the possibility is there.

The possible spoilers are a bigger worry for me. I’d like to consume the story first and foremost through its original medium, so would rather not have the books spoiled for me. What do you think? Are the books important enough for you to possibly sit still and not watch season 5 of Game of Thrones, or are you more a fan of the TV-Show?

Especially when taking into account what many had expected: Martin will not publish The Winds of Winter this year and so it’s very likely that the TV-Series will overtake the book, as it’s scheduled to end in 2017 and I doubt many here think Martin can write and publish the last two books of his series in that time.

The Red Knight by Miles Cameron

The Red Knight by Miles Cameron is the first part of the Traitor Son Cycle. The book features a realistic approach to knights and the warfare of medieval times. The author’s Medieval History Degree shows and you won’t see another fantasy book telling you so much about knights. Reading this book, you’ll feel like a knight trapped in heavy plate, your vision limited, foes pounding you from all sides. You’ll slip in mud, get splattered with blood and gore, and fight impossible odds. The Red Knight is military fantasy of the best kind.

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