Sunday, April 21, 2013

Overdue reviews

Men of Bronze by Scott Oden

Great historical epic, rich in details from daily life to battlefield carnage. Setups and payoffs work well from the opening skirmish, through the political intrigue through to the crescendo of the final battle.  When Greek mercenaries swap their allegiance from Pharaoh to the Persians, the Phoenician Hasdrabal Barca leads his own mercenary company - the Medjay - to stamp out the traitors before it is too late.  Oden was directly inspired by Robert E. Howard - in fact, his first novel attempt was a Conan novel, but he came to understand his niche might be found in historical fiction.  And we readers are all the richer for his decision.  If you want a historical that is action-oriented and set in a period you don't usually read about, this would be a great change of pace for your reading list.

Plague of Shadows (Pathfinder Tales) by Howard Andrew Jones

Good adventuring with a nice angle, as someone else noted, "what happens when elves get too old for this s*&^?" A blend of D&D adventuring with tones of Jirel of Jory and the western, Unforgiven. The payoffs here are setup through characters, hard truths and exposed lies. I look forward to Jones' next entry in the Pathfinder universe, and I need to check out some of the other authors and novels of this world.

Sharpe's Havoc by Bernard Cornwell

Fun Sharpe romp, as usual. This time around Sharpe and his riflemen are trapped behind enemy lines in Portugal while under orders from a duplicitous colonel. Fine blend of historic details, fun characters and action.

Assimilation² (graphic novel)

Star Trek: the Next Generation Meets Doctor Who!  The Borg meet the Cybermen!  Could a Whovian who generally enjoyed Star Trek: the Next Generation resist?  No, because resistance is futile!

Yes, it's a geek fest.  But, it's not a bad crossover.  Featuring the current Doctor, the 11th, played by Matt Smith, and his companions Amy & Rory.  Some details are lost in the rush to have all the characters meet from across the two universes.  The Borg merging with Cybermen makes sense.  The Borg showed they weren't afraid to penetrate dimensions in Star Trek: Voyager, and the current restart of Doctor Who's Cybermen started in an alternate universe.  It is never satifactorily explained why the TARDIS and the Doctor and his companions universe hopped, though.  But, we're here more for the ride than the how & why.

There's even a Captain Kirk / 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) flashback as the universes start to produce new memories when their timelines collide.

I read this as individual issues over last year, I did not get the current collected trade paperbacks.  The painted art-style took some getting used to.  When I heard they were doing this crossover, honestly, even I wasn't too interested until I learned it would be the Cybermen and Borg.  I always said the Cybermen were the original Borg.

If you're a fan, it works.  Check it out.

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