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Author Topic: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!  (Read 35701 times)

Offline Pistol Pete

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« Reply #25 on: December 23, 2005, 10:18:14 AM »
Responding to what demonslayer mentioned:  religieous works would most definately been considered a good source of info for the time period.  as someone else mentioned, the scientific method was only beginning to emerge out of the psuedoscience of alchemy.  also consider that religeous priests were often the only literate men and scholars of the old world, so they'd have written most of the books anyhow.  many of those early alchemists were in fact monks.

If you're interested in the birth of modern science you might want to read Niel Stephensons Baroque trilogy which deals with Alchemy, Economics, and History in a wild and crazy romp through post rennaisance europe.  It might sound boring but it really is worth read, if you're comfortable with big books.

Cryptonimicon, also by Neil Stephenson, is a better starting point, actually.  Give this one a shot, and if you like it read the baroque trilogy.  It's probably the best book i've ever read, and because it deals with themes and characters that pop up in the baroque trilogy should be read beforehand.  I cannot reccomend this book highly enough.  Stephensons books are hard to summarize well, because the plots are so complex, but i'll give it a shot:  It's split into two time periods, WWII, and Modern day.  The WWII stuff deals with a commando and a computer genius, and the modern stuff deals with thier descendants trying to piece together a puzzle they left behind.  Think of it sort of like Indiana Jones combined with Real Genius, with a dash of Hichhikers Guide to the Galaxy, and then turn it all the way up to 11.  Lots of nazi's and submarines, and codebreaking, and battles, and subterfuge, and dead on humor, and all sorts of cool-ass shit.  Cryptonimicon is hefty at about a 1000 pages but worth every word.

If that's too intimidating, start out with The Diamond Age.  It's probably his most accessible book, and pretty short.  As always with Stephenson, the plot is mind blowingly cool.  I'd hate to tell you about the plot, as i think it really would spoil it to give it away but it's my second favorite book after Cryptonomicon.

i didn't mean for this to become a Niel Stephenson love fest but Stephenson writes geek stuff like nobody's business, and lets face it most of us are geeks.

now, i've only read one warhammer book but it was actually quite good.

It was Traitor General by Dan Abnet (who is generally regarded as the best of the GW writers).  It's a 40k book, and i dont even play 40k, but i was jonesing for some warhammer, and it came highly reccomended.  Overall it's a pretty good book.  the book is about a squad  of imperial guard special forces called Gaunts Ghosts.  An imperial general has been captured by chaos, and it's thier job to rescue him or kill him before the chaos lords can crack his mind.  It's pretty solid, if a bit "british" (ie, gun mistakes; Brits generally don't know guns very well as they are not allowed to own any).  One flaw is that character development is not as well done as i'd like.  many of the characters are pretty thinly sketched and its hard to rememmber who's who.  I get the feeling much of the character development was done in the previous books, and by not being familiar with them i sort of missed out on a lot of the backstory.  Overall i think it's worthwhile and i'll probably read more in the series.

And just because i read it last week....

Magician Apprentice & Magician Lord by Raymond Fiest.  This is an absolute classic, and highly reccomneded to anyone who likes fantasy novels.  Moreover, i get the feeling that these books had a heavy influence on the people who created warhammer.  Ive read mother books in the series, but the first two books are still the best (the others are still quite good though).
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Offline Lord Etharion

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« Reply #26 on: December 23, 2005, 11:02:12 AM »
It's worth noting that Magician Apprentice and Lord can also be found as a single volume, simply titled 'Magician'. I'd have thought this is the most common way to find it, though I've no way to be sure.

Incidentally, what sort of 'gun mistakes' does Abnett make? What sort of mistakes can be made with regard to a gun that's imaginary?
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Offline Con El Pueblo

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« Reply #27 on: December 23, 2005, 08:46:34 PM »
Quote from: sawgunner101
It's pretty solid, if a bit "british" (ie, gun mistakes; Brits generally don't know guns very well as they are not allowed to own any).


 :?  

I have to say, I feel a little offended by this.
Imperial wizards already surpass wood elven ones, who are skilled only in the hugging of trees. And possibly also the singing of protest songs.

Offline Hal

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« Reply #28 on: December 27, 2005, 10:29:59 AM »
Just an idea, because I can't write book reviews too well:

Is anyone up to writing a review of some/all Redwall books? I mean, I know that a few people on thse boards (hopefully with more reviewing talent than myself) read them; it'd be a good thing to have in the review page. After all, the Redwall series DOES contain a lot of medieval style warfare (albeit fantasy-ised). I must say, actuaklly, that if I wasn't as familiar with the various weapons and watnot, I'd currently be on a forum called "Ub3r1337 f0rty-k4y pl4y3rz f0rumz" or something along those lines.

It's also a GREAT source of fluff. Pirates from a remote island? Defenders of Salamandastron? Rapscallions?

Actually, a Rapscallion Empire/DoW army would be damn cool...

~Hal|Here's to a Redwall review~
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Offline Kernschatten

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« Reply #29 on: December 27, 2005, 10:27:00 PM »
Quote from: Patriarch
Forged in Battle is the first BL book by Justin Hunter.

Just so you know, Justin Hunter is a member here.

It shouldn't make any difference, but I thought that you should at least be aware of that fact.
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Offline Lord Etharion

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« Reply #30 on: December 28, 2005, 01:16:13 AM »
I'm sure he can appreciate some constructive criticism.

A draft review of The Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin:

The Song of Ice and Fire, starting with A Game of Thrones is, on a personal level, the story of House Stark, and on a national level, the story of the continent of Westeros.

House Stark consists of Lord Eddard Stark, a man of solid virtues, fierce to his enemies, faithful to his friends, good to his underlings, and possessed of a strong sense of duty. In other words, he's a throwback to a simpler time, and he'll very soon find himself in over his head dealing with the political complexities of the King's Court.

His wife is Catelyn Stark (nee Tully), a dutiful wife, wise adviser, just Lady, and loving mother ...... except to Jon.

Jon is Eddard's eldest child, a bastard by a woman he never speaks of, and Catelyn hates his guts because Eddard treats him like a trueborn son, making him a tangible reminder of Eddard's infidelity. His other children are Robb (His legitimate heir), Sansa (A trueborn lady, and one who expects everyone to recognize it), Arya (who refuses to act like a lady, so much so that Eddard hires the memorable Syrio Forel to act as her fencing instructor as a compromise), Brandon (A boy of about seven, currently going through a 'climbing' phase), and Rickon, an infant.

The continent, Westeros, in which the Starks engange in their varied adventures, has a lot of threads making up its history: A deceased dynasty of dragonriding, sister-wedding kings, the usurper king that overthrew them, the vaguely celtic First Men who were displaced by the current inhabitants, the tension between their nameless old gods, and the new pantheron, and the cultrally different areas of the Iron Islands and Dorne, whose differences are reflected by their geographic isolation from the rest of the kingdom.

I'm sure it's bad reviewing technique to go into this much detail, but I do so in order to illustrate the richness and complexity of Martin's world, and the characters that inhabit it: No characters with modern sensibilities stuffed into an ill-conceived pastoral idyll, as is so often the case with fantasy. No, these men and women feel like part of the world they live in, and are all the more believable for being so.

The only real fault with the series is that sometimes its a little too complex: it can be difficult to keep track of all the lords, ladies and assorted liveries. All the books after the first include an appendix which assists greatly in reminding the reader who's who, but it'd be nice if Martin droppped a few more reminders into the main text (I still get House Florent and flower house, House Tyrell, confused. Which is kind of okay, because Florent technically has a better claim to Tyrell's lands, but still ......).

All in all, however, these books make an excellent read for anyone interested in medieval politicing, or those tired of cookie-cutter fantsy paradigms. Be warned, though, these books will make you expect higher standards from every other fantasy you read afterwards.
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CountRommel

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« Reply #31 on: December 28, 2005, 05:05:37 AM »
Deamons Curse the Chronicles of Malus Darkblade
by I believe Dan Abnett

It was the best Black library book I have ever read.  Now that doesn't mean it is the best book I ever read there are better.  But it does fall to the same pitfalls of all Black library books of repeating the same words for the same kinds of situations.  Patrician is used constantly with such lines as "the but of the blade hit him in his patrician nose." or "his patrician features" or "her patrician features."  But this book is still a great read starts with what would technically be a crime against humanity and continues from there.  Also much like every black library book too much detail on the gore.  But unlike the ones set in the glorious Empire it makes more sense as Druchii are a brutal unforgiving people.  Also some of the book takes place beyond the watchtowers so even more brutality which makes sense.

This is the first book in a series that will chronicle the rise of the best current druchii special character.  Who even for his own kind he is cruel beyond measure.  Unfortunatly if you read the Dark Elf Armybook you already know the basics so this just gives it more detail.  It was also a better read than the graphic novels Darkblade.  I read this book before I started playing Dark Elves by the way and even then I thought it was better than any of the other Black library books I had ever written.  Personally I cannot wait for the next one.

Offline Pistol Pete

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« Reply #32 on: December 28, 2005, 10:46:26 AM »
sorry if i stepped on any toes with regards to my earlier post about "Traitor General"....

i don't mean to make fun of the british, as i am partially descended from them, but i do find that the brits (and most other cultures without access to guns) tend to display a lack of knowledge about the subject.  this is by no means limited to the brits; and even a great many american movies and novels are horrifically innacurate facts-wise, however i seem to run into it with much greater regularity with british books and flicks.

now i may just be over sensitive, as i am training to be a gunsmith, but i hate to see bad info go out there as i spend so much time trying to educate people as to the proper use of firearms.

it may mollify you somewhat to know that one of the best technical advisors for gunplay in hollywood is a brit.  Andy McNab, a former SAS bloke, has done work for movies such as Saving Private Ryan and Collateral that displayed impeccable gun-handling (Check out Tom Cruise's fast draw in collateral... it's a thing of beauty).

As to specific references to the book, the only thing that comes to mind at the moment is that theres a lot of dual wielding of pistols, which is absolutely ridiculous in real life.  now the phenominon of dual wielding is all over the place in hollywood and games, but that doesnt make it right.  

now what's wrong with dual wielding?  

1) you can't control the weapon as well with one hand.  recoil recovery is slower, and you increase the chances that you'll get a malfunction through "limp wristing".
2) two hands on one pistol is much more stable, and thus accurate.
3) you can't use the sights on two guns at the same time, further decreasing your accuracy.
4) you can't clear a malfunction with a gun in each hand
5) you can't reload with a gun in each hand

if you don't belive me, try dual wielding sometime, and then try shooting with both hands on one pistol and see how many bullets you can put on the target.

now this is not to say it's the only instance of bad gunplay in the book, but it's the one that i happned to remember most vividly.  it wasn't horrible or anything, i did like the book, but i do appreciate it when an author knows his shit.

as to my comment that the book was "a bit british", i also meant that it was obviously written by a brit and not an american.  it's not necessarily a bad thing, but every now and then a turn of phrase sort of pops out at you.  
 

somebody also mentioned that Magician Apprentics and Magician Lord were published in a single volume, but i have never seen it, and besides, you can get the authors prefferred edition if you buy them separate.
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Offline Lord Etharion

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« Reply #33 on: December 28, 2005, 11:16:55 AM »
To be fair, it's not Abnett's fault that dual wielding is part of the WH40k universe.

Also, you can get the authors preferred version in a single volume too. It's the version I have.
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Offline Con El Pueblo

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« Reply #34 on: December 28, 2005, 01:48:47 PM »
Quote from: sawgunner101
sorry if i stepped on any toes with regards to my earlier post about "Traitor General"....

i don't mean to make fun of the british, as i am partially descended from them, but i do find that the brits (and most other cultures without access to guns) tend to display a lack of knowledge about the subject.  this is by no means limited to the brits; and even a great many american movies and novels are horrifically innacurate facts-wise, however i seem to run into it with much greater regularity with british books and flicks.



 - The bit I didn't like was the part about their lack of knowledge descending from the guns' inaccesibility.

The (North) American view on owning guns is just so different from the typical European, and I find the subject highly flamable  :P

I'm not a fan of the American gun legislation, as it might be obvious  :wink:

Anyway, enough OT talk... And I can fully imagine how irritating it must be for a professional to read about such stuff! I myself am a bit of car nut, and I HATE everytime there's a mistake on a show in TV and films, and also when professional translators mess subtitles up! That sets my p... on fire  :evil:

I even noticed 2 or 3 mistakes in the subtitles for the King Kong movie just out! Nooo..!
Imperial wizards already surpass wood elven ones, who are skilled only in the hugging of trees. And possibly also the singing of protest songs.

Offline Pat-Man

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« Reply #35 on: December 28, 2005, 05:00:54 PM »
Lines of Succession by Michael Maclagan

An excellent reference for heraldry. The book covers lineage fairly well, with table after table of coats-of-arms, clearly drawn, along with clear cross-referencing and alternate tables showing how the various houses of Europe are inter-related. The text is, understandably, truncated history; the real attraction here is the heraldry itself.

The book does have some shortcomings. The author often assumes that the reader is more familiar with the enigmatic language of heraldry than most of us are. While he does give a few helpful guidlines, one is still left wanting. As a primer, though, this book is still an excellent starting point.

Another inexplicable omission is a section on Poland, which only appears as a sidenote in other tables.

That said, I highly recommend this book. The illustrations alone are invaluable for any history buff, as well as pointing the way for "proper" heraldry for your WFB armies.
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perfect depth

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« Reply #36 on: January 02, 2006, 05:16:50 PM »
Sigmar' Heirs, by Anthony Ragan

Reviewed by Perfect Depth


Sigmar's Heirs is a source book for The Empire for use with Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Since it is primarily a background book, it is also of considerable interest to background-hungry Warhammer players. However, as a nicely-made full-colour hardback, it is very pricey for such a short work (127 pages, retails for £18 ). So the question is, is it a worthwhile purchase?

Let's look at each section separately:

The land and its people

The geography of The Empire, a subject covered well enough by the army book. There is a nice, clear map (which also appears in a coloured, more pictorial version later in the book), but The Moot seems to have slipped sideways rather a long way. I'm starting to wonder if the total lack of agreement between the various maps of The Empire is intentional (to introduce a period flavour), since the only other explanation is carelessness.

The section also considers how non-humans fit in to Imperial society, which is commendable if somewhat shallow.

The history of The Empire

The inevitable history section is comprehensive, though thoroughly recycled.

Government and foreign relations

A nice overview of Imperial politics, including the names of the Electors and other notables. This is definitely useful information for Warhammer players.

Law, justice and criminals

Mainly one for the roleplayers, though it does add a little flavour.

Cults of The Empire

Mostly recycled. The 'Religion in The Empire' article from White Dwarf (available as a pdf on the Games Workshop website) covers this well enough.

The grand provinces

This is the real draw for Warhammer players - the provinces of The Empire are covered individually over the course of fifty six pages.

In each case, we learn first about the geography of the province, then a little about the people (including a handful of local sayings). Finally, some of the major towns are described in general terms. Each province also has an npc and some 'adventure hooks' for the roleplayers.

There are no individual maps of the provinces, which feels like a wasted opportunity. Instead, a large amount of space in each province section is devoted to a gazetteer - a list of towns with figures given for populations, trade goods and suchlike. The only really useful information in the gazetteers - the town names - could just as well been presented in map form.

The four city-states of The Empire (Altdorf, Nuln, Middenland and Talabheim) are barely mentioned at all, which is odd considering their supreme importance. I suspect this is to allow for the publication of separate city-books at a later date.

Perhaps inevitably, this section is repetitive, and relies on heavy stereotyping of the inhabitants of each province. Ultimately, and despite being deeply passionate about The Empire, I just didn't find it much fun to read.


Forbidden cults

A brief study of two cults - neither of them directly related to the chaos gods, and neither likely to appear on the battlefield.

Ill met in Bogenhafen

A roleplay adventure, and rather a good one. It is unlikely to interest Warhammer players much, although there is some background on Bogenhafen (and readers of the roleplay book 'Shadows over Bogenhafen' will be interested in how the town has changed since that adventure).

In conclusion:

The book is clearly and attractively laid out (and there is an index), but the art is generally lifeless and unappealing. The information is often recycled from other sources, but still the book makes a good 'one-stop guide' to The Empire. I'm not sure I'd recommend it to anyone else, though I don't regret buying it myself.

One to read thoroughly in the book shop before purchase!

Offline Guvnor

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« Reply #37 on: January 03, 2006, 04:33:10 PM »
Dual wielding pistols in 40K is a lot easier due to the bionics and genetic engineering going on. If we bred the strongest people in our countries to make better soldiers we would get a soldier (eventually) with the strength to dual-wield pistols with a good power to accuracy trade off.

We brits have quite enough guns thnak you very much. There are more than enough rifles and shotguns to play with and through my grnadfather I go to an army base and use their stuff.
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Offline Pistol Pete

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« Reply #38 on: January 04, 2006, 12:08:58 PM »
Moderator edit

This is not the place to talk about guns in real life. So stop.



now, anyhow, as regards to dual wielding in 40k, i have no problem with cyber warriors like the space marines doin it.  it's logical that they'd have enhanced bionics and targeting systems to aid in thier shooting (although they'd still need and extra pair of hands to reload and clear malfunctions).  However guants ghosts, the unit in the book were not augmented in any way that i am aware of, and seemed by the book's wording to be normal humans of exceptional character.
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Offline Phydox

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« Reply #39 on: January 04, 2006, 01:50:31 PM »
Quote from: Lord Etharion
A draft review of The Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin:

The Song of Ice and Fire, starting with A Game of Thrones is, on a personal level, the story of House Stark, and on a national level, the story of the continent of Westeros.


I have to add that this is a very good series.  Its based on the War of the Roses.  If you like books about political cloak and dagger stuff even, this is a series for you.
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Offline Midaski

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« Reply #40 on: January 07, 2006, 10:59:40 PM »
Sigmar's Heirs

Perfect Depth has already posted a detailed examination of this book, but as he seems to be well versed in Warhammer Fantasy history, I thought I might add some comments as more of a layman.

If you enjoy the fluff associated with the hobby and you are an Empire player, then I think this is an interesting addition.
I have the 5th Edition and latest Empire Army books, which are pretty much the extent of my Empire specific fluff library.
Sigmar's Heirs arrived at Christmas, and I have been slowly working my way through it. I am not a WRPG person and this is one of the targets for the book, so there are 'stats' for players, which are of little use, but some of the descriptions are both interesting and useful for ideas.

The maps are ok, but there are a couple of annoying things. The river Sol is spelt Sol on the map and Soll in the text.
There is mention of the Vaults, the Brenheim Pass, and the River of Echoes, and the map 'finishes' with them off the southern edge.
Talabecland is shown on the map totally wooded, and yet in the text it refers to only the western half being heavily forested.

There is recycled stuff alongside new bits, which has varying value, but at least it is in one volume, and not a number of White Dwarfs.

The provinces analysis is lengthy, and I do not know how it compares to our own rufus sparkfire's "A is for Altdorf", and I do not intend to sit down and make a detailed analysis. From memory the latter has more information about popular troop types and likely knightly orders, whereas this book is more about the hierarchy, the land, the settlements and the average people, with produce guides as well.
I am sure a compilation of the two would be the ultimate tome.

Having reread the first review I have now looked at the 'art' and would agree it is fairly average, but I would point out that I had not considered that until my reread. Basically I think the art is secondary, and I had  not 'noticed' its quality because I had been concentrating on the information which to my mind is the main interest for me of the book.

If you are an old salt with many 'source' books in your library, then maybe this is "just another".
If you are fairly new to the Empire and like the fluff side of the hobby, then I do feel it could be a nice addition for you.
It is a pretty decent book with a fair amount of stuff in it, and lastly although it retails at £18.00, I managed to buy it from Amazon at £12.60.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2006, 08:20:51 PM by Midaski »
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Offline Con El Pueblo

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« Reply #41 on: January 09, 2006, 06:08:57 PM »
I have a bunch of Black Library books, and over the course of the next few months, I SHALL review them all...

They are listed below. If you'd like to, I can review an appointed book.

 I'll use scores from 1-10 and specify the score in the review to come.

 The list is in no specific order, just the way they are currently lined up on my shelf  :-D

 1. The Deamon's Curse-WHF (Dan Abnett & Mike Lee)
 2. Gilead's Blood-WHF (Dan Abnett & Mike Lee)
 3. What Price Victory-WH40K (Compilation)
 4. Blood Bowl-BB (Matt Forbeck)
 5. Storm of Iron-WH40K (Graham McNeill)
 6. Nightbringer-40K (Graham McNeill)
 7. Warriors of Ultramar-WH40K (Graham McNeill)
 8. Pawns of Chaos-WH40K (Brian Craig)
 9. The Wine of Dreams-WHF (Brian Craig)
 10. The Laughter of Dark Gods-WHF (Compilation)
 11. Star of Erengrad-WHF (Neil Mcintosh)
 12. Valnir's Bane-WHF (Nathan Long)
 13. Realm of Chaos-WHF (Compilation)
 14. Status: Deadzone-Necromunda (Compilation)
 15. Words of Blood-WH40K (Compilation)
 16. Eye of Terror-WH40K (Barrington J. Bailey)
 17. Farseer-WH40K (William King)
 18. Lords of Valour-WHF (Compilation)
 19. Way of The Dead-WHF (Compilation)
 20. Dark Imperium-WH40K (Compilation)
 21. The Dead and The Damned-WHF (Compilation)
 22. Zavant-WHF (Gordon Rennie)
 23. Deathwing-WH40K (Compilation)
 24. Into The Maelstrom-WH40K (Compilation)
 25. Grudgebearer-WHF (Gavin Thorpe)
 26. Trollslayer-WHF (William King)
 27. Skavenslayer-WHF (William King)
 28. Deamonslayer-WHF (William King)
 29. Dragonslayer-WHF (William King)
 30. Beastslayer-WHF (William King)
 31. Vampireslayer-WHF (William King)
 32. Giantslayer-WHF (William King)
 33. Konrad-WHF (David Ferring)
 34. Shadowbreed-WHF (David Ferring)
 35. Warblade-WHF (David Ferring)
 36. The Claws of Chaos-WHF (Gavin Thorpe)
 37. The Blades of Chaos-WHF (Gavin Thorpe)
 38. The Heart of Chaos-WHF (Gavin Thorpe)
 39. Blood & Steel-WHF (C.L. Werner)
 40. Blood Money-WHF (C.L. Werner)
 41. Blood of The Dragon-WHF (C.L. Werner)
 42. Witch Hunter-WHF (C.L. Werner)
 43. Witch Finder-WHF (C.L. Werner)
 44. The Vampire Genevieve-WHF (Jack Yeovil)
 45. The Ambassador Chronicles-WHF (Graham McNeil)
 46. The Inquisition War-WH40K (Ian Watson)
 47. Eisenhorn-WH40K (Dan Abnett)

 UPDATE: Have included all bar one, which is currently out of the house on a loan. Can't seem to remember it's name.

 The first review will be posted tomorrow, any suggestions..?
Imperial wizards already surpass wood elven ones, who are skilled only in the hugging of trees. And possibly also the singing of protest songs.

Offline Valt3n

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« Reply #42 on: January 27, 2006, 05:17:11 PM »
I'll help by taking the review of the Konrad series off you.

Summary
A young man is born without a name or family in a small village in the Empire. His village is attacked by a host of Beastmen and all but the boy named 'Konrad' are killed. He then leaves the village and engages in all manner of fun adventures culminating in the third book at a battle in the Halls of Karl Franz's castle. Along the way he makes allies with a Mage and a warrior with a dark secret. He also begins to learn more about his own life and strange manner of birth.

Quality
I Must say I did like these books. The story kept me interested for the entire time with constant small revelations about all the characters. Not even at the end do you know exaclty what happened. That unfortunately was a bit annoying as there were too many questions left unanswered.
The action is swift and the story never loses its pace too much. It also draws you into the world of warhammer and really has some brilliant fights in it.
 Each book does have a seperate conclusion but the series should most definately be read in the correct order. The only major problem apart from the lack of resolution is vaguely similar. The Main Character is made out to be a very very important figure for the future of the Empire but he was never mentioned ever again. This cannot be blamed upon the author as he has no control over the storyline of the warhammer world but one must ask the question of whether he was too ambitious.
Conclusion
I would recommend reading it. I enjoyed it immensely but be prepared to find some mistery still left at the end.
My school days were the happiest days of my life; which should give you some indication of the misery I've endured over the past 25 years.

Offline Agent Orange

  • Posts: 35
Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #43 on: February 17, 2006, 01:25:54 AM »
Seeing as they where dual wielding lasguns, ther wouldnt need to worry about jams (its a beam of uber focused light) or recoil (agian, its a beam of uber focused light).
An empty mind is a loyal mind, but can it do what you tell it?

Offline Padre

  • Posts: 3218
    • Big Small Worlds
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #44 on: April 10, 2006, 05:09:18 PM »
The Renaissance at War
by Thomas Arnold [Cassel History of Warfare, London 2001]

As an Empire player I really enjoyed this book. It looks at the period in real history which technologically the Empire seems to be at. The rise of gunpowder, of massed infantry in ranks and files (with pike and shot), of reiters (the author even uses the term 'pistoleers' to describe these).

The two chapters "The New Fury" and "The New Legions" were excellent for a wargamer.

The first is about artillery and fortresses. [Wouldn't it be amazing to see some FB tables featuring artillery towers and angle bastioned forts with their crossing lines of fire? I myself have often been frustrated by my missile troops limited lines of fire on the standard square GW fortress. And I would love to dig trenches to get close to the enemy's walls!]

The second is about the new armies, pike and greatswords, handguns and crossbow, heavy and light horse, the Swiss and the Landsknechts, although reading in a later chapter how the Turks did things differently with basically the same technology (apart from the pike) was an eye opener for me.

It has plenty of tables for the more technically minded: how to move guns, how much powder they consume, the cost of infantry, the equipment needed by an artillery train, etc etc.

And the illustrations really are wonderful - lots of renaissance paintings and prints and tapestries etc. These seem to be the very things that the figure sculptures must have been looking at when they put the Empire rangte together. Well, if not these primary source pictures, then illustrations by artists inspired by these original sources. The colours are astounding, and somehow, although each individual bit of colour has that dull, natural dyed look, the troops of soldiers look really colourful. There's even a Middenheim crossbowman on p.93!

Interestingly there are a couple of picture note errors. I'll see if you can spot them - p.23 and p.119 are the pictures in question. I am certain of the first error and adequately convinced of the second.

This book has made me think about finding more of the same. I did study War, Chivalry and Lordship at University but that was the medieval period. I am through my re-enactment interests very well versed in 17th century British warfare - but this book filled a gap and connected history to the world of warhammer.


PS: I have had to modify this entry with, well this bit: I've just done a search on this book and discovered it was already  discussed by one 'simonp'. He said it was a good book also, and someone even said they'd based their army colour scheme on the illustration on a certain page.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2006, 09:43:03 PM by Padre »
Photobucket has now re-destroyed my pictures, so the first half of my collected works thread is no longer working again. To see my website version of the campaign thread, with fully functioning pictures, please go to https://bigsmallworlds.com/

Offline Justin Hill

  • Posts: 140
  • Marienburg Freeswords
    • fragile army transport bag
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #45 on: August 30, 2006, 03:42:01 PM »
Quote
Just so you know, Justin Hunter is a member here

heh - no offence taken.  I'm sorry Patriarch and Wisenheimer (?) didn't enjoy Forged in Battle.  I hope you enjoy the next books of the series more.  They'll be taking the men of Helmstrumburg through the Storm of Chaos. 

Patriarch: as to your query - there's a short story introducing the backstory to the Ragged Company, that was written for the magazine Inferno, which Black Library scrapped.  The story, called Blood on the Snow, willl be coming out in an anthology of Warhammer stories. 
 
Justin

Offline cheaky

  • Posts: 214
  • Melbs, Australia
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #46 on: October 03, 2006, 08:43:13 PM »
Already been reviewed, but I thought I would give another breif review

A song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Marin

This is a complex fantasy story (acculy more like three or four stories, depending on who you ask) set in the world of Westeros told by up to 6 different characters at one time (Can get a bit confusing at the start, but once you start remembering the characters, it becomes second nature). This is what I would like to a "realisitc" fantasy, where magic is not the most important thing (acculy, there is hardly any of it at all which I like.) There is no good and evil, no wrong and right, no central characters.There is one review on amazon that I realy like, that I will steal because I don't think I could say it any better. (taken from here
First user review)


 Here are the reasons to choose GRRM. I've also listed the reasons not to choose him to make it fair b/c I know their are certain personalities who won't like this series:

WHY TO READ GRRM

(1) YOU ARE TIRED OF FORMULAIC FANTASY: good lad beats the dark lord against impossible odds; boy is the epitome of good; he and all his friends never die even though they go through great dangers . . . the good and noble king; the beautiful princess who falls in love with the commoner boy even though their stations are drastically different . . . you get the idea. After reading this over and over, it gets old.

(2) YOU ARE TIRED OF ALL THE HEROES STAYING ALIVE EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE UNDER CONSTANT DANGER: this gets even worse where the author kills a main hero off but that person comes back later in the story. Or, a hero does die but magic brings him back.

This sometimes carries to minor characters where even they may not die, but most fantasy authors like to kill them off to show that some risked the adventure and perished.

(3) YOU ARE A MEDIEVAL HISTORY BUFF: this story was influenced by the WARS OF THE ROSES and THE HUNDRED YEARS WAR.

(4) YOU LOVE SERIOUS INTRIGUE WITHOUT STUPID OPPONENTS: lots of layering; lots of intrigue; lots of clever players in the game of thrones. Unlike other fantasy novels, one side, usually the villain, is stupid or not too bright.

(5) YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BIASED OPINIONS AND DIFFERENT TRUTHS: GRRM has set this up where each chapter has the title of one character and the whole chapter is through their viewpoint. Interesting tidbit is that you get their perception of events or truths. But, if you pay attention, someone else will mention a different angle of truth in the story that we rarely see in other novels. Lastly and most importantly, GRRM doesn't try to tell us which person is right in their perception. He purposelly leaves it vague so that we are kept guessing.

(6) LEGENDS: some of the most interesting characters are those who are long gone or dead. We never get the entire story but only bits and pieces; something that other fantasy authors could learn from to heighten suspense. Additionally, b/c the points of views are not congruent, we sometimes get different opinions.

(7) WORDPLAY: if you're big on metaphors and description, GRRM is your guy. Almost flawless flow.

(8) LOTS OF CONFLICT: all types, too; not just fighting but between characters through threats and intrigue.

(9) MULTILAYERED PLOTTING; SUB PLOTS GALORE: each character has their own separate storyline; especially as the story continues and everyone gets scattered. This is one of the reasons why each novel is between 700-900 pages.

(10) SUPERLATIVE VARIED CHARACTERS: not the typical archetypes that we are used to in most fantasy; some are gritty; few are totally evil or good; GRRM does a great job of changing our opinions of characters as the series progress. This is especially true of Jaime in book three.

(11) REALISTIC MEDIEVAL DIALOGUE: not to the point that we can't understand it but well done.

(12) HEAPS OF SYMOBLISM AND PROPHECY: if you're big on that.

(13) EXCELLENT MYSTERIES: very hard to figure out the culprits; GRRM must have read a lot of mystery novels.

(14) RICHLY TEXTURED FEMALE CHARACTERS: best male author on female characters I have read; realistic on how women think, too.

(15) LOW MAGIC WORLD: magic is low key; not over the top so heroes can't get out of jams with it.

REASON TO NOT READ GRRM

(1) YOU LIKE YOUR MAIN CHARACTERS: GRRM does a good job of creating more likeable characters after a few die. But, if that isn't your style, you shouldn't be reading it. He kills off several, not just one, so be warned.

(2) DO NOT CARE FOR GRITTY GRAY CHARACTERS: if you like more white and gray characters, this may unsettle you. I suggest Feist or Goodkind or Dragonlance if you want a more straight forward story with strong archetypes.

(3) MULTIPLE POINTS OF VIEWS TURN YOU OFF: if you prefer that the POVS only go to a few characters, this might be confusing for you.

(4) SWEARING, SEX: there's a lot of it in this book just as there is in real life.

(5) YOU DEMAND CLOSURE AT THE END OF EVERY BOOK: this isn't the case for all stories in the series. Some are still going on; some have been resolved; others have been created and are moving on.

(6) IF YOU WANT A TARGET OR SOMEONE TO BLAME: this can be done to some extent but not as much. This is b/c he doesn't try to make anyone necessarily good or evil.

(7) ARCHETYPES: some readers like archetypal characters because it's comfortable; we like the good young hero (sort of like Pug in Feist's THE RIFTWAR SAGA); it's familiar and we sometimes like to pretend we're this upcoming, great hero. You wont' get much of this in GRRM with the exception of one or two characters.

(8) LENGTH: you don't want to get into a long fantasy epic series. In that case, look for shorters works as this is biiig.

(9) PATRIARCHY: men are most of the main characters with lots of power (one female exception). ....

Offline richard_de_clare

  • Posts: 404
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #47 on: October 04, 2006, 01:37:52 PM »
I could do a review of witch hunter / witchfinder unless its been done already?

Did anybody else find Hammers of Ulric a really good read?
“And thus I am glad to announce that an irrefutable scientific proof exists that Skaven are merely a figment of imagination” – Hieronymous Bach

Offline wissenlander

  • Posts: 7162
  • The original Graf of Brennenburg
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #48 on: February 26, 2007, 04:40:55 PM »
Has anyone seen 'Empire at War'?  It sounds interesting, but I'm not sure if it would be worth the purchase or not.
Me and Wissenlander had babies!

not together.

finding photographic evidense that Wiss smiles is going to be hard...

Offline Douchie

  • Posts: 518
  • The Army of Eastern Stirland
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #49 on: March 01, 2007, 04:55:22 PM »
Hi Wissenlander. I bought a copy of 'Empire at War' a few months ago and found it really useful for background etc.

The book details 5 battles for The history of the Empire. Erm let me thnk.

Hel Fenn and a civil war battle are described in detail. I found these really helpful because both involved Stirland heavily.  :biggriin:

There was a battle from the time of Sigmar and another from the Gates of Kislev... Magnus the Pious etc...

I can't remember the other battle though.

I would recomend it for any Stirland player, but i'm not sure how much is relevant to a Wissenlander... I might be wrong