Profile for Andrew Riley > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Andrew Riley
Top Reviewer Ranking: 39,394
Helpful Votes: 200

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Andrew Riley (Reading)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3
pixel
Martin Harbottle's Appreciation of Time
Martin Harbottle's Appreciation of Time
Price: 5.14

3.0 out of 5 stars Quirky, 31 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
After hearing that the book started life as a real blog of letters actually exchanged between the author and a commuter rail company, I looked up the blog and found the content interesting enough to try the book. I wasn't dissapointed, this is a fun little read that chugs along giving a diarists insight into commuting and is down to earth enough to be familiar to everyone, whilst having enough sensational fictionalisation to make you want to keep reading.


Thief's Magic: Book 1 of Millennium's Rule
Thief's Magic: Book 1 of Millennium's Rule
Price: 6.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Introductory, 31 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This feels like an introductory book without a real focus. The two main characters live in separate storylines, probably although not certainly, on different worlds. The blurb above mentions a third Traveller plotline that appears to have been cut, that may have linked the two. Neither main character is particularly engaging. Tyen is constantly second guessing himself and has a major guilt complex about, well everything. Rielle is just too passive for me to find her interesting, even when she does do something for herself it's only to pick a man she likes rather than someone her family want for her.

The premise is intriguing, both plot threads have moments of brilliance, and I hope the development of the Traveller story line helps this series pick up the pace in the next installment.


Krosmaster Arena Board Game
Krosmaster Arena Board Game
Price: 52.39

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Board based squad combat, 25 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Krosmaster Arena Board Game (Toy)
This is not a game for the faint hearted, with a rule book weighing in at around 40 pages you're not looking at a new version of snakes and ladders. Krosmaster Arena is a collectable miniatures board game with a huge amount of customisation and replay ability available even out of the box. Each player controls a team of four Krosmasters with unique skills or spells and varying stats for movement, action points and health. On your turn you move and and perform actions in an effort to wipe out the other team. The game uses Golden Glory coins and a tug if war mechanic to mean you never end up in a 4 vs 1 situation, games tend to endaround the 3rd or 4th Krosmaster KO.

While there's a lot to think about, the amount you can do at any given movement is fairly limited making it easier to learn than something more free flowing. Characters have a strick turn sequence and one player moves all their pieces and then the other player takes a turn.

While the size of the rule book looks daunting, a lot of it is taken up by introductory mini games. These really limit the character actions available and can be very dull, best not to play these with someone who isn't sure they'll like the game. There is an online version available, where you can play with a basic team for free, which can be a better way for someone to learn so they can teach others.

Lastly it is a collectables game. There are already 8 or more expansion figure sets, and a new expansion board set is in the works. You could spend a lot on collecting characters, or you could have a lot of variability by mixing up the possible combinations available from the 8 characters in the base set.


Fieldrunners 2
Fieldrunners 2
Price: 1.86

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not too Little, Not too Much, 12 Nov 2013
This review is from: Fieldrunners 2 (App)
Tower Defence games have to walk a line between variation and insanity. Too many choices and it becomes clear that many are pointless, too few and you're left feeling frustrated and out of control.

Fieldrunners walks this line perfectly. There's plenty of variety available, but only 6 towers can be used on each map giving you the chance to vary the challenge for yourself by using less dangerous towers once you've already beaten a map. The graphics and humour are brilliant and it's a huge amount of fun.


The Crystal Spheres
The Crystal Spheres
Price: 0.77

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Fermi Paradox, 7 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm not sure I'm a fan of the large number of short stories currently being put out by some established authors. The Crystal Spheres for instance, is not a new story. It's been in a number of anthologies and it can't have taken long to set it up for a Kindle release. At this sort of price you'd be paying 15 or more for a normal paperback collected short stories and so it doesn't seem great value for money.

That said, I love stories that investigate the Fermi Paradox and the Crystal Spheres comes up with one of the more unlikely scenarios. There's not much I can say without giving away the entire short plot, but the whole thing has a very hopeful message alongside the lonliness impossed by the lack of alien visitors.

If you're looking for a longer look at the question, try Stephen Baxter's Space, Time, Origin and Phase Space. The last one is a set of short stories.


Exiles: The Uplift Storm Trilogy (Uplift Omnibus Book 2)
Exiles: The Uplift Storm Trilogy (Uplift Omnibus Book 2)
Price: 12.91

4.0 out of 5 stars All Three parts in one easy kindle edition, 7 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is not a new trilogy, it's a kindle binding of the Second Uplift Trilogy with all three books in one handy volume. Here's a review I wrote for the paperback version of the first book, Brightness Reef, back in 2009.

The second Uplift trilogy, or the Jijoian Trilogy is set in a universe where species are raised to sentience by a Patron race, to whom they then owe one hundred thousand years of servitude as a thank you. Humanity, having already raised Chimps and Dolphins to sentience stumble out into the galaxy at large without a patron race, making them rare "wolflings" generally doomed for extinction lacking protection in what is often a dangerous and violent galactic society.

The majority of the trilogy is set on a Sooner colony called Jijo, where half a dozen outcast races live together striving to return to "blessed presentience" avoiding larger galactic society. The story follows this colony as the wider universe comes crashing in.

I tremendously enjoyed these books, they're well written with a wide range of characters. The galactic society is startling different from most simple Utopian or "mankind stands alone" situations often found in fiction. Groups centered on uplift clans or religious beliefs fight wars within the constraints of stability within the larger society. The differences between the collective cultures of the mixed races of Jijo and the interactions of the parent races out in the Five Galaxies form a large part of the subtext. Both the overarching plot and the development of each character is handled well and Brin doesn't leave minor loose ends dangling at the end of the tale. He has left himself with a few hooks for another series if he wants it though.


Redshirts
Redshirts
Price: 5.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Great start, let down by a weak ending, but funny throughout, 17 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Redshirts (Kindle Edition)
A book dedicated to those unfortunate unnamed or barely named characters killed of with such frequent glee by TV writers across the globe. I was really looking forward to this book, a great premise with a promise to poke a little fun at the kind of TV I prefer to watch. A reminder not to take it too seriously. And it does deliver on that promise. I found the set up and first part of the book great fun and laughed out load on the train enough to get some suspicious glances. I felt a little bit let down by the ending, but it was always going to be difficult to give any kind of sensible closure to what was inherently a ridiculous situation.

All in all worthwhile, but it had the potential to be fantastic.


Ultimate Spider-Man Volume 20: Ultimate Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends TPB
Ultimate Spider-Man Volume 20: Ultimate Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends TPB
by Stuart Immonen
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Friends? Yes. As You Remember? No., 29 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
So... Spiderman and his Amazing Friends was my introduction to Spiderman as a child in the 80s. It was a morning cartoon, Spiderman was living with his two friends who also happened to be superheroes. They had the whole secret rooms thing, like a low cost bat cave, and they were out living on their own doing there own thing. I loved it, I wanted to do it and when you grow up you get the chance to. Minus the superpowers anyway.

This collection is not it. The characters are here, but the setting is not. In fairness given the story from Ultimate Spiderman 1-19, you'd have been very surprised to find the set up from the cartoon here, it would have been a huge change and not much to explain where it came from. The story itself is ok, centering on Firestar getting her powers. There's no actual team up of the three friends to do anything other than work through Firestar's (who I don't think is ever given that name) origin story. The Art is a little off in my opinion, the differences between unpowered Iceman and The Human Torch were a bit lacking, but you can get by.

In short, if you're here for the continuation of Ultimate Spiderman, this is a four star book.
If you're here for Spiderman and his Amazing Friends circa 2010, this is not it. Two star at best.
So we'll average it out at a Three.


The Rogue: Book 2 of the Traitor Spy
The Rogue: Book 2 of the Traitor Spy
by Trudi Canavan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 17.99

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving the pieces into place, 30 April 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Rogue is quite definitely a middle of a trilogy book. There's plenty of things happening, but not much that reaches a climax. The sub-plot involving the two female novices mentioned in the blurb anchors the Kyrallain part of the tale, with the larger aspects of the story orbiting around it. The novices are new characters, and interestingly done each showing a different side of the decision to mix the social classes in The Guild, making it clear that the opportunities this presents aren't without their downside when people with unsavoury agendas enter the mix.

Lorkin and Dannyl both continue their exploration of other cultures, Lorkin with The Traitors and Dannyl back to his old wandering habits off looking for as many different groups of people to talk to as possible. Each of these two are responsible for bringing pieces into place that will undoubtably pay off in the final book of the trilogy.

And that's the biggest flaw of The Rogue , it is a set up for the finale and so it was always going to be more about that, than providing a stand alone story. There was always the slight feeling that the bits you could see coming towards a conclusion within this volume felt a bit more like padding that something that moved the central premise forwards. For me though it was better to have had at least some plot lines closed off within the book itself, giving the novel a point beyond just being number 2 out of 3. Well worth the read, I just hope I don't have to wait too long for the conclusion.


Counterfeit Magic (Women of the Otherworld)
Counterfeit Magic (Women of the Otherworld)
by Kelley Armstrong
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Paige Turner, 7 Jan 2011
This is another limited edition short story published through Subterranean Press. The book itself is beautiful, a really nice hardback (I've got the trade edition). The artwork within the book is a bit hit and miss. A few of them are nice, but several have such a style difference between the background and the figures that the people almost look like later additions to a separate piece of art.

In terms of the story, the whole book (all 141 page of it) is narrated by Paige. We pick up the thread of her life a few years after the end of Personal Demon, but before Waking The Witch. The plot revolves around an investigation run by Paige and Lucas' supernatural detective agency with a fair bit of Cortez family politics driving the character centric threads. We get a little more rounding of Paige's character, as well as a few snippets that make sense of some of the relationship changes that are noticeable at the start of Waking the Witch. The plot moves along pretty swiftly, no unnecessary diversions and a well wrapped up conclusion without loose ends. All in all, enjoyable.

Importantly, this is not a book that makes sense as a stand alone novel. There's way too much going on that requires background knowledge for a new reader to consider starting with this, so much so that it's potentially off-putting. This might turn out to be something of a problem given that there's a Kindle version at a price that might tempt people to start here if they've not read any of the series so far.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3