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Jolly Roger "book lover" (Burntwood, UK)

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120 Great Orientalist Paintings (Dover Electronic Clip Art)
120 Great Orientalist Paintings (Dover Electronic Clip Art)
by Carol Belanger Grafton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Orientalist fan finds no faults with Orientalist product., 12 April 2013
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I first have to confess that of all the artistic movements (some people say it isn't one, I saw it is), Orientalism is perhaps my favourite. I've been looking for a good and affordable book of this kind for quite a while and I was very happy with it when it arrives. OK, it's only 120 pictures but they are good quality (each picture gets its own A4 page) and the CD ROM is easy to use and has all the pictures in both large and small file formats.

There's not much else to say about this book. To use that favored phrase; 'it does exactly what it says on the tin'. So if you want good art at a good price backed up with digital copies... you see where I'm going with this.


A Soldier of Rome
A Soldier of Rome
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A good example of why kindle publishing is a great idea., 1 April 2013
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This review is from: A Soldier of Rome (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this story. It's the kind of good fiction that works because you have no trouble believing it's not fiction, but a good representation of the human condition. Set in a well realised time and location I found this story very easy to dip into and when you consider that it only costs 77p, what's not to like?

Some people (mostly publishers, I imagine) said it was a terrible thing, letting anyone publish whatever they wanted, but this is cracking example of why being an author shouldn't be confined to those who can woo a publishing house while others languish just because their story wasn't what somebody was 'looking for'.

An enjoyable read at a good price.


The Umbrella Academy Volume 1
The Umbrella Academy Volume 1
by Gerard Way
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.44

5.0 out of 5 stars And now for something completely different., 12 Feb. 2013
I absolutely loved this comic. I bought it quite a while ago and then left it, never getting around to it because I had my doubts that I'd enjoy it. I was a fool! The story is pure madhat brilliance and the characters are as off the wall nutty as you could hope. Sort of Avengers (or JLA) crossed with a dysfunctional family.

The art style is not my favourite but it suits the story just fine and the story is told with something of a nostalgic nod to Victorian adventure stories (something else I really enjoy).

A lot of fun, good action, great characters. What's not to like?


The Art of Blizzard Entertainment
The Art of Blizzard Entertainment
by Blizzard Entertainment
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £37.98

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beast of an art book, 8 Feb. 2013
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OK, this book is BIG. Blizzard have finally opened their art department archives for their flagship games and the art is really, really... really good. It is, mostly, World of Warcraft art (which you would expect when you consider the number of releases for that IP and the amount of time it has been running), but it also features plenty of art from Diablo and Starcraft. The last few pages also includes art from games which never made it past the concept stage but sadly there isn't much of this because, as it explains in the book, Blizzard weren't very good at sorting their art back in the early days and much was lost.

Who is this book for? Well, fans of the respective games will like this book. Your liking will increase with each game franchise you happen to have enjoyed, so if you're a fan of WoW, Diablo and Starcraft then you will just geek-out over this book (as I did). Also, fans of concept art books would like this book but with that price tag I'm guessing there won't be many buyers who aren't fans of the games.

Any complaints? Just one, and it will sound like a weird one considering the size of this book, and that is there should be more of it. If the different games had separate art books released for them (as WoW has) then there would be more spread across all the books. Because this has been put into one volume you feel as though it's been edited down. So basically, what I'm saying is, I'm sure there's lots more art work for Diablo and Starcraft (WoW is well catered for in this book) and I would have loved to see it.

In Conclusion; is it worth it? Well, let's not pretend that it isn't expensive. But how does that price compare? It seems like a pricey book at first but when you compare the cost to other art books it actually doesn't seem so bad. Some art books are only 100-150 pages and happily charge £20-£30, and then you have industry leaders such as Ballistic Publishing which charge £50 for a couple of hundred pages of (amazing) art without batting an eyelid. So that £40+ is really quite a decent price for nearly 400 pages of quality art in a hardback format. So the price is not, in my opinion, so bad (if you can afford it). Is the art worth it? YES. Yes, yes, yes. There is an embarrassment of riches of art in this book which will easily please fans of the games. But not JUST fans of the games. Lovers of fantasy and sci-fi art will also enjoy the work contained here-in.

I guess it comes down to a check list system. Are you a fan of the games? Are you a lover of concept art? Do you enjoy a nice big tome of a book which takes the better part of an hour to flick through (even when you're not really studying the pictures in too much detail)? If the answer to 2-3 of these questions is yes, then move to the final question. Can you afford to part with the money? If yes; buy it, feel happy and regret nothing.


The Art of Dead Space
The Art of Dead Space
by Martin Robinson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.39

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Art Book, 7 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: The Art of Dead Space (Hardcover)
Titan have truly cemented themselves, in my opinion, as one of the best producers of art books. The Art of Dead Space is a large format book and the art is presented full page where possible. The talent on show is undeniable and fans of the games would not be disappointed and neither would fans of tie-in art books. Admittedly there are some pictures that are quite gruesome but that is to be expected, given this is an art book about horror games.

Is it good value for money? I would say yes. When you think of the price of art books generally then it fits nicely in the lower to mid-price range.

Something Titan always do with their art books (which I really appreciate) is to have nice, concise info provided for almost every picture from the artists themselves explaining the picture, the thoughts behind it, how they feel about it, or some combination of these points.

Do I have any complaints? Yes. I want more! It's a good sized art book, average really (not a beast like the new Blizzard Entertainment art book), so you know there is a lot more art they could have put in. They talk about all the iterations that pictures went through but in most cases only show the final design of a creature/location/character. Not in all cases, mind. There are quite a few pictures exploring the design of Isaac Clarke and various weapons and other features. But still, it would have been very rewarding to see the design process in a little more depth.

In conclusion I would highly recommend this book for lovers of concept art or Dead Space. If you're a fan of both then you will consider the book quite cheap (I paid £20), as it really is a fantastic, well produced and beautiful book.


Fantasy Book 4: The Best Artworks of Fantastic Art
Fantasy Book 4: The Best Artworks of Fantastic Art
by Vincent Zhao
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent quality, as usual., 6 Jan. 2013
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This is another great addition to the Fantasy+ stable of artbooks. This time not as specific as other titles but just a general collection of CG art. As such there as always some pieces that won't appeal but that's what happens when you have such a broad canvas. I had no regrets buying this book and if you're a fan of CG art then I'm sure you won't either.

MY only serious gripe is that there isn't enough writing to explain the pieces, but I don't feel this is a strong enough concern to warrant a star reduction.


Transformers: The Art of Fall of Cybertron
Transformers: The Art of Fall of Cybertron
by Mark W Bellomo
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £29.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book, 11 Dec. 2012
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I actually cancelled my purchase at one point, deciding to save money, but later changed my mind. And I am so glad I did. This is an excellent art book with just the right amount of descriptive text, choc full of pull page and two page spread artwork of incredible quality. A must for transformer fans, especially fans of the original G1 series, even if you have no intention of playing the game (like me!).

This book embodies all the best layout features of a truly great art book and brings together some of the best transformer artwork ever made (if not just THE best). I'd say snap it up now while it's still less than £20 because I imagine the price on this will only go up and up.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 23, 2014 10:42 AM BST


Red Country (First Law World 3)
Red Country (First Law World 3)
by Joe Abercrombie BA
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Abercrombie greatness, 9 Nov. 2012
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I really enjoyed this book. The characters are, as ever, incredibly vibrant and we get to meet up with some old favourites (as usual), including one character who has been long overdue a reappearance. While it does feel a little odd going from old school fantasy to old school western (in terms of approach), it nonetheless feels good and just makes this fantasy world all the more vibrant. Didn't native Americans exist during the European middle ages? Then why can't tribes people exist in the same world as sword and sorcery. Besides which, it's all done with Abercrombie's flair for good story telling with occasional violent twists and excellent dialogue.

As a confirmed Abercrombie fan I didn't feel disappointed or let down by this book at all (as some reviewers say), but rather felt it expanded the world excellently.


Dragon Age 2 (Xbox 360)
Dragon Age 2 (Xbox 360)

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dragon Age 2 - Easily worth it., 29 Oct. 2012
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This is a great game. Good fun, nice action, looks brilliant and yet more of the kind of detailed world creation you would expect. It is not, however, perfect. Firstly, you can import a saved file from previous Dragon Age games but you only import the events/decisions from that file, not the character. I preferred the Mass Effect approach where you could play the same character all the way through. This isn't too big a gripe, however, since it is critical to the overall DA storyline (I think).

What was more annoying is that your choice of class can be very limiting. Generally not a good thing for a RPG. I played as a warrior but was restricted from using ranged weapons because I wasn't a rogue. There are a few things like that. My choices of armour/gear were also limited to the extent where you simply have to get rid of a lot of the stuff you find, even if it's really good.

I can't say this ruined the game for me too much, however, since I have spent the last week pumping all my spare time into it, so it can't be that bad.

Over all I would say that it is definitely worth getting if you're a Dragon Age fan, definitely worth getting if you're a fan of fantasy games, even if you haven't played the first Dragon Age games, and definitely worth getting if you're a fan of rpg games in general and find it for less than £10 (including P+P). If you fit into any or all of those categories then I'd say it's a good bet you won't be disappointed.


The Emperor's Will (Agents of the Imperium)
The Emperor's Will (Agents of the Imperium)
by John Blanche
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good purchase for lovers of the WH40K setting, 19 July 2012
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This is a great book and definitely worth it while it's below £20 (because you know what Games Workshop/Black Library publications are like when it comes to pricing).

My only gripes with this book are: 1)No descriptions with the pictures. Publishers, please, when making an art book there should always be something to explain the picture/artists thoughts/processes/something. Not so much writing that it gets in the way, but enough that it's interesting and useful. 2)There's not enough! It's a good size and, like I said, well worth the money but you know there must be more artwork back at GWHQ. Maybe there'll be a volume 2, who knows.

What is great about this book is that it's A4 format and the pictures are all full page, so you don't have to squint at any tiny pictures slipped in. I personally would love to see them produce a book like this for all the different sections of the Imperium as well as for the alien races. On that note I should mention that there are no space marines or pictures of anything else from the WH40K universe, these are just pictures of the agents of the Imperium (so Ordo Xenos/Malleus/inquisitors/etc).

So, to recap, great price (got mine for around £14, so it might have changed by the time you read this), great pictures at a good size, and it will leave you wanting more.


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