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Jessica "Illume the mind within" (England)

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Sixty / 60
Sixty / 60
Price: £12.31

78 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb music...tricky box, 7 Oct 2008
This review is from: Sixty / 60 (Audio CD)
This is a wonderfully varied, superbly sung, reasonably ordered 3 disc compilation of Webber's life's work. The versions are beautiful, there's the `classics' : Sarah Brightman, Jason Donovan etc. But this really does span all the avenues for his creations; Emmy Rossum's version of `Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again' is included from the film version of Phantom and Madonna's `You Must Love Me' from the Evita film. There are also some of the most recent stage versions; Lee Mead and Connie Fisher are both featured, from the popular Any Dream Will Do and How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? Although Connie sings `Make Up My Heart' from Starlight Express. I also very much enjoyed Elvis Presley being included and some other lesser known ones (at least to me).

The third disc is my least favourite, only a couple of the songs really stood out, the first two are by far the better, being lest varied but more memorable, featured heavily are: Starlight Express, Tell Me On A Sunday, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, Phantom of the Opera, Whistle Down the Wind and Cats. As these are my favourites I didn't mind, though some of the repititions of tracks but by different performers was hard to justify - why for example include Barbra Streisand's version of 'Memory' when Elaine Paige singing the song is on the first disc and it eclipses Streisand version.

I think the first two discs are more successful because more thought seems to have gone into the ordering of the tracks; disc one for instance has many title tracks like `The Phantom of the Opera', `Superstar', `Whistle Down the Wind' and the songs that you associate with specific musicals, the ones that really stand alone and can be taken out of context, like `Memory' and `Love changes Everything'. Disc two contrasts by being a lot more melancholic, thematically the songs deal with loss and are highly reflective, Elvis Presley's `Its Easy for You' and `Close Every Door' do this very well. Also the tracks here have a Rock and Roll sound to them, Anastacia's version of `Superstar' fits in well, the high points for me are `One Rock `n' Roll too many' and `A Kiss is a Terrible Thing to Waste' the latter being the Metal Philharmonic Orchestra version. Conversely disc three is a bit of a miss match of songs, personally I hate the first track and I dislike some of the versions, but there are high points: `Pie Jesu', `The Music of the Night' and `Make up my Heart'. Most of the tracks on this disc are meditative and slow, except for Alice Cooper's bizarre version of `King Herod's Song'.

I mentioned the case, it is pretty tricky to remove the individual CD's which are cramped in tight.

Still I very much recommend, it's not perfect but very enjoyable and you get a lot for your money, this may even be better then `Music of the Night' another great musical and film complication double disc that I treasure. But do make sure you look carefully at the contents of the three discs as personal taste may dictate whether you think it's worth buying.

P.S After long periods of banging and muttering my outer case allows for much easier removal of the CDs.

P.S.S The more I listen to this the more I love it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 10, 2008 2:58 AM BST

Seeing Redd: The Looking Glass Wars
Seeing Redd: The Looking Glass Wars
by Frank Beddor
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I see little of merit here, 5 Oct 2008
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Alyss and her followers have almost put to right all the damage inflicted upon Wonderland by Redd in The Looking Glass Wars. They've rebuilt the palace and restored order and peace but Alyss still doesn't feel comfortable with her role as queen, she's weary with the ceaseless demands put upon her but her every growing identity crisis has to be put on hold because violence and unrest has come back into the Queendom, could it have anything to do with Redd's mysterious disappearance or with the scheming untrustworthy king Arch.

Yes as the title suggests Redd is back and in a mind to get her throne back and to do so she plans to recruit an army from the evilest misfits from...Earth, including ex-wonderlands with some very unsavoury talents in black imagination.

I thought Beddor's first book was written rather immaturely; the guy seized upon an interesting concept that was just waiting to be explored, but he imbued it with, hesitant writing, poorly constructed characters and a stuttering plot. But most importantly I found a lack of sincerity to his writing; the prose was filled with gimmicks, silly names and one dimensional characters. I say all this because I had hoped that Beddor would improve upon his writing with this second book and understand the importance of making a trilogy tightly developed but reading this my issues with the first book appear to be inherent flaws not issues that were ironed out with the second book.

In as much as Alyss has an identity crisis so does the entire book; there's so much that conflicts and confounds me, for example quite rich character motivations like Dodge trying to balance his feelings for Alyss with his need for revenge against the Cat or Hatters dedication to rescuing his daughter to that of protecting his queen whist grieving for an old love are good but are mixed with such naivety and stupidity. These things are mostly in the very construct of the world Beddor has created, with things such as Tarty Tarts or Homburg Molly having a Homburg, it's all very childish but mixed with this are scenes of quite disturbing gore and long action sequences. My point is that nothing is clearly defined. I can apply this to much of the book, for example we're never given a description of the Chessmen, is that simply their title and do they look like men? Are they a different species? What I can't apply this too is Red, and her and Alyss's pure good against pure evil battle of white against black imagination. There is no depth here Redd is still infuriately underwritten, one of my favourite of her bad lines was "because I would sooner kill you!"

Arch is a marginally better foe, but he too is stereotyped and gimmicky, a misogynistic tyrant scheming and underhand he didn't come to life for me. And his ridiculously named bodyguards, Blister and Ripkins illustrate once again Beddor's trouble with coming up with decent names, Yes Blister does create blisters when he touches you.

As with the first I don't dislike everything about the book and this is no worst but also no better, the stupidity simply stagnates. No there are good elements; Beddor has a talent for writing great action sequences and there is an air of tongue and cheek that I appreciated but the book as a whole didn't work for me because the different elements just don't fit, I found it infuriating and annoying and I can't see the last book getting any better not with me being irritated at such integral things.

Midnight's Daughter
Midnight's Daughter
by Karen Chance
Edition: Paperback

47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dory's story is no Dud, 4 Oct 2008
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This review is from: Midnight's Daughter (Paperback)
Oh I've been looking forward to this new novel by Karen Chance and I'm glad to say I wasn't disappointed, it's a fabulous read, exhibiting what I've come to expect from Chance, fast pacing, a strong and interesting lead and good development plus complete and utter I'm going to put in anything slightly paranormal, mythical and magical then just throw it all in the air and see what happens mayhem. Brilliant.

Dory was conceived 500 years ago, a Dhampir and daughter to the first level master vampire Mircea, who we have already been introduced to through Chance's three previous books in the Cassie Palmer series. As with all Dhampir's our heroine is an undesirable so to speak, vampire's fear and distrust her because of her tendency to take her ya ya's out on them and anything else monstrous that gets in the way and humans are equally disgusted once she goes into one of her blacks outs. See Dory like all Dhampir's has trouble copping with the strain of having super human powers in a human other words she has periods when she goes stark raving, kill anything in site mad.

Dory carries a lot of anger around with her and her mental state has only deteriorated recently with the disappearance of her room mate Claire, a null who has a calming effect on her. Determined to find her but having no luck does Dory have a choice when her hated father offers his very capable help? But "Daddy dearest" help comes with a price, he'll get Claire back but only if Dory helps track down and stop her deranged and single-minded "uncle Drac". Oh but she'll have help, a certain French swords man, Louis-Cesare, like all master vamps he's arrogant and has a server superiority complex, but could our heroine find something more in her reluctant partner than the usual mistrust and hate that is her lot?

I didn't like Mircea in the Cassie books and was initially annoyed that he would be a major player in this as well, but he didn't bother me at all when not manipulating and cajoling Cassie, although he does try similar tacks with Dory, she doesn't take any of his crap, which was refreshing. All in all the vampires are more fleshed out in this, I always found Louis-Cesare interesting, considering his back story, which was heavily explored in 'Touch the Dark'. The consequences to Cassie and Micea's actions are shown and I thought he's character was developed very well. We're also introduced properly to Radu, Mircea's less stable but much more exciting brother, his flamboyance and eccentricities were delightful.

And as for Dory, I really enjoyed her voice, yes she's strong, powerful and with other attributes that could seem old but she is given so much back story and deals with enough prejudice, pain and loneliness to make her if not a complicated character, one with enough depth and intrigue to carry the narrative and create sustaining interest in her first person dialogue.

If you thought there were an over abundance in supernatural entities in Chance's other books well there's more in this, as well as vampires, mages and weres, there's trolls and mutants and an arms dealing gnome. There's also much more on the fey, that I felt needed more fleshing out, the light and dark always seemed a bit boorish to me. Although there is a touch of mayhem to the plot, it is a lot more focused than her Cassie books, there is a set goal and it's achieved, which was also refreshing.

I would say that you will get more out of this book if you've read not only 'Touch the Dark', 'Claimed by Shadow' and 'Embrace the Night' which are the first three books in Chance's Cassie books but also the short story 'Buying Trouble' in the anthology 'On the Prowl', which is from Claire's POV and details what happened to her. I say this because you will understand more of the war that is mentioned, the characters back stories and be able to appreciate the fact that this is a decent spin off that develops and concludes a plot thread that was started in 'Claimed by Shadow'. I'd also check out 'Day of the Dead' a free short story on Chance's website that stars Thomas (also from the Cassie books) which I suspect is building things up for 'Death's Mistress' the next Dory Book (out Autumn 2009). But this is not necessary; Dory is such a solid and entertaining lead that this can be read as a stand alone.

All in all I loved it and would definitely recommend it, though I know Chance isn't for everyone, I find her writing highly entertaining because she doesn't take herself too seriously and her books always turn out quirky, well developed with a mesh of interesting characters.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 26, 2009 6:28 PM GMT

The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance
The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance
by Nancy Holder
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This sucks, 21 Sep 2008
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The phrase `dark gift' springs to mind whilst reading this truly mammoth anthology of vampire orientated short stories, there's 25 in total. Many deal with the transition from mortal to vampire, others with the troubles with being one. Almost all centre around the vampire bite; whether it means a transformation, a disease, a connection or pain and suffering. Some manage to be genuinely engaging and reflective, others read like deleted scenes from established series and others are simply poorly written. Although sex is present in most, the majority aren't romance, in fact the ones that try for a more conventional love story fail miserably because they aren't given enough pages to make it work. In fact there's a good mix of horror, action, gore, lust, sex and romance, with not only established paranormal romance writers but urban fantasy and horror authors contributing.

`Fade to Black' - Sherri Erwin - A teacher gets a little more than she bargained for from her overly pale student ; ) *3.5 stars* Not bad, well written apart from the abrupt ending and silly imagery.

`Ode to Evdard Munch' - Caitlin Kiernan - A man shares his blood periodically with a mysterious stranger. *2.5 stars* Dreamy, surreal prose. O.k but there was no connection with the characters.

'Fangs for Hire' - Jenna Black - A vampire mercenary finds her target to be more than she expected. *2.5 stars* I found the leads irritating and the plot pretty darn dull.

'The Righteous' - Jenna Maclaine - The balance between humans and vampires is established, with the help of a sorceress and a King. *4 starts* A fuller, more interesting story.

'Knowledge of Evil' - Ravent Hart - A vampire intellectual experiences a meeting of the mind and soul. *2 stars* This concentrates on the turning, it tries to be disturbing but was just annoying, with transparent characters.

'Viper's Bite' - Delilah Devlin - Equally lonely a vampire and mortal connect through a bite that brings lost memories to the surface. *4 stars* About loss, memory. Both sad and reflective.

'Dreams' - Kerri Arthur - Riley Jensen stars with vampire Quinn. *2 stars* Dreams and their connection are the focus with a tiny bit of action (and plot!), reads like an extra scene.

'Love Bites' - Kimberly Raye - A vampire slayer or `SOB employee' is unable to complete her first kill, instead she takes her hansom target home to heal and well you know.... *2 stars* Poor characters with little chemistry.

'What's at Stake' - Alexis Morgan - A chancellor decides to help a past vampire friend and almost lover when he gets charged with murder. *3.5 starts* The leads had great chemistry but the world could have been built up more.

'Coming Home' - Lilith Saintcrow - skimmed it...something about the lead being hired to kill an old flames nemesis. *2 stars* Couldn't get into it. Features characters from her Dante Valentine series.

`To Ease the Rage' - CT Adams & Cathy Clamp - To help her old police partner, whose now a vampire, Sylvia might need to go through some changes. *3.5 stars* Very good, solid writing and engaging characters.

`Dancing with the Star' - Susan Sizemore - A vampire finds her soul mate through a series of dream sequences. *2 stars* Irritating prose and dull plot.

'Play Dead' - Dina James - Vampire finds soul mate and fights to keep her. *2 stars* Entertaining enough.

'In Which a Masquerade Ball Unmasks an Undead' - Colleen Gleason - The hunt is on! *2.5 stars* More lust than romance, good but reads like a stuck on scene to an established series.

'A Temporary Vampire' - Barbara Emrys - A vampire finds someone unexpected and alluring in New Orleans. *3 stars* Nice atmosphere but could have been longer.

'Overbite' - Savannah Russe - Dentist meets vampire! *3 stars* pretty good.

'Hunter's Choice' - Shiloh Walker - A newbie to the slaying game seeks help from an old flame, who happens to be a vampire. *4 stars* This works quite well as the leads had an established connection.

'The Sacrifice' - Rebecca York - A beautiful princess will give her own life to a powerful monster to save her father's kingdom. *2 stars* Terribly uninspired writing, beyond boring.

'Remember the Blood' - Vicki Petterson - Two vampires lovers have to face periodically losing their memory. *2.5 stars* I expected more from Petterson, not great.

'The Midday Mangler Meets his Match' - Rachel Vincent - A teenage vampire must protect her little sister in a world where vampires are the established species. *3.5* stars* I liked this, felt like the beginning of a new series.

`The Music of the Night' - Amanda Ashley - Our obsessive lead gets to meet her very own phantom. *2 stars* Blah

`The Day of the Dead' - Karen Chance - Will Thomas be able to finally destroy his former evil master once and for all? With the help of a certain fiery mercenary maybe. *4.5 stars* My favourite, I love her Cassie books and this added to it. (can be read on Chance's website for free!)

'Vampire Unchained' - Nancy Holder - A vampire's secret dealings my cause trouble for him and his human lover. *3 stars* A spin off from an established series, I found it quite engaging though.

'A Stand-up Dame' - Lilith Saintcrow - A PI returns from the dead to settle unfinished business. *2 stars* Unoriginal and dull.

'Untitled 12' - Cailtlin R. Kiernan - A sick women will undergo anything to live. *2 stars* Concentrates on the turning, I didn't like this.

Overall it's o.k but there were too many stories I didn't care for in the least and the ones I did enjoy were too short to fully engage. As a package it's varied enough to entertain but I think dedicated readers of PR will be disillusioned and others looking to get into the genre would be much better off reading someone like J. R Ward.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 17, 2013 9:17 AM BST

The Looking Glass Wars
The Looking Glass Wars
by Frank Beddor
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars There's no wonder Alice is scared in this land, 27 July 2008
This review is from: The Looking Glass Wars (Paperback)
Beddor's Through the Looking Glass Wars in no way builds upon or develops anything from Carroll's original, what he does do is use the story as a vehicle. In fact he makes his contempt for the original very clear, he takes aspects from the world and the characters but in essence they are completely separate and that's the point...

Princess Alyss Heart can't believe that her efforts to bring to light her terrible past has produced the work of ridiculous fiction that is Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, all she wanted was to make people believe what she has been telling them these last four years...that she is indeed a Princess and on her seventh birthday her kingdom was invaded by her evil aunt Red, who murdered her parents and took control of her rightful Queendom. Alyss managed to escape with her protector Hatter Madigan through a gateway to Earth and has been living there ever since.

Years later aged twenty when her brutalised people discover she still lives Alice will have to return to a home she has caste off as make believe and take her rightful place in leading the attack against Red but she no longer has faith in her imagination or herself, can she and the small band of fighters she leads succeed?

This is quite an immature and ill constructed first book by Beddor, I get the impression of a man with too many fingers in too many pies, his concentration isn't on developing a tight and intelligent trilogy instead the world building is rather loose and poorly written. Before he's even finished writing the three books he's produced comics and accompanying journals and there's talk of films, the effect of this has the books feeling insincere, like they're just a franchise. That fine in off itself but with a trilogy I think it's more important to concentrate on making it develop intelligently.

For me this will never be a classic, the characters aren't as interesting or well defined as they need to be, again they feel vaguely insincere, like gimmicks of the originals, not well defined characters in their own right. Beddor talks of many creatures from Wonderland but some are very poorly defined, the chessman have no description so I don't really know what Beddor had planned for them, it was all just so vague. Although there are many little twists to the world he creates some aspects feel terribly lacking in inventiveness: `Wondertropolis' `Jabberwocky's' `Tarty Tarts', some things he just takes from the original, like singing flowers and the giant caterpillars others seen lacklustre and flat. But other aspects are really very good like `The Cut', the pool of tears or the looking glass maze itself.

Other reviewers have said this reads like a script, I would go so far as to say it reads like a overly edited and censored blockbuster, the violence in particular, for instance in a number of cases a death blow is about to be dealt and then the chapter ends or it `cuts' to a different `scene'.

Beddor's depiction of the imagination is almost laughable I don't think it was handled well, its used as basically a way to manifest objects, nothing more, what could have been a way to bring in some intelligence and interesting themes is really rather dull.

Although Beddor seems to lament the silliness of the original though there's much in his own work; Red is an awfully paged villain, she is incredibly one dimensionsal although her effect on Wonderland is handled well. Also the relationship between Alyss and Dodge is very weak there's a moment when Alyss is seven and Dodge ten when Alyss asks him to dance with her and he thinks about the wonderful smell of her hair and how it feels to hold her so close, it was very unconvincing. This feeling of underdevelopment reaches down to the most significant characters and aspects.

This is a shaky start, it's relatively well written but the characters and Beddor's weak storytelling lets it down, the story and concept are good but they're bogged down by gimmicks and insincerity. The issues I have with this book are by no means black and white, the interesting and inventive is mixed with the stilted and boorish, though there are enough problems with this book for me to not think it great it's by no means terrible, no it is interesting enough and has sufficient potential to keep me interested in the next book, I recommend it because it is definitely worth reading as even if like me you see flaws there's a epic quality to this interesting concept that is hard to resist.

The Odyssey (Everyman's Library Classics)
The Odyssey (Everyman's Library Classics)
by Homer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.79

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful edition, 26 July 2008
The picture really doesn't do this edition of Homer wonderful poem justice (in fact it doesn't look like that at all!), a beautifully crafted book, it's a compact and attractively designed hardcover, definitely an edition to treasure, it emphasises and supports the epic quality of the prose.

The edition begins with an introduction by Seamus Heaney, who provides an inventive and insightful foreword, it in no way preaches as to how the work should be perceived, but it isn't as in-depth as the introduction by Peter Jones in the Penguin edition. The text follows and I found that I much preferred the layout to the Penguin, it's present far better, much more accessible, not just a clump of text but spaced in accordance with the rhythms in the piece, Heaney writes that Fitzgerald's translation `grounds it in the realms of modern English verse. His metre is loose iambic pentameter, which encompasses the natural pace and normal breathing rate of English verse.' This is evident when reading, the passages pass with great fluidity. Also included is a lengthy postscript by Fitzgerald that is very interesting.

I recommend this edition for people who want a nice edition, to place on their keeper self and enjoy again and again (and it's really very reasonable priced), if you're looking for a copy for study the Penguin is possibly more suitable as you're not going to want to write notes in the margin in this edition and it takes a more learned look at most aspect of the narrative, this is more concise. I'm sure you know something of the story so I won't bore with another synopsis but I will quote Heaney again on the books magnitude and resonance:

`...classical poetry is forever calling us towards the future: its perfected visions of reality propel the spirit forward into a joyful recognition rather than calling it back or keeping it on hold.'

Wuthering Heights (Oneworld Classics) (Oneworld Classics)
Wuthering Heights (Oneworld Classics) (Oneworld Classics)
by Emily Brontė
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.12

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pretty good edition of a classic, 26 July 2008
This copy gives you quite a comprehensive look at Emily Bronte, her life and her work as well as providing a good edition of her masterpiece. This edition is nicely presented if a bit all over the place; it's compact, the cover is attractive and is a hard paperback which should mean it will endure (mine shows no sign of wear). It begins with some finely printed photos on high quality paper of Emily, her family, their home, a drawing by Emily and some images of A.H Buckland's 1905 illustrations of Wuthering Heights, as well as some places that could have been of inspiration to Emily and a manuscript poem by Emily. The following text is based on the first edition of Wuthering Heights (1847) but the second edition of 1850 has been incorporated. All spelling and punctuation has been standardised and modernised. Notes on the text follows, aiming to give insight into the words and phrases from the narrative. It also gives an in depth description of Emily's life and works as well as cataloguing the various spin-offs and adaptations, which is quite interesting. The appendix is delightful it contains a notice written by Charlotte Bronte(originally the preface to the second edition of Wuthering Heights) as well as an editor's preface (also written by Charlotte) both of which are rather interesting. I recommend this edition I won't subjugate the narrative with a gushing description as I'm sure you're aware of its prowess as a brilliant piece of literature and if you haven't yet read it this is a competent edition with which to familiarise your self with it.

The Dark Knight (Two Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2008]
The Dark Knight (Two Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Christian Bale
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: £3.99

7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An experience, 25 July 2008
This blew me away, it is miles better than the other comic adaptations or book adaptations that have been the staple for blockbusters in recent years and it isn't just a great blockbuster but simply a brilliant film; the acting is superb, the direction tight, the structure flawless, the script inventive (in particular it didn't feel like it was subjugated to being overly censored for bigger audiences) it had many twists and turns, it went at its own pace, had its own formula. Nolan has said that he doesn't indentify comic book films as a genre, that he just wanted to treat this as a film in its own right, without the boundries inherent in placing a tag upon the film and this comes across. I liked the madness of the original Batman films but this seemed so much tighter, a much stronger piece, intelligently made, dark, disturbing, I found myself being dragged kicking and screaming into the disequilibrium that is Gotham city.

Batman (Bale) has given people hope, he has become a symbol for what can be achieved, the last escapees of the Arkum asylum have been rounded up and the Mob families as the next target are nervous because the city's officials are starting to act also. Sensing their panic a new villain emerges, one who only believes in delivering a simple message to the people of Gotham: chaos is bliss. The joker (Ledger) offers his services to the Mob families to kill Batman, but this isn't a man with a plan and the mayhem that ensues is truly gripping as the Joker unleashes his chaotic genius with excellent flare. Harvey Dent (Eckhart) the city's new DA, Rachel Dawes (Gyllenhaal), Lt Gordon (Oldman) and a few other notables come together joining forces with Batman to stand against the evil of the city, they do so with success but it's the Joker that controls the outcome, he manipulates and powers the narrative, driving the characters, twisting, corrupting and wanting destruction, his effect on Dents character `the White Knight' to Bruce's `Dark' is captivating. A major and recurring theme is that under the right circumstances good men can become bad.

Ledger in his performance even eclipses Bale as the star, every scene he is in is powerful and disturbing, he clearly got caught up in the character's crazed mindset, I read a quote by Nicholson saying "I warned him" about the effects of playing such a creature. With Batman Begins I found myself thinking of the villains as appropriate or necessary but the Joker brings a whole new dimension to the films. I don't fault Bale, Batman's conflicted nature is portrayed very well and he and Ledger are explosive in their scenes together. Eckart also stands out, these three and what each represents and how they play off each other is handled perfectly. Each character is drawn faultlessly and fit into their roles with varying degrees of ease and combustible passion.

There are a few vaguely annoying Hollywood clichés particularly a key scene towards the end when a decision needs to be made concerning two ferry's and I didn't feel sold on the emotional turmoil that Rachael was supposedly feeling by loving two men.

The director Christopher Nolan has said that he isn't sure whether he'll make another Batman film, it's true that this leaves nothing out, Nolan uses everything available to make this the best it can be and considering the quality of this film, the level to which it is driven by excellent performances that illustrate characters that are complex and tortured, the high quality to the drama which is set in a convincing world, with inventive and irresistibly good action scenes, it's going to be hard to top, but I'd like to see him try, the franchise is in safe hands with him and considering how much the film is making someone will if he doesn't. Highly recommended.

The Witches Hammer [DVD]
The Witches Hammer [DVD]

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well I liked it!, 24 July 2008
This review is from: The Witches Hammer [DVD] (DVD)
Rebecca is attacked on her way home to her family and left for dead by the vampire responsible. She's taken in by project 571 who turn her into the first genetically engineered vampire, she becomes a vampire assassin who targets vampires, with great success. But when project 571 is massacred she may need to form a new alliance with project 572 lead by the powerful witch Madeline to find a powerful book before the whole world is consumed by darkness...

I'm a fan of big budget horror and the more cultish stuff and this is most definitely the latter; it is obviously made on a very tight budget but what effects there are, are pretty good but don't expect anything better than flashes of blue light and glowing eyes. The hooded apparitions are pretty poorly crafted in particular. The acting is sometimes very real and sometimes kind of dodgy, but it works, Edward (Rebecca's partner) in particular has some awful moments. But Claudia Coulter as Rebecca is really quite good and Stephanie Beacham is great as Madeline. The action can be rather slow but personally I think this adds to the realism. Even though it was only last year it feels dated though I think that has much to do with how it was shot and the fact that the director is hankering back to British Hammer Horror films.

This definitely won't appeal to everyone but I found it massively entertaining (the bad bits and the good), the lead in ballsy and strong, the villains wonderfully eccentric, it's funny both intentionally and by fault and the seeing the story unfold to the backdrop of British pubs, manors, castles and stretching countryside was fun.

Witch Fire (Berkley Sensation)
Witch Fire (Berkley Sensation)
by Anya Bast
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £6.37

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This blows, 21 July 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Witches and Warlocks make up a hidden supernatural community where the two sects, `The Coven' and `The Duskoff' have a long lived standoff, Warlocks only differ by being rouge Witches, ones that break the laws put in place by the Witch governing body. Witches are connected to the world in a way that humans aren't, different Witches can control varying elements; earth, air, fire and water by utilising their own innate magic.

Mira Hoskins is a waitress, with aspirations of going to college, she is trying to rebuild her life after going through a nasty divorce and is now struggling to recover from the effect her cheating ex had on her. She is the epitome of the average luckless soul, with low self esteem, trust issues and poor prospects. That is until Jack McCallister turns up at her work, he saves her from some thugs and when she wakes up he tells her that she is an air witch, the most powerful of castes he also proclaims himself to be a fire witch. Because she is untrained `The Duskoff' will be after her with the aim of sacrificing her life by taking her magic in a demon circle, a witch from each element is needed to open the portal. If this wasn't troubling enough to remain safe she must stay in Jacks apartment until its safe to move, just the two of them...

Considering the guilt Jack feels about the night years ago when he acted as a witness to four deaths by his father the head of `The Duskoff', Jack jumps at the chance to absolve himself of this lingering pain by helping protect Mira, the daughter of the air witch who died at the time. For this reason and the fact that Mira is his bosses estranged cousin he can't have her but the attraction between Air and Fire is intense...

I don't rate this book, it is clichéd, badly structured, poorly written and with boring characters. Jack begins as a womanising thug but with an artistic soul who finds love with Mira who is possibly one of the dullest characters I've come across; she works in a diner, she's treated ill by her husband (who was adequate in bed) but over the course of the book discovers she is special, powerful, has status and finds she is desired by an amazingly attractive and powerful man who is brilliant in bed. She gains everything but doesn't grow or develop as a character, only in her magical talents. Throughout the book till the end she insists she doesn't want commitment after being burned by her husband this irritating refrain is constantly being brought to our attention by a poorly imagined and flat heroine. In fact it's both characters that have their own mantra they repeat; Mira that she's just with Jack for `hot sex' and doesn't want commitment, Jack that he can't have her but is unable to resist her. This was so pitifully dense.

The books structure was uninspiring, the writing merely around the sex scenes, these are graphic and to a degree passionate, but they aren't used intelligently in the books structure to develop the romance, they are simply sex, which make them for me less effective. The structure overall goes something like this: Sex, training, sex, training, sex, sex, small skirmish, training, sex, training, sex, stuck on ending.

I also found the writing itself wasn't very good at all, it's highly uninventive, I wasn't too bothered with the first half but by the second the half it was really starting to grate on me. It also very much follows the formula of Jack did this, Mira thought that, it's all very bland and dull. There are also some really cringe worthy lines and moments:

`She raised an eyebrow. "Really? You came to apologise for lying to me?"'
`It wasn't any kind of hurt, it was hurt with a capital H.'
"What were you thinking?...Oh, that's right, you weren't."
`By the wan light of the moon he could see his...'

I concede the fact that many books contain these clichés, but they don't bother you or even get acknowledged because of the quality of the writing, the inventiveness that the author shows in the surrounding world and for me this didn't happen, the concept is interesting but it became for me just a vague outline without decent characters, writing or development, if it does interest you then you might want to give it a try as other reviewers have rated this very highly and the excerpt in the back of the next instalment 'Witch Blood' looks a lot better but I can't faithfully recommend it given how bad I thought it.

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