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Reviews Written by
J. Bradley "hmm?" (Mare Crisium)
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All the Paths of Shadow
All the Paths of Shadow
Price: £1.58

5.0 out of 5 stars A gem, 11 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Truly a fantasy gem. It expertly combines world building with character development and plot progression to weave an engrossing stand alone tale. It you'd enjoy well written fantasy in a historicalesque Victorian era setting then you would be insane not to buy this.


Queen of Roses
Queen of Roses
Price: £2.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, 3 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Queen of Roses (Kindle Edition)
[SPOILER] A delightful SF story following an AI accountant who ends up being purchased a job unspecified - and wakes up in charge of a space faring cruise ship to replace the original AI which went insane and deleted itself. The story follows her on her maiden voyage as a ship AI contenting with whatever quirks a cruise ship may find itself having to deal with from stowaways and equipment failures to alcoholic captains. [END SPOILER]

This story reminds me a lot of Anne McCaffrey's Brainship novels - with a protagonist who, while inhumanly capable is handicapped by limited physical interaction. This coupled with programming restrictions gives rise to a protagonist as flawed as she/it is capable. Overall the story flows well, with a well balanced cast of characters - but I feel the ending lets it down a lot with a disappointing climax scene which is incredibly obvious and ends disappointingly with the protagonist failing to do much of anything. Hence the 4*, not 5* rating.

If you're looking for a short and predominantly lighthearted SF novel with a splash of mystery then you can certainly do worse than this!


Dragon Stones
Dragon Stones
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A good, solid and somewhat bitter-sweet read, 11 April 2012
This review is from: Dragon Stones (Kindle Edition)
The first thing which struck me when I started reading this was it's size. Noticeably larger than many similarly priced kindle books at almost 400 pages and it uses it well making it good value for money.

Overall, the characters may not steal your heart away nor the plot sweep you off your feet but they're likeable, respectable and enjoyable nonetheless. If you're looking for a good, solid and somewhat bitter-sweet read then you can't go far wrong with this book.

I can only hope that perhaps someday there's another book set in the same world so I can visit it once again.


Daughter of Dragons
Daughter of Dragons

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Suprisingly Good, 16 Oct. 2011
I bought this mainly because I'm a sucker for dragons and was expecting to be let down as I have so many times before. I wasn't. The writing is simple and the story is straightforward but that's inevitable in a book this short. The characterisation however is brilliant, my only regret is that I'm unlikely to ever find another author who can so perfectly fit a dragon into a human skin.


Feast Of Souls: Magister: Book One
Feast Of Souls: Magister: Book One
by Celia Friedman
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Good, 16 Sept. 2011
To be blunt I found this book quite compelling. The motivations behind many of the characters were certainly ones I could relate to. The plot was novel enough as were elements such as the magic mechanics. Characterisation was fine, perhaps not a vast amount of depth to each character but certainly sufficient to give each of them personality. The world building however is quite poor so don't expect anything of Robert Jordan standards there.

Fitting with the theme of the book the author has no compunctions about killing off characters. A significant portion of the cast is dead by the end of the book. Partly for that reason I wish this wasn't a series as I have my doubts that sequels will do well after quite so brutal a culling. That said I'm still going to buy and read the second so fingers crossed.


The Enchanted Forest Chronicles: [Boxed Set]
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles: [Boxed Set]
by Patricia C. Wrede
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 17 July 2011
Read these when I was pretty young and loved them then. Lost them and recently purchased them for a young relation. Hopefully they'll enjoy them as much as I did!


Nightschool, Vol 4
Nightschool, Vol 4
by Svetlana Chmakova
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Something of a Disappointment, 17 July 2011
This review is from: Nightschool, Vol 4 (Paperback)
A book which I feel lets down the rest of the series. Not too much but it certainly doesn't equal the best of the others.

In a phrase "it was rushed". She only had one book left to wrap up the series and that at least she did. Sadly that meant that some very dramatic revelations weren't as dramatic as they deserved to be. The humour was still partially there as was the terrific art and the great characters.

The only real complaints would be that it is rushed and ends with some of the biggest plot questions left unanswered and on a deus ex machina. That said I have heard there may be more books so hopefully the questions will be answered in time.


Empire (In Her Name Book 4)
Empire (In Her Name Book 4)
Price: £0.00

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent, 14 July 2011
A decent book. A little weak in places particularly the first few chapters which to my mind weren't terrible well written when compared to the rest. Oh and it's rather dark as in paedophilia kind of dark. Once you get past those the plot picks up at the point which I suspect the author considered the actual story as beginning. While still brutal it does take on a rather lighter tone.

One of the things I found quite lacking about was the very small pool of characters particularly in the earlier chapters where there was less excuse in the plot for it. An additional storyline could have done quite a lot to elevate the mood early on and increase the cast with a contrasting situation in the another storyline. Cutting out basically all characters except the protagonist between scene changes and effectively never mentioning them again was also I feel a weak technique. I suspect we'll meet a few of them again in later books though and was possibly deliberately done to make things easier on a (new?) author, but I'd have preferred the plotlines to run parallel.

Another of the more jarring things I found was the very loose concept of time, a 4 hour journey is just a 4 hour journey passing in the space it took to mention it. There's time jumps of years between one chapter and another and without much (any?) warning. I suppose it serves to only look at the interesting points but a brief synopsis of the lost time perhaps? Perhaps something other than continuing with the plot and assuming you'll pick up what you missed from brief mentions? It was doable but I thought it hardly ideal. I suspect this gripe may be down to preference though.

The final point I suppose being that I never found the fight scenes particularly thrilling. I suspect my particular dislike of them may well be attraction for another reader though.

Overall I think it was a decent book and one of the better free ones on amazon, not one of my favourites but not one I regret spending my time reading either as I seriously contemplated purchasing the second book in the series. I suspect the author will only improve with practice so I can only wish him the best of luck and will hopefully stumble across him again in a few years when he has had a few more books to practice one. I wish I could rate it a .5 star higher for potential.


Dragon Age: Origins (PS3)
Dragon Age: Origins (PS3)
Offered by EVERGAME
Price: £11.00

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring, 13 Feb. 2011
My overall impression of the game is that BioWare decided they wanted to make the RPG equivalent to an MMO. My issue with this however being that if I wanted MMO like gameplay I'd play an MMO as opposed to an RPG. While similiar, RPGs do not however need the failing points of MMO gameplay.

The whole of DA is like this stuffed with filler content it doesn't need. All quests except the story one are the standard MMO ones: kill these, collect x of some item, talk to these people then whatever you did come back and talk to me. Not interesting or original in the slightest. The story one *could* have been interesting if every time you completed a section of it there wasn't a fight. After this happens ~10 times in a row this sort of takes all interest out of it because it was just "here we go again".

Class balance is also bad. Mages are insanely powerful since they're the ones with the decent AoE skills (and you're never *not* ountnumbered in this game) While archers get a total of 2 decent skills in the entire game and their gameplay consists of "Hold autoattack until the target is dead" Incredibly fun.

If you're looking for a good RPG get Oblivion or Dragon Knight Saga - this isn't it. But hey, judging by the number of people praising the game you're unlikely to take much notice of my advice


Nightschool: Vol 3
Nightschool: Vol 3
by Svetlana Chmakova
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Totally Enjoyed, 5 July 2010
This review is from: Nightschool: Vol 3 (Paperback)
Brilliant, my favourite book so far (although number 1 is fairly close). Unlike the first book though the fight scenes are fluid and nicely done. There are some major plot revelations although there's still plenty of answers the author has yet to hand out just yet. Some really nice dramatic moments as well.The humour of the previous books is still there and the short story as an extra is awesome in that regard.

If you liked the first 2 then you'll almost certainly like this one. Can't wait for book 4.


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