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Fables: Dark Ages
Fables: Dark Ages
by Bill Willingham
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars instead they focus on a Goth guy being "evil"., 26 Nov 2012
This review is from: Fables: Dark Ages (Paperback)
War and Pieces ended with the reader knowing that there was still more to come in the Fables comics, obviously a popular read and making far too much money to be left to finish, but in all honestly there are far too many fables that the writers could use that they could keep this going for years yet. I mean Shriek managed to drag a great film into three more terrible pieces of dross and now a musical, not to mention all those awful Halloween and Christmas DVDs on sale every year, No More! Sadly this means that Bill Willingham could drag this out until there is nothing left of the original story but the names of the writers who are now rolling in money not caring that every fan hates them for ruining something great. So far the spin-offs from this haven't been great, Jack of Fables is rubbish, no point sugar coating it, and Vol. 12 is trying to now make the Adversary, Geppetto, a member of Fabletown, trying to weakly make the scene comical by listening to a hate-filled old bigot demanding someone to kill the people that annoy him (if I wanted to listen to that I would have stayed in the Army).

Vol. 12 isn't a great start for a new story arc, or so I say, which is the only point I care about, I'm sure if you're reading this then by now you're saying I'm an idiot, but the point is that these are personal views. Yes the writing and artwork is as good as ever, and yes the writers make an interesting decision in where they lead this story, but I didn't like it. The new villain is 2 dimensional so far, just turns up, kills a few people and then destroys Fabletown (this isn't much of a spoiler, if you think about it then you would realise that they would need to do something to make this guy bad). The problem with Mr Dark is that he is no where near as interesting as Geppetto, who when we first meet him I thought he was a great villain (to be honest I thought Vol. 6 Homelands was a brilliant book, best so far), he seemed like the kindhearted old man that we remember from the old Disney film, but he was actually a cold blooded killer who no one realised was the bad guy. Mr Dark would have had trouble competing with Geppetto, but he doesn't seem to try, turns up, shows how evil he is, but that isn't impressive. I am hoping that the next couple of books will show there are other evils that were kept locked away by the Empire that are now returning.

The one bit I can say was impressive with this book is Mowgli, who throughout the series has been great. His character hasn't really been followed enough in my mind, just used when the Fables need someone to get the job done. Mowgli in this book heads back to his home world to free it from the remaining goblins that run it, giving the Fables a foothold in getting their homes back, again a great story arc that isn't really followed, instead they focus on a Goth guy being "evil".

I don't want to spoil this book so I am going to be careful what I say in this paragraph. There is one story arc which I didn't like for no other reason than I didn't like the outcome, but I have to admit the fallout from this story I did find not as annoying as I hoped because I really wanted to rant about this. Red Rose is briefly placed in this story arc, and she continues to be a pointless annoying bint who I am hoping will get a plot line soon or just kill her off, either is fine with me. This story arc, though obviously the big twist in showing how bad Mr Dark is, has a better confrontation between two of the characters than how Mr Dark performs his evil deed. I find at times with this series that the better stories are happening in the background, but we are forced to read a story that though can be good, isn't as good as it could be.

Thus I must end with a brief conclusion. The Fables series is good, enjoyable trying to find all of these different characters I remember from being a kid changed for this, but I do find this story arc to be one of the weaker so far. So far this series has reached its peak in book 6, not saying that the others have been rubbish, but there is definitely more in this than they are making.


The Boys - The Big Ride (Vol. 9) (Boys 9)
The Boys - The Big Ride (Vol. 9) (Boys 9)
by Garth Ennis
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mallory hidden in the guise of an Englishman (a feat no American actor has managed yet)., 25 Nov 2012
I can see why people are starting to get annoyed with this series, because like many comic series and TV shows, you are hooked on a plot line and desperately waiting on the conclusion, but we sadly live in a world where stories are dragged out to get as much money as they can out of them. Yes it is annoying, but lets remember that Garth Ennis isn't the only person to be accused of this sadly legal but f****** annoying crime: Robert Jordan, by book 10 you realise that he has written a book with a lot of talking and planning but very little i happening, George RR Martin, just look at the average reviews for his books and see how DWD has got a 3* average as opposed to his 5* average with the rest of his books, Terry Goodkind, should have ended on book 6 but really wanted to drive home how evil Communism is (we get it you're American, God bless 'em), Smallville, I thought for a moment that he was going to go grey before he became Superman, Supernatural...actually I really like that one and ain't too sure how they'll finish it, Fables, Bring back Boy Blue (if you haven't read this then you wouldn't have a clue, but trust me, Bring Boy Blue back!).

There are always going to be those people that just want to know the end of something, and I am proud to be one of them, here I sit on a Sunday evening with a cup of coffee thinking of climbing into bed and reading vol 4 of Essential Fantastic Four (those Marvel and DC essential books are great night time reading), and I read this book almost a year ago, but am only now writing the review because I saw a lot of people complaining, which I thought was a bit unfair. Yes they are dragging this series out, with one volume already devoted to the past of one of the characters and a second due for Vol. 10, and easily half of this book dedicated to the back story, but so what? The last volume was probably the weakest as it was basically all about Hughie trying to find himself and realising that the nice old man he had been talking to was in fact the former leader of the boys Mallory hidden in the guise of an Englishman (a feat no American actor has managed yet). Vol. 9 does have a long back story in the middle where Mallory explains his reasoning for why Supes are dangerous, why Vought are bad, and why Butcher is dangerous, some of this isn't needed as we already know this, but it doesn't hurt to get the full story, it would be like telling Peter Jackson to do all Lord of the Rings books in one film.

These backgrounds are useful, it helps us to fully understand why the Supes are placed as they are, how powerful Vought are in the world, and more importantly why Mallory set up the Boys. Butcher's character is briefly described, but as we know Vol. 10 is all about Butcher, this is just going to let us see that he is more of a cold killer than we realised (the next Vol. will tell you why if you hadn't already caught on). It also shows the last time the Boys went against the Seven and the outcome of that battle. The confrontation with the Seven in the flashback is mirrored in the present confrontation with very much everything going exactly the same way as they had before, but the only difference is what happens to conclude the volume (I won't ruin it for you), and this difference is why we realise that there is no going back.

What is starting to drag out is the Hughie/Annie love story, you know it is the typical boy meets girl, boy finds out girl went on her knees for three bad guys and isn't getting over it that quick, you know the story. I understand that it would be a difficult obstacle to overcome, but I started to get tired of it in the last volume when all he did was whine and she cried, and they got back, but he can't feel the same, just get over it of get rid of her!

Overall though this is a good book, Vol. 2/5/8 are probably the weakest of the series, but I would place this in one of my higher, Butcher is showing his true colours now, and I couldn't put this book down. As I write this I have under a month for the final instalment to come out. A well done to Garth Ennis for creating one of the first series I picked up, and glad that I did as it has hooked me into the comic world and this is a better waste of money than endless DVDs

well earned 7/10


Windsor, Weybridge & Bracknell (OS Explorer Map)
Windsor, Weybridge & Bracknell (OS Explorer Map)
by Ordnance Survey
Edition: Map
Price: 5.59

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars it's good and reliable., 13 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Again any OS map is a great tool, this covers the west of London just outside the M25, showing a few walks in and around Windsor (hence the title of this map). There isn't really much to say about this product, it's good and reliable.

I may as well say where I have been using it. I take my dogs to Cobham Common, and if you park up near the subway under the M3 there is a landmark up a bridleway near another car park which was erected by the local people in memory of Queen Victoria as she had stood there to inspect troops in the 1880s. I never would have known about that little spot if not for this map, and to be honest it is a great view with a good walks for people with dogs. I used to take my dogs to Richmond Park, but that is so busy it isn't as enjoyable. Great places for anyone hiking or mountain biking, as long as you can read a map you'll be fine. Be warned a few of the footpaths they show aren't used anymore and you can start crawling through thick briar or bracken, but as I was on my own it was ok, my girlfriend would have killed me if she was dragged through it. Obviously these are useful tools for map readers, I advice learning to map read so you can use them properly, it isn't difficult, and then you too can end up knee deep in bogs with your two terriers in your arms because they didn't want to continue. It was a great walk, the dogs were so behaved because I think they were lost, just remember in moments like that, just keep track of prominent features and you'll be fine.


Fables Vol. 10: The Good Prince
Fables Vol. 10: The Good Prince
by Bill Willingham
Edition: Paperback
Price: 13.50

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars old fables and nursery rhymes you heard as a child, unless of course you were born after 1995, 13 Nov 2012
The Good Prince is the 10th volume in Bill Willingham's Fable comics series, a new look into the old fables and nursery rhymes you heard as a child, unless of course you were born after 1995, and then you only know Pixar and Dora the Explorer, which is a sorry excuse for children's television. I remember when kids shows were good, the 1991 cartoon series of X-Men and Spiderman, or the Incredible Hulk with the voice of Lou Ferrigno, or Mr Ben, now those were shows. Anyway for the "youth" of today, these Fable's were all old stories like the Big Bad Wolf (he blew down houses, and ate a Grandmother) Snow White (Not that terrible film with Thor and the chick from Twilight), Prince Charming (as seen in Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow While, but not the one with Thor and that annoying terrible actress who cheated on Robert Patterson) Beauty and the Beast (like the Disney film) Red Riding Hood (and not that awful film that I walked out of because it was so annoying, my girlfriend isn't allowed to pick the next three films). To be honest there are so many Fables in this comic (hence the name) and some are so obscure that you always see a new face every time you read it.

Volume 10 follows the sorry of Fly Catcher, answering the questions as why he turned into a frog after kissing Red, and his journey to rediscover himself. This volume also follows Frau Totenkinder (the wicth in the gingerbread house, and if you still haven't hear the tale don't worry, they're doing a film about it with Hawkeye) as she begins to reveal a little bit more about herself, making you question how loyal she actually is. There is also the preparation for the assault on the Emperor, as the Empire plans their own attack on Fabletown, but this is only a side line, as it has been these past several volumes.

This isn't a bad volume, a lot happens, but I cannot help but think that there is something missing in this book. Flycatcher is a nice character, always one of the more light hearted, but now that he has turned serious I feel that they have lost something with him. The idea of a Switzerland in the Fable worlds is a bit off as well, but the problem is is that it isn't a bad book, I just struggle to put my finger on why it annoyed me. I think when I looked back to the last few books we have been awaiting the attack, but yet again it is put back, which is annoying, and this is just another volume to set the scene. The problem with that is that it has been setting the scene since Boy Blue headed off to the Homelands alone, and by now you can't help but feel that they could have started the attack while having this as a side story.

Yet once again the volume continues to add characters that we remember from the story books, the most prominent in this Volume being Lancelot along with the return of many characters good and bad. I couldn't justify giving this 4* as I class 4* and above something I enjoy reading the second time, where this book I felt dragged when I picked it up again. It isn't to say it is rubbish, and if you enjoy the series then this is yet again another strong volume in the series.


Essential Moon Knight Volume 1 TPB
Essential Moon Knight Volume 1 TPB
by Doug Moench
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars making Gollum look like a part timer with only two personalities, 12 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I first saw Moon Knight when reading Spiderman, and thought very little of him, but as he was obviously a big name in the Marvel universe I thought it would be best if I picked him up and started reading him, but so far I haven't really been that impressed.

The first meeting with the Moon Knight is in Werewolf by Night, another comic I hadn't read, so following a main hero I hadn't read fighting a side hero I hadn't read was a bit pointless, but as reading comics has become the books I read before going to bed, it wasn't hard to just keep on it to see how it goes, and I am glad to say that they do get better. Werewolf by night has him like a bad guy who captures the Werewolf only to free him to fight the criminals, a little pointless in taking the werewolf from where I read. Then Spotlight is where he next appears letting us see for the first time that he is four different people, a trait that remains difficult to follow the entire first volume, making Gollum look like a part timer with only two personalities.

Once Moon Knight gets his own comic, and we read the back story as in why he has become Moon Knight I started to enjoy the comics, even though the enemies he has faced have been pretty weak. While Spiderman fights Doc Oc and Lizard, Moon Knight fights an African Dictator, a glorified thief and a few guys who poison Chicago's water. The exceptional plot lines are The Slasher, and Night Born Ten Years Gone, stories I enjoy as they have started putting death freely into the comics, and they don't beat around the bush when Moon Knight has to kill he does. What is annoying is that they couldn't be sure how they wanted Moon Knight to act when he fights, he turns from jokey Spiderman to near Wolverine in moments, I just wish they would choose whether he is lighthearted or not. The side charcters in this strip aren't as good as others, the homeless informant, teenage lackeys, and annoying girlfriend. the only good point about them is that they are side lines and never take too much time, maybe they will have to face Dr Doom who'll kill them all so is just Moon Knight himself and him...and him.


Kushiel's Chosen
Kushiel's Chosen
by Jacqueline Carey
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Erotic scenes, but tasteful with a plot (unlike something rubbish with Fifty in the title), 12 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Kushiel's Chosen (Hardcover)
I was surprised to find that this book had six reviews all with 5*, giving it a 100% score, which is surprising as it isn't that great a book. Don't get me wrong it isn't terrible, it is well written with good description of characters and palace politics, even the erotic scenes are written in a tasteful manner and not dragged out for too long unlike Fifty Shades Of Utter Rubbish That My Girlfriend Read Complained About But Still Brought The Other Two Books Because She's An Idiot And I Still Listen To Her Go On How Terrible They Are And I Have No Idea Why She Would Read Them As I Have A Copy Of Moby Dick Which Is An Amazing Book And I Would Enjoy Listening To Her Talking To Me About That.

The plot follows the young heroine Phedre no Delaunay, a young woman who has been taught the art of spying, making her a useful ally, and she is also a servant of Naamah, which means she is basically a submissive (if you don't know what that is then ask your parents, or you really have had a dull life, so start living it now!), which would make her a good bit on the side. Phedre returns to the city of Elua to find Melisande, an enemy of the realm who has sent Phedre a note saying that she will take the throne (always good when the enemy tells the good guy what they are planning, it makes it so easy, but I never get why? Haven't these guys seen a james Bond film?). Phedre returns to the service of Naamah much to her bodyguard Joscelin's dismay (they have a thing, it gets annoying really quick) so she can find out everyone's secrets while on her back/knees/tied up/wearing a mask/and all sorts of other wonderful ways which are described in this book with Phedre loving every moment, which she likes to keep telling us. The erotic side of this book does get a bit annoying, but it is written tastefully enough that it doesn't make me throw the book down because Carey wraps it up pretty quick.

There are a few annoying points to this book such as the first in that it takes to long for anything to happen, fair enough a scene needs to be set, but how much scene setting can happen while Phedre sleeps with someone, Joscelin sulks, and the chevaliers play dice with soldiers. The tension between Phedre and Joscelin gets old after twenty pages with him preying outside for a whole day, and then he spends his time sulking about, saying a few things, warning Phedre, and then sulking about again. What is annoying about this is that we know Joscelin is one priest you don't want to mess with, but this book he acts like a stroppy teenager until about page 500, Phedre keeps prattling on about how her heart aches for him, but then she goes off to sleep with someone else, so you kind of don't feel that bad for her. I can even see that if you want him to feel better then maybe you shouldn't keep sleeping with other people...just a thought. The other bit that is annoying about this book is that the map of her world is Europe, Alba is basically Britain led by the Picts and Terre D'Ange is France during the renaissance, and the Yeshuites, with their Rebbe and searching for a promised land remind me of a people...mormon perhaps?

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a poor book, far from it. The plot is good, each of the books have ended properly but kept open for a second and third. The erotic scenes are what put this book over most other fantasy, but Carey has written is tastefully (unlike a book with Fifty in the title) and has decided to spend more time on the plot, description, language, and writing style, rather than just write endless sex scenes (unlike something rubbish with Fifty in the title). The build up has some suspense to it, but is weakened by the fact that once you know where the attack will be, and that there is never enough time, it takes forever for Phedre to arrive. The confrontation is well written, allowing one's own imagination to picture the battle between Joscelin and his advisory, which is well chosen in this setting (unlike in The Wheel of Time where he just tells us the battle's about to happen and then the outcome, NOT FUNNY!). Carey has made a good two of a trilogy, and the second book is usually the weaker of the three so the finale should be interesting.

6/10


The Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World (Oxford Paperback Reference)
The Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World (Oxford Paperback Reference)
by John Roberts
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.24

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top reference book, 12 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Obviously I don't recommend that you sit and read this book from start to finish, because that isn't why you should pick it up. It is a great tool to have incase you are trying to remember something about the classical world that you can't remember, or even something to skim through now and then. The Oxford series can be relied upon to be correct and brief, but not brief enough that it won't answer what you are trying to find out. Each one whether it is the Classical World, or Myths, or Grammar, are like short Encyclopaedias, and a great and fascinating read. Try picking a page, finding a place or name, and try to use it in a sentence, fun game if you a geek like myself.


The Tenderness of Wolves
The Tenderness of Wolves
by Stef Penney
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.13

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars These characters need to shut up, and follow the Native Americans, by far a more interesting read., 12 Nov 2012
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This is a debut novel by Step Penney about life in the Canadian wilderness in 1867, and is set in a small town where a lone tracker has been found dead by a housewife who fears that her son may have been the killer, this book follows the journey of several characters as they track down the son and seek answers to the riddle of this man's death.

This isn't a typical book that I would read, I normally find fiction like this rather dull as it had won the Costa Book Of The Year I thought that I would try it out, but sadly was disappointed by the characters. The description in the book is good, not amazing, but good, the one part I did rather enjoy was when the main character Mrs Ross as she watches a wolf just beyond the camp light as she travels with Parker. The entire book changes between first person, which is written in Mrs Ross' view and third in everyone else's, but the problem I have with this book is that every character is weak, I find though they all can be believable, I feel that having every single main character being flawed and uninteresting. The characters I do find intriguing are the two Indian trackers, but they are barely followed or only seen through Mrs Ross or Donald. The mystery in why the Tracker Mr Jammet is set with three main questions with one answer being obvious after Francis is described by his mother, the mystery of the killer isn't hard to understand, but is dragged out to a weak confrontation at the end with little suspense or grip. The final question, which I found the most interesting isn't followed up, I will try not to ruin the plot, but once the killer/killers are confronted the book end with the group returning home, but the final question is never ended along with the outcome of every single character apart from the ones that have died.

As said the main character is Mrs Ross, a Scottish woman who had spent time in an institution, which she briefly describes one a couple of occasions. She isn't an enjoyable character to listen to, a constant whine about why she isn't happy, and why she is worried about her stepson, or how she is amazed by her new accomplish the Native American tracker Parker. The entire time she travels with Parker I hope that he just tells her to stay back while he finishes the task alone, but the inevitable attraction between the pair begins to blossom, and I take a long yawn because I mean I would never have seen that coming.

Donald Moody is probably the next biggest character, playing a member of the Company, but is wetter than a towel left out in a downpour. Again his tracker and friend Jacob is far more interesting, but is only described by Donald's point of view, which is a mix between awe and jealousy, and for a change he has a love interest, which he soon begins to question, again expected and annoying. I think I would have been able to cope with some of this if he wasn't so self loathing, you can see why his father didn't like him, after several pages of him feeling sorry for myself I felt the father should have been even harder and beat the weakness out of him.

I understand that there are plenty of people who face the problems the characters have, but you do feel that if they are living in a harsh climate like 1860s Canadian wilderness they would have a bit more of a backbone. When the son is found he soon starts to annoy. Obviously you need to explain his story, but I would have preferred they get the whole lot out the way and continue with the plot because his story is pointless after you read five pages about him because you would have figured it out by then. Then we have the Norwegians who are a pointless side story that go nowhere and keep getting interjected, and by this point I felt that the story was just dragging.

Obviously there are going to be people who like this book, and I won't argue with them if they say they enjoyed it, but I feel that there had to be a better book that year to win the prize. The problem is if you read a lot then you would have probably picked up Count of Monte Cristo, Moby Dick, Lord of the Rings, Sum of All Fears, Pride of Prejudice, or World Without End (better than Pillars of the Earth) and you would have realised what a good book is. Sadly I don't see this book being remembered after a few years, I feel that it won't stand the test of time like so many authors, but don't get me wrong, Stef Penney deserves higher fame than Fifty Shades of Rubbish, Mo Hayder or half the detective authors out there. I feel that this shouldn't have been a debut novel as it has put me off of her reader her work, but I feel that there is definitely potential for an amazing book from this writer.


The Boys - Over the Hills With the Swords of a Thousand Men (Vol 11) (Boys 11)
The Boys - Over the Hills With the Swords of a Thousand Men (Vol 11) (Boys 11)
by Garth Ennis
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Confrontation finally, 8 Nov 2012
The long anticipated confrontation with the Seven is here, and a few surprises are thrown in for the fun of it.

The series has been building to this showdown from the get go, but you never realise how much Butcher wants this until vol 3 when we realise there is some serious history, and then there is a gradual build in tension from vol 3 onwards, exploding in vol 7 Innocents, but then you start to feel that maybe they are just dragging the story out with an entire vol for Butcher's past, which is a typical poor East End boy with a **** for a dad, and a dear old mum, and a woman who makes him sane with the understanding that he'll go off the rails without her, surprise surprise she is killed by a baby that is from when she was raped by ??? (you realise who in vol 1). From vol 7 we get back ground stories on Butcher, Mallory, and we even get to see Hughie's home town, which also takes up a whole vol. (annoying I know). But finally it is here, what we have been waiting for from the moment The Homelander drops the family that were in the car who he flew into the air before speaking to the rest of the Supes about taking power.

Sadly I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped, and that is nothing against the writing, because you can't make something how everyone had hoped it would end. The only reason I felt this way is because I had been trying to think of how this might end for the last few months, and got in my head something different (I won't bore you with it, but it was a longer fight, and more explosions, shoot me I'm male and love a good fight). The confrontation is good, and I can't fault the storyline as we realise now how powerful Vought is, Hughie is confronted with a face he has been trying to avoid, but Butcher forces the confrontation for personal reasons, which I think will be important in the final vol. out Jan 2013.

This vol. is a great read, many characters reveal their true colours, and we watch Frenchie and the Female do what they do best while Hughie and Butcher confront the Homelander as the Supes gather to take power. I can't help but congratulate Garth Ennis for an amazing storyline, which I hope won't be made into a film because it just won't be good enough.


London South (Explorer Maps) (OS Explorer Map)
London South (Explorer Maps) (OS Explorer Map)
by Ordnance Survey
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great guide, 8 Nov 2012
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Ordinance survey maps are probably the most useful maps out there for anyone walking/hiking/mountainbiking/not being a lazy git. This map covers the west of London, showing a few different walks that have been set up by National Trust or other recreational walks. These maps give you major roads to avoid along with landmarks and features worth seeing, it has helped me find quiet places to walk my two Terriers away from other dog walkers because my two dog are gobby little blighters.


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