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Jon Doe (Britain)

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Cold Reign A Jane Yellowrock Novel
Cold Reign A Jane Yellowrock Novel
by Faith Hunter
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars War Zone?, 23 May 2017
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The European Council of Vampires finally puts in an appearance in this book, and they bring the nightmares with them. Revenants which shouldn't be Rising are coming tearing out of their graves and literally eating people alive, two massive storms are converging on New Orleans at the same time, which Jane suspects is as a result of magic, and EV's are on the loose in NO up to no good at all. Oh, Rick Lafleur shows up as well, without his team for some reason. He and Jane's reunion is...memorable.

Leo has been planning for the EV's "visit" for 200 years, but it turns out Jane's arrival and employment by him changed everything. Without even knowing she was doing it, as is often the case. Jane has discovered with Mithran plans crossing decades and even centuries, dealing with a number of resources and agents that the EV's might have drawn upon just by virtue of being so good at what she does. Leo has made significant alterations to his plans as a result-focusing on Jane herself, to her annoyance. But the EV's have leaders who have seen in most of two millennia, and Leo may have been outflanked, which leaves Jane to hold the line with the Yellowrock Clan, bar Molly, Evan and the "kits". Fortunately, they all enjoy a good fight-and Alex has been taking lessons from Eli in how to shoot. The Kid is growing up...

Eli is having personal problems, Brute has decided Alex's bed will do until they get him a proper one, Edmund wants the EV's gone from NO while he fights at Jane's side, Beast is keeping secrets from Jane. Jane's magic is continuing to evolve-and evolves here into something very different. Gee is involved because he wants the "Crown" Jane has kept from a previous adventure which is clearly a major-level artefact of power. Soul shows up because Arcenciel's are in danger and she'll never stand back and leave that alone. Suffice to say there's a lot going on, personally and professionally. But Faith Hunter excels at tying threads and history together and does an excellent job here-for example, we finally discover who Leo's Spy on the EV Council is, who is in charge in the Council, just who Leo's allies and enemies really are-although I suspect there is a lot more to come... And the Angel Hayyel shows up to tell Jane something she needs to know, which leaves her so shocked a feather could have floored her.

Certain things, however, are particularly evident: there was a time when Jane went out of her way to avoid killing humans who weren't trying to kill her. Here, we see her fight her way through Mithran's, Blood-Servants and Slaves and possibly Onorio's, as well as Human's, with a shotgun, pistol, knives and Beast's natural weaponry. Beast joins in the carnage, too. The trail of bodies Jane leaves behind her is into double figures at least, in just one book-and she's well aware the Law is going to have questions when she's done. Lots of them. Troll puts it best when describing Jane:

"You're a stone killer, Janie".

She cares, she's not a monster, but she is falling further and further away from the Jane we met in "Skinwalker" as the story progresses-and none of it feels forced. More like a natural change, as Jane defends those a War Woman protects by whatever means she has at her disposal. Excellent characterisation by Faith, again.

Of course, the humour comes strong as well. Jane accidentally gets to see Leo full-frontal and unclothed-and is informed they're responding to her idea of not acting or reacting like the EV's will expect as an explanation. Eli at least waits until they are alone to burst out laughing. Gee Dimercy nearly swallows his cup as well as the coffee in it when Jane calls in a Favour with him. The NO Witch Coven leader, Lachesis, comments Jane has support these days-for such a smart woman, she seems to forget she doesn't have to do everything alone or with only YC as backup. Jane is still trying to work out how she ended up with Witches, Vampires, Human's, Werewolves and Grindylows as part of her Clan.

She also doesn't seem to have realised just how much her opinion and actions, even her Orders, matter to the NO Vamp Clans, Witches and Were's. Clan Yellowrock, despite lacking numbers, is well on it's way to being a major force in the power structure of NO and the rest of Leo's Domain-which I'm sure he's noticed. If she fell, it would leave a huge hole in Leo's power structure and organisation-which it wouldn't easy to fill, maybe impossible. There's good reason for her reputation-even the EV's have noticed just how lethal she is. She's increasingly become the glue holding together Leo's resistance to the EV's-and see how she reacts to Ro Moore and Amy Lynn Brown, both people she cares about, being in trouble...

My only sort-of complaint is that Jane's ability to access the Grey Between and step outside of time makes it close to impossible for her to be taken by surprise in combat, and makes her capable of dealing with Master Vamp's single-handedly, when before she gained the ability she risked both terrible injury and death taking them on. However: it's established there is a price for using this kind of power, and it will be Jane herself who pays it. Terrible power comes with a terrible price has been established well in Jane Yellowrock's world-and only the SoD and Arcenciel's seem to have similar abilities. What it will finally cost Jane to keep her people and family safe is something I suspect Faith will ease us into gradually, because the book gives hints as to what may happen.

On a closing note, the Glob that Jane accidentally created when she was struck by lightning and survived appears to be something incredible-apparently defending Jane successfully against very serious magical assault more than once. Given what it's created of, I'm amazed the Priestess Sabina hasn't taken an interest-but maybe she has a better idea than Jane knows...?

Read the book. The best urban fantasy today, bar none.


Blood in Her Veins: Nineteen Stories from the World of Jane Yellowrock
Blood in Her Veins: Nineteen Stories from the World of Jane Yellowrock
by Faith Hunter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.43

5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this glimpse into various parts of Jane's story, 15 Aug. 2016
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I loved this glimpse into various parts of Jane's story, where you get a look at things like the origin of Rick Lafleur's tattoos, Beast without Jane in the 19th century-and a look at just how powerful Angie Baby is likely to get. Keep an eye on the young lady, she'll change the world one day.

My personal favourite is Jane's return to Bayou, Oiseau, where she last set foot to settle a decades-old feud between the local Vamps and Witches. She found herself having to settle a Romeo and Juliet situation last time, as the son of the local Master Vamp and the Daughter of the leader of the Witches both defied their families to declare their love for one another. Hilariously, the Master vamp was the one who is willing to sit down and talk, not the Witches-so Jane had to put her foot down, HARD. Why? This particular Clan of Vamps don't answer to Leo as the result of a decades-long absence, so Jane resolved they would listen to her instead. It's Jane, so they did, after much twisting of arms and banging of heads together. She also told Leo to get his act together and sort it out-yes, really.

This time around, a new kind of trouble has reared it's head with the discovery of an artefact of unknown origin that the Vamps had for decades without knowing what it was. The Roman Catholic Church wants it collected or destroyed, the Witches want it's power, the Vamps want the artefact back-only it was taken by the "Juliet" of the first story, who isn't coping too well with Motherhood-and Jane wants everyone to shut up, sit down and listen to her. With Gee DiMercy showing up as well and the local Witches having factions who have different ideas of any kind of relationship with the Vamps, on top of which a new magically powered enemy is about, Jane is juggling any number of plates-and cannot afford to drop even one. Also, Edmund, the former Clan Leader and Master Vamp, is with Jane and Eli-and proves critical when helps is required, as he helps out the local Vamps and takes on the magical attacker with a pair of sword. Eli ramming the magical monster with a digger when guns don't work?

"Yellowrock Securities: Have Stakes will travel".

Suffice to say if you like Faith's work, you'll love this. Brilliant urban fantasy.


Lazarus: The Second Collection
Lazarus: The Second Collection
by Greg Rucka
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £23.39

4.0 out of 5 stars Forever Stands, 15 Aug. 2016
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Forever Carlyle, Lazarus of the Carlyle Family in a world where Families rule what's left of a world where wealth and position have taken over importance from trying to make a better world for everyone, is going to War. After the events of Collected Edition 1, she was left between a rock and a hard place-but suspected she didn't have the full picture. Here, we see that she was right. And that the Carlyle Family, led by Malcolm, who may or may not be Forever's biological father, has been lying to Forever since the day she was born. About what, though? That would be telling. Suffice to say Forever is changed in this story in ways even she doesn't see coming...

ON a lighter, character-driven note, Forever's sort-of romance with the Murray Lazarus, Joacquim, continues to develop, as she dances with him during the Conclave on Triton One. Her sister says Forever was throwing herself at Joacquim-and poor Forever, only 19 years old and totally inexperienced in romance, doesn't know how to respond. A hilarious card game ensues between the collected Lazarus's, where we get to see them and how they behave away from their Families-and, again, poor Forever doesn't know how to respond when another Lazarus compliments her on her skills. A surprising friendship also develops, when Sonja Bittner, the Bittner Lazarus, hits it off remarkably well with Forever.

In terms of plot development, we see what happened to Jonah, who fled Carlyle to escape Forever after a truly spectacular betrayal in book 1. Donovan Hock, who is clearly the "Bad Guy" here, doesn't see his new "guest" as anything other than a resource-and Jonah finds out the hard way how little human life, even Carlyle's, means to the old man. Jonah might just have walked into the closest thing to Hell he'll ever know-and has no way out. Hock takes Jonah's presence to Malcolm, who calls a Conclave to deal with the issue, which see's all of the Families gather in one place for the first time in decades. Malcom and Hock are shown to be playing a highest-stakes game with the difference being life and death during the Conclave-and Forever herself is the tipping point. One way or another, her actions or inactions will settle the issue.

But Hock may have a plan with a very different outcome in mind...

The world-building continues apace, as well, as we see representatives of all of the families, the various Lazarus, and get a feel for the politics and economics of this "new" world. Except for the Families and those they have in their employ, the remnants of the worlds population seems to be living in conditions which would have done the Victorians proud. It's a glimpse into a new Dark Age-and things are getting no better, unlikely ever will while the Families stand, from Rucka's portrayal and Lark's artwork.

All in all, this is one of the most imaginative, interesting, well-drawn and written books out there. There may be no bright paradise or bigger world out there waiting for us, according to this world, but the greatest hope is Forever herself. While she lives, there is still better to be imagined and, maybe, had. Catch up with this series while it's still young, you'll regret it if you don't.


Hellgate: London (PC DVD)
Hellgate: London (PC DVD)

2.0 out of 5 stars Hell, 27 Sept. 2013
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This game is designed to be played Multilayer, which went offline years ago. Single player? Unfortunately, just a bit annoying. Still fun if you like hand-to-hand combat with Demons on the post-Apocalyptic streets of London, though.


Tron: Betrayal: An Original Graphic Novel Prequel to Tron: Legacy
Tron: Betrayal: An Original Graphic Novel Prequel to Tron: Legacy
by Andie Tong
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Kevin Flynn's mistake, 27 Sept. 2013
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Okay, I enjoy both the Tron films and enjoyed the Tron: Uprising tv series, but... I think this just works better on the screen than on the page. All of the fantastic tech and visual imagination is there on the Grid, yes, but...

Kevin Flynn doesn't look like Jeff Bridges as a young man, which threw me somewhat. Tron does, which helps, but we never see any of the other old guard except Alan Bradley and Lora Baines. For a book fleshing out Tron: Legacies backstory, this is an odd way to go about doing so. The story of Flynn and the Grid is the main focus, of course, but so little is explained of how this all came to be and where Kevin Flynn is coming from in-book that anyone who hasn't seen the films will be at a loss. Clu's eventual betrayal of Flynn just seems to happen, as Tron and Shaddox work to maintain order on the Grid. If Tron had taken what he apparently knew to Flynn before the Revolt? It would never have happened.

There is no sigh of Quorra or Yori, so we still have no idea what part Yori played in what happened-or even if Clu de-rezzed her. Maybe in Tron 3?

Finally, after Flynn is trapped on the Grid, he just decides this is what is and accepts it. The Kevin Flynn we "meet" circa 2010 in TL isn't this broken, he's just tired. Okay, so he's lost his Wife, is trapped away from his Son and the world he knows and cannot, apparently, leave the Grid. But...we see a damaged Tron escape from his confrontation with Clu on a Light Bike and know Flynn had Quorra with him. It's just not explained why Tron was never able to find or contact Flynn after the fight, or Flynn Tron.

In conclusion, it's always fun to learn more about the Grid and it's Users/Programs. But this, unfortuantely, just isn't a good example of it.


Restricted Area (PC DVD)
Restricted Area (PC DVD)

3.0 out of 5 stars Um..., 27 Sept. 2013
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This game refused to function on my console, despite my computer meeting all of the requirements. I suspect I would have enjoyed it if I could have gotten it to work, though, hence the three stars.


Robert Ludlum's The Utopia Experiment (Covert One Novel 9)
Robert Ludlum's The Utopia Experiment (Covert One Novel 9)
by Robert Ludlum
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jon and Randi do the dirty work, 27 Sept. 2013
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Jon Smith and Randi Russell end up working together again on a mission to save lives and defend the USA in this latest Covert One novel. An ageing and ill inventor and industrialist has developed a computer which can be plugged directly into the Human brain and, among other things, determine whether or not someone is lying to you and correct eyesight issues. A military version has been rolled out exclusively for the USA-and the President assigns Jon Smith to determine its effectiveness. He quickly determines it is very effective, indeed-but Marty Zellerbach determines that there is a part of the system that seemingly has no purpose. With Randi Russell having discovered a cave full of severed heads from a village wiped out in Afghanistan, all of them with the implant BEFORE it was made publicly available, Red Flags go up... And it becomes apparent Covert-One is facing obstruction of it's investigation from a very high level inside the US Government.

With even Covert-One forced to stand down by Presidential Order when President Castilla discovers that while Jon Smith is on to something, he has no proof and the interests and money involved make pushing the issue impossible, John and Randi enlist Marty and go lone wolf. When these two and Marty roll their sleeves up and get to work? Anyone who reads the Covert One novels know its best to just lie down and hide.

The chemistry between Jon and Randi almost flies off the page on this one, too, as the Author reminds us what a good match these two are. A fast-moving plot, interesting ideas, colourful characters and a villain who doesn't see what's he's done to reach the level and point he has as evil, rather "necessary" for the supposed betterment of the Human race as a whole? Who is genuinely convinced he's doing the right thing?

Read this one if you like Ludlums own work, it's worth it.


Have Stakes Will Travel: Stories From the World of Jane Yellowrock (A Penguin Special From New American L ibrary)
Have Stakes Will Travel: Stories From the World of Jane Yellowrock (A Penguin Special From New American L ibrary)
Price: £1.83

4.0 out of 5 stars Whitewater, 25 Jun. 2013
I enjoy every book I've read by Faith Hunter, I'll be the first to admit it, and Jane Yellowrock only gets more interesting the more time we spend with her and the more we get to know about her. Keep up the good work, please, Faith. However-is the "HSWT" collection ever going to be released in book form? I prefer sitting down with a good book to staring at a computer screen, even with Jane?


Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock Novels)
Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock Novels)
by Faith Hunter
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £6.21

4.0 out of 5 stars Walking in another Skin, 16 Aug. 2011
Jane Yellowrock was introduced in "Strange Brew" as a character, but this series, focusing on her as an individual in the first person, is where you really learn just why you should read more. In this book, Jane arrives in New Orleans on Contract to deal with a rogue Vampire, which is what she does as a professional Bounty Hunter, but complications immediately arise. Jane is a Skinwalker who can shapeshift into any form given the time and means, but this doesn't help her overmuch in this case, although Jane turning into a bird, a dog and Beast-an animal mind and form somehow sharing her mind and body-helps to illustrate just what she can do. In fact, Jane has more success as herself-only it turns out that even Jane doesn't know who she really is that well. She doesn't know who she really is because of huge, inexplicable gaps in her memory. She doesn't know how old she is, because we occassionally get flashbacks to events which could have easily occurred 100-200 years ago and Jane's memory is so damaged she doesn't know for certain herself. This is possibly, as it turns out, the result of Jane staying in animal form for who-knows how long after, it seems, her family was Murdered-but Jane, again, doesn't know herself...

Fortunately, she's every bit as frustrated about all of this as the reader is, and enlists the help of an Indian Shaman in an effort to recover her lost memories and learn the full truth about herself. The results are fragmentary and in no real order, but I appreciate that because why would they be? Beast, it turns out, is hiding secrets of her own-and they tie into Jane's past in a way she might not want to remember. Not that will stop Jane from hunting for answers...

The plot is solid, if not spectacular, interesting characters help flesh out the story and the book is well-written. It's Jane herself who carries the book, though, and not just since she's the narrator and "star", everything we learn about her makes me want to find out more and, to be honest, there's just something very likeable about Jane. Not least her "Not sure about this" reaction to discovering the house she's been given to hole up in while in town is right next to a Whorehouse with a Vampire Mistress, despite which she ends up spending time with some of the girls, a few of whom aren't quite normal Humans themselves, which might just be a vital clue...

A really good start. I look forwards to reading more about Jane, her adventures and her world.


Angel: Only Human (Angel (IDW Paperback))
Angel: Only Human (Angel (IDW Paperback))
by Scott Lobdell
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Road Trip, 27 April 2011
In this story, set soon after "The Fall", where Team Angel go to Hell along with Los Angeles after making a massive mess of the long-term plans of Wolfram and hart, the focus is on Illyria and Gunn. Gunn, who spent the whole time he was in Hell as a Vampire so evil even Demons respected him, is Human again after his life was saved when everything "reset". Illyria, who has finally accepted the fact she is not and never will be Human, no matter how much she wants to, seemingly died in Hell-but is also alive again for the same reason. As a result, both have a great deal to deal with and think about-and are working through it by fighting Demons, Vampires and similar while living out of Fred's old apartment. That's what leads them all the way back to Fred's childhood home, when an Uncle of hers dies and her Parents call her back. Which is, really, where the story starts...

One-liners you might hear on the show are well-placed, such as Illyria commenting that if she can rule the world, she can learn to drive-even though Gunn points out that she had to sort out a twelve-car pile-up the last time she tried. Or, when Illyria meets Fred's Parents looking like Illyria, they embrace her, welcome her home and don't even blink at her appearance-to Gunn's disbelief. Which is explained by Fred's Mother as Fred always walking to a different drum than the rest of them. The sight of Illyria kissing a teenage sweetheart of Fred's to stop him from talking made me blink-but the fact he ran away immediately afterwards was typical of the show.

These, though, are the sweet moments, before Illyria and Gunn discover a small group of Demons on the run from the Scourge. It gets worse, when it turns out the Scourge have somehow found the Mutari Generator Wesley used to strip away most of Illyria's power, because they intend to use that power to wake up something ancient, from the time Illyria was at her height of power. Something which really doesn't like Illyria, which leaves Gunn to handle the Scourge while Illyria battles something which looks like a cross between the Worms from "Tremors", Godzilla and a drill of the kind you would use to reach the centre of the Earth.

Last but not least, there's always something else to consider when the "big" threats are dealt with. In this case, the simple fact that Demon's are not Humans and have their own ways...

If you like Illyria and/or Gunn, read this story, you'll recognise the characters you love and get a good idea of what their time in Hell and since has done to them. If you just like a good story with Supernatural elements? Read this story, there's no massive info-dumps or character origins to work through, just a solid story with interesting characters well-told. Personally, I'd like to see this odd couple together again, I doubt there are any two characters more utterly oppossed in nature or personality who still manage to work well together on the team. Anyone else?


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