Son of the Black Sword is written by author, Larry Correia who is famous for his Monster Hunter and Grimoire books. This novel is Corriea's first attempt at an epic fantasy type novel and he didn't disappoint. In Son of the Black Sword we are introduced to Ashok Vadal, Protector of the Law. In a world were all have their assigned place, and demons rise from the seas, the Protectors are given magic and authority to stop the depredations of the demons, and enforce the Law at any cost. These Protectors are considered among the most dangerous people in the world even when they are not bearing a powerful, magical sword.
The casteless bring an interesting twist to this new fantasy setting as they are the lowest of the low in society. As the story progresses Ashok finds himself in the middle of a plot to annihilate all of the casteless by the Order of the Inquisition who have forced a sentence on him that causes him to betray the very society that he had defended his whole life. As Ashok is forced to confront his black and white world, he is shocked to discover that not everything is black and white, and not everything within the sway of the Law is just. The consequences of which lead him to a path of rebellion, war and a return of the forbidden gods.
Correia has skillfully set into motion layers of intrigue, deception all the while revealing complex and sympathetic characters that you will quickly find yourself cheering for. As well black-hearted villains with such details that you just love to hate them. The book is full of action and humor that we have come to expect from Corriea's previous books. The entire book is a great read with lots of action and adventure and just enough world-building spread in so that you don't fill like its be forced feed to you.
So go pick up your copy today
I just finished reading Jennifer Jenkins fantasy novel, NAMELESS this last weekend and where do I start? Seriously when Jennifer came on the show a few months back and told me about her book I was hooked. The way Jennifer described the book it sounded like a book I would be interested in reading and adding to my personal collection. However you never really know until you crack the pages and start to read the story.
Let me start off by saying I went in with high expectation regarding this book and I boy was not let down in the least. Jennifer did such an amazing job in creating a fantastic story that I was immediately drawn into. From the start of the book until the very last page, I was on an emotional rollercoaster through her world. There was so much within this small book that it would be impossible to describe it all! However through her story telling she was able to create a fantastic story of hope and faith and choosing how you want to live your life, and what beliefs you choose maintain no matter what others say.
Even in the final chapters that emotional rollercoaster did not let up as it tightened those death defying twists and turns keeping me on the edge of my seat and turning pages as fast as I could to see what happened next. There were nights I had to force myself to put the book down to get some sleep. Nameless is so well written and the characters so deftly done that I truly felt like I was a companion in the story walking alongside them. Throughout the story I found myself so entrenched in the story that I too experience was experiencing their anger, their fear, their doubt and their hope.
There isn’t one dull moment in NAMELESS and I believe Jenifer has taken world building to a whole new level. It just all flowed together so perfectly so take a chance and pick up your copy of NAMELESS when it comes out, you won’t regret it!
THE DEEP by MichaelBrent Collings is a fantastic book that will make it so you never want to set foot in the ocean again. The story begins with the reader meeting a group of characters with their reasons as to why they are aboard the diving vessel, The Celeste. Collings does a great job waeving the story so that we get to learn all about each of the characters and how they all have something in common. For that you will have to read the book to find out what it is.
As always Michaelbrent Collings does his research into the world of deep sea diving. Because I myself have never been diving before I was able to understand what was going on because Micaelbrent did a fantastic job in givin me enough information that I felt like I was actually there underwater with the characters experiencing the dive for myself. THE DEEP is another well written hit that we've come to expect from Collings with a thought provoking story with enough gory details to keep any horror fan hooked.
This book was an enjoyable thirll ride of a book to read as hit hooked me early in the story and I couldn't stop reading as I needed to know what was going to happen next. All the elements of terror were certainly in the book as my imagination took hold and I started to wondered as to what could be lurking beneath the waves of the blue oceans. What I loved the most about the book was that throughout the story I felt the same fear and excitemnet I felt when I watched the movie Jaws for the very first time all those years ago. It had the right instensity, the fear, the unknown, and I kept thinking if only this book had a theme music as scary as ba-dump ba-dump...(you know the rest) when something sinsiter was about to happen. You will want to jump on board and take a dive for your self to discover what lurks in the deep.
Monster Hunter International by Larry Corriea is a one of those books that turns out to be a gun loving all American individuals’ guilty pleasure. This novel revolves around the concept that monsters are real. That’s right all those nasty creatures we have been reading and learning about over the years are out there. Even the ones from all those B-movies too! They’ve been lurking in the shadows plotting our down fall and that’s where agency Monster Hunters International comes in. They are the ones that come in to clean up and eradicate the evil little beasties.
The main character of the story is Owne Zastava Pitt. He’s your average, everyday Joe Smoe that’s been working for a living, lives in the suburbs of Seattle with his wife and kids. Everything is normal for Owen until his boss at work tries to bite of his head and not in the figurative way. This is the catalyst for Owen getting thrown into the crazy world of Monsters and Money. Yes that’s right there is serious money to be made in killing monsters.
The agency Monster Hunter International is a ragtag band of misfits (with a few toys that Batman would enjoy) that have come together to fight off the forces of evil. They guys don’t joke around as they are packing napalm-fed flamethrowers, specialized body armor, big freaking guns and more! The best thing about Monster Hunter is the fact that you’ll come to enjoy the likeable, well developed heroes (that do bleed) and the full speed testosterone action of a Michael Bay movie but funnier.
There are some rough spots in the book as the book slows down but quickly recovers and you are pulled right back into the fast paced action. If you like Science Fiction Fantasy, Military Fiction, or Horror then you will find yourself eagerly flipping the pages to see what new monster Larry Corriea has seamlessly woven into this high action story.
I recently had the chance to read Of Wind and Winter by Danyelle Leafty. The story is loosely based on the tale of the Snow Queen much like Disney’s recent addition that always seems to be on at our house Frozen. I would like to point out that this “Of Winds and Winter” was released before that movie hit theaters and the story is not similar in any way to the movie.
The main character is a nine year girl names Aneira who is kidnapped from her family’s home in the middle of the night by an ancient witch. The old witch has a plan has Aneira help her to accomplish her plan. When the plan is introduced to Aneria it sounded pretty simple to her but as the story develops Aneira discovers that nothing is as simple as it seems.
Leafty did an amazing job drawing me into the story weaving a delightful tale that didn’t let go of my attention until the very last page. I would certainly allow my kids to read this book as I know they would enjoy this book as much as I did. The story tosses the main character into difficult situations throughout the story where the character has to use her wits and there are great morals that are taught in the book through the things Aneira’s mother teaches her. The world created by Leafty is one I certainly would like to see more of as I get the feeling there is more stories in this world that could easily be told.
This is a fantastic middle grade book that is a mixture of fairy tales and fable that you will want to share with your children and want to read yourself.
I spent the day listening to the audio book for Craig Nybo's Allied Zombies For Peace today. It was well worth the listen and time I invested in the book. Needless to say I excited to dive into a book that was filled with Zombies, the klan, and war veterans.
The story takes place in the late 1960s during a parade in Columbus, Ohio. And in this parade among the participants are the three main let's call them factions (the war veterans, the klan, and the zombies...), and of course there is another group waiting in the shadows to stir up all kinds of mischief, the hippies war protesters.
Mischief and mayhem is exactly what you'll find in this book.
Nybo quickly has you invested in the story because you've got klansmen attacking zombies, anti-war protesters attacking the veterans and cops trying to hold back all the insanity happening around them on the streets. What I found amusing in the story, was something you don't really find in most zombie books was the fact that the zombies are trying so hard to be the peaceful ones. However with all great zombie novels, they eventually join the battle.
Nybo pulls no punches describing the fun filled mayhem and gore that happened during the events in the book, with lots of hungry zombies coming at people. If you happen to be one of those individuals that is maybe a little squeamish, this probably isn't the book for you. But if you like mayhem, destruction and zombies, then Craig Nybo's Allied Zombies For Peace the book for you!
The doors are closed, the lights are now turned off, and everyone has gone home. Salt Lake Comic Con FanX was a bittersweet event for me. As a producer and a host it was one of the most disheartening and frustrating events I’ve done in quite a while. As a host I was able to sit on some fantastic panels talking about subjects I love with the likes of Jason King, Sarah Larson, Bryan Young, Bob Defendi, Kynan Griffin and Jason Faller from Arrowstorm Entertainment, David Farland, and Tracy Hickman.
However, all of this shadows in comparison with one event that happened this weekend, which has has been many years in the making. Many of you may or may not know that I am a huge fan of Superman. It all started when I was eight years old and my friend Chris introduced me to the world of comics with his copies of Superman. At this point in my life I was already in love with Star Wars, He-Man and the Master of the Universe, and Transformers.
Opening the pages of my friend Chris’s Superman comics literally was an event in the history of my life as I found myself immediately drawn to the character. I still have the very first Superman comic that I purchased with my hard saved money. Even though this comic is not in any way in perfect condition, because as a young boy I didn’t care about plastic sleeves or keeping the comic in good condition. All I cared about was the story and Superman.
Even as a little eight year old boy the stories about Superman defeating evil, overcoming great obstacles, and his challenges of being on an alien world and trying to fit in really appealed to me. As I continued to grow, the part of Superman that I truly started to connect with on a personal level was not how the character could repel bullets, run faster than a train, fly across the sky or even defeat the likes of Lex Luthor, Metallo or Darkseid. It was the simple issue of fitting in. All of us including myself have found moments in our lives when we struggled with fitting in and this is what really cemented my love for the character. Even with all of these amazing super powers Superman/Clark Kent struggled with fitting in with society and those around him.
This single aspect is just amazing! That even an individual with God-like powers is still dealing with the same problems I was facing; liking a girl that didn’t notice me, struggling with who I am and what people expected me to be and wanting people to see me for more than the short and skinny redhead boy I was.
And now we fast forward many years to my final day at Salt Lake Comic Con FanX that made the many days of walking the convention floor all worth it, when I got to meet and interview Brandon Routh, who portrayed Superman in Superman Returns. Here I was interviewing Superman and that little eight year old boy inside was just jumping up and down with excitement. If any of you feel like Brandon was a bad choice for the character I challenge you to speak with him for a few minutes. It was a great interview and I will admit when I arrived at the convention it was one of my goals to meet with him. Brandon was very professional, but he was also very personable and friendly, what I feel a true Man of Steel would be.
For those of you that see Superman as character you can’t relate to, because he is an alien from another planet with God-like powers, I challenge you to take a new look at the character. Realize that he is an alien on a planet that is not his own and that he is an orphan that has to learn to live in a home with parents that are not his own flesh and blood. While growing up he had to hide who he truly was and how he struggles between the person he shows the world and who he truly is. All of us have been there in one way or another. The humanity of this character is what in my mind really makes this comic book character so true to my heart. All of the super powers are just extras. Now that the little eight year old boy inside has had his opportunity to meet the Man of Steel and rejoice for that small moment in time, I can now fly off into the sunset like Superman moving forward towards my next big adventure.
When we first heard about D&D Attack Wing at GenCon we tried to get an interview with the wonderful people at Wizkids Games. However the response for this game at GenCon was just overwhelming and there were so many people lined up all four days, that we never got a chance to speak with them. That was until last night when we interviewed lead game designer Andrew Parks of Quixotic Games. Andrew and Quixotic Games were hired by Wizkids to make this game come to life and boy did they! This game is super fun and easy to play. The flight path system gaming market has some really terrific options in X-Wing, Attack Wing, Sails of Glory, and of course Wings of Glory. And as more details about the game emerged, my excitement continued to build because this game was all about you getting to battle with dragons.
D&D Attack Wing is the most recent miniatures flight path system offered by WizKids Games. WizKids Games is also known for their Star Trek: Attack Wing game which licenses the flight path rule system from Fantasy Flight Games which produces the Star Wars: X-Wing miniatures game. These games play very similar, so if you have played one of the others then you will be able to pick this game up rather quickly. D&D Attack Wing offers a nice balance of familiarity with originality to make it worth the investment.
D&D Attack Wing no longer limits you to a single altitude state of flying, there are units that fly and there are units on the ground. In addition there are also units that can both fly, land or attack creatures that can fly. Basically in game you now have three levels of altitude; flying, swooping, and ground. There are combat rules around each level, which we will talk about later in this article.
Forgotten Realms Theme
This game is set in the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms Universe like the D&D RPG. For those familiar with the world will find themselves able to jump into the game right away. For those players that are not into Dungeons & Dragons or don’t care for those kinds of games, worry not. Andrew and his team have designed this game in a way that you don’t need to know anything about D&D or Forgotten Realms to play.
There is nothing about this game that requires any foreknowledge around the creatures, characters, or universe.
The Look and Feel
I will be the first to admit that I am not a fan of painting my minis. It's just tedious and to me a pain. However, for all of us non-mini painters out there, these models are really well done and the paint jobs don't look cheap at all. From the biggest Red Dragon down to the smallest Ballista each piece looks amazing.
All the units scale pretty well with respect to one another. And because I love dragons I could easily argue that the dragons could be larger from a realistic perspective but as this is a fantasy game and it would really interfere with the mechanics, we can certainly let that go.
The detail in each of these models is worthy to be out in display but are strong and sturdy enough to even let older children play with without worry of being broken.
Mechanics and Gameplay
D&D Attack Wing plays very similar to the Star Wars X-Wing miniature game from Fantasy Flight Games, as well as Star Trek Attack Wing from WizKids but there are some notable differences.
The biggest addition to D&D Attack Wing is the notably different levels of altitude on the game table. There can be both air and ground units on the table as well as units that are able to do both. Let's take the the Sun Elf Wizard as Andrew's example in our interview.
This unit starts on the ground but one of the upgrades is the ability to fly. It just takes an action to trigger this effect after which he is considered flying until you decide to undo the ability. The dragons work very similar to this except that for them it doesn’t take an upgrade to trigger the effect. Dragons start the game flying. After the move phase you can decide if you want the dragon to continue flying, swoop, or land.
The concept of altitude Whizkids has added to the game really adds a very interesting strategy to D&D Attack Wing. Simply put it makes it so that flying units can only melee flying units, ground units can only melee other ground units and units that can use ranged attacks can attack both flying and ground from either altitude. Dragons have the ability to swoop and swooping allows dragons to melee both flying and ground units. This is a great but you want to be wary with using the dragons swooping action because it allows for melee attack against the dragon from both flying and ground units.
This added concept of altitude really makes the game fun and adds a whole other level of gameplay and strategy to the game. How Andrew explained D&D Attack Wing handles the difference in movement both in the air and on the ground is simple. The creatures usually have two movement dials; one for ground movement and one for air movement. But you will have some special units, like the Wraith, that only have one movement dial. This is because their movements are the same since the Wraith hovers and they are not flying like the other units.
Another added element to the game are two new movements; pivot and fall back. The pivot movement allows a unit to not move but to take an option to rotate either 90 or 180 degrees. This movement does come with a cost, the unit cannot take an Action and now any attackers get a +1 attack dice when fighting the unit that had pivoted. Next is the fall back movement. This movement allows the unit to move backwards without changing direction. Like before this movement comes with a cost as it is a red movement which exhausts the unit and they are unable to take any actions until they perform a green maneuver.
The ground troops move in a formation and attack as a whole, not individually. However, when being attacked with any melee attacks they are hit individually. The area of effect and ranged attacks against ground troops attack the ground troop as a whole.
Andrew explained that a point unit is assigned to the ground troops and there are rules around legal and illegal formations. Ground troop units can become pressed when they overlap other unit bases. They can change formation throughout the game. You can run anywhere between one and six units per troop.
D&D Attack Wing is a fun and exciting addition to the miniature flight path genre. It is fun enough to play with your kids at the kitchen table and strategic enough to want to play with your buddies at the gaming table.If you’ve played X-Wing or Star Trek Attack Wing then this game will be extremely easy to pick up and play. The elevation aspect of flying and ground units is exciting and unique to the genre. The cost of the game is on par with both X-Wing and Star Trek Attack Wing.
If you want to learn more about this game check out our interview with Andrew where he gave a "you heard it first hear" scoop about a new move mechanic coming to the the game that doesn't involve flying or levitation, a powerful ancient silver dragon coming in the next wave, a very amazing dwarf coming in wave 6, and so much more!!
For more information on what units and dragons will be coming to a gaming store near you check out Wizkids Games and Quixotic Games.