Tag: Marvel Untold

Reign of the Devourer

I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Marvel Untold novel Reign of the Devourer by David Annadale, published by Aconyte Books, so here is the honest review I promised in exchange for the book.

So here is an important disclaimer which is always important to put out there first. I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and at conventions. Asmodee being the parent company of Aconyte the publisher.

I am also friends with David on Facebook, but I suspect that’s more about him connecting with fans rather than being a big fan of mine!

I am going to try my best to not let that cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.

What is Marvel

Look at this point I would bore you with a bit of background to the game/universe, but lets not, you all know the Marvel Universe, if you don’t have you been living under a rock!

The Story

This story focuses on Doctor Victor von Doom, the ruler of the Eastern European country of Latveria, and is a sequel to last years Harrowing of Doom.

In this story Dooms desire for power and control leads him to attempt to regain knowledge that was lost on Walpurgis Night in the previous book, and with the assistance of the priest turned geomancer Zargo and surgeon Orloff, he searches for a repository of stolen memories and knowledge buried beneath Latveria.

But Maleva Krogh, a former member of Latverias ruling elite has a connection to the Devourer of memories, and is granted the power of the Urvullak, a deadly strain of Latverian vampires who steal the very soul of their victims.

Conclusion

The book is a slow burner, it takes a while to get going, but once it does the action is frantic, and epic.

It’s a very different novel to its predecessor, in that book Doom knew what was coming and was planning several steps ahead, whereas in this book, he was forced to react to the Urvullak who he was not expecting whatsoever.

In the last book you got time to know the main characters in the build up to Walpurgis Night, whereas this book takes place over a shorter timeframe, and you get less of the background. So I would say that the previous book is best read before this for maximum enjoyment.

Zargos inner turmoil is really well written, he is a man who made a choice to deny his powers and take a different path, but now has that choice taken from him. He is tortured inside and he is forced to develop his abilities further to fight the threat of the Urvullak.

Orloff gets a lot more fleshed out as Doom takes her from practising medicine to developing a new science, which is eventually weaponised as she becomes a warrior and potentially Dooms greatest tool in the fight against Krogh.

My favourite part of the book really is Krogh and the Urvullak, they are written in a way that is terrifying and horrific.

What they do is so awful, they way they rip away your soul and transform you into one of them. They feel just as much a threat on their own as they do when amassed as an army.

They are chilling and something like out of a horror film, absolutely petrifying.

This book takes a turn toward horror that I wasn’t expecting, reinforcing Annandale as a writer who is one of licensed fictions best writers of the weird and dreadful.

This book gets 4 out of 5 stars from me!


You can buy the eBook now, and the paperback is available in the US now and will be in the UK on 28th April.


Witches Unleashed

I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Marvel Untold book Witches Unleashed by Carrie Harris published by Aconyte Books, so here is the honest review I promised in exchange for the book.

So here is an important disclaimer which is always important to put out there first. I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and at conventions. Asmodee being the parent company of Aconyte the publisher.

I am going to try my best to not let these things cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.

Also I won’t lie, I have looked at other reviews to see what others think, so there may be some influences from them in this book review. If I am going to quote them, I will attribute them. But if I forget to, or something is highly influenced by them, and you think I ought to attribute someone, let me know so that I can.

What is Marvel

Look at this point I would bore you with a bit of background to the game/universe, but lets not, you all know the Marvel Universe, if you don’t have you been living under a rock!

The Witches were a trio of magical users who were supporting characters in some fairly older titles. The team is Jennifer Kale, Topaz and Satana who were put together by Dr Strange to counter the Hellphyr and get it back into the Tome of Zhered-Na. They had a series back in 2004 I think.

They are joined by Johnny Blaze, the Ghost Rider and Jennifer’s cousin.

The Story

Johnny Blaze managed to get himself stuck in Hell, and in his escape he let Lucifer, the Prince of Lies out, but shattered into 666 pieces.

Now its the duty of the Ghost Rider to hunt down the fragments and send them right back to Hell.

Finding his way to Salem, Florida, Blaze detects something different about this fragment, and he decides to seek the help of a local coven of witches, who just happen to consist of his cousin Jennifer Hale, guardian of the Tome of Zhered-Na, Topaz, an empath, and Santana Hellstorm, a half demon of hell.

Realising that the fragment of Lucifer is in the body of a Kale family member, the sister Lefay and Johnny Blaze, turn to some extreme means to try and find the fragment and send it back to the underworld.

Conclusion

When I started this, I was a bit concerned that it would require quite a bit of background knowledge about the magical world of Marvel, but Harris does an amazing job of spoon feeding what we need at the exact time we need it.

There is lots of exposition, but it feels just right, its never too much or too little and I think the judgement was just right.

Now if I am honest the pacing isn’t something I am a fan of, the story takes a long time to get started, but then the finale does feel a little rushed.

I don’t know the confrontation with Lucifer just felt like it needed more build up, but the writing of that battle was absolutely incredible it felt very fluid and dynamic and with Lucifer using his powers to push the group of heroes to their limit.

It really was a very well written and descriptive climax with the most unexpected of endings.

The Witches get only the smallest time in the main Marvel comics and its great to see them getting the attention they deserve here, and this is the amazing thing about the Aconyte books, they take characters who only get bit parts and expand them out into amazing novels.

This book I am going to give a score of 4 out of 5.


The eBook is out now, and the paperback will be published on the 17th February.


Mood:- Frustrated
Caffeinated Beverages Consumed:- 5
In My Ears:- That Don’t Impress Me Much – Shania Twain
Tabletop Game Last Played:– The Horus Heresy
Video Game Last Played:- Horizon Zero Dawn
Book Last Read:– Witches Unleased – Carrie Harris
Movie/TV Show Last Viewed:- The Masked Singer
Current State of Projects:- Nowt on my desk!

Dark Avengers: The Patriot List

I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Marvel Untold book Dark Avengers: The Patriot List by David Guymer published by Aconyte Books, so here is the honest review I promised in exchange for the book.

So here is an important disclaimer which is always important to put out there first. I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and at conventions. Asmodee being the parent company of Aconyte the publisher.

I am also friends with David on Facebook, although thats probably more about him connecting with fans than him being my best bud!

I am going to try my best to not let these things cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.

Also I won’t lie, I have looked at other reviews to see what others think, so there may be some influences from them in this book review. If I am going to quote them, I will attribute them. But if I forget to, or something is highly influenced by them, and you think I ought to attribute someone, let me know so that I can.

What is Marvel

Look at this point I would bore you with a bit of background to the game/universe, but lets not, you all know the Marvel Universe, if you don’t have you been living under a rock!

The Dark Avengers were a iteration of the avengers which contained several members who were supervillains disguised as stablished superheroes.

In this iteration, we have Mac Gargans Venom as Spider-Man, Moonstone as Ms Marvel, Bullseye as Hawkeye, Daken as Wolverine and the superheroes, Ares and The Sentry. The team is lead by Norman Osborn who wears a Stark armour which is known as Iron Patriot.

The Story

So I will start off by saying that this is a book in which you really do need a bit of knowledge of the Marvel universe to really get on and enjoy it, because its not a book that explains the characters and background in a great amount of detail.

But if you have a the basic understanding of the universe, you are gonna really enjoy this book.

This story is set in the aftermath of the Secret Invasion storyline, when Norman Osborn has seized control of S.H.I.E.L.D. and reformed it into H.A.M.M.E.R. and rebuilt the avengers with psychopaths. maniacs and killers.

The story revolves around a plot by S.H.I.E.L.D. loyalists to steal a secret list of potential replacements for the Avengers known as the Patriot List, which involves a plot to embarrass Norman Osborn a man with a real obsession with his public image.

So Osborn releases the worst of the worst to prevent any threat to his leadership of the world security.

Conclusion

This is a very good story, its high octane and filled with amazing dialogue that sassy and at the same time a little horrifying.

The action scenes are frankly some of the best I have ever read, just well written and balanced.

The character dynamics are a highlight, and each of the teams members are given their own chance to shine, with everyone getting a reasonably equal bit of time to show themselves off.

As well as being a very good action novel, it also has an amount of depth as it also focuses on the mental health of the Dark Avengers, because as you can imagine, the villains have their own daemons to battle.

I really enjoyed that for the antagonists, David has gone deep into the Marvel lore and brought up some superheroes/villains from deep down that you rarely see, and perhaps may not know about at all.

The Dark Avengers are a pretty nasty bunch, some more so than others, but David really has got you rooting for them and wanting them to win, and given the way he doesn’t hide what they really are, that’s not a mean feat.

This gets a solid 5 out of 5 stars from me and frankly is a near perfect Marvel novel.


The eBook is out now and the paperback hits bookstores on the 25th November.


The Harrowing of Doom

I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Marvel Untold novel The Harrowing of Doom by David Annadale, published by Aconyte Books, so here is the honest review I promised in exchange for the book.

So here is an important disclaimer which is always important to put out there first. I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and at conventions. Asmodee being the parent company of Aconyte the publisher.

I am also friends with David on Facebook, but I suspect that’s more about him connecting with fans rather than being a big fan of mine!

I am going to try my best to not let that cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.

What is Marvel

Look at this point I would bore you with a bit of background to the game/universe, but lets not, you all know the Marvel Universe, if you don’t have you been living under a rock!

The Story

This story focuses on Doctor Victor von Doom, the ruler of the Eastern European country of Latveria, and his quest to free his mothers soul from Hell.

He teams up with a hermit witch Maria von Helm, as they work to change the rules around Dooms yearly duel with a champion of Hell, so that he might fuse science and sorcery to free the soul of his beloved mother.

But as with all things, there are forces allied against him, in particular an old enemy from before his revolution.

So the story whilst being about Doom, isn’t Dooms story, whilst a lot of it is told from his point of view, you also get the points of view of an enemy who hates him more than any other, his head of security, a priest reluctantly drawn into his web, his archivist and a nurosurgeon.

It would be so easy for David to have just done a story about a cackling mad scientist super villain, but this isn’t that story, instead its a bit more nuanced, its more insightful, giving us a glimpse into Dooms determination to not only free his mothers soul, but to protect his people.

And that’s one aspect of Doom, which is very much out there, he cares for the people of Latveria, yes they are his tools, yes they live in fear of him, but he genuinely cares and wants to protect them, with his rulership even coming over as considerably more liberal than that of his predecessor with trans citizens being afforded equal rights.

Whilst these books do inhabit their own universe in the Marvel multiverse, I think this book, a bit like the previous Domino novel, offers a look at a character is a way the comics, simply don’t manage very easiy.

David has managed to connect me to Doom in a way, i didn’t think possible.

Now if you listen to Edge of Empire, you will know I am not the biggest fan of Davids writing style, but in this novel, he manages to take a huge leap forwards, perhaps its having an editor who knows how the get the best out of him, but its a much easier read than most of his Black Library work. His sentence structures has tended to be so short and sharp, but in this book they flow so much easier than they did in say Ruinstorm.

I know David is an established writer, but over the past three or so years, it feels like his writing has become so much better, I used to be a bit irritated if he got to write a story in a series I was enjoying, but now I look forward to them.

Conclusion

This book works really well, and you know what, one of its strongest points is that it doesn’t even bring in much of the larger Marvel universe, it focuses solely on Doom, with a few mentions of other stuff, I think Richard Reed is mentioned once, AIM gets a couple of mentions.

But this book stands on its own and really gets you into the character and actually gets you rooting for him, especially given that one of the Marvel Universes biggest villains stands for trans rights!

This felt like it could easily be adapted into a movie in the MCU, its a very strong story and very well written.

You can buy the eBook now, and the paperback is available in the US now and will be in the UK on 7th January.


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