Tag: Marvel

Rogue Untouched

I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Marvel Heroines book Rogue Untouched by Alisa Kwitney, 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 that 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 Marvel Heroines series focuses on the female hero’s of the Marvel universe, the first book in the series was Domino Strays, which I really enjoyed, so I was looking forward to this book.

The Story

This is an origin story for our favourite power absorbing mutant Anne Marie also known as Rogue, and this is firmly set in the Aconyte-618 Earth, so its been able to abandon many of the fine details about Rogues 616 backstory and reimagine it in a slightly more modern and interesting way.

The character of Rogue has been depicted very differently in the many media forms in which she has appeared outside the comics, with only the 90s Cartoon being close to it. In the movies, she was basically Kitty Pryde, but fit into that story they were making.

Here in this novel she is probably a mixture of the comics, cartoon and movies, to form a well developed character, who when we meet her, has no idea that she is even a mutant, and is subsisting as a waitress in a diner. That is until she encounters a handsome Cajun gambler, who brings her into a whole new world.

In this book, Rogue is a character who is unsure of herself, having put her high school boyfriend into a coma, she is just trying to get out of her small town so that she can go to university and study psychology. We get to see her interactions with her friend, neighbours, boss and overly religious aunt, which really does give us a great background for the character.

The story is told in a first person persepective and we really do get to know Rogue, better than I think we ever have before, especially in this early part of her life. We do see the internal trauma she has from the earliest manifestations of her powers, but I do feel like this is kinda put aside in place of more focus on the self-doubt, but another reviewer (Katie Clark) pointed out that having the trauma happen before the events of the novel, allowed us to see her become a more empowered woman, which I agree with.

Conclusion

This book is a very enjoyable read, although parts of the conclusion felt a little bit rushed, and I did like that as well as well known mutants like Pyro and Toad being featured, we also had lesser known ones like Zeitgeist and Nature Girl, and even some mutants who I am not at all familiar with, one of who I think was created for this story.

The Characters are super three-dimensional, there is no wasted characters here, and even those with bit parts feel a lot more fleshed out than I would have expected them to be.

Also the little reference to The 10th Kingdom, made me smile as I thought that was an awesome mini-series.

I think this book deserves a solid 4.5 stars out of 5, and I only knock it down a touch because the ending felt a little rushed and I think another chapter or two would have been appreciated.

There is also nice room in there for sequels, and I really hope that there are some.

The eBook is released on the 4th May and the paperback hits the shelves on 10th June.


The Sword of Surtur

I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Legends of Asgard book The Sword of Surtur by CL Werner, 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 that cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.

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

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 Legends of Asgard novels specially focus on the Norse mythology influenced Asgard with characters like Thor, Odin and Loki.

The Story

This story focuses on Tyr the God of War and brother to Thor as he decides to try and outdo his sibling, by stealing Twilight, the sword of the Fire Giant Surtur.

He is joined by Bjorn Wolfsbane, a young hunter, and sister to the Encantress Amora, Lorelei. This team up is really interesting, you have two characters there who have been eclipsed by their more well known and successful sibling and there is a massive amount of envy and jealousy on display.

And jealously also has a nice role to play in the story too, as both Tyr and Bjorn find themselves drawn to the bewitching Lorelei, which has rather big consequences for Asgard.

Mostly taking place in Surturs realm of Muspelheim this book draws very heavily on Norse mythology, probably more so than the comics. In a way a lot of it reads as a love letter between Clint and Norse culture, as he really brings it to life, in a Marvel way of course.

Tyr is a character than in Marvel, should be one of the greatest and most powerful heroes, but has always taken a back seat, and that’s the same for the books primary antagonist, which makes for an interesting dynamic.

The feelings of self-doubt and envy that Tyr feels throughout the book, really make you connect with him, in a way that I never have been able to in the comics.

Frankly this is the best story featuring Tyr that I have ever read, and I have read quite a few of the comics in which he features. You really feel like he has so much potential if only he had gotten the right writer, something I think has now been corrected.

There are pacing issues, which is the only downside, some sections of the book seem to drag a little, whilst other move at a pace so brisk that I had to go back and reread to see if I missed something.

But given that’s my only complaint, I think that’s pretty good.

Conclusion

This is a an extremely good book, not because it’s an epic tale of a sons quest to prove himself to his father, but because it actually makes you sympathise and actually identify with a Norse god.

The two big twists in the book, well one was obvious, but well executed, the other, well that one was a big surprise and really good.

You can buy the eBook now and the paperback gets a release on the 18th March


The Head of Mimir

I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Legends of Asgard book The Head of Mimir by Richard Lee Byers, 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 that 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 Legends of Asgard novels specially focus on the Norse mythology influenced Asgard with characters like Thor, Odin and Loki.

The Story

This story focuses on a young Heimdal and his sister Sif, as they undertake a quest to save Odin, who has been bewitched to remain in the Odinsleep during a war waged by the Frost Giants of Jotunheim.

But the Frost Giants are winning the war, and Odin is desperately needed, as somehow the natives of Jotunheim have an advantage in the war.

Breaking the rules and slipping into the inner sanctum of the Allfather, they discover a great relic is missing, the Head of Mimir, which gives advice and wisdom, having been preserved by Odin.

This story is about the quest of Heimdal and his sister as they travel through out the nine realms to retrieve the Head of Mimir and awake the Allfather.

Its a book as my friend Michael from Track of Words puts it, isn’t Heimdals origin story, but his first steps to becoming who he is in the comics as we know him.

The story has a lot of action, its very hectic and goes at a very fast pace, reminding me of an RPG adventure, but it does focus on Heimdal being a warrior who thinks about how to solve an issue, rather than simply being Leroy Jenkins.

His sister is the counterpoint the that, a warrior who wants to find the problem and kill it. In one part of the book they encounter a legendary creature, and whilst Sif would like to fight it, knowing she has no chance of beating it, Heimdal challenges it to a game, and instead of just playing the game, which he could never win, he pokes at the creatures ego to throw him off.

Conclusion

This is a great book, its a lot better than I expected, and it doesn’t bog the reader down in exposition, whilst I know the stuff about Asgard, this book would be perfectly approachable for someone without that knowledge.

Its a great blend of Marvel fantasy and Norse mythology with a sprinkle of science fiction. And the character development whilst light, is fantastic, plus the sibling rivalry and ribbing from Sif is utterly delightful.

I am really looking forward to the next Legend of Asgard book, Sword of Surtur.

You can buy the eBook and paperback now!


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.


Domino Strays

I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Marvel Heroines book Domino Strays by Tristan Palmgren 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.

So lets get in to it, the book as the title suggests concentrates on Domino, the mutant whose power is luck, if you are familiar with the comics, this is set in the current timeline with her being the leader of the Hotshots and contains the rest of the team in supporting roles. If you are less familiar, she was played wonderfully by Zazie Beetz in Deadpool 2.

The story revolves around the Hotshots infiltrating the compound of a cult leader in Chicago to save her clients two children. It skips between three different time periods, giving us the reasons why Domino hates the idea of people being held in cages, and why she has a particular thing for crazy zealots.

Its told from a second person point of view with Domino telling the reader the story, given how closely Domino is associated with Deadpool, I think it would have been very easy for this to go down the route of breaking the fourth wall, but I think this works way better, because they didn’t do that. Honestly it feels like we are holed up in some seedy bar as Domino relates the story to us over drinks.

You get a fantastic inside look at the Hotshots, how they work and the relationship dynamic between them, especially between the closest three of them, those being Domino, Diamondback and Outlaw.

My favourite parts of the story were those that covered Dominos infiltration of the Project Armageddon compound in the Everglades and those about her childhood in a church orphanage. The present days story for me was more of a device to tie it all together, and it was really good at that.

Another positive was that they didn’t overly play on her superpower, she rarely relied on it, and as she points out, its not something that makes her invulnerable and isn’t very cinematic, she has to rely on honed skills and experience, only relying on her superpower when she absolutely needs to.

The only real issue I have with the story is the footnotes, which are in themselves great, but they are all at the end of the chapters, which are in themselves, not that long, but its a pain to have to keep flipping through to make sure you read them when you are supposed to. I would much rather they be at the end of the page they belong with, but I wonder if this is a limitation of the ePub format.

I was a big fan of the Domino: Hotshots series by Gail Simone and this was a fantastic deep dive into that team. You don’t need to have any background in the characters as the book does a great job of giving you all the background you need, but in a natural very easy flowing way. The dynamic between the team was just perfect, with the characters balancing each other out just like they do in the comics. The relationship between the core of Domino, Diamondback and Outlaw, with the other members was just perfect, especially with Atlas Bear, who is only reluctantly a member of the team.

Footnotes aside, this is a very good read and given that the characters are very much Marvel B-List characters (Other than Black Widow), means that its accessible to those who only really know Marvel from the MCU.

In short you have a great book looking at one of Marvels more interesting characters and its really enjoyable.

Domino Strays is going to be released on October 6th.

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