Saturday, November 14, 2009

Book review: Living With The Dead - Kelley Armstrong

Firstly I want to thank the people of Little Brown and Orbit publishing for granting me a review copy of the following book.

Living with the dead is a book that reminds me of Laurell K Hamilton's Anita Blake vampire Hunter Series but with more realistic characters. When I say realistic I am comparing Armstrong's characters to Anita Blake - Blake is the overly brave main character in the Anita Blake series. All of Blake's characteristics are very strong - almost to the point where she seems unrealistic.
Armstrong's characters, however, are very believable. There are six major characters in the story - Robyn, Karl, Hope, Colm and Adele. Robyn is the only character devoid of any supernatural powers.

Adele is a paparazzo who's assignment is to follow Portia Kane (basically Armstrong's version of Paris Hilton - very famous and very pointless). Adele is also somewhat psychic and has the power to remote view through other's eyes, a useful power for a paparazzo. Colm is her arranged fiance - arranged by the psychic family they're apart of. He's clumsy and always messing things up even though his main aim is usually to please Adele.
At the beginning of the story Portia takes a snapshot of her 'frenemy' jasmine wearing a hideous dress, but she has also, unknowingly, taken a picture of something much more important. Portia forwards the image to her PR Robyn - who later turns out to be the prime suspect in Portia's murder. Robyn's best friend Hop and her boyfriend Karl (who's a werewolf) try their best to solve the murder and clear Robyn's name, all the while they are being followed by Adele who needs to delete that picture.
The cop who's investigating the case also has an advantage - he can see ghosts, and he has a very helpful one for this case.

Each chapter is written from a different character's point of view, which adds a nice touch because it allows the detective's efforts in solving the crime to become part of the story even though he doesn't have much interaction with the other characters. Robyn has the most page time in the book, which means that for the beginning of the book there's not a lot of supernatural activity. As the story continues the detailed and interwoven supernatural society of Armstong's world is slowly revealed and you won't be able to put the book down until you find out how it ends.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Review: Free Zombie Music Graphic Novel - Zombies Can't Dance

For the first time you can experience a graphic novel through the medium of music! And its free and fully downloadable too!

And this isn't just any story either - its a zombie apocalypse. Unlike the usual zombie apocalypse idea Zombies Can't Dance introduced zombie-killing robots and more. Each chapter is sung in a different musical style, and the lyrics tell the story of the apocalypse, in an almost humorous way that is sure to make you smile. Each song is accompanied by an illustration that aids the lyrics telling the story.

My favourite song/chapter is No. 4 'Aim For The Head'. The song has a country feel to it, which really reminds me of the demo level for Left 4 Dead 2 (the level is based down South y'all). The story that the lyrics tell about survivors climbing a tree will make you grin (and remind you the importance of zombie preparedness).

For those of you who like the zombie apocalypse genre (yes I consider it to be its own genre) this is something you just have to experience. It's unique, it's fun and quiet frankly I'm kinda pissed I didn't think of it first.

In case you didn;t see the prvious links you can click HERE to visit and download a copy of the album.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Modern Warfare 2 Special Operations Mission

With the release date (November 10th) for Modern Warfare 2 slowly drawing nearer, everyone wants to know about the new Special Operations Mission mode and what it has to offer.

Spec ops is essentially an arcade mode, with very little emphasis being placed on cut-scenes or storyline. The game's designers claim that the bonus level from Call Of Duty 4; Mile High Club was their main inspiration, then when they couldn't fit everything they wanted into the campaign on Modern Warfare 2 they ended up making Spec Ops into a full-blown mode of its own. Battle through hoards of enemies (think about the hoard mode in Gears of War 2) while avoiding to kill too many civilians. Collect stars and unlock new levels in solo and co-op mode. The game series that we thought had everything has just gotten even better.

Modern Warfare 2 is easily the biggest title to hit the gaming shelves this year, and with the addition of a new mode the suspense has only increased.

Read The Full Special Operations Mission Details Here

Monday, November 2, 2009

Book Review: New Moon - Stephanie Meyer

A couple of months ago my teenage cousin forced the first of the Twilight series book onto me. I had previously had no interest in the Twilight series - books or movies; it all seemed a little too young for me.
This week after constantly being bombarded by news, banners and other advertisements for New Moon I decided to read the book to see if the hype was actually earned.

The twilight series, for me, is much more of an emotional love story than a vampire novel, and New Moon isn't any different. This time round the story doesn't focus on Edward; who leaves in an attempt to make Bella's life easier and restore some normality to it. Bella's main love interest (though she won't admit it) is Jacob, the soon to become werewolf in the story.

As an emotional writer Meyer is great; she can easily tap into and mould the emotions of her readers - which is possibly one of the most difficult parts of a writer's job, but I also feel her writing lacks that 'something' (but this might just be me over-reading my action-packed Anne Rice novels again). I think that Meyer's ability to allow her reader to identify with Bella is the reason the books are so popular - Bella's love for Edward is exactly how every woman wants to feel, and how every teenage girl feels about their first love.

Regardless of how well the emotional side of the book is written, it's still missing the action that I like to experience in a good book. Ok, Meyer did build up the suspense when Bella and Alice travelled to Italy to save Edward, but the suspense flatly imploded when Edward was easily released by Aro, without even a crooked glance. (NOTE: from looking at the trailer it seems as though there might be a fight in the actual movie - yes!).
Basically what I'm trying to say is - The book is good because Meyer is not a bad writer, but it lacks a good amount of action. From a vampire/horror fan's perspective - it's not in my 'must-have' pile.