Author Archives: redstarreviews

About redstarreviews

A reader (primarily of SciFi & Fantasy) who desires to share his thoughts on the books that he reads. Also on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr with the same username.

Book 36 Of ?

I’ve just completed reading the 36 book of The Horus Heresy and I really enjoyed it a lot!

The Path Of Heaven by Chris Wraight features the White Scars who are an interesting Legion to follow. Based off of a Mongal Horde sort of group their Legion cherishes speed as one of their primary traits, and they feel like outsiders from the very Imperium they’ve fought to expand and protect. This outsider mindset plays heavily into their decisions on which factor to support in the Galactic Civil War.

The book started a little slow, ironically as speed is so cherished by this Legion, but I think the slowness was primarily a result of over focusing on the enemies in this book, and setting up the deception that warfare brings with it. That said once this book started rolling it really drew me right into it and didn’t let go until the very end! One of the better books in the series.

So let’s talk about this series a bit! This is book number 36 of…. well right now 56 I think m, but as the series is still ongoing who really knows? And that is honestly something that I’m really enjoying about this series, the fact that it just keeps on going and growing. I’ll admit I was a bit frustrated with how sideways everything went early on after a quick start out of the gate with the first few books, but now I know I’d rather the series be this sprawling and wide ranging. The Heresy itself is supposedly only a ten year period of time but the series has jumped around to ten or forty or two hundred years before the “present” time. Each jump deepens the story and increases the build up! The best analogy I can think of is if you ever watched Dragonball Z and you remember how they’d spend like three episodes building up energy for one powerful punch, that’s similar to what the authors are doing here! If they’re going to tell a story of galactic civil war they’re going to truly make it as epic as the galaxy itself!

As a plus for any considering if they want to dip their toes into The Horus Heresy I can truly say I’m still loving this series 36 books into it and I’m eager for however many more books it will last!

PS: it appears WordPress just changed their App and now instead of writing one long blog post it’s split it into several boxes which is causing me some consternation and throwing me off my blogging game just a little right now, but hopefully it posts ok and I get accustomed to it soon! Hope y’all are all well!

#20For20Books

All of us have massive TBR piles, or shelves, or lists, right? Well a friend on Instagram @Jetwithjess has created a fun “challenge” for attacking your TBR this year called #20For20Books in honor of the year 2020! It’s easy to join in. All you need to do is pick out twenty books that you already own from your TBR and read those twenty books over the course of this year! If you want to include a reread or want to add a book you don’t own yet but have wanted to read for ages that’s fine too, it’s all meant to be fun!

The difficult part for me was selecting just twenty books! There are so many boos on my TBR that I want to read! But I have narrowed my list down to these twenty books:

1 Beyond Apollo Barry Malzberg

2 Best Served Cold Joe Abercrombie

3 The Curse Of The Mistwraith Janny Wurts

4 Inversions Iain M Banks

5 Ancillary Sword Anne Leckie

6 The Land You Never Leave Angus Watson

7 Relic Of Sorrows Lindsay Buroker

8 The Deadbringer E M Markoff

9 The Mirror’s Truth Michael Fletcher

10 The Crown Of Stones Magic Scars C L Schneider

11 The House Of Sacrifice Anna Smith Spark

12 The Heart Of What Was Lost Tad Williams

13 Shadow And Flame Gail Z Martin

14 Eye Of Terra Aaron Dembski-Bowden

15 Fleet Of Knives Gareth L Powell

16 The Scorched Earth Drew Karpyshyn

17 The Sword Of The Lictor Gene Wolfe

18 The Citadel Of The Autarch Gene Wolfe

19 Fallen Dragon Peter Hamilton

20 Iron Gold Pierce Brown

Do you see any favorites on the list or ones you’d like to read to? Are you going to join in? I’m curious what books will make your #20For20Books list! Hope you join in!

A Voice That Gave A Voice

Creative titles are fun aren’t they? I mean I at least think it’s creative. Ok on with the reviewing before I think I’m more clever than I already think I am ha!

Years ago I accepted an ARC of A Crown For Cold Silver by Alex Marshall and was really excited! A GrimDark Fantasy of a conflicting character from an earlier generation setting out to make the world bleed for their vengeance. Sounds promising! Unfortunately it failed to live up to its promise.

I know I know I rarely books that I don’t enjoy. I rarely read books I don’t enjoy or DNF them and then move on. Life is too short and my TBR too massive to spend time on books I’m not enjoying. However I felt I owed this one a read through as I did accept the ARC. It was taking me ages to make any headway though and so I ended up buying a physical copy to accompany my Ebook ARC. Maybe that will help me connect with this story but again I just wasn’t feeling it. I kept wondering why I wasn’t enjoying this tale, where was the disconnect? Suddenly it hit me: The characters didn’t have anything to truly distinguish themselves from each other.

Oh sure they had different names and physical attributes and backgrounds, but all of the characters were the same dull overly snarky attempting to be witty tough character. You could have replaced any of the primary characters with any of the secondary characters and not noticed a difference in the story. That’s frustrating.

I felt I owed it to the publisher to not give up, but a third of the way into the book I almost caved. Then I remembered I had an Audible credit and needed a new audiobook! Did this one have a good narrator? I decided to find out and I am so glad I did!

Angele Masters is an amazing narrator and she breathed life into the various characters within the pages of this book! Her reading of it and the voices she made for each of the characters turned my experience of this book completely around from one I was about to DNF to now having me interested in listening to the next two volumes of the trilogy.

If you enjoy GrimDark this story is worth a try. You may find more life within the characters than did I. If you enjoy GrimDark and audiobooks then this is a must listen because you’ll enjoy the experience!

47 And Counting

So far in 2019 I’ve read 47 books. Normally I read over a hundred books a year. This year I might hit fifty but my book reading days are definitely down from the 120 books a year days and that’s ok! Life has enough stressing without stressing over the number of books read. I’ve had such an amazing year of reading this year! I’m so thankful for everyone who joined in on 2019’s #RedStarGroupReads and I loved getting to share some favorite books with fellow readers.

Soon I’ll be going back over all my 2019 reads to pick out my favorites of the year, then I’ll be finalizing my reading plans for #VintageSciFiMonth prepping for 2020’s planned Group Reads in February and March, and considering what other books I’ll be reading in 2020. BUT I’ve got one month left in 2019 to discover some amazing books and I’m excited to discover them!

I hope your 2019 reading has exceeding your quality expectations and that everyone has a great December of reading!

Modern Military SciFi In War Stories!

Y’all, when Apex Publications asked if reviewers would be interested in reviewing books from their back catalog to help spread the word that in September their entire back catalog would be on sale I jumped at the opportunity to join in! Now I know September is flying past so I’m only now letting you know that their back catalog of books is on sale for 25% off for this month if you use the discount code of SEPTEMBER and I apologize for that lateness BUT when you look at the cost and value of the book I’m reviewing for them I think that even if you read this post at a later date you’ll still want to obtain this book and give it a read! Ok let’s dive into this book now:

First off: it is tricky to get a good photo of an e-book cover! Ha! But this cover is perfect for this book. WAR STORIES is a short story collection of new Military SciFi by a variety of authors and it is hard hitting and thoughtful right from the start! If you’re curious what Military SciFi is then I’ve got a lovely post for you on that topic HERE but the short version would be SciFi that deals with military experience as a central factor rather than a story that just has a conflict/war in it. Military SciFi takes a deep look at humanity and holds a mirror up in front of us to confront us with ourselves and what we as a species do to one another and for what purpose. I love Military SciFi and in reading this short story collection I’ve been hit hard with the stories I’ve read. Well thought out. Very thought provoking. Fiction that feels real and challenges me. This is the type of book that takes me a while to work through because I find myself stopping to reflect after every story I read. Y’all, War Stories is an excellent intro to Military SciFi for those new on the scene and it’s an excellent one to cause lifelong Military SciFi readers to gain new perspective. It’s available HERE on APEX Publication’s website.

While you are there please look around at their entire catalog and even if you can’t take advantage of their September discount I think you’ll find books that will capture your interest!

My Subjective Rankings Of The Alien And Predator Movies

That title describes this post well! 😂 I realized the world is lacking in the area of my subjective rankings! So while I’m working on my rankings of the Presidents, of the Star Wars films, and of my top ten fantasy series of all time I figured I’d share my completely subjective (yet still correct) rankings of two SciFi Horror movie franchises that have become so intermingled that they should be ranked together! Y’all ready to disagree with me!??

From best to worst here they are:

1) Alien. This will forever be the standard for me when it comes to SciFi Horror. Yes there are slow points. Yes the tech is outdated. BUT this movie ROCKS! Ripley is perfect in this film. The Alien is terrifying in this film. The tension created by this film is unreal! This is deservedly number one on my list. However I ALMOST placed it second because the second place movie on this list is one of my favorite films EVER! But the tension that Alien creates makes it one of the greatest movies ever so it stands atop my list.

2) Prometheus. DON’T YOU @ ME LOOKING FOR A FIGHT! 😂 Prometheus is one of my favorite movies EVER. The scenery shot in the opening scene alone could have won my heart. The musical score alone could have won my heart. The tension, the acting, the storyline, everything here won my heart. Prometheus has held up time and again on rewatches. Love it.

3) Predators. This one captivates me every time it is on. I can’t put my finger on why, but there’s a few movies that have the ability to pull me in every time I notice them on the tv (like Constantine) and this is one of them. Based on that, it outranks other movies in the franchise that might be more worthy of this spot.

4) Alien3. Ok so if y’all weren’t already yelling at the screen you probably are now. But Alien3 is special to me. It is the first Alien movie I watched. Before I watched it I read the comic book adaptation and the novelization AND listened to the soundtrack. Even being that familiar with the story this was the first time I saw a Xenomorph on screen and it made quite the impression on me. Alien3 has flaws but it’s a solid film nonetheless.

5) Alien: Covenant. Michael Fassbender is my favorite actor, so I need no other reason for ranking this high! 😂 BUT it is an intense and horrific film! With Covenant I felt that RS was really returning Alien back to the SciFi Horror genre, since it has been pulled into the SciFi Action genre by so many other directors.

6) Alien Vs Predator. This one was fun. I’ve long been a fan of the AVP comic books and it was good to finally watch an AVP movie!

7) Aliens. When I originally watched this I thought it was awesome. Obviously I was very impressionable. It doesn’t hold up well. James Cameron wanted to make an action film out of a SciFi Horror. I do like that we get Colonial Marines and the comic book series that this launched was good but yeahhhhhh…. I’d rank this one lower but that wouldn’t be fair. It has a few ok moments.

8) Predator. GET TO THE CHOPPA!

9) Predator 2. In an interesting twist of fate I saw Predator 2 before I saw Predator. Weird, huh? It’s not that it’s a bad movie, it just could be so much better than it is.

10) Alien Resurrection. The Alien film that shouldn’t have been made. What a waste.

11) Alien Vs Predator Requiem. The WORST Alien or Predator movie made. Basically a gore fest of going after the low hanging fruit that up till now had been avoided in the franchise. Killing children and pregnant mothers in order to try and shock the viewers? Just bad.

Not Ranked: The Predator because I’ve not yet seen it. But unless it is just AMAZING the highest it would probably make it is 6th because that top five is pretty solid in my mind.

I hope you enjoyed my subjective rankings!!