Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Iron Angel by Alan Campbell

I’ve never reviewed anything before and will try to do this without giving the story away.

The beginning of the novel was quite a surprise when the action starts off where Scar Night ends. I say surprise, as I think Scar Night could well have stood on it’s own as a novel. The apocalyptic ending had me thinking “Where is he going from here?”

Well you get a whole lot more in Iron Angel. The world introduced in Scar Night is expanded as Campbell populates the story with characters that need the space. The visions of Menoa’s hell remind me of Brian Lumley’s Wampyri in his Necroscope series; the shape-shifting horror, the helplessness of the victims and the downright superior nastiness of the villains. 

Things that were hinted at in Scar Night are brought to the fore in the opening section, but not too much so that you don’t spend the rest of the book anticipating some character dropping hints to help you build the picture.

There are new characters that suitably aren’t quite what they seem; I think my favourite was John Anchor, he reminded me of a child with a garden hose. And there are enough old characters to keep you feeling at home.

The story is a lot larger than in Scar Night; it’s as if having introduced us to the world Campbell can now start telling the story he had in mind. 

The body count is truly stupendous, in fact most of the characters, if not already dead, soon will be or were a little while ago.

The only bug bear I had in the whole thing is that it got too large; in that I mean I wanted to hear a bit more about the protagonists and a little less of the arc. Still, it’s only a minor gripe.

Towards the end of the book I was reminded of the themes that tend to run through Donaldson’s books regarding power/corruption/innocence.

It’s a different book to Scar Night but it moves the Codex along. You don’t get the same helping that you got first time round and Campbell expands on hooks hinted at in the first volume and introduces a depth of thought not previously present. I think you can say this is not ‘ye old middle book syndrome’

He also leaves you with enough to be guessing where he will take you in the third volume.

I for one will be buying it as soon as I can get my grubby little hands on it.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Dr Who

I've been a fan for as long as I can remember. Hiding behind the sofa, having to put up with Basil Brush and the Generation Game. UK residents of a certain age will know what I'm talking about.

I've just watched the end of the season and I'm very impressed. It had gripped me from the previous episode and I was thinking where are they going?

The storyline, with respect to the universe ending, seemed a bit, well crap, if you'll excuse the language.

On the other hand, interaction between characters was superb.

I think 'Hat's off' to Catherine Tate. She has had to put up with a load of crap for taking this role on and personally I think she's deserving of a lot of respect. She carried Turn Left on her own.

I've never expected Dr Who to be "High Brow" but I do expect it to make one think about the story. It's been doing this and entertaining me even more than when I was hiding behind the sofa.

Watch Dr Who it's great.