Garro: Sword of Truth (Audiobook) by James Swallow

Garro: Sword of TruthGarro: Sword of Truth by James Swallow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The third audiobook in the Horus Heresy series to feature Nathanial Garro as the protagonist. Although it is the third, it may make more sense to listen to it second as it is set between Oath of Moment and Legion of One. In fact, listening to Legion of One prior to this provides a bit of a spoiler as to the fate of one character. Not a major issue as it still leaves some mystery regarding other characters.

Once again, Toby Longworth provides narration and also provides the voices for Garro and Malcador. John Banks and Ramon Tikaram also provide voice acting for the other characters. Sound effects add to the varied voices to engage the listener with the story.

At 140 minutes, this audiobook is double the length of the previous two and explores a story with a little more detail and exemplifies the distrust and anarchy that Horus’ betrayal has brought to the legions of the Imperium.

An interesting and exciting listen, I look forward to the next audiobook to star Nathanial Garro.

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Only Half There by Devin Townsend

Only Half ThereOnly Half There by Devin Townsend
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Devin Townsend is a musician/songwriter whose career started in the early 90’s fronting Steve Vai’s band. He later went on to form the industrial metal band, Strapping Young Lad, as well as numerous incarnations of his solo work; Devin Townsend, Devin Townsend Band, Devein Townsend Project.

The book methodically looks at different aspects of his life and career; from first learning guitar and wanting to form a band, to his days with Steve Vai up until his recent Devin Townsend Project and Casualties of Cool work. Through each chapter, he discusses his motivations and reasons for producing the music he did as well as how he has grown as a person, not just a musician. He also discusses more personal aspects, such as his experiences with drugs and alcohol, his family and personal views that drive his wish to move forwards.

The chapters are written in a way that is very reflective of Devin. Anyone who has been to a show or watched interviews will know that he has a unique way about him and this is reflected in the writing. It may be a bit difficult for some people to follow as he does have a habit of talking a lot about a single topic, but it’s his way and the book is all the better for it. More honest, more Devin.

Included with the book is an 8 track CD containing acoustic versions of songs from his Devin Townsend/Band/Project albums. These are beautifully produced tracks of Devin singing with an acoustic guitar. Stand-outs for me are Ih-Ah and Deadhead.

As a fan of his work, I found this a very interesting and inspirational read. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys the music that Devin creates, as well as anyone who is interested in music as a career or serious hobby, as he not only discusses the creation process but also the management of his bands and relationship with record labels.

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Garro: Legion of One (Audiobook) Written by James Swallow and Performed by Toby Longworth

Garro: Legion of OneGarro: Legion of One by James Swallow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been wary about listening to audiobooks as I was not sure how I would feel listening to someone read the story to me, rather than reading it myself. Therefore, I was rather disappointed when I discovered that the continued adventures of Nathanial Garro, the protagonist of James Swallow’s amazing Flight of the Eisenstein was only present in audio format.

I am glad I took the time to purchase and listen to this audiobook as it was quite enjoyable. It is just under 70 minutes long, so stands at a longer short story length, and has a simple to the point story. I listened to it while doing some paperwork and found it was a nice change to music or one of the youtube channels I sometimes watch.

The story was written by James Swallow and performed by Toby Longworth. The performance is very nicely done with clear articulation and different voices for each character, although I must admit I did get slightly lost at times, but this may be due to me not paying close enough attention. The narration is supported by sound effects and music that helps to set the mood and atmosphere of the story.

I highly recommend this book and look forward to listening to more of the Garro audiobooks and maybe more.

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Oath of Moment (Audiobook) Written by James Swallow and Performed by Toby Longworth

Garro: Oath of MomentGarro: Oath of Moment by James Swallow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I accidentally listened to the second audiobook in the Garro series, but having enjoyed it a great deal I checked out the first and enjoyed it just as much. The story is written by James Swallow, who also wrote Flight of the Eisenstein, the book in which Garro first appeared as the protagonist. This audiobook continues his story as he is sent on a secret mission to recruit an Astartes from the Ultramarines.

The story is straightforward and includes a lot of action as it takes place during the battle of Calth where the Ultramarines fought The traitorous Word Bearers. It’s a 70-minute, so the equivalent to a short story and basically fills in small events that take place in the background of the Civil War.

Toby Longworth’s performance is engaging and entertaining with different voices to represent the different characters dialogue and an engaging tone during the dramatic scenes. The inclusion of music and sound effects helps to further engage the listener with what is happening in the story.

I recommend the audiobook to anyone who has a great interest in the Horus Heresy series and I look forward to hearing more of Garro’s story.

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Cyberforce Rebirth Volume 2 by Marc Silvestri

Cyberforce: Rebirth Vol. 2 (Cyberforce (2012))Cyberforce: Rebirth Vol. 2 (Cyberforce by Marc Silvestri
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Cyberforce Rebirth Volume 2 continues straight on from the story that was started in Volume 1 and its climatic ending. Written by Marc Silvestri, the story is of the same standard of writing as the previous comic, so if you enjoyed Volume 1 you’ll enjoy Volume 2.

My main complaint with the story is the last chapter. It feels a bit rushed and a complete turnaround for the characters in regard tot he direction in which they were going in the previous chapters. If there had been more chapters then I feel we could have seen this change happen naturally, rather than it being so sudden. Especially as the ending, in regards to CDI’s plan, ended the way I expected it would. I think it just needed one more chapter to get the characters there too.

For the most part, I felt the dialogue was better than Volume 1, however, it did at times feel a bit lacklustre; cliche and run of the mill.

As I’ve stated before I tend to really like the art style used in these comics and this is one is no different. You can tell the difference between the individual artists who worked on this book as Chapter’s 5 and 6 have a slightly different style to issues 1 to 4. It’s mainly in the way the characters are drawn and this is due to Marco Turini doing the art for chapters 1 to 4 while Khoi Pham and Heubert Michael did Chapter 5 and 6 (6 was without Khoi Pham).

Much like the art the colouring was completed by several people. Arif Prianto worked on chapters 1,3 and 5 while Andry Troy did the colouring for 1 to 5 and Chris Northrop did the colouring for Chapter 6. Stjepan Sejic also added some final art polish to Chapter 1.

As the lettering was once again done by Troy Peteri, it followed the same patterns as with the previous Volume. Sans font, usually in black, with coloured backgrounds which sometimes changed to reflect the voice of the speaker. The Sound Effects were also easy to read in bold type and stood out from the action without making it feel crowded.

As standard with any comic book volume, there is a Cover Art Gallery at the back that exhibits the variations that were created for each issue. Most of the cover art variations were done by Marc Silvestri and Sunny Gho, however, Cyberforce #6 Cover B and C were done by Stjepan Sejic and John Tyler Christopher respectively.

This comic is for anyone who really likes the Cyberforce universe and Marc’s writing style. If you want a simple action comic then it does the job, just don’t expect a story of great depth. My main reason for reading it was to complete the story started in Volume 1 and to see where it goes, leading up to the events of the Aphrodite IX/Cyberforce crossover.

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Dracula by Bram Stoker

DraculaDracula by Bram Stoker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a classic piece of Gothic fiction that has been re-imagined and adapted many times over in film, books, comics, anime and computer games. It helped to make Whitby the infamous centre of gothic culture that it is today and it is often seen as one of the seminal pieces of vampire fiction. Published in 1897, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is as popular today as it was a hundred years ago.

The book tells the story of the titular character, Dracula, Count of Transylvania and his desire to purchase property in London. Jonathon Harker, the man charged with aiding Dracula in his acquisition of property, uncovers some terrifying truths at the castle, while back in England, disturbing incidents unfold; An unmanned ship crashes off the coast of Whitby, a young woman is drained of blood and an inmate at an asylum raves about the arrival of his master. As the story unfolds a determined group of men seek to find the truth and bring an end to the horror that has befallen London.

The story is told from the first person perspective of each character through their diaries, letters, journals and memoirs. There is also the odd section that details events via the means of a newspaper article. This was quite different to any other story I had read previously read so I found it quite unique and refreshing. It did, however, mean that I knew that whoever was narrating the current section would not meet their demise or else they would not be able to narrate it.

As well as the story there are several sections essays that may interest fans of the author and book. The start of the book includes a preface written by Christopher Frayling, an introduction by Maurice Hindle, a section on further reading (which covers Bram Stoker, Dracula and vampires), A Chronology of Bram Stoker’s life and a Note on the Text which explains a few minor changes made from the original. The appendix includes Bram Stoker’s correspondence with Walt Whitman, his interview with Winston Churchill, his essay on censorship and Charlotte Stoker’s account of the Cholera Horror in a letter to Bram Stoker.

I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone who likes vampire fiction due to the undeniable impact it has had on the genre. But more than that, it is a great gothic tale that presents interesting ideas about life and death as well as the nature of insanity.

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Cyberforce Rebirth Volume 1 by Marc Silverstri and Matt Hawkins

Cyberforce: Rebirth, Volume OneCyberforce: Rebirth, Volume One by Marc Silvestri
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Released in 2013 following a successful Kickstarter campaign, Cyberforce Rebirth see the return of a Top Cow classic. Cyberforce was created by Marc Silvestri, with this volume being co-written with Matt Hawkins, who also wrote the Aphrodite IX Rebirth comics.

Carin Taylor has escaped from the corporation CDI and is searching for the one man who she believes can help to stop the end of the world. During her escape, she encounters a group of CDI escapees, but will they help her? Or turn their back on her?

To be honest, I felt little connection or interest in the individual stories of the characters, as they were fairly standard. However, I thought the overall plot and ideas presented in it were good and that’s what caught my interest. The idea that a powerful company discovered when the world will end and devise a plan to survive it through the development of humans that could, was interesting. Of course, there is a downside to the plan in that it may not include the whole species and even see many innocents die.

At times, I felt the dialogue was immature, mostly the insults and quips from the various characters, so if you like immature humour, then this will be perfectly fine. If not, then this may be a problem. There are also a lot of pop-culture references dotted throughout which I felt were a little forced at times. There’s a fine line between making references tasteful and including them for the sake of it. It isn’t excessive, but some just didn’t feel natural.

Like all the Top Cow comics I have read the artwork is on top form. Kho Pham penciled and inked the comic while Sal Regla also did inking and Sunny Gho did the colouring. Stjepan Sejic also added some final art polish to the pages. The pages

Colour coding is present for both narrated and spoken sections to show specific qualities of the voice or who is talking. This makes it easy to follow the dialogue, especially with the black coloured sans font that is used for all text. Troy Peteri did the lettering.

Although it has its flaws, I enjoyed the comic. The dialogue and characters are pretty standard, but the main plot and ideas behind the story are interesting. Plus it has great artwork. I recommend Cyberforce Volume 1 to fans of the Cyberforce and Aphrodite IX series as well as those wanting an easy to read Science Fiction Action comic.

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