Tag Archives: Books

The Finest Hours, American movie (2016)

About 19 years ago a movie was released that was based on a true story that happened out at sea. The movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, chronicled the events of a huge passenger liner that eventually sunk after it hit an iceberg. I am ofcourse talking about Titanic, a movie that went on to become one of the biggest blockbusters to date, and received a total of 11 Oscars. It has also been the only movie that I have seen 9 times in the cinema. Movies about disasters and men versus the sea have always fascinated me. Hollywood keeps making them, and I guess that is because a lot of people love watching them. This year we had another one based on a true story, called the Finest Hours. Is it any good? Well let’s find out shall we?

It is 1952. The young coast guard officer Bernie Webber, played by Chris Pine, is about to meet the girl of his dreams, Miriam. Pretty unsure of himself it turns out he was worried for nothing, as Miriam definitely is interested in him as well. Months later, the two make plans to get married. As Bernie always keeps following the rules, he heads of to his commanding officer at coastguard headquarters, to ask permission to get married, as per regulations. Meanwhile out at sea, a great storm is brewing and the oil tanker Pendleton finds itself right in the middle of it. Then disaster hits, and the great ship breaks in two. The stern keeps floating, and on it are roughly thirty men that find themselves trapped on the sinking ship. Bernie receives orders to head out to sea to pull of a daring rescue attempt. With the storm getting worse by the minute, it seems that the rescue is doomed to become a suicide mission…..

The Finest Hours is what I would like to call a good old fashioned disaster movie. Sure, it doesn’t tread any new grounds, but it does deliver an entertaining movie experience. The acting in this movie is very solid. I really liked Chris Pine’s performance. His character is a bit of a shy and somewhat unassuming person, and that is what I loved about it. It’s cool that someone like that can pull off a rescue such as this. Also noteworthy are Casey Affleck who is always a very solid actor, and Holliday Grainger who played Miriam. The special effects in this movie are pretty awesome as well, and make you feel as if you are right down in the middle of the storm. One could argue that there are some moments in the movie, where the tension drops a bit, and there are definitely some typical disaster movie cliches in here. But honestly , overall I really enjoyed it, and I highly recommend it to people who like movies such as The Perfect Storm and Titanic.

I give the Finest Hours a 8 out of 10 score.

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Nightlords The Omnibus, a Warhammer 40000 novel by Aaron Dembski-Bowden (2010-2014)

The Warhammer 40000 universe has a very long and dark history. Literally hundreds of books have been published in this series, set in different periods of the timeline. For those of you not familiar with it, the Warhammer 40000 universe has it’s origins in a tabletop boardgame published by Games Workshop. It details a grim and dark universe where humanity is constantly at war with either themselves, a myriad of alien races and the horrible forces of Chaos. Pivotal in this universe are the Space Marine legions of the immortal Emperor. The Emperor once united humanity and created the supersoldiers called Space Marines. Divided into Legions and commanded by his sons, the Godlike beings called Primarchs, they set forth to conquer the universe in the name of humanity. Thousands of years ago the Emperor was betrayed by one of his sons, the Primarch known as Horus. Aligning himself with the Dark Powers of Chaos, Horus started a war against his father. Several Space Marine Legions joined forces with Horus and that event came to be known as the Horus Heresy.

In the end the Emperor prevailed against Horus, but he was mortally wounded and placed in The Golden Throne. The Traitor legions, as the Space Marines who allied themselves with Chaos were called, retreated. Most of the books that have been published in this universe concern themselves with the loyal Space Marines. Interestingly the Nightlords omnibus focusses on a Traitor legion: the so called VIII legion, also known as the Nightlords. And oh wow, is it good. It has become the best Warhammer 40000 novel I have read to date, and not only that, it has made it’s way into my personal top 5 of best books that I have ever read.

This omnibus collects the trilogy of Nighlords books that have been published, and also throws in 3 short stories. One thing that I really loved about this book, were it’s characters. The main character Talos, also known as the Prophet, is truly a horrifying and evil being, but still has his own code. The warband he commands also includes some very memorable and equally evil men. This tome is a true pageturner, and a rollercoaster ride from start to finish. The action and horror included is absolutely breathtaking, and writer Aaron Demski-Bowden, has truly written a tale that can be enjoyed by sci-fi and horror fanatics alike. If you are already familiar with the Warhammer 40000 universe, this is an absolute must buy. But even if you are not, but are a lover of dark science fiction than this book is truly a great introduction to this dark universe. Even though this book has nearly 950 pages in total, I was not bored by it for even one second. I highly recommend this novel and want to warn you in advance that you will probably have trouble putting this book down. Be prepared for some long nights staying awake, reading this fantastic novel.

I give this book a 10 out of 10 score.

 

I Am A Hero Omnibus 1, a Japanese Manga book (2016)

The Walking Dead is returning to your television screens in October with it’s seventh season to date. One would almost forget that this fantastic television series all started with a comic book created by Robert Kirkman. Even more impressive is that it has just reached issue number 158, and there is no end in sight yet. Not bad, considering that this a series that tells a story about a Zombie Apocalypse. Not that stories like that are bad, mind you, but to keep it interesting for 158 issues is nothing short of amazing. Ofcourse as is always the case with things that are a succes, we get copycats. Most of these are just poor substitutes for the real thing, but occasionally something arrives that truly impresses. And that, in a roundabout way, brings me to the I am a hero manga. This also tells a story of a Zombie Apocalypse, but that is where the similarities with the Walking Dead end.

I am a hero, tells the story of the aspiring Manga artist Hideo Suzuki. Now Hideo is not your typical guy. For one thing he is plagued by hallucinations of varying degrees. He also likes to talk to himself: a lot. The only person who seems to accept him is his girlfriend Tekko. Hideo has been struggling for years to break through in the Manga world and not for lack of trying. Unfortunately he is just not very good, even though he thinks so himself. But then things in the real world begin to change. At first it is hardly noticeable, but when there are increasingly more people acting strangely, Hideo is beginning to realise that this is not another hallucination. People are actually starting to change into zombies. With the world heading slowly to an Apocalypse, Hideo has to find a way to make himself survive, and care for the girl he loves.

I am a hero, is being released by Dark Horse Comics into omnibus editions, which contain two volumes of the original manga. This is definitely a story for a mature audience. There are some seriously bizarre and adult situations that pop up from time to time, and this can sometimes for a casual reader be distracting. However once you get past these, this makes for a very entertaining read. This Manga starts very, very slowly. It takes it’s time (one could argue for too long) to set up the characters and the storylines. However the art of this Manga is so incredibly beautiful that I did not mind this at all. Every frame is almost like a painting, and that alone makes it worth the purchase. I do think that this Manga won’t be for everyone. Even if you like zombiestories, this is not your usual Zombie Apocalypse epic. However, if you want to read something other than the Walking Dead, and are willing to take a chance, you might definitely be surprised. I for one loved it, and am looking forward to the release of the 2nd omnibus in October.

I give this Manga a 9 out of 10 score.

Deadpool & Cable Omnibus, A Marvel Comics Book (2014)

The Marvel Universe is full of superheroes that are widely known. With the succes of the movies based on these comics, Marvel has a chance to experiment with characters that are relatively unknown to the general public. As such, last year we got the first Marvel R-rated superhero movie based on the anti-hero Deadpool. The movie was absolutely hilarious and became an enormous boxoffice success. Strangely enough, before the movie I had not even heard of this character before. Despite the fact that he is now one of the most popular Marvel heroes.

I love comics, and after seeing the movie I decided to catch up a bit on Deadpool. I bought a couple of collected editions, but also a massive tome called the Deadpool & Cable omnibus. And oh boy is this last book a treat. Those of you that stayed for the after credits scene of the Deadpool movie know that (minor spoiler upcoming) Cable will be making an entrance in the sequel. Cable is an X-man from the future with incredible telepathic and telekinetic powers. This omnibus contains all 50 issues of the Cable & Deadpool comic book series,  that ran from 2004-2008.

Where to begin? Well let’s start with the humour. Deadpool is nuts, no let me rephrase that, he is completely insane. Having him paired up with the serious Cable makes for some incredibly funny situations. There are so many things in these comics that are absolutely hilarious that I can not describe them all. But to name a few: In later issues, we get a recap page in which Deadpool talks to the reader of the comic what happened in a previous issue, together with other heroes that are going to appear later on in the story. This gag becomes even more hilarious when Deadpool gets his own talkshow, and recaps what came before. The book is full of crazy one-liners, and in almost every issue something happens that will make you laugh.

The stories themselves are great and offer a wide range of variety. We ofcourse get great battles, some more serious issues, a story that will occasionally bring a tear to your eye, but above all it is just a delight to read. Also included are numerous guest appearances from other Marvel Heroes, ranging from Spiderman to Wolverine. Last but definitely not least is the art, which except for a couple of comics, is seriously well drawn. And that last part is ofcourse very important when reading comics.

If you are a fan of Deadpool, or comics in general this is an absolute must buy. Yes, it has a hefty price tag, but in my opinion it was definitely worth it. This book is a great introduction to Deadpool, but also to Cable, and if you want to catch up on this great duo, this is the place to start. I myself could not find any negative points, and that means that the score I am going to give will not be much of a surprise.

I give this book a 10 out of 10 score.

Bloodline, a Star Wars novel by Claudia Gray (2016)

Before the Force Awakens continued the beloved Star Wars saga after the events of the Return of the Jedi, there was the Expanded Universe. The Expanded Universe explored Star Wars with a whole range of books and comics mostly concerning itself with the events that happened after the sixth movie. Some of these novels were extremely good, and introduced a couple of new characters that were almost as interesting as for instance Han or Leia. However ever since Disney took over the franchise, everything that happened in the Expanded Universe was declared non-canon. Those books and novels are now being published under the new name Legends. Some of the Star Wars fans, myself included, were none too happy with this decision. I can understand why Disney decided on this. But on the other hand some of the old books were so incredibly good, most notably the Thrawn trilogy, that i can’t help but wonder if it would not have been possible to somehow incorporate some events in the new timeline.

Alas, it was not to be, and now Disney has been producing a new range of novels and comics, that are considered to be canon. What is interesting about it, is that all these books and comics are connected and tied into the new Star Wars timeline. So far the range of novels has not been as good as the Expanded Universe in my personal opinion. I did really enjoy Lords of the Sith, and Dark Disciple, but these also did not reach the same level as the books of old. A couple of weeks ago a very special Grey Jedi (you know who you are), told me about the novel Bloodline by Claudia Gray, and how good it was. I decided to take her word for it, and boy am I glad I did.

Bloodline is the first of the new Star Wars novels that for me has brought back that good old Star Wars feeling. It tells a story of events happening before The Force Awakens, and even has some cameo experiences by some lesser known The Force Awakens characters. But the central focus is on Leia, and if you love the rebellious side of her, you are in for a treat. Bloodline deals with the political side of things, but of course in a Star Wars way. The new characters that Claudia introduces, most notably Greer, Casterfo and Joph are so good, that I wish they had been in the new movie. The story deals with Leia uncovering a sinister plot against the New Republic. The plot uncovers inch by inch, and keeps you guessing right up to the end. It has many surprises in store, and really to tell more about it, would only diminish your reading pleasure.

All I can say is, if you are a Star Wars fan, this is the novel you have been waiting for. It gives me a new hope (pun intended) for the upcoming novels of the new canon books. I truly hope we will get more novels by Claudia Gray in this range, as for me she is so far the best of the new writers of the new range of novels. To end with a cliche: the Force is strong with this one.

I give this book a 9 out of 10 score.