Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Review - Bentwhistle the Dragon in a Threat from the Past by Paul Cude

Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Threat from the Past is an adventure story children and adults alike will love, about the present day world in which dragons disguised as humans have infiltrated the human race at almost every level, to guide and protect them.

Three young dragons in their human guises become caught up in an evil plot to steal a precious commodity, vital to the dragon community. How will the reluctant hero and his friends fare against an enemy of his race from far in the past?

Fascinating insights into the dragon world are interspersed throughout the book. Ever wondered how dragons travel below ground at almost the speed of sound? Or how they use magical mantras to transform their giant bodies into convincing human shapes?

In an action packed adventure that features both human and dragon sports, you’ll get a dragon-like perspective on human social issues and insight into what to do if you meet a giant spider grinning at you when you’re wearing nothing but your smile!

You’d be flamin’ mad to miss it.

Review by: Scott

3.5 stars

I really enjoyed a lot of aspects of this book.  The thought of a hidden society of dragons secretly helping to guide the course of humanity is very interesting.  I found Peter to be a strong character and really enjoyed the roles of Tank and Richie as well, in fact Tank was probably my favorite of the three even though he wasn't as prominent.

I thought there were a couple of pacing issues to be found mainly with the in-depth explanation of the field hockey games.  This could totally be because I know nothing about the sport so those passages didn't really hold much interest for me.  I did enjoy the descriptions of the dragon's game, Laminium Ball.  It may be because it's so much cooler to imagine giant dragons involved in a full contact game sort of similar to handball.

Manson, the antagonist, was written well.  I really hated him and didn't like reading his parts, but I think in the case of this book that is a good thing.  He was just such an amazing jerk that I had trouble not skimming over his passages just to get back to the characters that I did enjoy.

Overall this was a pretty darn good book and I would be willing to take a look at the sequel.  The only real drawbacks were the detours the story took occasionally and the fact that this book is written using a lot of British English.  By that I mean that there is a lot of slang and conversation that the friends use that has words that I, as an American, just don't see used in everyday conversation and it pulled me from the story a bit trying to puzzle out some of the meanings.  I can't really knock the author for using the dialect of his home region though, and to be honest I don't have a lot of exposure to it.  I'm sure it could be picked up rather quickly.

Get a copy on Amazon.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fireteam Zero Kickstarter

For those who have been following this blog for a while may recall my reviews of Bad Radio and Liar's Harvest by Michael Langlois, well he has recently started a Kickstarter campaign to get funding for a board game based on the world of his books called Fireteam Zero.  It reached it's funding goal on day one and has continued to grow with new and awesome add-ons being added regularly.  If you are a fan of tabletop gaming at all, check out the details and pick up a discounted copy of this game.

Sorry for the bland post, but I'm at work and can't really do much with images from this computer. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Review - The Avatar Battle - Cragbridge Hall, Volume 2 by Chad Morris

The adventure continues when Abby and Derick begin their second semester at Cragbridge Hall, the most prestigious secondary school in the world. But when Grandpa Cragbridge admits them to the Council of Keys—a secret group of people who have keys to travel back in time—strange things begin to happen. One by one, members are found unconscious and unable to wake, their keys stolen. Now Abby and Derick must scramble to figure out who is behind the attacks before they become the next victims, which would give their enemy the power to change the past forever.

Review by: Scott 

4 stars

The Avatar Battle is the second book in the Cragbridge Hall series by Chad Morris.  Muns is back with a new plan on how to get access to time travel for himself.  Derick, Abby, Rafa, and Carol will once again be vital in stopping him.

This was another very strong YA book by Chad Morris.  The kid characters are all extremely well done with each having an attribute that they excel with.  Carol definitely shines through as the family favorite in my house though.  I have read the first book and am halfway through this one as a bedtime story for my daughter and my wife seems to really enjoy Carol's personality.  She is a little bit flighty and can be a bit annoying, but she also has a great heart and can be hilarious at times.

In this book the story of Rafa is revealed a bit more.  He made several references to to the fact that Oscar Cragbridge did something for him in the past.  That is the reason he was so willing to help Derick and Abby when Oscar was kidnapped.  This story tells what exactly Oscar did for Rafa and why he is so intensely loyal.

One of the coolest things about this series is seeing all of the technology that is available to the students at Cragbridge Hall.  If a device that allows you to actually watch the past as it is happening isn't enough, there is a ton of new stuff the kids get to play with in this book.  Also as the name of this book implies that avatars once again play a huge role in the story.  I have recommended this series to pretty much everyone I know that has a child in the right age range, or that I know enjoys reading the middle school/YA genre.  The second book is another standout offering and I'm very eager to see what else is coming out of Cragbridge Hall.