Predator Prey, A Review

I recently read Predator Prey, book two of The Beast Arises series and wrote a review of it for Goodreads.  For anybody who’s interested, I thought I’d pop the review here.

I started reading this before Christmas but for a reason I still can’t quite put my finger on, just couldn’t get into it and I ended up drifting away from the book. It’s rare when this happens to me, I never like to leave a book unfinished and it wasn’t a conscious decision this time, I put it down about ninety pages in and ended up not picking it up again for the better part of two months. As a result of this, when I committed to reading it all the way through, I decided to start again.

It picks up up not long after the catastrophic ending to the first book, with the Imperium in bother from a seemingly unstoppable Ork Waagh and after the introductory chapter a new addition to the character roster of the series makes her appearance.

Lux Allegra, a commander in the planetary defence force of the largely marine hive world of Undine is in charge of a unit attempting to lead the rulers and assorted rich folk to safety and she is in the thick of the action right from the start.

This sets up just how difficult even an individual Ork and by extension an Ork Waagh is to stop. It does this by having the invaders dropping from he skies in ships, that in most cases plunge into the oceans, meaning the Orks have to swim and wade to their targets. The Orks make it to shore in their thousands and with even a single Ork being many time the physical match of an average human, you can probably imagine what this means for the defenders of the hive cities of Undine.

After a very well written game of cat and mouse between Allegra and a truly massive Ork, she manages to get herself and her charges to the relative safety of a submarine. This is just the beginning for her though, as she ends up in charge of a make or break mission to halt the invasion of her world.

Allegra is only one of the characters though and it’s not long before we’re reintroduced to Vangorich, head of the Officio Assassinorum and an assortment of other returning and new characters.

The book mainly moves between Allegra, Vangorich, a Black Templars Space Marine fleet and The Fists Exemplar Space Marines desperately trying to defend their homeworld. Whereas the first book largely focused on the actions of the Imperial Fists, book two is much more of an ensemble affair.

Despite my false start when I first tried to read it, it’s actually a very good book, with both the action and the political machinations on Terra being particularly well written and I have to admit I particularly enjoyed the struggle of the Fists Exemplar; probably because I’m a sucker for fights against impossible odds.

My main issue with it and the reason I’ve only given it four stars, instead of five, is its length. Two hundred and forty nine pages is not a massive amount for the price of a hardback book and it makes me wonder if the page count has been skimped on to pad out the series with an extra book or two.

This single criticism aside, it is a very good book and well worth a read, as it covers a period of Warhammer 40,000 history not very well explored and it’s always good to have a bit more meat on the bones of the background of a universe.


White Dwarf, July 2017 Review



I enjoyed writing the review of White Dwarf so much last Month, I thought I’d make a regular thing of it.  Also, it’s nifty little bit of writing practice, which can never be a bad thing.  So here it is, White Dwarf review, number two.

There’s another nice cover picture.  Space Marines doing their Space Marine thing.  It’d be nice to see one of the other Chapters on the cover, but it’s a good cover nonetheless.

I’d thought that they’d done away with the issue numbers, this is not so however, they’ve buried them in the small print sidebar on the White Dwarf team page.  Since they’re still keeping track of the numbers, I don’t know why they don’t let them find their way back to the cover again.

The editor intro is pretty by the numbers stuff, but I wouldn’t want to see them get rid of it; it’s a pretty essential part of the makeup of the magazine as far as I’m concerned.

Two pages for the contents is a bit of an ongoing bugbear for me.  It’s not needed and one of the pages could be used for absolutely any bit of meaningful content they’d care to put on it.  It’s a small thing but it really bothers me.

Planet Warhammer.  Not a lot to say really. It’s got all the latest releases, well presented, with a nice eye-catching selection of pictures.  There’s a nice bit of the latest Forge World stuff, a little interview with Phil Kelly and a look at the awesome Magnus the Red and Leman Russ diorama.  All in all, the section does what it sets out to do and I can’t say fairer than that.

Sandwiched between this and the letters page is a two-page advert for the upcoming Path to Glory game.  Interesting.

Speaking of the letters page.  There is a little bit less glowing praise this Month.  Nothing I would call criticism exactly but there are a couple of interesting letters there.

Temporal Distort is one of my favourite articles and always sends me on a nice little nostalgia trip.  The Battle Report in the featured issue was, I believe one of the last, before they really started messing around with the format of them.

The model of the Year.  Magnus is indeed an awesome model and I’d very much like to paint him, but he wasn’t my model of the Year (the cargo containers, if you’re wondering).  Not that I’ve got anything against the choice, it’s a very worthy winner.

There is also a very interesting interview chat with Matt Holland in the Model of the Year article, which was a good read.

The Interview.  I continue to be impressed with this article.  It’s consistently of a high quality and always seems to be a good size.  This Month they’re talking to a group of the sculpting guys about how they got into the job and the collaborative nature of the process. It’s a genuinely interesting read.

The Tale of Four Warlords still doesn’t really grab me.  As I said last Month, it feels like it’s lost some of its shine. This is a shame, as the participants are always enthusiastic about what they’re up to.  There are as always, some nice little painting guides and a bunch of snazzy pictures of offer though.

The Golden Demon article is headlined by a fantastic looking Warhound Titan, with some mind-blowing freehand work.  It really needs to be seen to be believed.  It almost puts what follows, in the shade; which is a shame as it’s all of the very highest quality.  I like the little bit of blurb about each of the winners.  It’s always nice to gain a bit of insight into another painter’s methods.

Illuminations covers Orcs this Month and although I’ve already a few of the pictures, it’s never a bad thing to look at pretty pictures.  Also, Orcs make a nice change.

Tactica Imperialis covers how the new Warhammer 40,000 rules work, from army building, to the table-top.  It’s a pretty interesting article, worth reading whether you’ve seen the new rules, or not.

The Battle Report this Month is Orks versus Tau, which isn’t a match up I recall seeing before.  It’s still a little light on text for my liking and the little summary bits in the margins are wasted space, as they just repeat what’s already been said.  It’s good to see the return of the little front and back end stories though and there are a couple of amusing orky moments during the battle.  A good read, despite its flaws.

Next there’s an article about the new Age of Sigmar skirmish game, War in the Shadows.  It gives a brief overview of the game and a mini, two-page Battle Report.  It seems quite a bit like Shadow War Armageddon and if that is indeed the case, it’s no bad thing.

The Collecting article covers a Stormcast Eternals army by James Karch.  It’s a really nice-looking army and it looks pretty dapper in maroon.

Painting and collecting follows a few Games Workshop folks as they each begin an army with one of the Start Collecting boxes.  It’s always nice to see ‘Eavy Metal models, but this is a nice chance to see some stuff painted in none GW styles and there is some good stuff here too.  Also, a Taurox Prime with the guns mounted on the roof; conversion?

Paint Splatter has some nice, basic guides on Ultramarines, Plague Marines and Poxwalkers.  Good stuff for anyone just starting out, or looking to get an army on the table quickly.  There’s a more in-depth guide for the new Primaris Librarian.  I’ve got one of these guys and am really looking forward to painting him, as soon as I’ve worked my way through the pile of plastic that I have outstanding.

Modelling and Painting.  It’s an interesting read as far as it goes, but I miss the scenery articles of old, when they told you how to make things from scratch.  This mostly just tells you how to spend your quids and wield a paintbrush, which is a shame.  These things are a real missed opportunity.

Blanchitsu is another one of my favourite articles and I enjoy it without fail every time it appears, it was a real blast from the past this Month though.  There were hecka old models and references to old White Dwarfs a’ plenty.  Some super cool ye’ olde concept art and as usual really nicely painted models too.

It goes without saying that Parade ground has some spangly looking models, but I particularly like the Landraider, the Kastellan Robots and the Onager; they’re all painted in styles that I’m fond of.  There’s a particularly nicely painted Taurox Prime too, unfortunately I’m just not a massive fan of the model itself.

There’s such a variety of models and styles of painting on offer in the Readers Models section and as such it’s always a treat to look at.  The real stand out model for me this Month is the Onager, from Forge World Metallica.  The work that must’ve gone into it is amazing.

I always like reading the In the Bunker piece, near the back. It’s good to see what the White Dwarf folks are up to and it gives the magazine a personal touch that was missing from it for a long time, when everything in each issue was anonymous.

In summary, a solid issue, worthy of a respectable eight out of ten.  There’s some really good articles in here, some of which even have a bit of depth to them.  Most of the Age of Sigmar stuff was a bit of a chore for me, but I suspect this is more a reflection on me and my general lack of interest in the system, than the quality of the articles themselves.