Promise of Wrath: Chapter 1

I said that I’d be posting the opening chapter of Promise of Wrath soon, but hadn’t quite imagined it would be this soon. Any spelling or grammar errors are because this isn’t a final copy. Enjoy. Links to pre-order are at the end.

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CHAPTER 1

September 1195. Kingdom of Jerusalem.

I do not like the feeling of being hunted, of being pursued by some unknown force. I do not like that itch in the back of my shoulders where I can almost feel someone staring at me. It’s not a feeling anyone should ever get used to, but I more than most knew not to ignore it.

And I was being hunted. I knew that for a certainty. In fact, I’d known it for the better part of the last three days and nights, ever since we’d arrived in the Kingdom of Jerusalem on my way to Acre. I wanted to turn around and confront whoever—or, as was more likely, whatever—happened to be behind us. But my guide pushed me on, forcing me to follow or get lost behind.

“Not far now,” my guide said, as the first rays of the morning sun broke over the horizon.

We’d been walking through the night and resting during the day, ever since we’d met four days earlier. He’d explained that the night was when our hunter friend would be active, and that it wasn’t capable of following during the day. I still didn’t know what “it” was, but it was enough to scare my guide, and I took his concerns seriously. When a demon is scared of something, you damn well listen.

Technically my guide wasn’t a demon, although those who used to worship the pantheon he followed certainly thought his kind was. His name was Enlil, and he was one of the utukku, a species the ancient Mesopotamians considered to be demonic. Unfortunately, their short, slender appearance, the two small horns that adorned their head, and their long red tails did little to help dissuade otherwise. Still, they were no more demonic than a werewolf or sorcerer.

“We will need to rest,” Enlil told me as the sun continued to rise, and with it a respite from having to keep ahead of whatever was coming for us.

“Do you ever plan on telling me what it is?” I asked after we’d found suitable shade in an old building that had seen far better days. One of the walls had all but collapsed, and the sands had taken most of the lower floor, but the upper was mercifully barren from both sand and the multitude of small animals that lived in the area.

“This used to be an outpost,” Enlil said as he settled in a corner. “It was destroyed during the last crusade.”

“Enlil,” I said, keeping my voice calm, “no more changing the subject. What’s hunting us?”

Enlil sighed. “It’s nothing to worry about.”

“Yet you clearly are. So you either tell me, or I’ll go back there myself and find out what it is.”

Enlil sat upright. “No, you must not do such a thing. It will kill you.”

“What is it?” I asked again, keeping the fact that I wasn’t exactly easy to kill from my tone. It wouldn’t do to mock his concern.

“An utukku.”

“You’re scared of someone like you?” I asked. “I find that hard to believe.”

“There are two types of my people. I am shedu. As a rule, the shedu are children of the light; we believe in peace, harmony, and balance within all things. The one hunting us is an ekimmu.”

I’d heard the word before, but had never come across one of its kind. “And they’re not the peace, love, and happiness that the shedu are?”

“They are monsters. Whereas both shedu and ekimmu use elemental power, the ekimmu also use a dark, twisted power—a power you would call blood magic. The one hunting us is named Asag. He is a being of considerable power. A being who has allowed the use of blood magic to turn him into a hideous creature.”

“They’re blood leeches?” I asked, genuinely interested and wanting to understand more about something that was trying to hunt me.

“No, the utukku are not sorcerers, nor are we elementals. The use of blood magic in our kind has different repercussions from yours. It makes them incredibly powerful, much more so than any shedu could hope to combat. But with that power comes insanity, and a twisted appearance.” Enlil looked down at his feet. “I pray you never come across their kind.”

“Why is he—” I started.

“It is male, yes.”

“Why is he hunting us?”

“You. He’s hunting you, not us. He cares little for my kind—or anyone who isn’t him, to be honest. Hellequin’s arrival appears to have sparked some interest from people you would rather not deal with.”

I looked out across the terrain behind us; the constant hills and rock formations made it easy for someone to stay hidden and out of sight. Why did this monster stalk me? What was his purpose? And how had he discovered my being here? “My arrival was meant to be unknown.”

“Then you have a leak that needs plugging. We will reach Acre tonight. Asag will not pursue you into the city.” Enlil laid down, his red-tinged skin becoming darker as he fell asleep.

I dozed on and off for a few hours until dusk once again brought a need for Enlil and me to move.

There was more speed now, being so close to our destination, and I felt a surge of relief when the lights of Acre shone in the distance, but after a short while Enlil stopped and looked behind me. “Run.”

I didn’t need telling twice and the two of us were soon sprint­ing toward Acre, but there was a low roar that caused me to stop, and freeze while the safety of the city was close in the distance. We weren’t going to make it.

“Enlil, stop moving.”

Enlil did as I asked, looking at me with a mixture of concern and realization.

“You hear that?” I asked as the low rumble that appeared to come from all around us grew in size.

“Asag is here,” he told me.

I risked a look behind me and saw something standing on top of a hill only a few hundred yards away. Its massive shape was masked by the darkness, but I knew it was what had been hunting us.

“Asag, I presume?” I asked.

Enlil looked up at the hill and nodded once. “He must have ignored the pain of daylight traveling.”

The earth around our feet exploded and a dozen creatures tore free, standing just out of reach. Each of them was about two feet high, and appeared to be made of solid rock.

“An extension of Asag’s power. These creatures are a part of him. Destroy these, and it weakens him.” He drew a sword from the sheath on his hip.

I stared at the relatively small creatures. Asag must have been pushing them in front of us while he chased from behind, it was a smart move, and now we were trapped only a short distance from the city.

“Hellequin,” the voice of Asag boomed through the night as the monster began walking toward us. “You are not welcome here. None of your kind are.”

“My kind?” I asked Enlil.

“Avalon.”

I unsheathed the jian, a Chinese sword, and held it toward Asag, ignoring the small creatures between us. “Feel free to come remove me.”

Asag screamed in rage and charged toward us as his creatures pounced. I knocked one into another using my air magic, trying to ensure they didn’t swarm over us. Enlil stabbed his blade into one of the creatures, and was forced to leave it there, using his natural strength to throw the creatures around, as he made his way toward Asag, where his battle began anew.

I was too preoccupied with keeping the smaller creatures busy to watch them fight, but after a short time the creatures vanished back into the ground, and I turned to Enlil and Asag, moving toward the pair to help my guide.

Enlil was holding his own against the larger Asag, but that soon turned when the small creatures burst from the ground, grasping hold of Enlil. I was flat out sprinting when Asag punched a hole through Enlil’s chest, tearing out his heart and tossing it aside as if it were nothing.

Asag picked up Enlil’s lifeless body and threw it at me, forcing me to dodge aside, right into the path of his minions, who quickly swarmed over me, dragging me down as I threw magic around, trying to give myself a fighting chance. Asag stalked over until he towered above my kneeling position.

“Hellequin should have stayed at home.”

He raised his hand, and I ignited my fire magic, pouring everything into it. The magic forced the creatures off me, and caused Asag to scream out in pain. He staggered back as I got to my feet, ready to tear him apart. But the noise of a horse galloping behind me made Asag’s eyes widen with shock. I didn’t dare risk a look as the huge monster turned and fled.

The first I saw of the horse or its rider was when it passed me and was brought to a halt. The black warhorse was massive—which was for the best, considering the size of its rider. A mountain swung off the horse and walked over to me. He was close to seven feet tall, with a long beard that touched his chest. His bare, muscle-laden chest looked more like an immovable wall. Frankly he looked like he could have juggled horses, not just ride them.

“Hellequin,” the man said, his voice deep and commanding, used to having people do as he said. And for good reason: this man had once been a king, and some things are not easily forgotten.

“Gilgamesh,” I said, grasping his forearm. “Thank you for the timely intervention. Unfortunately, Enlil didn’t make it.”

Gilgamesh picked up Enlil’s body, cradling it in his massive arms. He walked over to his horse, and heaved the body up onto the animal’s back. “He was a good man—a brave man. We will sing songs about him.”

“Asag knew I was coming,” I told Gilgamesh as we walked back toward the city.

“Maybe those who requested your presence will know more. I am but a soldier.”

As we reached the first guard post just before one of the sets of gates to the city of Acre, I began to wonder if I’d imagined that I’d heard a tone of displeasure in his words.

The guard waved us past the checkpoint and toward a sec­ond checkpoint posted just outside the huge gates that signified Acre’s entrance proper. The second set of guards consisted of a dozen heavily armed men, all of whom were trying to get people into the city in an orderly fashion. It usually meant shouting at people until they stopped talking, and/or demanding money from them.

Gilgamesh merely walked through the group as if they weren’t there. Those around us stared at the body. Some recoiled in horror, while others quickly moved their gaze toward the ground. Gilgamesh didn’t speak as we walked down small alleyways and through a courtyard, until we eventu­ally reached a large house overlooking the sea below.

The smell of the fresh sea air was a welcome break from the desert of the last few days and I found myself wishing I’d just taken a ship to arrive here. Gilgamesh opened the door with­out knocking, leaving the horse and Enlil outside. I used my fire magic to give me night vision, casting everything in an orange hue, but it meant I could see no more than a few yards ahead.

Gilgamesh took me further down the staircase until we came to another door. He opened it with a small key and motioned for us both to enter.

“Where are we?” I asked, as I stepped into what appeared to be a huge cavern beneath the city.

“Old catacombs,” Gilgamesh explained. “Been abandoned for a long time. We think they used to belong to smugglers.”

I looked around at the ornate columns and rune work on the walls. “Smugglers didn’t make these.”

“Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t,” he said, with a wave of his hand. “I’m sure you have probably seen a great many things that rival our small efforts.”

“Gilgamesh, the last time I saw something as impressive as this, the dwarves had made it. It’s stunning.”

He stared at me for a moment, before bowing his head in thanks. He took me to the left of the cavern, where a huge iron door had been built, almost as if it were part of the rock that surrounded it. Gilgamesh knocked twice and opened the door, motioning for me to enter.

I had no idea what the room looked like, or who else was in it; all I saw sat in one corner was Mordred. He was chained around the wrists and tethered to the ground, a sorcerer’s band—a metallic bracelet with runes inscribed into it that removed his ability to use magic—sat on one wrist. He was powerless and I could have killed him without thinking twice about it: a fact he knew exceptionally well. He smiled.

“Glad you could make it,” he said. “I’d wave, but my hands are fastened to this seat.”

I stepped forward, my hand instinctively dropping to my sword that hung against my waist.

Gilgamesh stepped in between us. “You will not touch him,” he told me.

“Gilgamesh—” I protested.

“I said no,” he repeated, this time crossing his arms over his chest as if to signify that the conversation was over.

I weighed my odds. Could I get past Gilgamesh toward Mordred before the former killed me? Gilgamesh’s maul was leaning up against a wall a few yards away, but I’d also seen the man punch out a troll, and I doubted Asag would have been able to hold off the old king’s advances for long. I relaxed and took a step back.

“Good man,” Gilgamesh said with a slight smile.

“Someone had better explain why Mordred is here, why he isn’t dead, and why I can’t kill him. Enlil died to get me here. I’ve been attacked by a rock monster. I’m in no mood to play games.”

“I can explain everything,” a woman said from beside me. She looked at Gilgamesh. “Enlil died?”

Gilgamesh nodded. “Asag.”

The woman closed her eyes and breathed out slowly. “Damn it. Damn them all for doing this.” She turned toward me. “For all of the awfulness that has happened, I’m glad you’re here, Hellequin.”

I looked at the young woman who regarded me with such warmth, and felt guilty about even considering killing Mordred in her presence. I’d met her a century ago in Camelot, when she was a guest of Elaine’s. In Sumerian mythology, she’d been known as a goddess of social justice, prophecy, and fishing. She was loved by her people, and trusted by Elaine. I’d liked her immediately, and found her an interesting and warm person to be around.

“Nanshe,” I said, with a bow of my head, “this man sullies your presence.”

“Now that’s unfair!” Mordred shouted. “She hasn’t given me a chance to sully anything yet!”

“Be quiet, Mordred,” Nanshe said.

Astonishingly, Mordred actually shut up. “We need his help,” she said, regarding me once more. “We need your help too.”

“Why?”

“Mordred was involved in a plot to attack Avalon personnel here in Acre.”

“That’s not a surprise; he’s always involved in something. And that tallies with what Asag said about Avalon personnel not being welcome. I assume they’re friends?”

“It would appear that any flame of friendship between them is long since extinguished. Unfortunately, we don’t know what their plot is. When I told Merlin, he insisted he send you along to help.”

I got the feeling she hadn’t been too impressed with Merlin sending me, but I ignored her irritation. “Can’t you make Mordred talk?”

“He doesn’t know the plot itself, just the players involved. And once he learned that you were on your way here, he decided he’d only give those names to you.”

I was stunned. “Wait. Mordred asked for me?”

Nanshe nodded. “We found him in the city and had him arrested, but he will only talk to you about those involved.”

I stared at Mordred. “Why?”

“Why?” he asked. “Because I want to watch your face when you fail. I want to see your expression when thousands die because you couldn’t stop it.”

I looked back at Nanshe, determined to ensure that Mordred’s words didn’t come to pass. “Right, let’s get started then.”

 

Pre-order links: 

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Promise of Wrath: Cover

So, here it is, the cover for Promise of Wrath, and it looks fantastic. There’s going to be the first chapter put up at some point in the next few days, I hope. If you’d like to pre-order, links are below.

 

 

A powerful sorcerer. A forgotten past. Hellequin is back, and the end is near.

A terrible storm is brewing in London, and Nathan Garrett, the sorcerer known as Hellequin, is the only one who can stop it.

But his enemies have other plans. Harnessing the power of an ancient stone tablet, they cast Nate and his allies into another realm, where a bloody conflict rages between creatures twisted by magic. Meanwhile, with his friends’ lives in danger, Nate must put centuries of differences aside, and place his trust in one of his greatest foes.

Time is running out. Trapped and outnumbered, Nate must use all his wits and power to survive and find his way home before his enemies start a war that could destroy everything he holds close. Welcome to the penultimate chapter of the Hellequin Chronicles.

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Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Star Trek Beyond Review

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I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. Those were my Star Trek’s, much more so than the original Star Trek show. Saying that, Undiscovered Country is my favourite Star Trek film, with Wrath of Kahn and First Contact alongside it. I really liked the first re-boot film, I thought everyone in it was excellent and that it told a good story, while managing to be exciting. I was not such a big fan of Into Darkness, I found it used action instead of character, and the story was flimsy at best. Beyond corrects all of that and is probably one of the best Star Trek films.

First of all the story is simple and well done. I won’t go into spoilers, but the story works well, and moves along at an incredible pace. The 2 hr running time flies by.

The characters are all well-realised and work well together. Bones and Spock in particular are fantastic in this film, finally giving that relationship some much-needed time. Karl Urban has always been amazing as Bones, and this makes an even greater case for him being the perfect actor to play such an iconic part.

Chris Pine is a phenomenal Kirk. I’ve had no problems with his take on the character throughout the three films, and hope if there’s a fourth film that he continues to helm the ship. Zachary Quinto rounds out this trio, and this is his best film. There are some genuinely touching moments between him and those people he cares about, and there’s a wonderful tribute to Leonard Nimoy that really tugs at the heart-strings.

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The rest of the Federation cast is phenomenal too, although a special mention goes out to  Zoe Saldana, who I’ve always liked as Uhura, and John Cho who is just a badass Sulu. Lastly, there’s Anton Yelchin. It’s genuinely sad that he’ll never play Chekov again, as he does such a good job, and his passing will leave a huge hole in future movies.

Sofia Boutella is amazing as Jaylah. She’s a badass, smart warrior who gets some incredible action scenes, which as a whole as fantastic throughout the film. I hope she gets to come back for future films.

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I know the Enterprise gets destroyed a lot, but you’ll still be gob-smacked at what happens in the opening part of the film.

And that brings us to our villain. Most good Star Trek films have a good villain. When Krall is first introduced, played by Idris Elba, he comes off as a generic villain, albeit a good one, but throughout the film Elba is fantastic. And while I guessed the revelations about what was happening, they were no less shocking.

So, this is a well-acted, exciting, action-packed blockbuster of a movie. Are there any problems?

Well, Simon Pegg is still a bit hit and miss as Scotty, and the ending is a little far-fetched even for this franchise. Also, some of the background fx is too loud and you can’t hear what people are saying. It happened a lot when Scotty was in the engine room, and it was a bit weird. But other than that, it’s pretty much an all round excellent way to spend 2 hours of your time.

I know the trailers didn’t really inspire hope that it would be a good film, I know they left me cold, but the use of Beastie Boys Sabotage, is phenomenal in this film. Some might find it cheesy, and I guess it is a little, but I thought it worked brilliantly.

You like Star Trek, this is for you. You like big action-packed blockbusters, this is for you. You like your sci-fi with actual characters, this is for you. It’s the best Star Trek film since First Contact. I can’t wait to see it again.

 

Ghostbusters 2016 (Review)

 

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Okay, I’m going to start by saying that this isn’t as good as the original. It was never likely to be. The original Ghostbusters was such a lightning in a bottle kind of thing that it was unlikely to be matched. It’s also one of my favourite films of all time, so I was very apprehensive about this remake. And while it’s not as good as the original, it’s a hell of a lot better than Ghostbusters 2.

 

The main four women are all brilliant. Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig are both on fine form, and Leslie Jones has a few brilliant lines, but Kate McKinnon steals the show. She’s phenomenally funny in this film.

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Speaking of show stealing, Chris Hemsworth is brilliant. He’s just fantastic every time he’s on screen as a bumbling, charming, complete and utter idiot.

 

The action scenes are well done, especially toward the end, and the film is genuinely funny in many places (including a bit where they read Youtube video comments). The cameo’s are all really fun, and the visual effects are pretty much spot on.

 

But it’s not perfect. It has one too many beats that are lifted from the original, which do nothing but remind you of how good the original is, and some of the jokes are just not very funny. But in a film where more hit and made me laugh than didn’t, I’ll call that a win.

 

Other problems include the mayor and his aide, who were just annoying, and the main villain, who didn’t seem all that dangerous at any point. Gozer was hardly given a great character, but the build up to her reveal was excellent. Here, it’s less interesting, and feels like they could have done with an extra 20 mins or so.

 

I assume many of you have read those hate-filled reviews and posts on IMBD or Facebook, or maybe even Twitter. Posts by usually angry white men who hate the fact that this film exists, that women are allowed to be the main focus of a Ghostbusters movie. Those people are idiots. And frankly, it’s their loss. This film isn’t anti-man, or militant feminist, or anything else people have said.

 

But they’re small complains in the scheme of things. If you like the Ghostbusters, you’ll like this, if you like action-packed, funny films, you’ll like this. And, one last thing; the cinema was full of young women and girls. And judging from the clapping and cheering, they loved it. This is their Ghostbusters, and it’s a fine film.

 

I hope they get a sequel, I hope they get that chance, because if they can come out from under the shadow of the original a bit, I think they could make a phenomenal film. As it stands, they made a really good one.

The Nice Guys – Review

Last year I picked up a cinema ticket that lets me go as often as I like to see whatever I like. It lasts for a year, and I mainly got it because I knew I was going to go see X-men, Civil War, Batman Vs Superman, Star Wars, and all those other big blockbuster films that I was looking forward to. I did not buy that ticket to see The Nice Guys. I didn’t even know the film existed until about a month ago. But I’m really glad I did.

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The Nice Guys is a film about Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. It’s set in 1977 Los Angeles and it’s directed and written by Shane Black. Shane Black, for those who don’t know, is one of those guys who if I see his name attached to a film, I’ll go see it. He wrote Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and a whole lot more.

I don’t think it’s too much to say that The Nice Guys is the best film I’ve seen this year. And i adored Civil War. The Nice Guys is everything I want in an action comedy. For a start, it’s actually funny. Not chuckle funny, but laugh out loud in the cinema funny. The lady behind me snorted like a pig. Actually snorted. And she was about eight rows behind me. That’s how funny this film is.

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Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are superb, Angourie Rice (who plays Ryan’s daughter) is brilliant every time she’s on screen. She’s not one of those annoying kids who you get tired of, she’s genuinely funny, and even though she comes across as wanting to be treated like an adult, she also has those moments when she is a thirteen year old girl who is trying to hold everything together.

Honestly, the acting is great throughout, and there’s a brilliant script for the actors to work with. The twists are surprising for the most part, and… look, if you haven’t seen this film yet, go. Now. This film deserves to make a huge amount of money. They rarely make films like this anymore, and it’s a shame. But if anyone could have pulled it off, it would have been Shane Black, and damn if it hasn’t done it in style.

Promise of Wrath Update

While there’s no cover yet, there is a blurb. And here it is:

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A powerful sorcerer. A forgotten past. Hellequin is back, and the end is near.

A terrible storm is brewing in London, and Nathan Garrett, the sorcerer known as Hellequin, is the only one who can stop it.

But his enemies have other plans. Harnessing the power of an ancient stone tablet, they cast Nate and his allies into another realm, where a bloody conflict rages between creatures twisted by magic. Meanwhile, with his friends’ lives in danger, Nate must put centuries of differences aside, and place his trust in one of his greatest foes.

Time is running out. Trapped and outnumbered, Nate must use all his wits and power to survive and find his way home before his enemies start a war that could destroy everything he holds close. Welcome to the penultimate chapter of the Hellequin Chronicles.

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I know what you’re thinking, there’s that word penultimate. To answer the next question, yes Hellequin Chronicles will finish with book 7. No, that doesn’t mean it’s the end of Nate’s story. I can’t really reveal more at the moment, but rest assured, Nate’s story isn’t done with book 7.

In the meantime, you can pre-order Promise of Wrath HERE

Warcraft: The Beginning. A Review.

Despite the fairly negative reviews on sites such as Metacritic, I went to see Warcraft today, and I figured I’d do a quick review to give my thoughts. There might be mild spoilers, be warned.

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I guess I should start this review by explaining that I’ve never played Warcraft in any of it’s forms. I have no interest in starting now, either, and I’ve never read any of the books or comics up to this point. My entire knowledge of the Warcraft world is limited to knowing it’s a fantasy world, that there are Orcs in it, and obviously Leeroy Jenkins (google it).

On the other hand, I love fantasy movies and despite some awful trailers, this one intrigued me. I think it’s fair to say, I enjoyed the hell out of it.

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First and foremost, it’s beautiful. If you think the pictures were pretty, you haven’t seen anything until you see it all moving. Everything looks stunning, the scenery, the animation, the Orcs especially are something quite special.

Speaking of the Ocs, they’re the best thing in the film. Each of them looks brilliant, and you get genuine emotion from Toby Kebbell, who is incredible as Durotan, one of the Orc chiefs. Actually his story is probably the most interesting part of the film, and I wish there was more of it. The whole, “do I betray my people to save my people?” arc is well done here, and I found myself really enjoying Durotan’s time on screen. Also, his scenes with his wife and baby felt genuine and touching.

Special praise goes to Daniel Wu and his excellent portrayal of the evil Gul’dan. He was great every time he was on screen.

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The human side of the story is a bit more a mixed bag. On the one hand you’ve got Travis Fimmel as Sir Anduin Lothar. He’s brilliant, frankly, and basically holds up the entire human part of the film almost single-handedly. He’s a badass warrior, and manages to come across as someone you really don’t want as an enemy.

Ben Schnetzer is also excellent as Khadgar, a mage who’s incredibly out of his depth, and both he and Fimmel work well together when they’re on screen.

The action scenes were magnificent, and stunning to watch. The real high-point of the film, and they managed to look pretty vicious despite it only being a 12a in the UK.

The story as a whole is quite interesting, and the film flies along its 2hr show time, but there are some issues.

  1. The big reveal of the bad guy is a giant ‘meh’. I simply didn’t care about the character, nor his motivations, and frankly I guessed he would be the villain the second he comes on screen.
  2. Dominic Cooper isn’t in it enough to really give his character the drive it needed for people to want him to succeed. I wanted Fimmel to do it because he’s heroic, and badass, but his king just sort of arrived, said a few things and left. He needed a bigger part.
  3. Actually that’s the biggest problem I have with the film, it needed more of it. There needed to be more of the king, more of the humans you were meant to be rooting for.
  4. The romance between Lothar and Garona felt tacked on. It was obvious it was going to happen, but there was zero set up to it. One minute they were talking, the next they were deeply in love. I didn’t buy it for a second.
  5. There were no twists or shocking parts to the film. None. Everything that was meant to be a twist could have been seen a mile away, although that didn’t dampen my enjoyment of it for the most part.
  6. Fimmel’s son was a plot device and nothing more.
  7. It needed more humour. I wanted someone a Leeroy Jenkins moment, or more sarcastic one-liners. There were characters who did it occasionally, but not enough for my liking.
  8. More species. Hopefully if they get a sequel the elves and dwarves can actually do something.

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The film was obviously a labour of love for all involved, it’s just a shame that the script couldn’t quite match the lofty ambitions. Now, I really liked it, but I love fantasy films anyway, and I can certainly see why others might not feel as invested.

It’s better than Batman vs Superman and X-men apocalypse, and anyone who says it isn’t beautiful is either trolling or blind. The script needed polishing, and several of the characters needed to go away as they take screen time from characters who are actually interesting. It’s one of the few films where I’d say 2hrs isn’t enough. If they do a director’s cut and add another 30-40 minutes onto the running time, I’d be happy with that.

So, I do recommend it, but it’s not for everyone. You like fantasy, you’ll probably enjoy it. You like Warcraft, you’ll love it. And if you want big grand action packed scenes, or you want to see orcs and humans beat the shit out of each other, then this is the film for you. I really hope it gets the sequel it desperately wants, as I’m very interested in seeing what they do from here.

It’s also probably a film that the majority of reviews I’ve read have either missed the point (it’s not meant to be Lord of the Rings), or just don’t seem to like it because it’s a videogame movie. Go see it for yourself. There’s a good chance you’ll enjoy it.

 

 

 

Promise of Wrath

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There’s no cover, or blurb, but there is a pre-order for Hellequin Book 6, Promise of Wrath. And there’s a release date for the ebook version: 13th September (the print copy will follow in Nov).

UK

USA

However, because I’m feeling really nice, here’s the setting for the flashback sequences in Promise of Wrath;

Kingdom of Jerusalem. September, 1195.

X-men Apocalypse

I’ve just got back from the cinema to watch X-men Apocalypse.

Now, I’ve enjoyed all of the X-men movies bar X-men 3, which was awful, and Wolverine: Origins, which is a crime against film goers that Deadpool managed to make me forget about.

I loved X-men First Class, and really enjoyed the sequel Days of Future Past. Unfortunately, Apocalypse doesn’t live up to either of them.

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I’ll go through what I liked first, and then say what I didn’t. There might be a few spoilers, but I’ll keep them light, if you just want to read my thoughts go to the end.

What  I Liked:

1. The cast is brilliant. Everyone is very good in their role. Special mentions go to Sophie Turner as Jean Grey and Evan Peters as Quicksilver, but everyone was good.

2. It looks very good. Seriously, some of it is incredible to watch.

3. Quicksilver’s action parts are incredible.

4. The end battle is really quite cool.

5. Pheonix.

6. Wolverine. In fact his whole bit probably steals the film. Again.

X-Men-Apocalypse-Poster-No-Text.0.0

 

What I Didn’t Like:

1. The story jumped around all over the place.

2. It had a massive cast and didn’t build up people it wanted you to care about: Storm, Psylock, Angel, and several others were given cursory background information and then cast into the melee to sink or swim.

3. Apocalypse’s power is basically; whatever the plot needs him to do. I know he’s been absorbing powers for ages, but every time the plot needs him to do something, he suddenly has a power that can do it.

4. Apocalypse is boring. Like, really, really boring.

5. It’s another Magneto vs Xavier with Mystique flittering between them film. This was getting old in the last film, here it’s just tired and dull.

 

xmen_apocalypse_posters

 

My Thoughts.

I didn’t hate the film. In fact I found it quite enjoyable, but it tried to do too much with too many characters, and didn’t really manage it. It’s worth a watch, but it made me think, “I wonder what Marvel would do with all of these characters.”

Maybe they should have just done an Age of Apocalypse film, but this feels like it’s the middle part of something larger. Still, I’m glad I saw it, and the 2 and a bit hours flew by. I just wish they’d done so much less to achieve so much more.

 

4 Years on.

4 years ago, on the 28th April 2012, I self published my first book, Crimes Against Magic. I sold 28 copies opening day. I was thrilled.

McHugh_Crimes_Against_Magic_cvr_FINAL

4 years later, and after leaving the self-publishing world for the traditional a few years ago, I’ve had 5 books published, been in the top 10 best-selling books on Amazon US, and and have just handed the 6th in to my publisher after the second round of edits.

Joined all 4

I actually only remembered the milestone of 4 years ago, because my wife reminded me. Otherwise I doubt I’d have remembered at all, and not because it wasn’t important, or anything like that, but simply because so much has happened since then.

 

I’ve had a more traditional publisher for the last 2 ½ years, after 47North asked if they could re-publish the first 2 books and work with me on wherever the Hellequin Chronicles went. I said yes pretty quickly. As much as self publishing was very rewarding, and I’d done well enough through it, it’s also a colossal amount of extra work. Work where otherwise I could be writing another book. I’ve had a great time working with everyone there, and may that continue to be the case.

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So, that’s all up to now. 4 years as an author, and about 4 months of that as a full-time author. So, what’s next?

 

Well, this is going to be a bit of a list, and not everything here will happen within any kind of timeframe that I actually have, but it gives you a rough idea of what I’m working on.

 

  1. Promise of Wrath (Hellequin 6). This is the one people are asking me about, and I still don’t have a release date, sorry. I still have copy edits, line edits, and probably something else I’m forgetting, to get through first.
  2. A new book with new characters and nothing to do with Hellequin. It’s coming along nicely.
  3. Epic Fantasy book: I plan to start this after Divided. I plan on finishing it too. Best laid plans and all that.
  4. Warbringer: The big epic sci-fi I was working on needs a lot of work, so I have no idea when it’ll be finished. I promise my agent it will be finished though. Promise.

 

 

Both 3 and 4 here, don’t have publishers, so that work gets put behind the stuff that does. Oh, and I forgot book 7 of Hellequin. Gotta write that too.

 

So, after 4 years of being published, I’m busier than I’ve ever been. Bloodborne remains unfinished, and books remain unread.