Shadowmen – An Epic Fantasy of Spies, Monsters and Romance

Read it and see for yourself.

Drake Eveor is the son of a lord, heir to a massive empire of trading routes and land ownership. He has the perfect life. Too bad he can’t see beyond the riches in front of him. Little does he know that shocking series of events is about to change his life forever.

Crime and greed choke the slums of the Islen’s cities while the nobles feast and celebrate. Unspeakable creatures rips people to shreds in the wilds while the civilized people cover in their settlements. But the world is changing. Dangerous forces stir in the north, and the disputes between the noble houses have almost reached breaking point. The Kingdom of Islen is about to be engulfed in war, and Drake Eveor’s sheltered life is about to be ripped apart.

Allison Kruss and Union Station – Paper Airplane Album Review

When I put this album into my CD player, I didn’t know what to expect. Four years earlier, I’d listened to Allison Kruss and Robert Plant’s album ‘Raising Sand’ and I’d fallen in love with it.

But I knew that I was venturing to the edge of my music taste with Paper Airplane. Before this, the only country music I’d really bothered listening to was Neil Young.
What I didn’t expect was that this album would open my ears to the amazing world of bluegrass.

The opening track, Paper Airplane started with some beautiful guitar playing, which would have been enough for a good track. Then Alison started singing. You know that feeling you get when you really feel the emotion in the music and the singers voice, and goose bumps rise out of your skin? That’s the feeling I got the first time I listened to this song. Alison Kruss’ voice is so incredibly melodic, and in this song its tinged with a melancholic ring.

As I waited in the few seconds of silence between tracks, a part of me expected the next song to be just a little bit to similar. But I was in for a pleasant surprise. Upbeat guitar picked filled my ears, and I found myself tapping along from the second it starting. An amazing voice that I knew I recognised from somewhere rang out in rhythm with the guitar. After a few moments of head-scratching, I realised it was the same voice I’d heard from the movie ‘Brother, where art thou?’ the voice behind the lead singer of the Soggy Bottomed Boys, Dan Tyminski.

What a voice. And what a song! I couldn’t stop singing it for days after I’d heard it. I knew as soon as this song finished, that this album was going to be melancholic and I didn’t mind in the slightest. The songs on this album have been carefully selected, and they fit together perfectly. Dan lends his amazing voice to most of the songs on the album, and he sings lead on two of them.

The mandolin, banjo and guitar playing slide together perfectly, and the polished vocals of Dan and Alison make it an absolutely fantastic album to listen to. If you don’t like bluegrass, listen to this album and see how you feel then. Chances are you’ll be opening up a new section in your music collection.

Eragon – The Disaster Movie

It looks good, don't it?

Released in 2006, the movie Eragon is supposed to be based on the book which goes by the same name and is the first one of the Inheritance Cycle, written by Christopher Paolini. The movies were directed by Stefen Fangmeier and starred Ed Speleers as Eragon, Jeremy Irons as Brom, Sienna Guillory as Arya, and Garrett Hedlund as Murtagh.

The story goes that a common farm boy living in a land known as Algaesia, finds a bright blue stone in the forest in which he is hunting. The stone appears seemingly out of nowhere and turns out to be a dragon egg, the first free dragon born since the time of the tyrant king named Galbatorix, and picks Eragon as its rider. The rest of the movie shows the journey which Eragon takes along with Brom, who decides to help him with his knowledge of dragons, to track his uncle’s killers which are servants of Galbatorix, and later find his way to the Varden, who are a group of rebels. On his journey, he meets Murtagh, who also helps him, and rescues Arya from the clutches of one of Galbatorix’s servants.

The first thing that comes to the mind if you’ve read the book is that the movie is wrong and bits of it are pretty much sh*t. The Urgals are shown very poorly, just a bit modified form of humans (fat blue guys), when in actual fact they have a totally different physic in the books. Arya’s hair should have been black, not ginger which should not have been much of a problem unless the prices of hair dyes are rocketing. The Ra’zac, who are the killers of Eragon’s uncle, die in the film, whereas in the books they don’t and later play a vital role. In the film, Saphira is shown to grow instantly, within a space of two minutes as she flies through the clouds, while in the books it takes half a year almost. These facts have caused doubts to arise as to whether the director was drunk whilst making the movie, or maybe he never read the book at all but just had a memo sent to him about the story. It has also given rise to spouts of hate against the poor man, and an idea for his name to be on the Wall of Shame. Considering all the eccentric exploits of the director, some of the viewers were just relieved that at least Saphira was shown as a female dragon, not a horse with wings. Serious doubts have been raised by the viewers as to whether Stefen Fangmeier will be able to direct another film.

For those who hadn’t read the books in the Inheritance Cycle (Eragon, Eldest, and Brisingr), the movie seemed okay and enjoyable, some even say it rocked, though it got slightly cheesy and unrealistic in places. But on the whole, after hearing charming comments by those who had read the books, it just made them read and compare for themselves, after which they too joined the long line of people who were shouting that the movie is total sh*t. It is also speculated that the people who watched the movie thought that, “Surely the book won’t be as dreadful as the film was” and went out tried the novel.

On the whole, it seems that the only good the movie did was serve as a publicity platform for the books, and a bit of entertainment for those who think reading is too boring and all the excitement is in the movies. For others, all it did was make them feel a mix of confusion, frustration and disbelief.

This movie review is due to Sean’s inspirational idea of basing it on the thread of movie which can be found in the ‘Films’ section titled ‘Eragon the film’. The credit of this review goes to The Drunken Hobo 365, Sean the man, jakusdahutt, Urmudda0007, mickymouse2, AllenP, bommy, Don Mehaffy, Infinity, giorgia27 and rainstinks, who posted in the topic ‘Eragon the film’ and made it possible for me to compile their words into a single piece.

Complied and Written by Artrain of MediaSlice Forums.

The Roar – Twice the amount to think about per page

Throughout the years, more and more books are released without ever hitting the ‘Big Time’ seen in series like Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling. Within these lesser known books you have your two main divisions: The Gems and the Duds. Hidden amongst these books are those ‘Sleeper’ stories that take the unwary by surprise. I’m happy to say that ‘The Roar’ by Emma Clayton falls right into a ‘Sleeping Gem.’

The basics of the plot are easy enough to comprehend. You have the world’s population driven to live behind The Wall (literally an enormous concrete wall) in a third of the space they used to. Why? A little thing called The Animal Plague. Things in this new world are horrible, with the people living off of mold and fake foods. The rich survive while the poor are left for dead in overpopulated areas filled with stinking floodwater.

The story follows the path of one Mika Smith, a 12 year old boy who’s trying to deal with the death of his twin sister, Ellie. You see, he doesn’t believe that she’s dead. This fact, along with him being a mutant, leads to him being a social outcast at school, and eventually gets him into some major trouble. I must say, the plot is rather simple in theory, but once you get into the book it becomes larger than life. Just a mere 60 pages into the story, you’ll have gotten enough information to have filled 120 pages in your average book. Don’t take that the wrong way, ‘The Roar’ doesn’t take twice as long to read, you just get twice the amount to think about per page, overall. The best part about this is that you, as the reader, don’t consciously realize how much you’re taking in.

However great this book is in the core, the surrounding aspects are what detracts from it. Some of the characters are flat and more boring than moldy cheese or drying paint. That, and the ending. The ending is painful, terribly painful. I mean, you’ve got such a great book, and then you have an ending that makes Christopher Paolini’s ‘Brisingr’ look like the perfect ending. The end comes so abruptly and unexpectedly, in fact, that I flipped through the rest of the pages (most of which are blank, you know) looking for the rest of the ending.

Why is the ending so random? Simple: Emma Clayton wanted a sequel, and boy does she set it up like very few authors could. The ending, as you should have guessed, is one hell of a cliffhanger. Some of the problems are solved, but so many more questions and issues are raised as you finish that final period on the last page of the book. The sequel to the book (which is supposed to finish the tale completely) is going to be called ‘The Whisper’ in case you wondered.

Overall, ‘The Roar’ is a great book. You get concepts and ideas that the general public would never have even thought to imagine. You’ll race through this book, and be left craving more.

‘The Roar’ by Emma Clayton had it’s first release in the UK back in 2008. Later, in 2009, the book would see it’s first U.S. release. Chicken House publishes the book and it’s upcoming sequel.

Rating (out of 5 starts, 0 being absolutely horrendous, and 5 being perfection):

4.5 / 5

This review was written by Rain Stinks, a member of MediaSlice Forums

MediaSlice Forums – Formerly known as Fantasylife

Fantasylife has reached an all time low in terms of activity. And that’s why the Admin team have decided to take some pretty drastic measures.

We realise that Fantasylife has completely ran out of steam. Despite our best efforts, it’s basically a one-on-one conversation between me and Urmudda0007 on most of the topics. The reviews, the articles on writing, the friendliness of the staff and members, and the relaxed approach to the rules, people don’t seem to be interested.

That’s why we’ve decided to set up a mother site. A blog, featuring extremely high quality reviews, from very interesting perspectives.

This will provide a much greater audience and better platform to launch our reviews from, as opposed to the current Media Reviews section. It will provide members with a far greater incentive to post on the forums, and I believe it will legitimise the forum, solidifying it into a respectable source of information and friendship.

To conform to the blog, Fantasylife Forums will now be known as MediaSlice Forums. The forums will not be centred on just fantasy, but every type of media. The forums will be accessible through the following links:

www.mediaslice.forumotion.net

www.fantasylife.tk

I have more time on my hands, so this is going be a very active blog. There’ll also be a massive opportunity for members to participate in the blog. The media reviews section of the forum will remain open for member to submit material. If your review is good enough, it will be featured on MediaSlice©. If it isn’t good enough, don’t worry, because our moderators will critique your work, and you can edit it and re-submit.

MediaSlice© is set to become an invaluable source of unbiased, enlightening and informative reviews and articles on all types of media. It’s gonna become one of those sites you always open on a tab when you open up your browser. Somewhere down the line, you’re gonna wanna look back and say you were a part of this.

The engines have started up, and it’s up to us to keep them running. Spread the word.

The Way of Shadows – A book that’s seriously hardcore.

The cover caught my attention

Author: Brent Weeks

Suggested age rating: 16+

Note: This is an informative review. Sorry that I spent more time setting the background than actually discussing it. 

I first stumbled upon this book through AllenP, our guru. He’d found the book while browsing through the endless shelves of fantasy books in a bookshop in Cork. The cover caught my attention and I began asking questions, to which Allen enthusiastically answered. A few days later he lent the book to me, and honestly, I’m indebted to him.

It takes a lot to interest me in a book, and I confess that I’ve probably put down more books after the second chapter than finished reading them.
The Way of Shadows, however, violently pulled me into its pages, and I was amazed from the beginning by Brent Weeks’ skill as an author.

The story starts in the Warrens, a filthy, poverty stricken slum in a corrupt city. Our main character is a guild rat named Azoth. We quickly discover we really wouldn’t want to be a guild rat. Life means nothing in the Warrens, and other members of Azoth’s guild drop like flies. He realises his only chance is to get out.

Durzo Blint is a wetboy, an elite assassin and a living legend in the city. A crossing with Durzo has Azoth wishing he could be Durzo’s apprentice. When the opportunity arises, Azoth jumps at it.

But he must disown himself, say goodbye to the few friends he once had and change his identity. Now, as Kylar Stern, he his life has changed completely. Ahead of him is adventure, pain, drama, impossible choices and epic battles.

It is everything you look for in a fantasy book and more. It evoked emotions I haven’t experienced in reading in years, and I spent many late nights turning pages, knowing I should go to sleep but not being able to pry the book out of my own hands.
The writing is top class, and throughout the book, there are very few parts that could be viewed as boring.

The fight scenes are fluid, raw and intense. The way Weeks writes those makes you really fear for the character’s well being, an effect which not enough authors can do.

Usually when reading a book, I notice (and I’m sure the rest of you do too) that many authors are good at writing a certain aspect of the story (e.g. fight scenes) and their writing in other areas is mediocre.

With Brent Weeks, this is not the case. In ‘The Way of Shadows’, the fight scenes are excellent, the tense scenes have an atmosphere that could be cut with a knife.

The intimate scenes would make you think a woman had written them.

The characters in this book are incredibly realistic, with unique personalities and feelings.

The Way of Shadows is simply a must read. If you read five books this year, let this be one of them.

You're gonna wanna read it...