"I want the next one."

That's what I said immediately after finishing Ryan Graudin's latest, stellar effort. I want the next book, right now, in my hands, please.

Ok, that might be a bit of a strong opening. Let me back up.

Wolf By Wolf tells an alternate history story where the Nazis win World War II, folding in aspects of Inglourious Basterds, The Hunger Games and, fittingly, The Motorcycle Diaries.Yael is a young Jewish girl who, years earlier, suffered genetic experiments at the hands of a crazy German scientist. The experiments left her with the ability to shapeshift into anyone she sees, enabling her a quick escape to join the resistance against Hitler's new, glorious nation of Germania. After witnessing a young German woman bluff her way into a mens-only cross-continent motorcycle race, then subsequently win it and get the chance to dance with the reclusive and paranoid Hitler at the victory celebration, Yael and the resistance forge a plan: mimic the German woman's appearance, enter the race the next year, win it, and kill Hitler at the dance. What could go wrong, right?

I'll be honest; Wolf By Wolf doesn't start very convincingly; for starters, the blurb doesn't do justice to the novel's actual plot. We're dropped into that plot almost in medias res, and it's not until the halfway mark that the book started really gripping me. I'm actually finding it really hard to think of things to talk about here, since a few of the book's later surprises are so good that I'd rather eschew spoiling them.

At its core, Wolf By Wolf is a story of identity; specifically, Yael's. She comes to grips with impersonating the last race's winner and inheriting her life, with all the enemies, family trouble and romantic history that entails, but at the same time risks losing herself in that fiction. It becomes clear that killing Hitler and abandoning the people Yael eventually comes to know won't be as simple as she envisions, particularly when some of those people - Nazi ephemera and allegiance to the Führer notwithstanding - actually turn out to be fairly decent folks. If only it weren't for the whole "Germany rules the world" thing, life in the book would be so much simpler.

Sorry, I'm being flippant there. Unlike other alt-history Nazi fiction, Ryan Graudin makes Hitler's victory and the New World Order feel appropriately horrific and depressing, showing the full impact Germania's formation may have had if the Allies hadn't been successful in 1945. The book does a superlative job in emphasising how dreary life in the Third Reich is, even for the winners; the opening chapters, when the winning racer is incapacitated by Yael, depict a grey, washed-out world for those given fame under Hitler, and constant references are made to the "rot" at the heart of the Nazi empire, both by the resistance and those living for Hitler. Having this world not be the Aryan utopia ol' Adolf makes for a more compelling setting, where even those few who reap the benefits of the Nazi victory realise what a dreary place it is, as opposed to the authoritarian paradises of narratives like Wolfenstein: The New Order. The book also goes to great lengths establishing what a hard fight it would be for the resistance to reclaim the world; killing Hitler, the metaphorical head, won't just cause the snake to writhe and die.

Something that I enjoyed but others may not was the primary focus on Yael's development as a character at the expense of the secondaries. True, there are supporting players who are sketched out, but Yael is the only person who feels like a truly three-dimensional human being over the course of the novel. I suspect a few of the others - including Felix, the brother of the previous winner, and Luka, the archetypal mysterious bad boy - will be developed a lot more over the next book(s?), but for now they're just interesting rather than engrossing the way Yael is. I liked that the book bent over backwards to mostly give us her journey, her mental processes and her hopes and desires. I also appreciated the way the book might have hinted at a romantic connection here and there, but Yael was ultimately her own woman; she gets stuff done, she moves the plot forward, and she is beholden to nobody.

Wolf By Wolf might take a little while to get going, but when it accelerates to high gear it's a hell of a ride to the finish line - and yes, those puns are there on purpose. Deal with it.

- Chris

Wolf By Wolf is available in bookstores now.

Review copy supplied to Geek of Oz by Hachette Australia.

It's that time of the month again. 

Freshly picked from the bullshit tree it's the latest instalment of our bi-monthly podcast, Geek of Oz presents: Read, Watch, Play!

Lots to talk about this week. With Christmas season quickly looming upon us like a hungry drifter in a back alley we are getting spoiled with a whole bunch of new games, comics and shows all vying for our attention. Also Star Wars.

Billy talks new Tomb raider, Chris and I give you our thoughts on Star Wars Battlefront and Stu gives you his take on a whole bunch of movies. Real original Stu, real original.  

As always it would make our day if you could take a couple of minutes to rate and review us on iTunes or drop us some feedback below! Really keen to have your input in the show. WE CRAVE YOUR VALIDATION!!!!


This week's discussion topic: Endings! We discuss some our favourite and least favourite endings. 

Get it from Podomatic here

Get it from Itunes here

Billy (@aqualec, billy@geekofoz.com
Read: Dr Strange
Watch: Pokemon, Sex and the City
Play: Rise of the Tomb raider

Christof (@weeklygeek, christof@geekofoz.com)
Read: Wolf Vol.1, Resident Alien the Sam Haim Mystery
Watch: John Mulany: The Comeback Kid
Play: Star Wars Battlefront

Stu (@stucoote, stu@geekofoz.com)
Watch: Spectre, He named me Malala, The Hunger games Mockingjay part 2, Knight of cups, 99 homes

Chris (@ChrisComerford3, chris@geekofoz.com)
Watch: Spectre
Play: Fallout 4, Star Wars Battlefront

DISCLAIMER: This review uses images from the upcoming Star Wars: Battlefront video game. This book is also technically not part of the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens series, but given its proximity to the film it may as well be.

That said, this review will contain NO SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.


Remember The Force Unleashed video game? Remember that godawful tie-in book that was launched to help promote it as Star Wars' new transmedia project?

Yeah, I try to forget about it, too.

The problem with game tie-in novels is that, with rare exception, they fall into one of two categories. They're either blatant marketing and advertising exercises, designed to sell you on how great the story could be if you were a direct part of it (which affects books from Assassin's Creed, Gears of War and most of the Halo novels), or they're excellent stories which would see much wider readership if they weren't afflicted with the stigma of being a game tie-in (especially for books like Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, several of the StarCraft novels and, from what I hear, the Mass Effect tie-ins).

Twilight Company is quite firmly in the second category.

Following the swift destruction of the first Death Star, the book documents the exploits of the 61st Mobile Infantry, nicknamed the eponymous Twilight Company; a team of hardened Rebel soldiers helping the Alliance make a strategic retreat from Yavin to their secret base on Hoth. The team's sergeant and the book's primary POV character, Hazram Namir, travels with recruits both fresh and veteran as Twilight's carrier vessel, the Thunderstrike, ports them between theatres of operation. Namir ends up capturing the deposed governor of an Imperial-controlled world, who reveals a plan of attack that could end up securing victory for the Rebels and throw a permanent spanner into the Empire's works.

This is less a game tie-in novel than it is a novel appropriating the appellation of a game. There's rarely a sense that it's trying to sell you on forking out $99 for the full virtual experience, and instead reads more like its own, self-contained story in the Star Wars universe - and let me tell you, that story is grim.

Twilight Company is what you get if you cross Band of Brothers with Firefly and set it in the Star Wars universe. Namir and the rest of Twilight have witty banter and are sketched out characters on a rickety old ship that is constantly in danger of falling apart, whilst the horrors of an intergalactic war make themselves known through copious casualties and the depressing - and very likely - possibility of defeat. This is as far away from the shiny, pulpy space opera that Star Wars usually is; Twilight Company is an out-and-out war story from the likes of Saving Private Ryan and The Pacific.

That's either going to really turn you off, or make the book more interesting for you. Personally, I loved that Twilight Company departed so ardently from the established tone of the universe. It's not the kind of thing I'd read a lot of, as it's quite draining; if I wanted grimdark war stories with few rays of light at the end, I'd stick to the Warhammer 40,000 universe. But it's different enough that it's appreciable, and is written with such strength and flair that it's hard to dislike the approach, if not the execution.

On that note, this is writer Alexander Freed's first novel; as a debut, it's an assured and confident beginning. Freed writes with a descriptive prose that only skirts the edge of being flowery, relying mostly on curt sentences and verbiage to evoke the short, snappy wartime feel of being on the ground with scant communication. The book predominantly speaks in the same clipped tones the characters do when they're infiltrating an Imperial base on the side of a volcano or surviving the Battle of Hoth, whilst the lighter character moments aboard the Thunderstrike are replete with witty dialogue and an established sense of camaraderie. Between Freed, Chuck Wendig and Claudia Gray, it seems the infusion of new writing blood is exactly what the Star Wars expanded universe needed.

While the grimness is appreciated, it can get a little excessive at times. Characters die at the drop of a hat, and most of it occurs off-screen,a fact compounded by the characters mostly being ones we've only met for a scene or two. Namir reacts to most deaths with detached professionalism, so at least the book isn't asking us to shed tears over the newly-deceased Redshirt #365, but it still feels weird that these deaths are mentioned so casually and off-handedly. I guess that's part of war, though, where death is plentiful and detachment is necessary if you're going to keep on fighting.

That really is what this book is all about: war. While there are bright moments in the dark heat of battle, Twilight Company's strength lies in depicting the hell that is war, and the lack of glamour and glory afforded those who weren't lucky to born with Skywalker, Solo or Organa as a surname. It might not be indicative of the greater, operatic style that Star Wars manifests, but it definitely nails the 'Wars' part of that title.

- Chris

Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company is available in bookstores now.

This review is part of our series on Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Other reviews from this series include:


To borrow the shorthand of another, more British games critic: "Yeah, it's pretty good."


As nuclear bombs start to fall on a futuristic America, you and your spouse are shepherded to Vault 111 in Boston, one of the few underground bastions of safety left for the common people. Inside the Vault, you're cryogenically frozen in a stasis pod to awaken when the US isn't covered in nuclear waste and dead bodies. Your stay in the Vault is meant to be short-term.

Unfortunately, your pod is cracked open over two centuries later, after you witness your spouse get murdered and your infant son get kidnapped by a creepy bald guy. Vowing to recover your son and avenge your spouse's death, you leave the Vault and discover the thriving post-apocalyptic community of the Boston Commonwealth. Along the way you'll meet a host of fascinating side characters and get bogged down in more sidequests than an adventuring swamp monster.

As it happens, story is one of the two major areas where Fallout 4 has made a concerted effort to stand out. You spend time with your character and his or her loved one for a few in a pleasant future suburbia that is swiftly de-Stepforded as the bombs start to hit. As soon as you awaken, the quest to find your son takes centre stage and is constantly emphasised to every new character you meet. The addition of a voice for your protagonist (which I'll discuss more below) makes you feel more like a living, breathing character with a clearly-defined goal to attain.

I actually enjoyed feeling more like the protagonist in my own story, as opposed to Fallout 3 (where you mostly - and literally - follow in your more-interesting father's footsteps) and New Vegas (where you're merely a pawn in the machinations of every man and his dog). There's a very strong sense of narrative throughline, making this feel more like a narrative I'm in charge of rather than merely reacting to. Not that the stories of previous Fallout games weren't good, but I felt a strong sense of detachment from events that didn't feel entirely story-driven with me as its protagonist. In New Vegas, especially, I played my character like a wandering yahoo who randomly stepped into all the big goings-on happening in the Nevada Wasteland.

Going hand-in-hand with the tighter narrative focus is a plethora of supporting characters, both companions and otherwise, who really make the game world feel alive and distinctly lived-in. Bethesda have clearly taken some pointers from the Mass Effect school of character development and design, as most of Fallout 4's cast register as realistic and nuanced to a pleasant degree. Each of your companions have backstory and a particular way of doing things, and - in lieu of a karma meter - your actions dictate how they respond to you and the degree of influence you have over them. Intrepid newswoman Piper might like you helping out people in the Commonwealth, but hardboiled detective Nick Valentine may not like it if you always take the rough option when doing so. There are also a ton of dialogue options, meaning banter and character development are also in abundance.

I mentioned story is the first of two areas Fallout 4's really stepped itself up in; that's only possible because of the second area...


...which is, hands down, the series' best.

This isn't to say it's the best game ever, or that it's flawless; it's a Bethesda game, and enough floating NPCs in Skyrim have taught us that initial bugs are almost a signature of their work now. Despite the Day One glitches - which, for me, included a hilarious corpse who fell into a puddle and immediately started breakdancing uncontrollably - the developers have really taken on board Fallout's previous deficiencies and tried their best to ameliorate them.

Leveling up takes a Skyrim approach, with multi-tiered perks available at certain levels with skill points you can sink into them. There's no longer a level cap, meaning that choosing which skill to gain each level is no longer a System Shock 2-style quandary of what will or will not make the game unwinnable. Shooting feels smoother and less reliant on skills spent with specific weapon proficiencies; you wanna pick up a rifle or a rocket launcher, you can go to town with either from the word go. V.A.T.S. has also been overhauled, so that your strategic "pick which limb to shoot off first" time-freeze now turns into a slow motion, bullet time-esque "pick which limb to shoot off before that limb descends upon your head" approach. It actually makes gameplay a little more hectic, challenging and fast-paced, which I'm all in favour of.

That said, there is an especially sharp difficulty curve with this game. I know the wasteland is meant to be unforgiving, but it can get a bit ridiculous when high-level Super Mutants suddenly trek into the low-level area you've been blasting Radroaches in, and blow you up with one of their patented new mini-nuke-holding suicide bombers. The game prompts you to explore but be careful where you tread, lest your head go a-flyin'.

On top of the great leveling, combat and ever-present dialogue system, Fallout 4 introduces a base-building system where you can fortify settlements you're allied with. You can thus turn your starting gas station into a stronghold that'd make Fort Knox envious, as well as establish trade routes with other settlements to keep resources flowing. There are also comprehensive modding mechanics set up for guns, armour and medicine, all of which are built through raw materials. Y'know all that junk in previous Fallout game that just served as vendor trash for some quick caps? You might want to hold onto it; all of that junk can now be converted into said materials. It's the best game to play if you're a recycling enthusiast.

Lastly, there's the Power Armour. You get it early on in the game, and rather than just being another, slightly clankier suit of body-protecting badassery to cart around, it's actually something closer to an Iron Man suit that regularly requires energy, or Fusion Cores, in order to function. This encourages you to not go stomping around the Commonwealth as a metal-clad herald of gruesome, post-apocalyptic death, but rather to save the Fusion Cores for when the real fights happen. That said, when you do don the Armour, it is loads of fun to go tearing around with a minigun and wrecking stuff up. It's the closest you'll get to playing a human-sized Armored Core.


Not much appears to have changed from the detail-oriented backdrops of 3 and New Vegas, overall. Bethesda have clearly prioritised gameplay and story rather than making the graphics look Witcher-esque, and while a lot of others have been down on it, I don't mind it. Characters still look like they holiday in the uncanny valley, but the locations all look detailed enough that you can overlook minor quibbles like that. The addition of weather effects is welcome, with your peaceful, idyllic trip through a sunny Boston getting interrupted at any point by a hellish green radiation storm that will mess your day up like nobody's business.

Despite the lack of cutting-edge graphics, there are some significant frame rate drops on the PS4 version. It happens usually when a load of enemies are all on screen at once, and after you dispatch one or two it all roughly returns to normal.  It's not a dealbreaker, but I was under the impression the PS4 was given the kind of hardware that could run a spacecraft so that it could deal with multiple bodies on screen at any given moment.


There's no getting around it; while I like that the protagonist is voiced now, it still feels a bit odd. Part of Fallout and The Elder Scrolls' charm is your silent conveying of dialogue through text boxes, while characters respond to you like you're actually having a chat with them. I also miss the creepy, fourth-wall-breaking eye contact they maintain while they speak at you, as the graphics have been changed to a more Mass Effect-style conversational look.

I'm being facetious. The sound design is great, although a few of the characters' voices sound like the actors are kind of bored with the material. The background noise of the Commonwealth adds to the lived-in feel, with subtle sounds like bugs (of the non-killer variety) and wind movement creating a lovely aural sensation. Like The Witcher 3, this is a game that demands some nice, noise-cancelling headphones.


It is not perfect, nor is it the second coming of any deity, but Fallout 4 is still damn, damn good. It feels great to be back in the post-apocalypse - a phrase you wouldn't think likely to be said - and Bethesda have clearly taken the seven years between this and Fallout 3, and put them to good use. It's as immersive a wasteland-trekking experience as you could ever hope to have.

Just, watch out for those Super Mutant suicide bombers. Start running when you hear the beeps.

- Chris

Fallout 4 is available now on PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One.
The world lost a writing legend in 2011, when author Robert Jordan - born James Oliver Rigney, Jr. - passed away from amyloidosis, midway through penning the final volume of his decades-long The Wheel of Time series. While the story was eventually finished by Brandon Sanderson it was a bittersweet thing, especially since Jordan did not to live to see the end of his magnum opus.

Whatever The Wheel of Time's flaws - and believe me, there are a few - it was still a formative series for me when I was beginning to get into reading fantasy doorstoppers. I first read The Eye of the World at the age of 13; though the beginning was a slog, I eventually grew to love the world of Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene and all the others. It's the kind of narrative that has stayed with me even as I've explored the likes of Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, Patrick Rothfuss and others who've built upon what Jordan started. Even though I tapered off the series a little towards the end - especially with the damnable Crossroads of Twilight, which redefined Purple Prose and padding - I still look back on my time with the Wheel with fondness, and not a little bit of sadness at Jordan's abrupt passing.

With that in mind, reading this Companion was, similarly, a bittersweet experience. It reminded me, once again, that for all the twisted directions and aimless plot threads Jordan may have introduced later in his run, he still made a remarkable, fleshed out world that rivals the likes of master writers like Tolkien, Moorcock and even Jordna's successor himself, Brandon Sanderson.

There's not an awful lot I can say about The Wheel of Time Companion, other than the fact that it is thorough. This is the most compendious, studious work of collecting facts about the Wheel's world ever to be published. Seriously, it's large enough that you could probably use a few hundred of them to build a decently-sized shed.

They've really cut no corners here, folks. The book supplants The World of Robert Jordan's the Wheel of Time, another companion-like reference book published in 1997 that was, until now, the last word on filling in the Wheel's backstory through appendices. The Companion delves into characters, locations, items, languages, history and events with commendable dedication, with particular praise aimed at a multi-page written and visual breakdown of the logistics of the Last Battle from A Memory of Light. The book is structured like a dictionary, using alphabetical entries that make it a much lengthier version of the glossaries found at the ends of other Wheel of Time books. Be warned, however, that characters have pretty much their entire life stories detailed in each entry of the Companion, so spoilers abound for those not caught up with the end of the story.

It is abundantly clear, given how richly detailed the Companion is, that those who followed up on Jordan's legacy here did so with love and care. His wife and editor, Harriet McDougal, has been instrumental in continuing the series following her husband's death, so it's only fitting that she, along with Alan Romanczuk and Maria Simons, is here to put the definitive capstone on The Wheel of Time. This is as much an informational text for the series as it is a love letter for the fans who stuck with the story for twenty-three years of history. If, like me, it's been a while since you remembered the Forsaken, or what balefire does, or who ends up claiming the Lion Throne, or whether that minor character showed up six books after their debut, then The Wheel of Time Companion will almost certainly make you want to go read the whole thing once again (an urge made difficult to resist given how pretty those new covers are).

However wistful or nostalgic you may get after reading it, it's undeniable that The Wheel of Time Companion is the most painstakingly meticulous account of the Dragon Reborn ever put to page. It also looks really, really pretty on a bookshelf.

- Chris

The Wheel of Time Companion is available in bookstores now.

Review copy supplied to Geek of Oz by Hachette Australia.
The Subjects, from director Robert Mond (Rendition), attempts to bring something new to the burgeoning superhero genre but ultimately falls short of the mark. The film is severely hampered by its overly explanatory script and diminutive running time (78 minutes!).

Eight strangers are brought together for a clinical trial of a new pharmaceutical drug. They're confined to a sound-proofed recording studio for 8 hours, but as soon as they take the drug, they start experiencing strange superpowers. One by one, they must learn to harness their new powers. AND of course everything is not as it seems ...

Much like their comic-book counterparts, the cinematic superhero genre is dominated by goliath franchises producing consistently entertaining films. Unfortunately, this puts a considerable and possibly unfair pressure on smaller films like The Subjects, which, given the relative restrictions of budget, talent and production, find it virtually impossible to compete. This film looks cheap, has limited production value and fairly shoddy effects. I can’t really recommend something like this when there are a plethora of big studios films worth catching. I’m certainly not an apologist for blockbuster fare; smaller films have their place. However, just like obscure independent comics, they need to be taking risks the bigger studios can’t. Sadly, The Subjects just simply doesn't do anything new.

Mond’s script has the unenviable task of developing eight characters in a very tight running time, the Pontypool (2008) or the shift in genre perspective of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive (2011).
result of which is characters basically spewing out their individual traits. The characters are way too broad and their arcs are far too predictable. This film cried out for the subtlety of something like Bruce McDonald’s

Annoyingly, there are some good ideas in this film which are lost in the mix. Despite it’s made-for-TV look and feel, the editing is sharp and Mond manages to present the action in a clear and concise manner: brief praise, I know, but it’s about the only positive thing I took away from the film. Whilst I didn’t enjoy the film, I’d happily see what Mond does next, he’s got plenty of potential that may be honed in a future offering.

The Subjects is available across all Digital platforms. 


A powerful, worlds-walking sorcerer called the Raen, long thought dead, has returned. His sudden reappearance affects our two protagonists; Tyen Ironsmelter, a magic teacher at an academy on one world, and Rielle Lazuli, a weaver and latent magical prodigy on another. Tyen is forced to leave the academy when it shuts down, taking with him Vella, a woman for whom he is seeking a cure for her condition, on account of the fact that she's been turned into a book. Rielle, meanwhile, escapes a brush with death in order to file in with the Travellers, a group of nomads who are able to magically transport themselves between worlds. On separate trajectories, both characters will need to find ways to face both the Raen and their own changing natures.
That last bit may sound like a bit of a weak ending to the above paragraph, but part of the problem of reviewing Angel of Storms comes from its plot shifts. Note that I said 'shifts' rather than 'twists' (though there are still plenty of those), as it's less about exciting, humungous reveals and gasp-out-loud moments than it is about the markedly different, and almost wholly unexpected, directions the protagonists and the plot move. After reading the epilogue, looking back at the beginning chapters of both Rielle and Tyen's separate stories shows a vast gulf between where they started and where they ended. The literal, as well as figurative, journey is quite apparent.

So it makes it tough to talk about the book's finer points, especially since it's the second book in a trilogy, without treading into the no man's land of spoiler territory. I'll attempt to be as circumspect on spoilers as I can be, but a few of my issues with the book may suggest to people where the plot goes. If you want to tap out here, especially if you were a big fan of the first book Thief's Magic, I'll leave you by saying that it's a good book, with some solid settings, great protagonists who are at times a little irritating, and some supporting characters who could have done with some fleshing out. But overall, really good stuff.

For the rest of us, I'll reiterate the above, but include an addendum: the world(s)building is awesome.

Where Angel of Storms entirely wins me over is in the little traveling moments, where characters use magic to move between many different worlds. At times, the fantasy setting takes on an almost sci-fi quality when the protagonists arrive at worlds made entirely of light and fine dust, or worlds with beaches and gorgeous pink oceans, and which intensifies when the worlds with established cultures are introduced. There's one world that basically serves as a giant, fantasy equivalent of Paddy's Markets, and another that's basically Hoth, from the icy locale right down to being used for a base for rebels. The way Canavan deftly describes these worlds makes me want to see them visually, and having the setting changed periodically gives a very grand, operatic feel to the proceedings.

Our protagonists help carry that opera along. Without including the backstory history inherent to them from Thief's Magic, both Rielle and Tyen do, like I said before, end up in markedly different places from when they started. Whilst their stories are told in parallel, only intersecting very briefly, the connecting themes between them easily match up. In particular, both characters are faced with temptation; Rielle is first offered the chance to join an Angel, move to his realm and become the magic-wielder she was born to be, then is offered the chance to find safety and family alongside the Travellers. Tyen, similarly, is tempted by the Raen's offer of finding a way to restore Vella, resorting to infiltrating the rebels who oppose the Raen in exchange for his help. This does make both characters a little harder to sympathise with during the book's second act, when it feels like they're simultaneously working at cross purposes to the good guys and sinking further into the tempting darknesses that threaten to swallow them whole.

What also makes it a bit hard to stay invested in the book at times is the lack of comprehensive character fleshing out of the other players, particularly in terms of the Raen and some of the supporting characters. Despite being touted as the major threat to the worlds throughout the book, the Raen rarely appears as threatening or evil; that's probably the point, especially given some late-in-the-game reveals about his motivations, but it robs most of the scenes with the rebels of their emotional weight whenever they're making big speeches or preparing for the final battle against the Raen. Perhaps there's a kind of tragedy in that, knowing that the rebels maybe aren't really going after the worlds' equivalent of Sauron, but if there is it's hard to isolate from the lack of substantiality in the Raen's characterisation.

But then the ending happens, and a couple of important things are revealed, and we're left with a very tantalising sequel hook or two. Well-played, Canavan. I'm intrigued for what comes next.

The exposition can get overwhelming at times, especially in terms of dialogue; characters frequently speak in a circumlocutory fashion where only a sentence or two could've done. I get that there's a lot to cover given how many different worlds we visit over the course of the book, but characters sometimes over-explaining their motivations can get a little tedious. That's all made up for by Canavan's expert descriptions of settings, as well as the fairly thorough description of Traveller culture that was quite intriguing.

Overall, Angel of Storms is a great demonstration of Trudi Canavan's skills as a fantasy writer and worldbuilder. It's a series of journeys you might want to take.

- Chris

Angel of Storms is available in bookstores from November 13.

Review copy supplied to Geek of Oz by Hachette Australia.