Book Reviews: The Devils Whispers by Lucas Hault

I was very kindly sent this book by the publisher TCK Publishing.

Here is a link to their website and a link to purchase the book on Amazon

A famous Lawyer Gerard Woodward is requested to visit Lord Mathers to discuss his final affairs as he lays upon his deathbed.

This professional visit quickly becomes a nightmare when Gerard notices odd behaviours around the castle, he is locked in his room every night and is forbidden to explore without supervision.

After climbing across the castle walls from his window Gerard finds access into the castle and soon realises that he has been trapped amongst some of the most despicable and evil creatures he has ever come across.

These creatures are called Xana and originated from Asturian Mythology and often disguise themselves as a woman to lure in lonely young men.

This book is very heavily inspired by Dracula and has a lot of similarities it begins in a castle with the protagonist, a professional man trying to sort out legal affairs and in both books this protagonist soon realises the sinister activities that are at play.

In Dracula the vampire cannot stand garlic and in this book the Xana cannot stand onions, both stories also use diary entries to tell the story from the perspective of various people.

In light of the author this diary style is a lot harder to write than you would expect, it takes a lot more planning than a standard book due to the fact of having to focus on various writers you need to change styles in order to fit said person and their perspective of events. Also making sure that everything that is written makes sense while always ensuring that you can consistently switch narratives without getting mixed up or lost in your own explanations and story telling.

Lucas Hault actually writes these diary entries really well, it was actually quite nice to read another book in this style as I think a lot of authors are intimidated by it, personally I haven’t read a book like this since Dracula so I appreciated to go back to this style and to see it written so well.

The book has not had the best reviews, I did a bit of research and found that a lot of people were complaining that it was so similar to Dracula and while I do agree that it definitely needs to be looked at for a re-write in this aspect, I also think a lot people are not giving credit where it is due.

The book comes across like a fan re-write of the Bram Stoker classic but it is creative in a lot of areas, first of all the choice to use a folklore creature is a very unique idea and not what I expected, also when the story gets interesting it does get you hooked. The problem I have is that the beginning and ending of the book completely held my attention but the middle segment really seemed to drag and quickly became uninteresting, I found myself enjoying Gerard’s character and even though I enjoyed the writing when other character were telling their diary pages I just wanted to go back to Gerard’s again and see what he was doing.

So this leaves me at a bit of an awkward moment because I cant really say that I fully enjoyed this book, I read it twice just to make sure and my opinion still stands that Lucas Hault is a good writer, his writing style is fine he is a new author and will get a lot better over time. This book could have been something really unique if it had a little bit more originality the Xana being the creature is great but it definitely feels like Lucas Hault read Dracula and then decided to have a crack at it himself, he had a somewhat original story but its structure is too close to a much more better written and historically beloved book which The Devils Whisper does not in anyway come close to even competing with.

I will end this with a message to the Author, Lucas you have talent and clearly you are creative but if possible I recommend a re-write of this so that it can have a much clearer identity and wont be compared to what its inspired by. If you decide to write another horror I would recommend trying to do something different than is expected, try and write something which does compare to other stories and one day you very well could find yourself a very successful author.

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

Thank You for all of your support.

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (2016) Review

I always knew one day I would be concluding my look into the Uncharted video game series and I went into this final entry with scepticism considering I was a little disappointed with the last game but does Nathan Drakes final adventure hold up as well as the masterpiece Uncharted 2?

Taking place several years after the events of Drakes Deception, treasure hunter Nathan Drake is recently retired and living as a regular person with his wife Elena.

One day out of the blue his long lost dead brother shows up alive and well but is on the run from the notorious drug dealer Hector Alcazar.

Hector helped Sam Drake escape from his Mexican prison in exchange for a share in the treasure of the pirate Henry Avery, he gives Sam three days to deliver the treasure before he kills him leaving Sam no choice but to hunt down his famous brother and convince him to go on one last adventure to help pay off his debts.

This game differs slightly to the second and third game as it follows a very linear story that doesn’t encourage you to differ to far from your own path, of course there are secret treasure to find and many are from exploring but there isn’t many memorable locations or things to find outside of that goal but I don’t really think its needed here. This is the final chapter in Nathan Drakes story and a lot of is revealed from his childhood, his relationship with his brother Sam and even his mother.

There is a lot of different types of gameplay besides the usual puzzle solving, driving the Jeep’s was my absolute favourite part as it was really fun to just drive around and even though there wasn’t anything to substantial to see driving was a really nice change to the gameplay as these parts only came up once in a while.

Swinging on the rope works extremely well and was needed often to traverse large gaps, you can climb up and down the rope too and isn’t always obvious where you can jump too so paying close attention to your environment is very important.

The puzzles in this game are the best we ever got from this series because not only are they challenging but they really stand out as feeling believable and very creative, I loved the puzzles in the third game but I feel like some of those did feel a little silly compared to these and I could actually see these in something on the lines of an Indiana Jones film and some maybe even in historical documents. The hardest puzzle in my opinion was rotating the stone wheels to match the correct symbols to the lights in Avery’s Crypt, it took me a good while to figure these out and I felt very accomplished afterwards.

The most beloved parts of this game for myself and a lot of others is actually the parts with differ from the main Henry Avery plot and focus on either back story or have more interactive moments, its very well known now that you play the original Crash Bandicoot twice in the game trying to beat Elena’s high score, I failed on both attempts but I am certain that it is possible never the less this is a very cool reference to developer Naughty Dog’s early roots.

The segments with younger Nate and Sam are both very interesting especially the second part when you break into a mansion to steal back their mothers journal and you get to meet her very old partner (in a way this is foreshadowing what Sully is to Nate, his partner but much older and sadly her death is also foreshadowing the loss of Sully he will need to deal with one day).

And then you get the small surprises, the Crash Bandicoot reference was one of them but there are a lot of these in the calmer segments of the game, sometimes is just old journal entries or photographs and other times they are interactive such as eating all the food and playing with the lemur in the market, only small details but this is the type of things I love in video games the smaller things that differ from the regular action.

As I was playing the game I had to keep reminding myself that this is an early release for the system because graphically it is stunning, it looks real for the most part and only the character models look a little odd compared to the environments because they have less details although still look very good. The environment’s themselves are gorgeous and its quite mad how much detail the developers put into elements that not that important such as the clear blue waters and grains of sand but it pays off to give us genuine pieces of videogame art.

The soundtrack here was composed by Henry Jackman, the original three games were composed by Greg Edmunson who gave them beautiful orchestral scores that suited the games perfectly, Jackman did a really great job here and the music is just as wonderful as it has been previously. One thing this soundtrack has that the other games lacked was those much slower paced segments such as walking around Nates house or the market and the music here changes to really make those parts more immersive. The third game did have one segment like this but because this game has a bigger focus on these moments the music works a lot better.

Uncharted 4 is a great conclusion for Nathan Drake it focused on his backstory and how he has matured since the first game, It was nice to see him genuinely just settle down and be satisfied with a regular life, it was really cool to see his brother Sam get a lot of story revolving around his character as well and after the events of the game if they wanted to do another series based on his adventures with Sully that could make for some great spin offs.

I loved finally playing this game, it controlled well and had a great story but it’s most positive moments come from its conclusion and the growth of Drakes character, the soundtrack once again did not disappoint and the visuals are the best we have had in the series not just because of the more powerful hardware but the clearly higher budget that was put into making the landscapes realistic and visually beautiful.

This is yet again another Nathan Drake adventure I will never forget but its far from beating Uncharted 2 as my favourite in the series, however second place is still a fair spot and I reward Uncharted 4 an excellent 8.5/10

Check out my reviews of the first three games !

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

Follow me on Twitch ! https://www.twitch.tv/filmzguy

Thank You for all of your support.

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

Book Review: The Witches by Roald Dahl

The Witches is a children’s novel written by British Author Roald Dahl, it begins in Norway after a young boys parents have died and he has been left under the care of his grandmother, his grandmother tells him all about the dangers of witches and how to spot them amongst humans. In this book witches are child killers that use magic to murder children in very discreet and clever methods such as turning them to stone or trapping their soul in a painting.

Later on in the book the boy and his grandmother end up holidaying in the same hotel that the witches of England are holding their annual meeting where he overhears a plot to turn all of the children in England into mice.

Will the boy and his grandmother be able to stop the witches and save the children of England?

You will have to read the book to find out 😉

What an excellent read this was although I must point out that it is rather dark and has themes of death, murder and coping with the inevitable, there is also a lot of tobacco use and alcohol in the book, without spoiling the ending it was happy but did have a darker tone to it than most children’s novels.

The characters in the book are all very simple but at the same time wonderfully imaginative thanks to the mind of Roald Dahl, the witches were in my opinion the best part of the book both equally funny and scary enough to not quite give you nightmares but send a chill down your spine, the grandmother was another favourite character of mine as I enjoyed her sense of humour and odd view of the world.

I would recommend this even if you have seen the 1990 film adaptation because while there are similarities the book differs in many ways that you could class them as two different versions of the story especially considering the light hearted ending of the movie compared to the original story.

As an adult I cant say that I enjoyed this as much as I did when I was younger but I would still recommend this to any young persons wanting an excellent book to read.

I hope you enjoyed this review of The Witches by Roald Dahl

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

Thank You for all of your support.

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

Time Lord (NES) Review

Today I review a game called time lord , now from looking at the cover you may think that the game looks awesome and you instantly want to buy it but beware hide your wallets and stay far away because behind that awesome cover art is a real video game demon.

image

Story

Time lord released in 1991 by Milton Bradley is based in the year 2999 it is January 1st and the earth is under attack by aliens, the aliens have sent armies to four historical locations with a plan to destroy the earth on January 1st 3000, the goverment send a time lord to travel to the four historical locations and wipe out the aliens before the planet is destroyed and to save mankind.

image

Gameplay

You take control of the time lord in this side scrolling action platformer and you need travel to all four historical locations (Medieval England 1250 AD, Western USA 1860 AD, Caribbean 1650 AD and France 1943 AD) before heading to the final stage to fight the Alien leader. Time lord suffers from a lot of issues within its game play you see before the player can fight a levels end boss they need to find and collect 5 orbs which they can use to power the time machiene to get to each location, the problem is that the game is so glitchy that sometimes these orbs don’t turn up so the only option is to die or hit reset, another issue is that the game is pretty much impossible due to it being time based, that’s right that one year or the planet is destroyed actually has the player racing against the clock the problem is that a day passes every four seconds meaning that the player only 24 minutes and 34 seconds to finish game otherwise its gameover. I don’t know if this was some sort of sick joke by the developers but you can not expect children to have that sort of patience plus the game is really difficult to play with its dodgy controls and the enemies having an unfair amount of health compared to the player so these issues really don’t help.

image

Graphics

The enviroments and colours used in a lot of the locations in time lord are quite pleasent to look at I only wish that the screens wouldnt repeat most of the time and because of this I feel the game lacks in creativity, for example in the medieval stage you are on top of a castle but all you can see in the background is mountains couldnt the developers have had dragons flying around, castles within the mountain, wizards etc. Its the same with the western stage all you seem to do is pass saloons and other buildings you have seen 10 times already. I would comment on the other areas but to be honest my copy never seems to give me the final orb in this stage so ive never passed stage 2. The characters in time lord for some reason all seem to be one colour the most common being the colour red, you could argue that there may be some radiation in the future or say that the time lord altered history and caused all the characters to look like they are from the old nicktoons show Doug but I blame laziness?

image

Music

Time lord may be a pretty awful game but if there is one thing it does right its the music, the music in time lord is awesome. The tracks are really enjoyable and they suit the evironments perfectly which is a real shame because if the game was this good in all departments I can asure you it would have become an instant classic.

Final Verdict

Time lord was desperatly trying to be Doctor Who, it had a similar concept but it failed in almost all departments. Like I said the music is fantastic but that does not make up for the rest of the game, time lord is one big false advertisement, what you see on the cover art you dont get and the game is a cruel and broken mess and so I now have no choice but to give time lord the lowest score we here at Raggle Fraggle have ever given a game , I give time lord for the NES a 2/10 definatly a game to avoid.

This review was written by Dan (Padawan)