Science fiction and fantasy                                            


Film and Book Reviews for 2012

Films released in 2012

Brave poster    
Brave directed by Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman and Steve Purcell
4 star rating

In a fantasy Scotland full of bears, kilts, and haggis, Princess Merida fights for the right to decide her own fate.
The Hunger Games poster    
The Hunger Games directed by Gary Ross
4 star rating

The odds are against Katniss when she volunteers to take part in a vicious televised fight to the death.
Avengers Assemble poster    
Avengers Assemble directed by Joss Whedon
3 star rating

Marvel superheroes team up to save the world from Loki and his exceptionally bad taste in headgear.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey poster    
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey directed by Peter Jackson
3 star rating

Bilbo Baggins leaves his comfy home to go on an adventure, little realising how much it will change him. But storm clouds are gathering over Middle Earth as he joins the quest to retake the dwarf homeland. The first in a trilogy.
The Cabin In The Woods poster    
The Cabin In The Woods directed by Drew Goddard
3 star rating

Five friends take a break at an isolated cabin in the woods, where dark forces start to lay into them.
Snow White and the Huntsman poster    
Snow White and the Huntsman directed by Rupert Sanders
3 star rating

Does my kingdom look big in this? Queen Ravenna gets upset when her magic mirror doesn't tell her what she wants to hear.
Mirror, Mirror poster    
Mirror, Mirror directed by Tarsem Singh
3 star rating

Snow White does battle with a vain, evil queen obsessed with expensive and ridiculous couture.
Men In Black III poster    
Men In Black III directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
3 star rating

Earth is once again in danger from alien attack, but Agent J is on his own unless he can go back in time and save a young Agent K.
Dark Shadows poster    
Dark Shadows directed by Tim Burton
3 star rating

Barnabas Collins may be a bloodthirsty vampire, but he always puts his family first.
Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part Two poster    
Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part Two directed by Bill Condon
2 star rating

Bella and Edward fight for their family against ancient vampires who will destroy those they declare to be abominations.
Wrath of the Titans poster    
Wrath of the Titans directed by Jonathan Liebesman
2 star rating

The Greek gods are losing their powers, and Titans want revenge for their long imprisonment. The sequel to Clash of the Titans.

Books published in 2012

Railsea poster    
Railsea by China Mieville
5 star rating

In a world of looping rails stretching to the horizon, a young man sets out to discover what is at the end of the tracks.
Suited poster    
Suited by Jo Anderton
5 star rating

Tanyana wonders who she can trust with her secrets when even her body seems intent on betraying her. The second in The Veiled Worlds series.
iZombie: Repossession poster    
iZombie: Repossession by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred
5 star rating

A smart zombie tries to sort out her love life, but it's more complicated than usual when the world is about to end. The fourth iZombie graphic novel.
The Alchemist of Souls poster    
The Alchemist of Souls by Anne Lyle
5 star rating

In an alternative Elizabethan England magic and treachery abound, and the theatrical players are not the only ones putting on an act.
Soulless: The Manga: Volume One poster    
Soulless: The Manga: Volume One by Gail Carriger and Rem
5 star rating

Alexia is soulless, which means she stands between the supernatural world and the human one. A graphic novel.
Some Kind Of Fairy Tale poster    
Some Kind Of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce
5 star rating

A young woman returns to her family after a long absence. But can she walk back into her old life after all she has seen?
Empire State poster    
Empire State by Adam Christopher
5 star rating

Superheroes, robots and strange memory blocks baffle a private eye in this retro mystery.
Maximum Willpower poster    
Maximum Willpower by Kelly McGonigal
5 star rating

This book explores the science of self-control, and examines the evidence for many methods for boosting willpower.
Crown Thief poster    
Crown Thief by David Tallerman
5 star rating

Trouble is brewing for the thief who once stole a giant, and his developing conscience is not helping him to escape it. Book two of the Tales of Easie Damasco.
The Grass King's Concubine poster    
The Grass King's Concubine by Kari Sperring
5 star rating

A privileged young woman goes searching for the reason her life is charmed, but her curiosity takes her to another world, and mortal danger.
Rip It Up poster    
Rip It Up by Richard Wiseman
5 star rating

An exploration of the psychology of action and its effects on our mood, mindset, and habits.
Pure poster    
Pure by Julianna Baggott
5 star rating

When the Detonations hit, those unprotected were left with horrifying mutations. The Pure inside the Dome were the lucky few. But is anyone safe and untainted in this post-apocalyptic world?
Bad Pharma poster    
Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre
5 star rating

An examination of how data in clinical trials is polluted and the factors corrupting modern medicine.
Ironskin poster    
Ironskin by Tina Connolly
5 star rating

A cursed woman becomes a governess to a very peculiar child in this dark fairytale.
Night's Engines by Trent Jamieson
5 star rating

The world of Shale is about to fall to darkness, but the remedy seems worse than the sickness. The second book of The Nightbound Land.
The Return Man poster    
The Return Man by V. M. Zito
5 star rating

Half of America has been overrun by zombies. So why has one man ignored the evacuation order and stayed to put them down?
Remember Why You Fear Me poster    
Remember Why You Fear Me by Robert Shearman
5 star rating

A short story collection featuring giant spiders, people who keep hearts in plastic boxes, a woman who gives birth to furniture, and other strange situations.
Saga: Volume One poster    
Saga: Volume One by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
4 star rating

A child is born to two fugitives on opposite sides of a galactic conflict in a futuristic universe of magic and high technology. A graphic novel.
Royal Street poster    
Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson
4 star rating

New Orleans at the time of Hurricane Katrina was already hairy, without voodoo and undead pirates to spice it up.
Soulless: The Manga: Volume Two poster    
Soulless: The Manga: Volume Two by Gail Carriger and Rem
4 star rating

Werewolves and other supernatural creatures are affected by a curse that stops them from using their powers. A graphic novel.
Rainbird poster    
Rainbird by Rabia Gale
4 star rating

A young woman tries to hide her identity, whilst her home on the skeleton of a dragon is threatened in this young adult novella.
Red Country poster    
Red Country by Joe Abercrombie
4 star rating

A group of people strike westwards in search of justice, revenge, their abducted families, or simply a way to earn a living. A stand-alone novel set in the world of the First Law series.
Super Crooks: The Heist poster    
Super Crooks: The Heist by Mark Millar and Leinil Yu
4 star rating

A group of crooks plan to rob the most dangerous villain of them all in order to save one of their own. But they are out of practice and unprofessional. Can they get away with it? A graphic novel.
Transmission poster    
Transmission by John Meaney
4 star rating

One world has already fallen to the darkness, and the people responsible have more than one universe to hide in. The second part of the Ragnarok trilogy.
Tomorrow The Killing poster    
Tomorrow The Killing by Daniel Polansky
4 star rating

Warden reluctantly sets out to find a missing woman. The second in the Low Town series.
Throne of Glass poster    
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
4 star rating

A beautiful assassin must secure her freedom by winning a contest against other thieves and killers. But a year as a slave has left her weakened and out of practice.
The Wolf Gift poster    
The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice
4 star rating

A young reporter wonders whether he has been handed a gift or a curse in this modern-day werewolf story.
The Nine Deaths Of Doctor Valentine poster    
The Nine Deaths Of Doctor Valentine by John Llewellyn Probert
4 star rating

This murder mystery horror novella pays tribute to Vincent Price.
The Great Game poster    
The Great Game by Lavie Tidhar
4 star rating

Lizards, aliens, robots and spies are some of the players in a high stakes shadow game for the future of the empire. The third in the Bookman series.
Giant Thief poster    
Giant Thief by David Tallerman
4 star rating

Easie Damasco will steal anything not nailed down and a few things that are, even a giant.
The Four Realms poster    
The Four Realms by Adrian Faulkner
4 star rating

When a wizard is killed an old lady sets out to find the truth, even if she has to leave this world to uncover it. Vampires, tentacled terrors and potty mouths beware!
The Dog Stars poster    
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
4 star rating

A Cessna pilot searches for human connection at the end of the world, but when survival is at stake the normal rules of civilisation fall by the wayside.
The Dirty Streets Of Heaven poster    
The Dirty Streets Of Heaven by Tad Williams
4 star rating

An angel gets on the case of a missing soul. The first in the Bobby Dollar series.
The Corpse-Rat King poster    
The Corpse-Rat King by Lee Battersby
4 star rating

A battlefield looter is forced to reevaluate his life when he is set the task of finding a king for the dead.
Terror Tales Of The Cotswolds poster    
Terror Tales Of The Cotswolds by Paul Finch
4 star rating

An anthology of creepy stories from the imaginations of Gary McMahon, Alison Littlewood, Reggie Oliver, Simon Clark, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Gary Fry, Ramsey Campbell, and others.
vN poster    
vN by Madeline Ashby
4 star rating

In the future robots have the ability to reproduce and think for themselves. But how long can mankind get away with treating thinking, feeling beings as property?
On A Red Station, Drifting poster    
On A Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard
4 star rating

A refugee magistrate flees to a space station that has seen better days, and puts herself at the mercy of her extended family in this novella. Part of the Xuya universe series.
Fairest: Wide Awake poster    
Fairest: Wide Awake by Bill Willingham and Phil Jimenez
4 star rating

When Ali Baba finds two Sleeping Beauties, he has no idea which one he should wake with a kiss. A graphic novel featuring the characters from Fables.
Entanglement poster    
Entanglement by Douglas Thompson
4 star rating

Quantum entanglement allows astronauts to explore the galaxy and make first contact with bizarre extraterrestrial civilisations.
Emperor Mollusk Versus The Sinister Brain poster    
Emperor Mollusk Versus The Sinister Brain by A. Lee Martinez
4 star rating

What's an evil genius to do when he gets bored of being overlord of a whole planet?
Dark Currents poster    
Dark Currents by Ian Whates
4 star rating

This anthology of speculative fiction features stories on a theme of dark currents, whether they are electrical, nautical, or something else entirely.
Where Are We Going? poster    
Where Are We Going? by Allen Ashley
4 star rating

An anthology of travel stories exploring strange and uncharted reaches of the world.
Castle Waiting: Volume 1 poster    
Castle Waiting: Volume 1 by Linda Medley
4 star rating

A fairytale castle opens its doors to refugees, misfits, and eccentrics. They all have stories to tell. A graphic novel.
Carpathia poster    
Carpathia by Matt Forbeck
4 star rating

Passengers on the Titanic have more than shipwreck to deal with when come to prey on them.
Blood And Feathers poster    
Blood And Feathers by Lou Morgan
4 star rating

Alice gets caught up in a world of warring angels in this urban fantasy novel.
Blackbirds poster    
Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
4 star rating

Miriam Black can see how people will die, but her gift is a curse if she can't change anyone's fate.
Bitterblue poster    
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
4 star rating

A young queen discovers that her people are endangered by the legacy of a tyrant. The third novel in the Graceling Realm series.
A Town Called Pandemonium poster    
A Town Called Pandemonium by Anne C. Perry and Jared Shurin
4 star rating

An anthology of strange stories based in a town of gunslingers, rough justice and broken dreams.
Interview With The Vampire: Claudia    
Interview With The Vampire: Claudia's Story by Anne Rice and Ashley Marie Witter
4 star rating

This graphic novel tells the story of a child vampire destined never to grow to adulthood.
Grave Mercy poster    
Grave Mercy by Robin Lafevers
4 star rating

A convent-trained assassin roots out plots at the 15th century Breton court. Book one of the His Fair Assassin series.
Hallucinations poster    
Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks
4 star rating

The neurologist Oliver Sacks examines the varied reasons why people may sense things that aren't there.
Juggernaut poster    
Juggernaut by Adam Baker
4 star rating

A group of mercenaries hunt for gold in a poisoned desert, but something else is waiting for them.
Nocturnal poster    
Nocturnal by Scott Sigler
4 star rating

A pair of detectives take on a cult of monsters that lurk under the streets of San Francisco.
How To Think Like A Neandertal poster    
How To Think Like A Neandertal by Thomas Wynn and Frederick L. Coolidge
4 star rating

The Neandertals were an evolutionary offshoot that died out. But what did they have in common with us, and what were they really like?
Last Days poster    
Last Days by Adam Nevill
4 star rating

A hard-up documentary maker investigates a sinister 70s cult, only to discover that its horrors are not all in the past.
iZombie: Six Feet Under And Rising poster    
iZombie: Six Feet Under And Rising by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred
4 star rating

An outbreak of shambling zombies in the town of Eugene has Gwen and her friends hunting for allies. This graphic novel is the third in the iZombie series.
Magic: An Anthology Of The Esoteric And Arcane poster    
Magic: An Anthology Of The Esoteric And Arcane by Jonathan Oliver
4 star rating

In these short stories magic is sometimes for show, but often dangerous and unpredictable. This anthology features stories by authors such as Will Hill, Allison Littlewood, Lou Morgan, Dan Abnett, and Storm Constantine.
Mechagnosis poster    
Mechagnosis by Douglas Thompson
4 star rating

Have you ever felt that machines were in charge of your life, instead of helping to make it easier?
The Pack poster    
The Pack by Jason Starr
3 star rating

A New York man struggles with his new role as a stay-at-home father in this werewolf novel.
Superior poster    
Superior by Mark Millar and Leinil Yu
3 star rating

A boy with MS gets the chance to become a superhero, but the power comes at a high cost. A graphic novel.
Messenger's Angel by Heather Killough-Walden
3 star rating

A history student gets the chance to study Scotland, and finds it bonnier than she expected when she meets an angel. The second in the Lost Angels series.
A Touch of Crimson poster    
A Touch of Crimson by Sylvia Day
3 star rating

He's the top angel, in charge of keeping all the other angels in line. So why is Adrian Mitchell trying to seduce a mortal woman?
Shadow of Night poster    
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
3 star rating

Matthew and Diana time travel to Elizabethan England to track down a manuscript witches and vampires are fighting over. The second in the All Souls trilogy.
A Hunger So Wild poster    
A Hunger So Wild by Sylvia Day
3 star rating

A Fallen angel is attracted to a man who should be her sworn enemy. The second in the Renegade Angels series.
Siegfried poster    
Siegfried by Alex Alice
3 star rating

A shifty Nibelung raises the hero Siegfried in ignorance of the fate Odin intends for him. A graphic novel.
Silent Voices poster    
Silent Voices by Gary McMahon
3 star rating

Three childhood friends return to the Concrete Grove to banish their childhood demons. The second book in the Concrete Grove series.
Silver-Tongued Devil poster    
Silver-Tongued Devil by Jaye Wells
3 star rating

A series of murders threaten the fragile peace between vampires, mages, and the other dark races. The fourth in the Sabina Kane series.
Dial H Volume 1: Into You poster    
Dial H Volume 1: Into You by China Mieville and Mateus Santolouco
3 star rating

Nelson Jent believes he is an overweight failure, until he dials for help and finds himself transformed into a series of oddball heroes. A graphic novel.
Kiss The Dead poster    
Kiss The Dead by Laurell K. Hamilton
3 star rating

Juggling vampire and shapeshifter relationships whilst hunting down fang-happy leaderless undead keeps Anita Blake busy in the 21st book in the series.
The Brides Of Rollrock Island poster    
The Brides Of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan
3 star rating

A remote island community is transformed by the arrival of women from the sea. But their magic and beauty comes at a cost.
Hair Side, Flesh Side poster    
Hair Side, Flesh Side by Helen Marshall
3 star rating

A woman replaces her heart with a clock, a child is given a martyr for her birthday, and a woman discovers a lost manuscript written inside her skin in this collection of short stories.
The Mammoth Book Of Ghost Stories By Women poster    
The Mammoth Book Of Ghost Stories By Women by Marie O'Regan
3 star rating

An anthology of ghost stories written by female authors past and present. There are stories by Lisa Tuttle, Muriel Gray, Alex Bell, Gail Z. Martin, Sarah Langan, Mary Cholmondeley, and others.
Surrender poster    
Surrender by Rhiannon Paille
2 star rating

A tree tells a pair of young lovers that they must not see each other. The first in The Ferryman and the Flame series.

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Unreviewed books

The Drowning Girl cover    
The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan
A woman with madness in her family is haunted by a painting, and by a woman who may not exist.

Throne of the Crescent Moon cover    
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
A group including a ghul hunter and his zealous assistant investigate supernatural killings. The first in the Crescent Moon Kingdoms series.

Eyepennies cover    
Eyepennies by Mike O'Driscoll
A musician experiences haunted dreams in this novella.

The Respectable Face Of Tyranny cover    
The Respectable Face Of Tyranny by Gary Fry
An indebted man living in a caravan starts to glimpse monsters in this novella.

The Kind Folk cover    
The Kind Folk by Ramsey Campbell
An impressionist begins to suspect that he is only playing at being human, and that he is being followed by malevolent fairies who want him back.

Where Furnaces Burn cover    
Where Furnaces Burn by Joel Lane
A West Midlands police officer deals with a series of increasingly weird cases in this collection of linked stories.

From Hell To Eternity cover    
From Hell To Eternity by Thana Niveau
A collection of short tales of supernatural horror.

The Woman Who Married A Cloud cover    
The Woman Who Married A Cloud by Jonathan Carroll
A collection of short stories. It features stories about God and linked souls, the magic of money, and houses that remember.

Throne Of The Crescent Moon cover    
Throne Of The Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
An elderly ghoul-hunter who would like nothing better than to retire is forced to confront an ancient sorcerer threatening to seize the Throne of the Crescent Moon.

The Troupe cover    
The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett
A talented young pianist joins a peculiar vaudeville troupe in order to find his father. But they are running from curious, deadly beings and may well be facing the end of the world.

The Unwritten: On To Genesis cover    
The Unwritten: On To Genesis by Mike Carey, Peter Gross and Vince Locke
The fifth graphic novel in The Unwritten series.

Cold Days cover    
Cold Days by Jim Butcher
The fourteenth novel in the Dresden Files series.

Nolander cover    
Nolander by Becca Mills
Beth Ryder suffers panic attacks that have confined her to life in a small town, not realising that they hint at a dark world of monsters hidden to most people. The first novel in the Emanations series.

Spirits Rising cover    
Spirits Rising by Krista D. Ball
A woman returns to Newfoundland only to find the spirits of dead Vikings on the rampage, whilst her neighbours snub her as a witch. The first novella in the Spirit Caller series.

Manipulate cover    
Manipulate by Corrie Garrett
Cadets return to Earth and try to ease tensions against the occupying aliens, whilst humanity is unaware its fate rests on the outcome of an upcoming test. The first book in the Alien Cadets series.

Coffers, Clysters, Comfrey and Coifs cover    
Coffers, Clysters, Comfrey and Coifs by Janet Few
A detailed guide to the everyday lives of ordinary people in seventeenth century Britain.

Gates Of Rome cover    
Gates Of Rome by Alex Scarrow
The fifth novel in the Time Riders series.

City Of Shadows cover    
City Of Shadows by Alex Scarrow
The sixth novel in the Time Riders series.

London In The Eighteenth Century cover    
London In The Eighteenth Century by Jerry White
This history book looks at how people from different classes and walks of life lived in London during the eighteenth century.

From The Deep Of The Dark cover    
From The Deep Of The Dark by Stephen Hunt
The sixth book in the Jackelian series.

A Soul For Trouble cover    
A Soul For Trouble by Crista McHugh
When a chaos god occupies the body of a waitress, she must escape the attentions of a murderous necromancer who wants the god for himself. The first in the Soulbearer series.

A Girl And her Monster cover    
A Girl And her Monster by Landon Porter
A former slave strikes a bargain with the Rune Breaker, a man who is also a legendary weapon. Will she come to the same bad end as previous wielders?

Evolution cover    
Evolution by Kelly Carrero
A schoolgirl discovers she has special abilities including instant healing. But her best friend is kidnapped. The first book in the Evolution series.

Advent cover    
Advent by James Treadwell
A young man has seen a ghost and felt out of place all his life. But then he comes to Pendurra, a place alive with ancient magic, where enchantment may once again leak into the world.

The Eden Plague cover    
The Eden Plague by David VanDyke
After a violent encounter with trespassing strangers an ex-soldier becomes involved in a fight over an engineered plague. As the implications sink in he assembles a team to fight for the future of the world.the

Sword of the Gods: The Chosen One cover    
Sword of the Gods: The Chosen One by Anna Erishkigal
An angel from a dying race falls to Earth from space. A shamaness helps him, but she expects him to defend her people as the winged champion from their prophecies. The first in the Sword of the Gods saga.

The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear cover    
The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear by M. Pax
Dreamer and recent graduate Hetty avoids the challenges of adulthood by immersing herself in a fantasy world she has invented.

The Upheaval cover    
The Upheaval by Erica Stevens
Survivors reel after an earth tremor is followed by holes in the ground, strange animal behaviour, and other mysterious disasters. The first novel in the Survivor Chronicles.

The Iron Butterfly cover    
The Iron Butterfly by Chanda Hahn
A young woman escapes from torture and imprisonment with no memory of her previous life. But the wicked cult who were holding her want her back at all costs. The first novel in the Iron Butterfly series.

Awakened cover    
Awakened by Brenda K. Davies
A student meets a young man with a secret in this vampire romance. The first in the Vampire Awakenings series.

What Kills Me cover    
What Kills Me by Wynne Channing
Axelia is in Rome to study when she meets an attractive young man who encourages her to break curfew and trespass. But soon she tumbles into a world of vampires and trouble.

Becoming Human cover    
Becoming Human by Eliza Green
On a terraformed planet an indigenous race resent humans for occupying their home and wiping out their families. The first novel in the Exilon 5 series.

Six Celestial Swords cover    
Six Celestial Swords by T. A. Miles
An officer of the empire sets out to unite six swords in order to protect the nation against chaos. The first novel in the Celestial Empire series.

Contributor cover    
Contributor by Nicole Ciacchella
In a society confined to living in domes where luxuries are rare, a young woman faces cutthroat competition to advance her corporate career. The first novel in the Contributor series.

Deadlocked cover    
Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris
After a visit from a vampire dignitary goes wrong, Sookie is left trying to figure out who killed the woman who her she found her vampire boyfriend drinking from. Book twelve in the Sookie Stackhouse series.

The Ghost And The Graveyard cover    
The Ghost And The Graveyard by Genevieve Jack
When a young woman moves next to a cemetery she finds an attractive caretaker next door, but her house is haunted by a handsome ghost who warns her to beware of the caretaker. Book one of the Knight Games.

Vampire Miami cover    
Vampire Miami by Phil Tucker
After her father dies, a human teenager looks for answers in the part of Miami that has been given over to vampires. The first book in The Human Revolt series.

Rua cover    
Rua by Miranda Kavi
A new girl begins to notice wierd things happening whilst she navigates the emotional minefield of high school. Book one in the Rua series.

Unreviewed films

The Revenant cover    
The Revenant directed by Kerry Prior
A soldier returns as a zombie, and goes on a crimefrighting spree with his friend so he can obtain the blood he needs to survive.

John Carter cover    
John Carter directed by Andrew Stanton
An alien device transports a Civil War captain to Mars, where he gets involved in a battle for the future of the red planet.