Posted on February 8, 2008 by Matt-M-McElroy
Round three of the Flames Rising Flash Fire Mini-Reviews series is here!
This week we’ve got a vampire theme going on with a mix of fiction, comics and games. Some vampire hunters might even make an appearance as well. You can’t have the monsters without giving the heroes a little screen-time too. So, grab your garlic, watch your neck and enjoy!
Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter
New York Times bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton brings Anita Blake to the world of graphic novels. Anita Blake lives in a world where vampires, zombies and werewolves have been declared legal citizens of the United States. Anita Blake is an “animator” – a profession that involves raising the dead for mourning relatives. But Anita is also known as a fearsome hunter of criminal vampires, and she’s often employed to investigate cases that are far too much for conventional police. As a special treat, Anita Blake fans will also discover an original side story featuring Anita and Dolph, written specially for the hardcover edition by Laurell K. Hamilton.
One of the original Urban Fantasy characters, Anita Blake has 15 novels (and another on the way) already that describe her adventures with a vareity of vampires, werewolves, faeries and other supernaturals. The trip over to the comic book world has been very successful for the character. This graphic novel collection is already in its second printing with some variant covers to keep things interesting. While I’m not a fan of the more recent novels, the comics are a lot of fun. They go back to the start of the series, Guilty Pleasures and retell the tale with style. Brett Booth’s art is moody and fits the story rather well. The new fiction in the hardcover edition is a bonus for fans as well.
The Anita Blake Graphic Novel is available at Amazon.com
Requiem for Rome
* A grotesque and beautiful new vision of Ancient Rome through the eyes of vampires – full of bloody passion, mystical intrigue, and glorious battle.
* The secrets of the ancient undead, revealed at last! Learn the truth about the Camarilla, claim rule over the vampire city called Necropolis, and confront the wicked and terrifying monsters that prey on the undead – the Strix!
Admittedly, it took me several months too get into the new World of Darkness from White Wolf Game Studio. I had been playing Vampire games and running LARPs for years and years. Watching it all come to an end with Gehenna was a lot of fun…and plenty tiring. I needed a break from that setting and I had plenty of other worlds to explore. Eventually I got hooked again and Requiem for Rome is a big reason for that. I enjoyed the Dark Ages books quite a bit and seeing a chance to explore history a little more with the new Clans & Covenants sounded like a lot of fun…
Requiem for Rome did not let me down. I would have to say that this is one of the best products White Wolf has released in years. The write-ups of the Julii and the Camarilla as well as the information on Rome itself are all well-written, creative and entertaining. While the book is full of setting details and interesting ideas, there is no “meta-plot” forced on anyone’s game, a definite plus for folks who like to forge their own stories.
Requiem for Rome is available at Amazon.com
Roses of Blood on Barbwire Vines
Zombies have devoured mankind. And the few survivors would be better off dead because a clan of vampires, bloodthirsty and vicious, have captured the remnants of humanity for livestock. In an apartment building barricaded with wrecked cars, concrete rubble, and snarls of barbwire, the vampires breed lobotomized amputees. Ann, the secret blood slave of the maternity doctor, has evaded this fate, yet her sister Ellie has not. Though she longs to escape, Ann cannot abandon her sibling and unborn niece. But she may have to if she wants to survive. The living dead have found a weak spot in the barricade and are quickly invading the building.
Vampires and zombies in the same book? I’m sold. A new twist on two styles of horror fiction that some may have reached their limit on. Roses of Blood on Barbwire Vines was plenty entertaining, strong characters and plenty of plot. D.L. Snell builds a world overrun by zombies with a lot of detail, there were plenty of cool bits that I wanted to know more about. I think that would be my only complaint about the book…there wasn’t enough time to fully explore the setting. Still, the action keeps moving along and you certainly will not get bored reading this post-apocalyptic adventure.
Roses of Blood on Barbwire Vines is available at Amazon.com
Scholar of Decay
Scholar of Decay is the story of a man driven by love into the darkest corners of the world. When Aurek Nuiken’s wife is attacked and made prisoner by an evil mage, he must search the Domains of Dread for the spell that will allow him to free her. But ultimately his wife’s freedom – and his own – lies in the hands of a clan of wererats who are not inclined to assist him. Faced with both his own torment and the monsters of the Ravenloft world, Aurek is pushed to the edge of madness and to a choice that no man should ever have to make.
One of several Ravenloft novels that were given new life with trade paperback reprints last year, Scholar of Decay by Tanya Huff was originally published in 1995. This book is an easy read, but it explores the dark fantasy realms of Ravenloft better than many in the series. A talented author, Ms. Huff offers up plenty of intrigue and detailed characters , all the while keeping the plot moving forward.
If you missed this book the first time it was sold, here is your chance to scoop up one of the best Ravenloft stories.
Scholar of Decay is available at Amazon.com
Eden Studios Presents: Volume 2
Welcome to the second volume of Eden Studios Presents (ESP). This issue focuses on the dead and loving them. Vampires, vampyres, zombies, and apes forgotten by time can be found between these covers! If you love the dead, this issue is all for you.
ESP offers a little something for all of the Unisystem game lines from Eden Studios and is developed by Derek Stoelting. A few zombies and other monsters, an adventure or two, interviews with authors and other fun stuff. These types of articles really add cool new material for these games, but are usually not enough to warrant a supplement of their own. This particular issue caught my eye because of the cool vampire bits for the CJ Carrella’s WitchCraft (and Armageddon), Buffy and Angel RPGs.
Jason Vey brings Witchcraft vampires into the Cinematic Unisystem, Peter Trueman adds three new Vampyre subspecies and Tommy Brownell offers up an article on playing “good” vamps in the Buffyverse. Plenty of great information here, even if you are only a fan of one or two of the above mentioned games. With two versions of the Unisystem out there, crossover rules are always a plus. This makes porting elements from one game to another easy and gives people plenty of options when they sit down for a game. Mr. Brownell’s article is a lot of fun too, showing off some great ideas for vampires and Slayers working together.
Eden Studios Presents: Volume 2 is available at RPGNow.com
Douse the fire…
And another Flash Fire goes out for the week…
Let me know what you think of the Mini-Reviews and what you would like to see next time around. I’m thinking a little magic might be in order. Although you never know what might catch my eye between now and then.