Tuesday, 4 September 2012

'Shakara: The Destroyer' - Robbie Morrison, Henry Flint (Rebellion)

Sometimes you might want to read a science fiction book that will really make you think about how the universe all fits together. If that's too heavy going then what you're after is a little space opera; something fun that still has a little structure to it (a universe that makes some kind of sense). Sometimes though, what you actually want is a science fiction tale that hearkens back to the games you used to play, in the garden, as a kid. No rhyme, no reason, just heavily armed space dinosaurs shooting the you know what out of the enemy. I thought that Malachai Nicolle's 'Axe Cop' had the monopoly on this type of story but it appears that I was mistaken. Enter Robbie Morrison's 'Shakara', a story devoid of anything but the barest plot but a story that makes up for this with at least four explosions and a dinosaur on every page. Ok, I might be lying about the dinosaur but there are enough aliens for this not to matter too much...

You want blurb? Here's some blurb...

The Shakaran warrior known as Cinnibar Brennekka has activated a terrifying weapon called the God Machine, and once it destroys everything he will be the ultimate master of a new universe created in his image. Only one thing can stop Brennekka from succeeding... a vengeance-fuelled being called Shakara - the living embodiment of a murdered species - is out to kill the last of his kind, and there isn't another creature in the whole of existence that will get in its way!

'Shakara: The Destroyer' is a really tough one to review as, well... there isn't really a plot at all. There's a bad guy building a massive weapon that will destroy the universe; there's a good guy who has to stop him. That's the 'plot' in one easy sentence, kind of like a stripped down version of Star Wars. There's not a lot to engage with, plot wise, then but that's not necessarily a bad thing. If nothing else, 'The Destroyer' is an incredibly easy book to just pick up and get going with. You don't need to have read the preceding volume at all.

But maybe you should anyway. Having finished 'The Destroyer' I can't help but wish that I'd read the first volume as well. I don't think I'd have had much more of a clue as to what was going on but I reckon I'd have had just as much fun as I did here.

That's what 'The Destroyer' is all about, despite the ominous sounding name and the fact that the book has a body count rivalling most disaster movies. There is a darker element to this story (murderous avatar of a dead race anyone?), and a nod towards the notions of honour and vengeance, but mostly it’s about reveling in explosions, deep space chases and dinosaurs being destroyed by ‘Black Hole Bombs’. And alien scientists being ejected into space. And a ‘Death Planet’ that really hates visitors. And… You can tell I enjoyed this book can’t you… ;o) ‘The Destroyer’ does this very well, especially when the stakes are raised with Shakara racing to stop the God Machine before he is overcome by the Red Death. The countdown, on both sides, ups the tension at an incredible rate. Not only that but the outcome raises questions that leave the possibility of a sequel wide open; I have a feeling there won’t be a sequel so (in which case) it’s refreshing to see something left so open ended.

When you’re looking at a plot that’s so minimal all you can really do is concentrate on the artwork instead. I liked Henry Flint’s artwork in ‘Incubus’ but I loved it here as Flint was obviously free to escape the restrictions of Mega City One and really go to town in a universe where everything is alien (I’ve heard that our world is destroyed in the first ‘Shakara’ book). Flint just goes for it, that’s all you can say really. You can tell the guy is very good at what he does but it’s the way that he throws down the gauntlet to his imagination that really impressed me. Flint’s imagination rose to the occasion and he gets it all down on the page in fine style. I also loved the way it’s all done in black and white barring Shakara and his mortal enemy, a move that really brings the main characters to the fore (just where they need to be).

‘Shakara:  The Destroyer’ has no real plot at all but I defy you to really care about that once you’ve read it for yourself. You really should, it’s one hell of a lot of fun.


Eight and a Half out of Ten


GunMetalBlue said...

Am I the only one who saw the link in the blogroll as "Shakira: The Destroyer"?

Dammit I want to read a book about a badass, Shakira destroying things.

Anonymous said...

fyi, earth is destroyed on the first page of the first trade. it's a great book!