Osiris by E. J. Swift

“Nobody leaves Osiris. Osiris is a lost city. She has lost the world and world has lost her . . .”
Rising high above the frigid waters, the ocean city of Osiris has been cut off from the land since the Great Storm 50 years ago. Most believe that Osiris is the last city on Earth. Adelaide is the black-sheep granddaughter of the city’s Architect. A jaded socialite, she wants little to do with her powerful relatives — until her troubled twin brother disappears mysteriously. Vikram, a third-generation storm refugee, sees his own people dying of cold and starvation. He hopes to use Adelaide to bring about much-needed reforms — but who is using whom? As another brutal winter brings Osiris closer to riot and revolution, two very different people attempt to bridge the gap dividing the city, only to find a future far more complicated than either of them ever imagined.
Osiris [1. provided free by Night Shade Books] is a difficult book. It’s beautifully written, intricately plotted and has a well-imagined setting, but even with all those things, I’m not entirely sure that I enjoyed it.
Osiris is another slow starter, which I’m not opposed to in fantasy books, but it’s almost too slow. I kept finding myself excuses not to read it – not because it was bad, but because amidst the glorious prose and careful plotting, I felt a core of coldness, or lack. An emptyness. I just didn’t care. I didn’t care about Adelaide, I didn’t care about her brother, Axel, I didn’t care about Vikram or the uprising. I just didn’t care.
Which is not to say Osiris is a bad book. I cannot be more clear on this – it is, in fact, a very good book. There are a lot of things that I should have loved about it – decently written female MC! Prose that rises above the merely competent! Interesting and unique setting! Uprising and rebellions! I should have loved it. I should have been using this space to rave about it, to tell you to go spend your hard earned money on Osiris, I should have wanted a physical copy so I could read and re-read until the spine creased and the pages fell out. But I just didn’t.
I did manage to finish it, but it was because I requested the eARC myself and didn’t feel I could just stop. The ending is sufficiently satisfying and powerful – or it would be if I’d had a strong enough emotional connection to the book. It sets up nicely for future books in the series, as well, if that’s something that appeals to you.
This isn’t a great review – all I can do with a review is put across my own personal opinion, and in this case it’s quite simple. Osiris is a good book, but it left me cold.  I don’t think it’s the fault of the writer. It’s not you, E. J. Swift, it’s me.
[Rating:2.75/5]

The Sacrifice Game by Brian D'Amato

the sacrifice game cover

The Sacrifice Game by Brian D’Amato

Release date: July 2012

Review copy provided by Penguin/Dutton

Amazon blurb:

The mind-bending, stunningly inventive sequel to Brian D’Amato’s In Courts of the Sun, in which one man holds the key to saving the world from the 2012 apocalypse foretold by the Mayan Prophecy.

In Brian D’Amato’s cult classic, In the Courts of the Sun, a team of scientists sent math prodigy and Mayan descendant Jed DeLanda back in time to the year AD 664 to learn the “Sacrifice Game,” a divination ritual that the ancient Maya used to predict the apocalypse on December 21, 2012. But after arriving in the body of a willing human sacrifice instead of a Mayan king, Jed’s experiences led him to the fateful decision that rather than avert the apocalypse, he must ensure instead that the world ends.

 Using his knowledge of the divination game, Jed sets in motion a series of events that will bring about the destruction of humanity, ending the world’s pain and suffering once and for all. But before the plan can be completed, the organization that sent him into the past discovers his intention and devotes every resource to stop him.
 Taking readers back to the dizzying action of ancient times, The Sacrifice Game is a breathtaking odyssey in which Jed must survive bloody wars, ruthless leaders, shifting alliances, and unspeakable betrayal to learn about the Game, before his time in both the ancient Mayan empire and the present day runs out.

All right. So. To avoid a possible drama-filled timesink like what happened with this book review, I’m just gonna come right out and say it: this book was a DNF for me. And this makes me sad, because I seem to be the only person on the planet who couldn’t get through it.
Continue reading “The Sacrifice Game by Brian D'Amato”

vN by Madeline Ashby

Amy Peterson is a von Neumann machine, a self-replicating humanoid robot.
For the past five years, she has been grown slowly as part of a mixed organic/synthetic family. She knows very little about her android mother’s past, so when her grandmother arrives and attacks her mother, little Amy wastes no time: she eats her alive.
Now she carries her malfunctioning granny as a partition on her memory drive, and she’s learning impossible things about her clade’s history – like the fact that the failsafe that stops all robots from harming humans has failed… Which means that everyone wants a piece of her, some to use her as a weapon, others to destroy her.
 
vN [1. provided free by Angry Robot. Full disclosure, I am a member of the Robot Army, making me an official reviewer for the company.] is an interesting book, exploring the nature of sentience and the ethics of inbuilt slavery and rebellion against your role in life.
If that’s making you go ‘Oh, no thanks, I just wanted to read a story’, well you don’t need to worry about that. It’s also a very good book.
Amy is a vN, a humanoid robot capable of self-replication. In an effort to help her grow up as a ‘normal’ child, her parents – her human father and her identical, vN mother – have her on a diet designed to slow her growth. Thanks to this choice, when her malfunctioning grandmother attacks her school, she eats her. And in doing so, she absorbs her grandmother, personality and all. A sereis of events leads her to realise that she can absorb the programming of any vN through consuming them. She’s a new breed, and her failsafe, the thing that prevents her from harming humans no longer works.
And there are other vNs that want to be able to do the same.
The book is a slow starter. I was a good 20% of the way in before I started caring about the plot or the characters, and I was actually considering giving up and calling this a DNF review. But then, around that mark something changed. The stakes got higher, or I connected with Amys character a little more, I don’t know. All I know is I stayed up till 1 am to get to the half way point, and then finished it off in one sprint the following morning.
It’s powerful. It really is. vN discusses slavery, the future of robotics, the nature of humanity and sentience and does so without preaching or lecturing. It merely tells you a story and lets you come to your own conclusions about the theories it advances.  Parallels are drawn between the fate of the vN and the fate of other opressed peoples within society. You’ll end up feeling sympathy for the ‘bad guys’ and maybe even rooting for them. They’re sentient: shouldn’t they be able to protect themselves and others from harm? Should their programming force them to love humans even when the human is a monster? Shouldn’t they have that free choice?
It’s not really a high-action piece. It has action scenes, but the tone and feel is thoughful and considering. For much of the book Amy is mentally a little girl discovering that the limitations she thought she had aren’t real, and that leads to an almost philosophical style to the narrative. Ashby is a capable writer, her prose effective and competent, but rarely lyrical or beautiful.
Perhaps it’s not, strictly speaking, apocalyptic, but the back story of how the vN were created is close enough for me, and the fact that it’s a series indicates that it may go somewhere dystopian or apocalyptic later, and I wouldn’t be surprised.
I strongly recommend picking up this book.
And I have to admit I enjoyed the irony of a book about angry robots being published by Angry Robot.
You can buy your copy (available in print or as an eBook) by clicking here.
[rating:4.5/5]

Tavia will be at PAX PRIME 2012!

I’m packing up my bug out back and traveling to Seattle, because In Case of Survival well be covering all things video game related and apocalyptic, dystopian and fringe for your pleasure.
Is there anything you definitely want us to cover for you at PAX Prime? You’re our friends, we give a shit if you get what you want.
Check out the site and hit us up with comments: http://prime.paxsite.com/
Finally, if you hear about something awesome (for example, I got a free copy of Rift at PAX East) that I should make sure to snag for a giveaway or review, let me know in the comments or on twitter @ApocalypticLife.
YAY!
(While you’re here, check out our gaming archive)

Author Feature: John Xero.

Long-time readers may remember John Xero from his brilliant short story Ragestorm Requiem. Well, those of you who liked it will be pleased to hear he has a book out. This is The New Plan is a collection of his short stories and flash fiction, and what’s even better, most of them are apocalyptic or dystopian in some way.
As for why I’m not reviewing this, John Xero is actually a personal, real-life friend of mine, so I don’t feel like I can. Still, taking that into account, I still think it’s a bloody good book. Just bear in mind I’ve known him for long enough that I pretty much have to say that. (No, seriously, it’s great.)
We asked him some personal questions, because we’re always secretly judging people by their answers.
 

 
 

1. Who are you, I mean, really?

Presumably this is where most people say, “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.” The truth is so numbingly boring you’d probably kill yourself just from hearing it…
And so I become this adventurer, I travel to worlds, chat with gods and spacemen, witness wars and births, dance with stars and mourn over broken cities. And do I send you back a ‘wish you were here’ postcard or a lame ‘I <3 the Multiverse’ t-shirt? No. I bring you back stories.
That doesn’t really answer the question, does it? 😉

 
2. What is it that you do?

When I’m not stumbling into timeslips, lunching with deities (minor and major), or practicing my interstellar cartography, you mean? 😉
Well, OK. I play games, I read comics, I sell books, I write. My day job is bookselling, I run the science fiction and graphic novels sections for a branch of Britain’s biggest bookselling chain. And I get up extra early every morning to write.
Writing is my great passion. I love stories and storytelling, and I just want to give back some of the excitement and thrills other writers have given me over the years.

 
3. When did you first realize you wanted to do that thing?

Ah, I kind of made this difficult to answer now, didn’t I? Let’s start with the bookselling…
I dropped out of university the first time round, struggled to find a job, and ended up in data entry. Yay. Then I applied for a job in this awesome little SF and cult shop called Kulture Shock, and I got it. Surrounded by the stuff I love, all day, and getting paid for it? Yes. OK. I can do that. And have, ever since.
I started writing in my late teens. Told myself it was worth pursuing if I could stick it out and write a book.
I wrote a book.
I daren’t look at it, I do have it somewhere, but I’m sure it’s awful. It started me on the path though. I fell in love with writing. I’m not in a rush to get anywhere, but I’m slowly getting somewhere, I think, and that’s fine.

 
4. Where are you from (and how do you feel about that place?)?

I don’t really know the answer to this. I’m mostly English with a dash of Scottish, but then English is a medley of so many things already. My dad built roads, so we moved around a fair bit. I guess you could say I grew up in East Anglia, I’ve settled in Norwich though, just about the most parochial city you’ll ever find, but it’s a beautiful place and I’m happy here.

 
5. Why would you make a good apocalypse party member?

Why do tribes need storytellers and shaman?
Do you want your party to be the one that descends into savagery or the one that sparks the rebirth of civilisation?
Need a modern set of moral and cautionary tales for living in a dark and dangerous new world, ones that maybe incorporate the ideas of a golden age and a bright future? Come to me.
So it probably helps that I’m a thinker and a problem solver. And I’m physically fit and capable, so I won’t slow folk down when there’s running to be done.
And basically, I’ve already walked the dusty grounds of a thousand apocalypses in my mind, you need my experience…
 
Blogs at xeroverse.com
Tweets at @xeroverse
Editor at 101Fiction.com

Review: Dinocalypse Now by Chuck Wendig

Dinocalypse Now  is the first book in The Dinocalypse Trilogy – Evil Hat’s first move into fiction, written by Chuck Wendig, and set in the wild-and-crazy early-20th-Century pulp universe of Spirit of the Century. In it we follow the adventures of six heroes, Centurions of the Century Club (including one talking ape!), as they take on a world-spanning invasion of psychic dinosaurs from beyond time itself. [1. Review copy provided by Evil Hat]

YES. YES YES PLEASE FUCK GOD YES.
Oh I am so bored of Zombies and Guns and something this crazy is JUST WHAT I NEED RIGHT NOW.
It doesn’t hurt that I’ve long been a fan of Chuck Wendig – his writing advice is brilliant, and his novel Blackbirds is one of the best I’ve read this year – and I’ve played a few Spirit of the Century games too – that whole alternative past with fantasy elements thing is MY thing.
Dinocalypse Now manages to completely avoid ALL of the problems I talked about in this post. It features interesting, unique characters who seem like real people, a breakneck, unusual plot – I actually cannot fangirl about it enough, so…
Let’s start from the beginning.
Dinocalypse Now is a book that is almost impossible to describe. If you try, it sounds like a mess… but it works. Oh, it works.
In Dinocalypse Now, the Centurions are the heroes of the Century club, a group of protectors. While trying to protect the president, they are attacked by Saurians… and from there the plot takes off with ridiculous speed. There are so many fantasic things about this book that would be spoilers if I explained them.  But suffice it to say the events grab the reader and take them away on a journey that would seem ridiculous if I explained it, but seems believable as well as fun when you’re reading it.
The writing in Dinocalypse Now is sharp and competent and descriptive, the characters well sketched and believable, and the whole thing is a wild ride of awesomeness. It’s sheer pulp, with airships and dinosaurs and talking apes and beautiful wench wrenches and love triangles and… and… and.
It’s a quick read, which I know is important for some of you (though myself I prefer a slightly more leisurely pace – that would be my only real criticism here).
Look, I find it really hard to review stuff I genuinely love. Is Dinocalypse Now great literature? No. Is it hella fun? Yes! Is it perfect? No. Is it utterly readable? Yes! Is it for everyone? Almost certainly not. But I love it. And if you like ridiculous, cracky plots, excellent characters, sharp writing, and a well-captured pulp sensibility, you’ll love it.
I look forward to the others.
You can buy it here.
I give it [4/5 stars]

Apocalyptic Literature: What I want to see.

Because of ICoS I now read more apocalypse-related books than ever before. I buy them with my own money AND get them sent free for review, and then I tell you about them, whether they’re good or bad. Hell, some of the books I write are apocalypse-related. So, after more than a year of reading about the apocalypse, I have a list of things I want to see  more of in future apocalyptic literature.
Better Writing:
It’s not that the writing in these books is bad. It’s usually perfectly competent. But it could be more powerful, more evocative – just more – with harsher editing. If you’re writing apocalyptic literature (especially if you’re going the self-publishing route) I’d recommend two books which will help you get it as good as possible. The Elements of Style and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. You should pick up Chuck Wendig’s books as well, but they’re less about editing and more about kicking your arse to get writing your crap, already, so that one is up to you. But the other two? Please, just do it. I’ve read loads of books with really interesting stories let down by poor editing.
Better female characters:
Most of the apocalyptic literature I’ve read was by men. The problem was, a great many of their female characters were cliches – irritating, insulting cliches at that. Remember that women are human beings rather than a collection of stereotypes. I don’t mind if one woman in your story is useless, but I start getting suspicious if she’s the only character that is, and then I’m outright judging you if ALL your women are useless. When I say ‘Better’ I mean I believe in her as a human being. Having her display some personality traits other than ‘screaming chick who needs to be rescued’ would be great. I sincerely doubt that post-apocalypse we would have time or room for ‘traditional gender roles’ anyway. While we’re at it, can we stop writing it so that even the good guys are enacting forced breeding? It’s rape, it’s skeevy and the good guys shouldn’t be forcing HUMAN BEINGS into a position where they are being abused and brutalised.
Better characters IN GENERAL.
While I find believable, relatable female characters are few and far between in apocalyptic literature, I also find that in nearly every book I’ve read the same character archetypes pop up. The grizzled, damaged war veteran. The girl who’s only a bitch cause she was raped. The creeper who betrays the group. Look, character archetypes exist for a reason, but if I can predict what your characters will do within the first 10 pages, it’s BAD. Do something new with them, something unexpected. Make the war veteran a perky, cheerful man with no dark past. Make the creeper loyal and caring, just socially awkward. Make the woman a bitch because she’s figured out that being bitchy gets stuff done. Stop relying on old, well-worn paths. Make your own.
More imagination and ingenuity:
By which I mean – write something different! There are no new stories under the sun, but there is a trick to this – write it in such a way that seems new. Add something, take something away, I don’t care what it is, but just write something different. The books are starting to blend in together now, because they’re all so similar.  The main reason I’m getting bored of zombies is that not only are they everywhere, but they’re the same bloody thing in each book. CHANGE SOMETHING. Write as though you’re setting a new standard and starting a new trend. Please? For example, check this out:  Dinocalypse Now. It’s apocalyptic literature, but it avoids the tired old tropes and boring setting, and it looks loads more fun.
Actual Research:
How would the area you’re writing in respond to an apocalyptic event? Desert, jungle, overgrown woods? Research it. How many bullets can that gun fire without jamming? If it’s been uncared for for 18 months? Research it. What does a nuclear bomb do? RE-FUCKING-SEARCH IT. If you get it wrong, people who KNOW that you got it wrong will be pulled out of your story immediately. Sure, it’s fiction. But fiction needs to seem as if it’s real to the readers, and if you get it wrong… For my current novel (which is terrible and will never get published because MY GOD) I am researching radios. My girl is a ham radio enthusiast, so I need to know at least the basics of the different types, how they work, how you’d fix one. If you’re writing a novel – even one based in a world where everything has changed – and there’s a siege, you need to research seige warfare. RESEARCH.
Bottom line: This is writing. It’s not a thing you should do because you think it’s easy money or fame (it’s really not). It’s not something you can just churn out and have it be OK. It’s something you do because the love of it means it’s the only thing you CAN do. Which means you need to do the best you can, write the best, most amazing thing you’re capable of. Don’t be scared, or small, or dull with it. Get down right into the filthy guts of it all, and be incredible.
Please, I’m begging you.
What do our readers want to see from post apocalyptic literature in future? Talk about it in the comments.
If you have something tasty and apocalyptic that you’d like reviewed, we’re always happy to do it. If your book fits these guidelines, you’ll get a much more positive review than if it doesn’t. Just email anninyn at incaseofsurvival dot com and I’ll get back to you.

Review: Episode Two: Starved For Help (The Walking Dead Game)

Episode Two: Starved for Help [1. This title was provided for review by Telltale Games.] of The Walking Dead is more than aptly named and twice as terrifying as episode one.
I’ll try not to spoil anything from Starved for Help but will spoil Episode One: A New Day. You should have played it by now.

In Episode Two: Starved for Help we find ourselves holed up at a motel dangerously low on supplies and patience with the challenge of not only rationing what we have but also taking charge as an effective leader.
I let Carly die in Episode One: A New Day so I could have humble tech expert Doug around incase we need to rig up a generator or something. Also I liked his meekness rather than over-confident bravado. He, to me, was practical and level headed. Unfortunately, in Episode Two: Starved for Help he just kind of sits around feeling guilty for being alive and being more or less useless.
Curse my soft heart.
This time I wanted to be more calculating. I had a new party member, Mark, who was good at everything, including being the ideal party member! I sort of rescued some high school kids and their teacher and quickly learned that Katjaa is not a doctor.
I felt Episode One: A New Day centered around what kind of person you want to be or, at the very least, the kind of person you want people to think you are. Episode Two: Starved for Help centered around how well you trust and act on your own instincts. It’s more about moral choices than social ones. I can’t say I made all the most moral choices but damn did I have to think deeply about them.
This episode of The Walking Dead is seriously gut-wrenching. Every decision feels both right and wrong; satisfying and regrettable.
My Party for Episode Two: Starved for Help (in order of who I like the most):

Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-lee
Lee
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-clementine
Clementine
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-doug
Doug
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-kenny
Kenny
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-lilly
Lilly
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-katjaa
Katjaa
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-duck
Duck
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-larry
Larry

Keep in mind this game is not as playful as many games. It’s deep an heavy and people die and it’s still fun in a sick and empowering way.
[Rating:4]
(It’s on my shortlist of rations receivers.)

Now I’d like to visit Spoiler City to discuss and validate my decisions in Episode Two: Starved for Help:

1. I chopped David’s leg off. I didn’t really feel like I had a choice. I guess I did but I’d have rather have given in the option of being shot or one-legged. Instead it was leave him to die or hang out and hack his leg off. Fuck that was an unpleasant experience.
2. I fed Mark (what a waste!), Kenny, Clementine, Duck, and… I think Katjaa or Myself. I didn’t want to be light-headed and feeling the effects of choosing not to eat. Feed the kids because, duh. Kenny is my homeboy and I wanted Mark to stay forever… should have known random awesome new guy was too good to be true.
3. If I remember correctly, there were some bandits that I avoided rather than engage.
4. I waited to hear Jolene out. She was way crazy but she was making sense and those dairy farmer’s were definitely hiding something. Unfortunately Danny did not want to hear Jolene out and their wonderful little operation.
5. I tried really hard to keep Clementine from eating the food and somehow through my clumsy slow-motion gameplay I managed to stop her in the nick of time.
6. I’m apparently an asshole but I helped (did it myself) kill Larry. That fucker was a loose cannon waiting to go off and  he was going to turn into a zombie! An angry racist (?), judgmental, zombie!
7. I killed Danny. He sucked so very much and was quite dangerous. I know Clem was watching but he wanted to eat people slowly over days and was an overall evil monster.
8. I “spared” Andy knowing he’d be fucked on his own so, really I saw it as a choice between quick death and slow death.
9. I’m the greed dick who took your supplies. Who leaves their car full of awesome valuable just laid out like a trap except with no trap?! I assume you’re already dead; and if not, you deserve to be looted and I hope you learned a valuable lesson.
[/wpspoiler]
 
 
 

Why is no one talking about Revolution?

Once and only once I saw a commercial for the upcoming NBC pop-apocalypse show Revolution. Normally when this happens I think nothing of it because pilots come and go like sunsets.  But this actually looks like something worth watching — if you know to look for it.
Revolution is a J.J. Abrams and Jon Favreau baby. The show depicts life 15 years after a global blackout. From the preview it feels a lot like what Jericho  would have grown up to be if people had a bit more cowboy in them rather than ranch hand (as a personified noun, not what the show would have evolved into). There’s gun-slinging, sword fighting, and apparently crossbows grow on trees.
You might recognize the main actress as one of the wierdo werewolf twins from Being Human (US) and the warlord as the kingpin from Breaking Bad.
Check out the official trailer and summary from NBC:


Our entire way of life depends on electricity. So what would happen if it just stopped working? Well, one day, like a switch turned off, the world is suddenly thrust back into the dark ages. Planes fall from the sky, hospitals shut down, and communication is impossible. And without any modern technology, who can tell us why?
Now, 15 years later, life is back to what it once was long before the industrial revolution: families living in quiet cul-de-sacs, and when the sun goes down, the lanterns and candles are lit. Life is slower and sweeter. Or is it?
On the fringes of small farming communities, danger lurks. And a young woman’s life is dramatically changed when a local militia arrives and kills her father, who mysteriously – and unbeknownst to her – had something to do with the blackout. This brutal encounter sets her and two unlikely companions off on a daring coming-of-age journey to find answers about the past in the hopes of reclaiming the future.
From director Jon Favreau (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2”) and the fertile imaginations of J.J. Abrams and Eric Kripke (“Supernatural”), comes a surprising “what if” action-adventure series, where an unlikely hero will lead the world out of the dark. Literally.

Tune in to the series premiere on September 17th (MONDAYS) 10/9C and check out NBC’s official site for more information.

Review: Dawnguard | The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

As the site’s resident The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim obsessive, it fell to me to play and review Dawnguard, the latest DLC. (It totally counts for our blog because in the storyline you are aiding or preventing a force that could ‘blot out the sun’, arguably an apocalyptic event. Sure, it’s a bit of a stretch, but you don’t get to judge me.)
For this review, I played thtough on the side of good. I usually do in computer games. In this case, I may use my secondary character to play through as evil later in the game. If I do, I will update this review with those experiences.
OK, so first things first, downloading it was quick. This is an important thing. The first thing I did was go make me some DragonBone weapons – I’ve been waiting for them and at 100 blacksmith I might as well. As I was wandering around Whiterun getting firewood for the arrows, a guard told me to join the Dawnguard near Riften, and that he was considering joining up himself. Not very subtle, Bethesda, but more so than the introduction of Knights of the Nine andThe Shivering Isles for Oblivion, so you are forgiven.  Me being me, despite spending 1600 MS points on this, I thought ‘no’ and carried on making DragonBone arrows. Because I’m contrary.
Dawnguard - image property of BethsoftAnyway, so I went ahead and started the plot. The first plot related area I saw was Dayspring canyon, and I was impressed – Skyrim offers beautiful surroundings and this was no different. While not drastically different to any other Skyrim areas so far, it was noticeably lovely to look at. The Vampires castle was equally impressive, and I love the difference between the Dawnguard fortifications and the Vampire fortifications – in completely different parts of the country, completely different buildings styles, colour, architecture – wonderful. It’s things like that that make this such a superior game. The new enemies are exciting too and the crossbow is fun to use.
I did notice, however, that downloading Dawnguard meant slower loading and saving times. It happens. My console has also frozen more frequently. This occured with the add-ons for Oblivion as well, so I’m thinking it’s probably an issue with the console.
Bad bits: Bits that should be fixed:
I think it’s a bit too easy to FIND the Dawnguard. Hear a guard talk, track them down. Perhaps there should be a slightly longer lead-in – perhaps you could be told to investigate, go to various settlements attacked by vampires etc. That’d be nice.
Bethesda games have always had oddish character reactions, but it seems especially strange that vampires can attack and kill members of a community, leave the dead bodies just lying there, and no-one really reacts – even the characters familes. I appreciate it would be hard to get the voice actors in to record new lines for every single eventuality, but an acknowledgement like ‘I’m so sad my sister is dead’ would be good.
Awesome bits (No plot spoilers!)
YOU CAN HAVE AN ARMOURED FROST TROLL HANGING ROUND WITH YOU.
Shooting dragons with arrows made out of bits of their dead mates.
Vampiric architecture.
GARGOYLES.
IT’S SKYRIM WITH VAMPIRES WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT.
However, overall Dawnguard is a great add-on for the game, and sure to be of interest to Skyrim fans.
As for what it taught me about the apocalypse? That it’s fairly easy to either prevent it or bring it about if you’re a destined hero with the soul of an immortal dragon. I’ll get on that right away.
[rating:10/10]
(If you want more info on Dawnguard you should check the Bethesda Blog or the Elder Scrolls Wiki)
 
OK EDIT: After a speed-run of the whole game (which took 12 hours) my opinion has NOT changed. GET IT GET IT GET IT.