Pandragon Dan

Pandragon Dan


Pandragon Reviews - Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth

NOTE: This will be my last Pandragon Reviews for a while – as I’ve previously stated that I am no longer accepting reviews due to my current workload. Please do not send me any review requests – however I will gladly accept interviews/blog posts if you wish to contact me about that.


I’m excited guys. I really am. Because today, once again, I am highlighting the highly talented Andrez Bergen. I’ve mentioned him numerous times on this blog and lauded him with as much acclaim as possible. For good reason. In my opinion, this guy is one of the best Indie Authors out there – if not THE best. His style of writing, attention to detail – and numerous references to music, pop culture, Anime and classic cinema, all mixed in with his Australian style of humour just come together in one perfect blend. It sucks you in and makes you feel that you aren’t just reading the story, you’re living it! That was the case I felt with Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat and One Hundred Years of Vicissitude.


So when I heard he had a new novel coming out I just HAD to read it! And as this will be my last Pandragon Reviews for a while, what better way to end it than with one of my favourite authors! So let’s wrap up warm for the journey that is Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth.



About The Author


Andrez Bergen is an expat Australian writer, journalist, artist and DJ from Melbourne, entrenched in Tokyo these past 13 years. He published his debut novel Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat in 2011, followed by One Hundred Years of Vicissitude (2012) and Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? (2013).


He has also published short stories and comics (such as Tales to Admonish with Matt Kyme) through Perfect Edge, Crime Factory, Snubnose Press, Shotgun Honey, 8th Wonder Press, IF? Commix, Big Pulp, Ace Comics and Another Sky Press, and edited an anthology of post-apocalyptic noir. On the side Bergen worked on adapting scripts for feature films by Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell), Kazuchika Kise and Naoyoshi Shiotani at Production I.G.


He additionally hammers together tunes as Little Nobody, he covets sashimi and saké, and lives in Japan with his wife and eight-year-old daughter.






This cover is just WOW! I love how the white background allows all the other colours to just leap out at you and Mina’s icy stare just catches you off guard. Notice how she appears to have puppet strings around her? Symbolism! This kinda reminds me of old school Sci-Fi novel covers – or even classic Horror movie posters. Either way it catches the eye.





She's a disturbed, quiet girl, but Mina wants to do some good out there. It's just that the world gets in the way. This is Australia in the 1980s, a haven for goths and loners, where a coming-of-age story can only veer into a murder mystery.



What I liked


Firstly, let me just say this. Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth – BEST. TITLE. EVER! This is one of those titles that, even if you don’t know what the story is about, you wanna check it out just by the title alone! It’s a title that captures the surreal wit that Bergen is famous for. It also catches you off guard a little as, on hearing it, I thought it was gonna be a sci-fi story. The tale I got was a little different, but still worth reading.


Like his other novels, Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth is told from the POV of the protagonist – in this case Mina. Mina is a kind introverted girl with some issues – mostly abuse at the hands of her older sibling and generally being just an outcast of society. Then she meets a dark character called Animeid (read it backwards and you get a hint as to what is going down) and then s*** really starts to get real! I won’t spoil too much of the story, but rest assured things get increasing more violent as the story goes on.


Now compared to other protagonists from Andrez Bergen’s previous novels, Mina is a little bit more introverted compared to say, the protagonists of Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat and One Hundred Years of Vicissitude – but she still has the biting sarcasm and wit that you would expect from Mr Bergen’s stories. She probably is a little bit more unstable mentally than many of the other characters, but I personally could understand a lot of her agony. She has a pretty unhappy lifestyle and pretty much is tormented by members of her own family. Throughout the narration, we delve a little deeper into her psychological state and, through the help of Animeid, she gains a little more confidence – possibly at the cost of her sanity.


The one thing I liked about this story is that a lot of it was opened to interpretation – especially the character of Animeid. And as a lot of this is told from Mina’s point of view, we never really are getting the full explanation. Is there a supernatural element at work – or is Anim just in Mina’s head and she’s using it as a way of coping with all the crap that’s going on and using that as a way to help her stand up to her problems. Or maybe put something else right – again, no spoilers.


On a side note, it is great to read about a female protagonist. Not that I didn’t like his other main characters, I always enjoy reading about female leads that aren’t just “femme fatale’s”.


In many ways, the novel serves as a metaphor for growing up in general. Sorta like a coming of age tale in a way – albeit with somewhat darker themes of abuse and possibly mental illness. However, what I liked most about the story is that it doesn’t always go the way you expect it to and the tale can throw the odd twist in here and there. It means that even if you’ve worked out a twist, the story can still surprise you.



What I didn’t like


The only minor nitpick I would say about this (and it is just a nitpick) was that I felt some of the chapters were a little longer than they needed to be. Not that that was a major problem as the chapters are laid out so that they don’t overload you with too much info at once (which is always the trick when writing chapters), but I couldn’t help but think maybe the chapters could be shorter. That’s just a personal thing for me and the ONLY negative I would say about this book.



PROS (Frozen – that’s the Celldweller song NOT the film! Give it a listen):

  • Best title ever!
  • A great metaphor for isolation, loneliness and psychosis.
  • Tale is captivating and drags you in.
  • Has plenty of twists and surprises.


CONS (cold as ice):

  • Some chapters are a bit too long.





Once again, Andrez Bergen has written a tale that is entertaining, unique and has more style and substance in two pages than most recent bestsellers have in their entire word count! Why this guy isn’t winning more awards I don’t know – but he should. Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth is a great mix of coming of age with dark subtext and some possibly supernatural themes as well. It’s a captivating read – although maybe that’s just me being biased! Either way, I highly recommend this novel. READ IT NOW!!!











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Why I'm looking Forward To Game of Thrones Season 2

In just a few short days, Game of Thrones season 2 airs on our TV screens. And let me tell you I am PUMPED for this show to start! Ever since I first saw the first series of Game of Thrones (and read the first book in the series), I was instantly hooked on this program. I can honestly say it was one of my favourite new series of last year, along with Treme and Boardwalk Empire.


What I loved most about season 1 of Game of Thrones was how true it remained to the book. It followed the story exactly and only very rarely made changes to the plot. That is what a good adapation should be in my eye - it should be close to the original story as much as possible and not try and screw with it in any way. The world of Westeros was perfectly imagined, the casting was brilliant and I have to give praise to the child actors - they all played their roles perfectly. And I loved the armour and costume designs.


Now seeing as I'm on book 4 of the series, I already know what's going to happen plot wise (but I won't spoil anything). I'm just interested to see how they handle it and whether they stay as true to the second book as with the first one, seeing how in the second book the action hots up!. From the early impressions I've seen, it all looks good. The casting of all the characters looks pretty spot on - with the possible exception of Stannis Baratheon. I kinda imagined him being a much bigger and stockier guy and I'm not sure the actor they got was a perfect match. That being said, I'm not going to pre-judge anything and just gonna take it as it comes. I am, however, interested to see how they do the battle scenes - as their are some truly epic fights in the second book!


If I go on, I'd risk putting in spoilers, so I'll stop there. Let me just say that I have been looking forward to this show since the beginning of this year (and even since the end of season 1 last year) so I am hoping that I won't be disappointed. But seeing as it's HBO, I don't think we are in any danger.


Let the Clash of Kings begin on April 1st! (April 2nd for the UK).




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Why I Love A Song Of Ice And Fire

Even though it had been out for years before I started reading it, I first got into the Song of Ice and Fire series after hearing of the TV series Game of Thrones (which is the first book in the series). This was one of the most built up shows leading up to it’s premier (and I thought the trailers looked pretty cool - I'm a sucker for fantasy type shows in general as you know), so I decided to read the first book in preparation for it.

As a quick synopsis, A Song of Ice and Fire is a series of fantasy novels set in the world of Westeros, ruled by a king who sits on the Iron Throne. After the death of the current king, many lands battle for the throne in a war that rages across the land. Not only that, but the true heir to the Iron Throne gathers forces from across the sea - and in the North, an undead enemy not seen for many thousands of years has started to rise up in the forests.

My first impression on reading the book was “Wow! Why did I not get into this sooner?” I love this series of books as it's completely unique to any other fantasy series out there. The plot is expansive, including themes of dominance, war, greed, treason, betrayal and even incest. It's not intended for younger readers, but adults will certainly get enjoyment out of this. The story is fairly complex, but twists and turns so that you never know which way it’s going to go. And just when it looks like something is going to happen, another thing jumps in the way that totally changes the arc. This really keeps you on your toes and makes you want to read one to find what happens.

Rather than having chapters, the books sections are told from a POV of one of the characters of the story. This is a great technique as you only see that part of the story from that characters eyes - meaing that most of the time we aren’t getting the full story at first, but gradually build the pieces as they fall into place. It also means that we get to know the characters thoughts on the situation and some of the little “asides” the character has are a really nice touch.

There are lots of characters in this series, so much so that sometimes I have trouble keeping up. But the characters have interesting personalities which make them stand out from characters in other fantasy novels. There are no real heroes or villains, just people with their own motivations. Some are more noble than others, but even the the nastier characters do have a certain charm to them. As more characters are introduced, some other ones are pushed to the back, which is a shame as some of my favourites tend to get overlooked later on. But author George R.R. Martin has enough skill to make it that every character makes full use of their time on each of their respective chapters.

The books are huge (usually about 700 plus pages) and the twisting story means that this is not the sort of book that you can pick up and casually read - you have to really sit down and pay attention. Due to the many plotlines that often happen at once, I do find myself having to backtrack now and then. However, if you commit to it and give it the time of day, then I highly recommend this series. It’s a really intelligent political thriller and a definate change to the usual “swords and sorcery” fantasy. This is the sort of fantasy novel that I WISH I could write and it gives a whole new meaning to the world epic.

Currently I’m about to start book 4 A Feast for Crows, trying to catch up to book 5 A Dance With Dragons. And with two more books in the series to be released, I got a LOT of reading to do - and you know what? That suits fine with me. If I read no other book series in my lifetime, I would be happy knowing I read this one.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering - yes I do recommend the Game of Thrones TV series as well. It truely does the books justice, but it’s also an entertaining show if you just want to sit down and watch a good fantasy. And the casting is just spot on, particularly the children actors. I think my favourite is Peter Dinkage as Tyrion. He is my favourite in the book and his on screen portrayal is just entertaining to watch!


Final words - read this series!





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A Song of Ice and Fire and all the Novels within the series were written by George R.R. Martin - and I highly recommend you check out his work!

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