Absolutely fantastic read. I might post a review tomorrow, but I wanted to put a few spoiler-free sentences down while it's fresh in my mind.
This is the moment a large number of BL
readers have been waiting years for. Even having finished the book I'm still a little in shock that it exists.
I read most all of the book with a smile on my face, both because it was wonderful to see the Ghosts again and because the prose is shot threw with engaging scenes and vivid imagery. There's a long passage to start Chapter 11 that's one of the most beautiful bits of description I've read in recent memory, for example.
The prose in general fits in perfectly with Abnett's previous works: fast, flowing, and punchy, with just the right amount of humor and abject misery alike. There's satisfying developments in pretty much all the ongoing plot threads introduced in Salvation's Reach or earlier novels, with a good mix of foreseeable moments that still manage to satisfy and a few plot twists that surprise, delight, and sadden in equal measure. I especially love the way Blenner's plot-line parallels aspects of Gaunt's. The way Abnett addresses the long wait between novels is quite fun, if not necessarily all that novel in the lore. There's a mistake or two of the kind Abnett sometimes makes. For instance Gaunt's eyes, described as having a 'flash of green fire' when they caught the light in Blood Pact, are described once as blue towards the end of the book. Abnett's also started using the new GW
terms like Astra Militarum, but I found his usage blended in well enough that the change in terminology went down easily.
Reading some reviews before release had me a little worried that the book was just a giant prelude to Anarch. That's somewhat true for better or worse. The end of the book is very much setting the stage for another story. However, there's still more than enough progression for the characters and meta-plot for an immensely satisfying read.
I also had a sneaking suspicion from reading early reviews that there wasn't going to be enough combat in the book. That's a subjective measure of course, but for me there was more than enough blood and gore. You get both personal and large scale battle scenes from the perspective of multiple Ghosts. The non-combat moments, as is often the case with Abnett, are the most satisfying for me personally.
A lot of people seem to have been considering a re-read of the entire series in advance of release. I'd say that's unnecessary if you have a decent recollection of the overall plot, but reading the two books previously released in the Victory arc would be worthwhile.
This accidentally turned into something of a review so to conclude: unless you have a severe allergy to cliffhangers this book is a brilliant example of why Gaunt's Ghosts is a beloved series. I'm already more than a little excited for Anarch.
Edited by cheywood, 06 December 2017 - 12:26 AM.