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Rate what you Read, or the fight against Necromancy

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#326
Kelborn

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Finished Storm of Iron recently.

Really enjoyed it. Turned into a real pageturner for me.

It "restored" my perspective on 40k as a whole as it reminded me of what's possible, etc.
Just my very own thoughts but somehow somewhen I lost the interest in reading 40k, tbh. Can't even name it, maybe it's because I have to read the spoilers as an acting Mod but I don't feel the erge to get my hands in every single release, not even the big ones like Valdor, which is kinda odd as a Wraight fanboy. Maybe it's because I'm way more into AoS these days. Who knows?

Storm of Iron, for me, is an essential read for 40k in general. Not only because Chaos wins but because of it displaying so many different cool bits like possessed, Titans, CSM, AdMech and so on in one single story in a good and cool way.

I felt for both sides and I'm glad that they did a re-realase of it!
9/10

PS
Do we know how Kroegers story continued? Haven't read all Honsou/ Ventris story but it was mentioned that he and Honsou had to deal with each other again. So...?
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#327
Gederas

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Finished Storm of Iron recently.

Really enjoyed it. Turned into a real pageturner for me.

It "restored" my perspective on 40k as a whole as it reminded me of what's possible, etc.
Just my very own thoughts but somehow somewhen I lost the interest in reading 40k, tbh. Can't even name it, maybe it's because I have to read the spoilers as an acting Mod but I don't feel the erge to get my hands in every single release, not even the big ones like Valdor, which is kinda odd as a Wraight fanboy. Maybe it's because I'm way more into AoS these days. Who knows?

Storm of Iron, for me, is an essential read for 40k in general. Not only because Chaos wins but because of it displaying so many different cool bits like possessed, Titans, CSM, AdMech and so on in one single story in a good and cool way.

I felt for both sides and I'm glad that they did a re-realase of it!
9/10

PS
Do we know how Kroegers story continued? Haven't read all Honsou/ Ventris story but it was mentioned that he and Honsou had to deal with each other again. So...?

Kroeger is the Khornate Iron Warrior in there, right?

 

I think you missed the fact that

Spoiler



#328
Kelborn

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Naaah,
I mean
Spoiler

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#329
Gederas

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Naaah,
I mean

Spoiler

Ah, okay. And yes, that plot gets cleared up.

 

Spoiler


Edited by Gederas, 22 May 2020 - 01:04 AM.


#330
byrd9999

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Regarding the "The Damnation of Pythos"-story arc:

1) False Gods (introduction of Tsi Rekh)
2) Veritas Ferrum (introduction of Atticus), short story in "Shattered Legions)
3a) Damnation of Pythos (continuation of the story arc of Atticus and Tsi Rekh and introduction of Khalybus, Madail and the Damnation Cache)
3b) The Noose (continuation of the Khalybus-arc), short story in "Shattered Legions)
4) Ruinstorm (continuation of the Khalybus- and Madail-arc)
5) Pandorax (back to Pythos and the Damnation Cache)

 

Small correction and addition: Veritas Ferrum was in Legacies of Betrayal, rather than Shattered Legions. And in War Without End, there's another prequel to Pythos in Sermon of Exodus

 

 

I just read Sermon of Exodus a couple of days ago, and while I really enjoyed Veritas Ferrum and Damnation of Pythos, I thought SoE was the worst kind of rush-job filler. Totally pointless and confusingly written, and I'm glad I didn't read it before DoP because I was unsure of Tsi Rekh's motives in DoP for most of the book, which lent it a kind of surprise/suspense when it was revealed he was a baddy.

 

Side note: I keep pronouncing his name Ti Rekhs, because in a book where Space Marines fight dinosaurs it's pretty funny to have a guy called Ti Rekhs...


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#331
JH79

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Regarding the "The Damnation of Pythos"-story arc:

1) False Gods (introduction of Tsi Rekh)
2) Veritas Ferrum (introduction of Atticus), short story in "Shattered Legions)
3a) Damnation of Pythos (continuation of the story arc of Atticus and Tsi Rekh and introduction of Khalybus, Madail and the Damnation Cache)
3b) The Noose (continuation of the Khalybus-arc), short story in "Shattered Legions)
4) Ruinstorm (continuation of the Khalybus- and Madail-arc)
5) Pandorax (back to Pythos and the Damnation Cache)

 

Small correction and addition: Veritas Ferrum was in Legacies of Betrayal, rather than Shattered Legions. And in War Without End, there's another prequel to Pythos in Sermon of Exodus

 

 

I just read Sermon of Exodus a couple of days ago, and while I really enjoyed Veritas Ferrum and Damnation of Pythos, I thought SoE was the worst kind of rush-job filler. Totally pointless and confusingly written, and I'm glad I didn't read it before DoP because I was unsure of Tsi Rekh's motives in DoP for most of the book, which lent it a kind of surprise/suspense when it was revealed he was a baddy.

 

Side note: I keep pronouncing his name Ti Rekhs, because in a book where Space Marines fight dinosaurs it's pretty funny to have a guy called Ti Rekhs...

 

haha, i was thinking how i quite liked that short when DC posted it earlier lol happy.png

 

Damnation of Pythos was a great self contained story, some really crazy goings on and a great look at the fragile nature of base line humans in the 40K universe. The only thing i cannot forgive is the dropping of Jerune Kanshell from Ruinstorm. His character Arc was fantastic and well worth some kind of continuation, a pity more senior minds at BL thought otherwise.


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#332
Matteus

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First attempt at a Warhammer review:

 

Following 40K for 15 years, with a large break of activity in between recently purchasing the fabulous Humblebundle collection to crack on into the 'new regime era'. First on my list was the Devastation of Baal, by Mr Haley. Aware of the general strokes in the early days of 8th edition, I appreciated the arrival of some emotion to the breaking of reality itself and all that. 

 

Unaware of the Blood Angel monastery (perhaps we all were?), our primary setting, it was difficult to form an image even with reams of detail outlining many key districts.

 

A necessarily slower half was well paced and interesting in uncovering details of a chapter I have enjoyed thematically on the philosophical if not the vampirical actions. The assembly of Chapters allowed for varied ways to see the effects of focusing across the Sanguine Spectrum. From the opposite philosophies of Asante (Blood Angel) and Erwin (Angels Encarmine), which ultimately became but a matter of principle and the same outcome, to the later vignette of the Knights of Blood showing the probable future of the Flesh Tearers one way or another was well structured in both battle and during setup (Master Jool's invitation to dinner of a hapless Baalite got to me, thus successfully overriding the vampire motif). In fact, Haley's Seth was one of the best portrayals of an Astartes I've read. His inner monologue and way he views every object shows their super abundance of humanity to the point of inhumanity so well. The return of the Baalite father and son was welcome, shall I find the elevated son Leus in the future I wonder?

 

Unlike some other of Haley's character dialogue, Seth with Dante conversations were great throughout, and their foil continues with the famed Primaris debate. Dante himself was depicted so well, and his character was explored in every way I wished for; age, responsibility, faith and sacrifice. Some passages of his left me impressed, and I plan to move onwards to Dante audiobook next simply due to his depiction here. I would also buy an updated Dante model, which I suppose is the greatest compliment for GW.

 

Mephiston's side-narrative allowed me to learn about the arcaney side of things of the BA, although looking back, clarity of details in this area may not be found. Why a Lord of Death? More to explore down the rabbit-hole. Harder to pull off to my mind, this side narrative lacked some gravitas - perhaps to bring in Ka'Bandha as per Gathering Storm without it being a random appearance approaching on deus ex machina? It was fine enough.

 

The inner psychology of Sanguinius' bloodline were brief highlights, leading to the crescendo of Dante feeling he personified the Great Angel at his Passion. The reflection and constant reminder of their lord's trial is a motif that speaks to plenty of us here, and worked for me. Again overriding it's concept.

 

One passage on Gulliman is one of the most memorable and evocative on a Primarch description I have read, for some reason it makes perfect sense in its ridiulousness: "The real surprise was that the stories did no justice to the primarch's humanity. He was completely human, concentratedly so, as if the essence of mankind has been distilled a hundred times and poured into a giant's body. Beyond human, but more human for being so."

 

Now to Dante, of which I've heard it is full of one of my favourite aspects in this book. A book that has done justice to the otherwise unambiguously tacky Studio start to 8th. Much much more is needed of this for the Indomitus era.

 

((Edit for ref. Gulliman - "A line must be drawn between what is good and what is evil, for if the Great Enemy comes with offers of power to a wretch, what reason does he have to refuse hell if he dwells in it already?"


Edited by Matteus, 24 May 2020 - 05:00 PM.

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#333
cheywood

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First attempt at a Warhammer review:

That was a detailed and well-written review with which I largely agree. Great job!

Edit: Dante is fantastic. I’d put it above Devastation.

Edited by cheywood, 23 May 2020 - 09:20 PM.

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#334
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Vengeful Spirit (again) – Graham Mcneill

 

I don’t know what motivated me to read this again. I’ve been harshly critical of this book for years, and I’ve never found the idea of Horus’ agency a necessary one. Horus doesn’t understand Chaos can’t be a tool, and is consumed. Abaddon, seeing this happen, doesn’t repeat that mistake. Easy.

 

And yet, I’ve come around to it a bit. Before I get into that, I also don’t rescind most of my problems with this book. Mcneill’s grasp of strategy is questionable, even for a layman like me with no real interest in the specifics of warfare. Am I supposed to take the invasion of Molech as proof of Horus’ suitability for Warmaster? Mcneill certainly thinks so, despite Horus showing up with not one, but two legions who have in the past (under his very pen) proven that a single legion is generally more than enough. Horus as a person isn’t much better, I have more appreciation for what Mcneill’s doing with him, but the risks he has him take really stretch my belief. I’ll give him Raevan hiding behind a hill (if only any number of devices might have picked up such a thing), but Horus taking a transport to the enemy ship amidst ongoing void warfare is… inept. Stupid. Reckless. Risking the entire war-effort. Poorly thought-out. Petulent. Unless Horus was piloting the :cussing thing it comes across as random chance he didn’t get blown into the void.

 

But wait, there’s more. This book is character assassination for Mortarion, even believing Mcneill’s assurances it was all planned out from the start slightly more than I do for his excuses about Outcast Dead (read: not at all.) The book is horribly overstuffed and features a whole whack of perspectives that didn’t need to be there. Generals and soldiers existing for a single scene, Targost getting one POV before getting no-scoped, the Ultramarines, the Blood Angels (admittedly a very compelling portrait for the whole two scenes they receive), and the Knights Errant plot has way too many legionaries for either sufficient characterization, or to make sense for a stealth mission. Hell, Sevarion knows what to carve, send him in alone. He only got caught because they paused over a summoning ritual.

 

Honestly there’s more, but let’s get to the good. I’ve really come around on Mcneill, even his worst (Heresy) works. His stuff is bombastic, obvious, and he doesn’t have a subtle bone in his body, but damnit he has character. True, his casts tend to be slightly rounded tropes who exclaim their feelings, but what Mcneill has over all but the best authors is that those tropes act according to those personalities. Characters do things and go to places in accordance with their motivations, and he doesn’t feel the need to then repeat said motivations once they’ve done so. In short, he writes actual books. Characters’ successes and failures come from who they are, and Mcneill is talented at building scenes around these traits. This may seem obvious (and they are what should honestly be the bare minimum), but I’ve read too many Black Library works where I both can’t distinguish between the members of the cast, and am constantly asking myself “why did this character do that?”

 

(Besides seeing the script lying over there on the floor.)

 

It is for the above reason that I don’t mind his Horus so much anymore. Before I clarify, I’d like to make a point: Galaxy in Flames is :cuss and is actively detrimental to enjoying the series. Blame Mcneill instead for not following through with what Counter wrote if you like, but Counter’s writing is awful so I’m not going to bat for him. Yes, Horus’ fall is stupidly abrupt in the opening trilogy, but I argue it’s not wholly False Gods’ fault. That book only plants the seeds of rebellion in his mind (it’s not entirely clear just how convinced he was by the visions), and Horus begins making moves for his own agenda. Galaxy in Flames has Horus unambiguously embracing Chaos (Erebus is walking around with a cape of darkness), gunning down his remembrances, and bombing his sons from orbit. That he went from zero to a hundred between books is not exclusively on False Gods. Now, consider if you skip that book. You don’t need shorts to explain why Loken is alive. You don’t have to stare on in confusion as Horus turns back into the maverick commander he was in False Gods after becoming an evil overlord the following novel. You don’t have Aximand turn into an indecisive puddle for precisely one book. Vengeful Spirit is the sequel to False Gods, and completes Horus’ arc from that book. Honestly, just give it a try, it flows so much better. The added bonus is you also get to ignore all the unrelated nonsense from Galaxy in Flames as well.

 

What I’ve just described is also why I’m glad Loken’s mission is in here too. While it certainly seemed inane for years, with the hindsight of Solar War and Saturnine, it’s a much more meaningful work for the Sons of Horus cast. I see Mcneill planting seeds that wouldn’t pay off for 7 years here, and I certainly appreciate them now. Aximand is a :cuss, Abaddon is… well there was a time I would have labelled this portrayal uninspired, but I’ve since read Lost and the Damned (the throat thing is still idiotic, though). Noctua is a surprisingly effective villain considering this is his only significant showing. Tormageddon really gets his claws into Loken in this one, and is what gives their rivalry its weight. Many have pointed out that the throne room fight is unbelievable, and while I wouldn’t go that far, it is A-grade Mcneill :cusstery. That said, I always take character over logic, and there is some necessary catharsis to be found.

 

There’s a lot more to say about this book but I don’t care to do a full breakdown. Sundry other things I liked: All of House Devine,  Mcneill’s world building, Mcneill’s ability to be absolutely disgusting, Sureka’s ground-level look at the invasion, Horus being personable. Sundry things I disliked: Mortarion wrangling an assault craft, Horus jumping onto said assault craft, Horus almost dying constantly, way too much continuity for sundry plot threads (The Red Angel, Grulgor, Russ, etc), an overlong chapter towards the end, and way too many battles where forces are apparently waiting for plot to happen.

 

A surprisingly enjoyable cluster:cuss. I’ll give it a generous 6.5, there’s a lot to like and a lot to hate. To Taste, it really depends on how much you care about Loken’s arc (I do, a lot), and how much of the series you’re invested in. That, and having to advise people to skip a book to enjoy it properly isn’t exactly a positive.


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#335
MegaVolt87

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Yeah Loken should have died at Istvaan III by Abaddon's hand after nearly killing him with Horus present, leaving Abaddon on life support for a few months to stew and think about life. I would have preferred Garro confront Horus later instead to further develop his character. Too much crossover with Garro and Loken characterization. Garro is a far more interesting character for a Knight Errant IMO. I would rate Vengeful Spirit 5/10 because I only liked the half that wasn't the Knights Errant, so half the book at least. 


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#336
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i didn't mind vengeful spirit as much as some either

'WHEN WE CONFRONTED THE CORRUPTED, HOMICIDAL HORUS WHO ONCE USED TO SHINE LIKE THE BRIGHTEST STAR, WHO USED TO BE OUR BELOVED FAVOURITE – WHEN THE FATE OF THE GALAXY HUNG BY A THREAD – WERE WE NOT COMPELLED TO EXPEL ALL COMPASSION? ALL LOVE? ALL JOY? THOSE WENT AWAY. HOW ELSE COULD WE HAVE ARMOURED OURSELVES? EXISTENCE IS TORMENT, A TORMENT THAT MUST NOURISH US. EVIDENTLY WE MUST STRIVE TO BE THE FIERCE REDEEMER OF MAN, YET WHAT WILL REDEEM US?’

 

#337
Bobss

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Vengeful Spirit was at the very least the book we needed at the time. It was an attempted course correction, and while the execution wasn't great, it still satisfied that itch for Horus being in the driving seat smashing through significant Loyalist resistance

 

Sadly this ship was sunk after its maiden voyage by more Vulkan books, the Imperium Secundus story arc and, of course, who can forget: Anthologies Without End



#338
DarkChaplain

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I got plenty of enjoyment out of the anthologies. Less so with Legacies of Betrayal, considering almost all the stories were originally audio dramas for occasions like advent, so I knew them in their original formats already. A necessary collection for audiophobes.

 

But War Without End was sorely needed, as it collected The Imperial Truth, Sedition's Gate, Death and Defiance and Blades of the Traitor. That's three years' worth of short stories from event anthologies. A lot of the stories in there provide connective tissue between story arcs, close off plotlines, or provide openers to arcs and the ONLY real flaw in it was the timing, since by the time it hit in 2016, many of the stories had already been followed up since TIT in 2013.

And funnily enough, I think Kyme really hit it out of the park with most of his shorts in there.

 

Eye of Terra again was necessary, but also had plenty of prose editions of previous audio dramas. For me, that made it less interesting to actually read, as I'd listened to the stories as produced in the audio format, but then, many people don't listen to those. So it was, again, a necessary collection. It still develops a bunch of ideas for Imperium Secundus - and some of them far more engaging and interesting than what novels like The Unremembered Empire did. We even see a re-compliance war of the Sons of Horus in there. Nevermind that it collected Aurelian for the first time, FIVE YEARS after it was originally published. Lots of really decent bridges between installments here in general.

 

And then there's The Silent War. Overall a really good, themed anthology that collects pretty much all the relevant stuff under its banner, excluding Garro. Glimpses of the Sol System gearing up, the Word Bearers pulling off schemes and performing purges, the first Exterminatus by a proto-Inquisitor, catching up on Loken stories (which, to be fair, would've been better off before Vengeful Spirit, especially since that also throws Severian into the mix, who hadn't been seen in print since The Outcast Dead, while Wolf Hunt clears up the timeline confusion and his recruitment - again an audio drama that many people did not listen to at the time or wrote off based on it being a sequel to The Outcast Dead (and one that was supposed to release far closer to the book, iirc).

The anthology shows pretty nicely just how many pies Malcador has his fingers in at any given time.



#339
Fedor

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The anthologies definitely broke up the flow of the release schedule, but the idea of bringing them out for general release so that everyone had access to 100% of the series was better than the alternative.

 

I've got to disagree with you on this one though Roomsky, i don't see how entirely cutting out GiF helps Vengeful Spirit. cutting out all of that book showing Horus being comfortable to an extent around this new "warp power" and its more overt followers does nothing to improve his character in VS for me as we get little leading up to it or within the book itself as far as a gradual decision to embrace Chaos is concerned.

 

A lot more of the book should have been inside Horus' head as he considers his options about using more and more of what chaos offers as a tool. Leading intio the reveal of the Warp Gate. All that taking out GiF does is make his decision to go through it at the end seem even more out of nowhere.


Edited by Fedor, 25 May 2020 - 02:30 PM.

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#340
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I agree Garro and Qruze should have filled the tole Loken does now. That said, if the plan was always for him to survive (which Abnett has implied), I lay the blame on his “death” appearing so conclusive.

While most of the anthologies aren’t to my taste, I think it’s important all works be available in all formats. That being said, I think “Heralds of the Siege”, “Shattered Legions”, and “Shadows of Treachery” are all excellent.

@Fedor
To each their own. Thing is, I don’t know why Horus has no issue with Chaos in “Galaxy in Flames,” all he’s apparently been convinced about is that he should control the Imperium. In “Vengeful Spirit,” he uses the gate because he needs that power to face the Emperor, his motives are clear. As demonstrated with his dominance of the Red Angel throughout the book, he clearly believes Chaos is a simple thing to control. The time gap is all I need personally to believe he’d begin letting more warp stuff into the legion.

My issue with “Galaxy in Flames” is that everyone acts OOC for the sake of plot. While Mcneill doesn’t write my favourite Horus, I do see a through-line in his take on the character. “Galaxy in Glames” may as well be a cast of different people, at least IMO.
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#341
Fedor

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I don't think GiF was great in the way it depicted the start of chaos shenanigans around the Luna Wolves. It was indeed pretty quick to start having shrines on the ship etc, but i guess i'm just wishing we got more on them slowly transitioning before VS in some other material, because i can't see that book as it is being helped by taking anything out of the series. We needed more in general on Horus' thoughts on chaos and interactions with their emmissaries before he goes charging off on eye of terror adventures to win the gods favour.


Edited by Fedor, 25 May 2020 - 05:54 PM.

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#342
bluntblade

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I agree Garro and Qruze should have filled the tole Loken does now. That said, if the plan was always for him to survive (which Abnett has implied), I lay the blame on his “death” appearing so conclusive.

While most of the anthologies aren’t to my taste, I think it’s important all works be available in all formats. That being said, I think “Heralds of the Siege”, “Shattered Legions”, and “Shadows of Treachery” are all excellent.

@Fedor
To each their own. Thing is, I don’t know why Horus has no issue with Chaos in “Galaxy in Flames,” all he’s apparently been convinced about is that he should control the Imperium. In “Vengeful Spirit,” he uses the gate because he needs that power to face the Emperor, his motives are clear. As demonstrated with his dominance of the Red Angel throughout the book, he clearly believes Chaos is a simple thing to control. The time gap is all I need personally to believe he’d begin letting more warp stuff into the legion.

My issue with “Galaxy in Flames” is that everyone acts OOC for the sake of plot. While Mcneill doesn’t write my favourite Horus, I do see a through-line in his take on the character. “Galaxy in Glames” may as well be a cast of different people, at least IMO.

Also it's a stretch to see Abaddon threaten Loken and Loken not to put two and two together when he and Torgaddon are the only prominent captains put in charge of the offensive. 


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#343
cheywood

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This month I read:

Ravenor Returned and Ravenor Rogue - I don’t think I need to extol their virtues here. Great books. Everyone who likes 40k and reading should check these out.

The Eye of Medusa - seeing this in people’s’ essential reading lists I was surprised. I hadn’t been awed by Guymer’s contributions to the Beast Arises or the few short stories I’d read. They all seemed intelligent, but I found his sentence structure a little hard to understand. I don’t really know why that is, it’s not something I normally struggle with. I also read the first two chapters of this a year ago and didn’t find myself blown away. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This was a wonderful read. Though I still find Guymer’s prose a little hard to parse, his world building and embrace of the absurdity 40k offers, as well as the depth of plotting hinted at throughout the book, make this more than worth reading. I understand why some people wouldn’t like it. It’s weird and doesn’t seem interested in immediate payoff or paying more than lip service to the notion that the Imperium is a realm where logic rules, however I can’t say any of that bothers me.

Angron: Slave of Nuceria - this was a lot better than Ian St. Martin’s deathwatch novel, one of my personal least favorites. I’d say it’s up there with the better primarch novels. St. Martin picks up a lot of the concepts from Betrayer and uses them well, if nowhere near as brilliantly as ADB. I wasn’t a fan of how the story played out as I’d headcanoned the process of the butcher’s nails being differently, but I’d say it’s more than likely my headcanon’s always been wrong and St. Martin simply knows more/spoke to ADB. Either way that’s no reason to dismiss the book’s value. It’s suitably gory and besides some weakness of pacing at the beginning I can’t find much fault with it from a critical perspective.

Yarrick: Imperial Creed - there must be something in the water because I’ve enjoyed the last two David Annandale novels I’ve read quite a bit. Though Imperial Creed isn’t superlative by any means, and one of the final chapters was damagingly superfluous, it does good work with the title character while presenting some interesting questions about religious vs political authority in the Imperium. Those questions end in a bunch of fighting, because they almost always do, but they make the start of the book engaging. Maybe I’ve just grown to appreciate his writing, but it seems to me Annandale’s infinitely more enjoyable without space marines and wall-to-wall demons. I don’t think he’s alone in that, though the contrast feels especially stark.

Also read a few short stories:

Blackout by JC Stearns - entertaining enough, also a story I think most BL readers have read before. I wouldn’t seek it out but as an inferno offering it’s perfectly serviceable.

Thorn Wishes Talon - great short, arguably essential for reading Ravenor.

War in the Museum - absolutely brilliant concept well executed, has me very intrigued about Rath’s The Infinite and the Divine. I’m not much of a Necron fan but that could change.

Armour of Fate - it’s a perfectly well told story, and 40k era Guilliman is a character I think Haley writes well, but I’m just not a big fan of Haley’s short stories come to think of it. His strengths as a worldbuilder/creator of bombastic imagery don’t feel as well utilized in the format as they do in long-form.

Edited by cheywood, 31 May 2020 - 08:45 PM.

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#344
Rob P

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Finally got to and through Titandeath and I now feel I can start the Siege of Terra series.

 

I approached Titandeath with a huge amount of hostility.

 

Firstly, I felt that it was a necessary gateway to Siege of Terra that I was being forced to read.

 

Secondly, I struggle with Guy Haley's prose.

 

Thirdly, I felt that i'd either heard enough vague ideas of the plot from the void that I sort of knew what was going to happen.

 

I won't lie, I did struggle with this to start with. A bloated Dramatis Personae that overwhelms rather than guides; technical in-universe language; long winded character set up with slow pacing; and at least two scenes which have way too much time spent on characters walking places (really long walks) and describing everything along the way (/yawn),

 

I was set so early on two call this a 2 out of 5, but the further I got along (aided by the audiobook in places - thanks Humble Bundle!) the more I found to like. The characterisation of the matriarchs of House Solaria and their interactions; the same characterisation on the other side; the promise (partly fulfilled) of a confrontation; a couple of particularly memorable battles; characters without plot armour; and a satisfyingly Horus Heresy style 'glimmer of hope' conclusion to this book.

 

I'd give this 4/5.

 

Couple of spoiler points:

 

Spoiler

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#345
byrd9999

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Deathfire - Nick Kyme (Horus Heresy Book 32)

 

An enjoyable read. I wasn't looking forward to this one, I'll admit. The reputation, negative reviews and sheer amount of coverage the Salamanders get in the HH series, had put me off, as well as the 575-page count.

 

I like the continuation from Vulkan Lives, Unremembered Empire (both of which I enjoyed) and now this which picks up immediately after. The opening section on Macragge was quick paced and well handled, although whenever the action picked up I was left a little confused, like the jailbreak scenes.

 

The second section, the main part of the book (The Odyssey) started off well, but went on for about 100 pages too long. Again, when the action picked up, like the battle scenes on Rampart and the Word Bearers/Death Guard boarding action, it got muddied and I wasn't always sure what was happening.

 

The final part, set on Nocturne, was over way too quick, which was a minor blessing after the lengthy middle section, but could have been fleshed out more.

 

Shortly after starting this, I read something here on B&C that said this book was influenced by The Odyssey, so I got all excited and cross-checked every reference I came across, but ended up a little disappointed. What it boils down to is getting Vulkan home after a period of wandering. Numeon is Telemachus, the grumpy son with faith that his father lives, and Vulkan is... Odysseus? No, that doesn't work... um.... and it kind of falls apart after that into essentially name-dropping characters from the Odyssey (Circe, Laest®ygonian, Charybdis) that don't have much relevance to The Odyssey, and the references don't add anything to Deathfire. Also, Magnus the Red featured (because Cyclops), and he was literally a Deus Ex Machina to give Numeon a clue how to get home because Magnus is a good guy now...? A real Warhammer/Odyssey parallel story would be awesome, but sadly this wasn't it.

 

Positives:

- Nick Kyme's writing style is easy to read and he is one of the above-average writers for BL.

- The first half of the book moved along at a good pace.

- The best representation of the Salamanders so far.

- Nice bits of horror during the warp intrusion.

 

Negatives:

- a bit too long. 575 pages for basically "getting Vulkan from Macragge to Nocturne via some dodgy warp shenanigans".

- Why were the Death Guard even in it? This could have been all Word Bearers with no loss of sense or greater meaning.

- The Odyssey references were a bit under baked.

- Too many action scenes where Salamanders plot armour conquered all.

 

I really wanted to give this an 8/10, but as the book went on I had to drop it to 7/10.


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#346
Jareddm

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This might be the most positive review of Deathfire that I have seen.

 

While I personally felt Deathfire was a complete waste of time, what bugged me more was that HH6: Retribution, which came out less than a year later, also featured an Odyssey-inspired journey of Salamanders around the galaxy, this time leaving from Nocturne to find out happened to the legion after they left for Isstvan V.  And it's significantly more interesting.


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#347
byrd9999

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I really hope that one day the lore and pictures from the HH hardback books will be released at a more sensible price.

 

I have no interest in playing 30k, and I'd never pay £80 for one book, but the background stuff Alan Bligh wrote deserves to be given a wider audience.


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#348
Roomsky

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The Damnation of Pythos – David Annandale

 

How many times have I read this, one of the most maligned books in the Heresy? Three times, I think, and it’s never gotten any less enjoyable. If anything, it’s gotten better. Now, I am biased towards it in a few ways: I love the Iron Hands, I like horror in prose, and I think 40k and downer endings go together like peanut butter and chocolate. But there’s more to it than all that. So many Heresy entries are entertaining because they ride the series’ momentum, rather than putting forward their own merits. They’re about characters already established, and the appeal lies more in the sort of Soap Opera “what happens next?” pitch, rather than being especially interested in telling an actual story.

 

The Damnation of Pythos is not that.

 

The book needs to introduce the audience to its characters, yet I care more about Kanshell, Galba, Atticus, Erephren, Ske Vris, Khidem, and Ptero than I do about any “next exciting development” in the lives of most big name characters already established. The characters are varied, even among the Iron Hands who tend to blend together in other works. Each has their own motivation and thought process, and while all have their blind spots, none are conveniently stupid.

 

But wait, there’s more. Annandale doesn’t merely understand what a character is, no, his works have themes as well. Themes in the Horus Heresy? It’s more likely than you think. He engages not only with the effectiveness of the Iron Hands’ philosophy, but whether or not even the most machinic can actually embody it. He shows the strengths and weaknesses of things from grief to aggression to duty, as well as the values and dangers of faith. All the while, plot is one long essay on the futility of last-stands and desperate heroism.

 

Annandale loves large-scale horror, and it works far better here than in something like Warden of the Blade (no, I don’t like the Cathedral Kaiju). This is because he effectively uses the unknown, we don’t know why the sea itself has risen so high it’s visible over the treeline, and that’s what makes it unsettling; the sheer scale of it is oppressive but unknowable. He also manages to effectively centre unease around space marines, using their few human traits and certainties against them, with the very human Kanshell pulling us back to ground level when needed. Contrast Deathfire, which uses horror tropes built for humans against astartes who would have little reason to be unnerved (they can just shoot the scary little girl).

 

It’s not perfect, to be sure. I’d imagine it would be rather tedious if naval-gazing annoys you. The presence of the saurians is less interesting than an entire jungle worth of flora that wants to drink your blood, and the marines-refusing-to-acknowledge-daemons plot is hardly anything new at this point. Shattered Legions also makes this a less essential read; while more uneven, it sheds light on the legions present here in a far more diverse way (it even features Atticus and co. in a short story.)

 

That said, I honestly love this book. Does it reach the heights of my favourite authors’ works? I was going to say no, but this is honestly better than Unremembered Empire. It’s definitely far and away Annandale’s finest work. If you’re in the Heresy for the plot, definitely skip it. If you want a fantastic examination of a shattered legion in the wake of Isstvan V, check it out.

 

To Taste

8/10


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#349
byrd9999

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An awesome review, Roomsky. Thanks for taking the time to post it.

 

Having Annandale lead the charge with the Horror series makes sense, and kind of squares the circle of what he's always written about. An underrated BL writer, for sure.


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#350
Roomsky

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An awesome review, Roomsky. Thanks for taking the time to post it.

 

Having Annandale lead the charge with the Horror series makes sense, and kind of squares the circle of what he's always written about. An underrated BL writer, for sure.

 

 

I agree Annandale is underrated but, to be frank, I think his reputation is still somewhat deserved. His works are incredibly uneven, and again I think Pythos was his opus. The man needs characters with an interesting disfunction, and a premise that doesn’t allow him to go too overboard with the old ultraviolence. These aren’t conditions I feel Black Library is especially conducive to providing.

 

Lord of Ultramar is incredibly bland on its own (*ducks gunshots from DarkChaplain*), and Lord of Drakes is essentially a worse version of it. The Last Wall was wonderful, but The Hunt for Vulkan and Watchers in Death were the worst TBA had to offer. Warden of the Blade started off alright, but Crowe’s character doesn’t have anything Annandale can get his claws into, and it quickly devolved into some truly stunning displays of vapid excess. I’m wary of anything of his I pick up for fear of it being a promising beginning before 300 pages of ill-defined gore. His Yarrick stories, while better paced and structured, don’t have any room to flourish because Yarrick has the personality of a brick wall.

 

But then there’s Ruinstorm, sporting Sanguinius’ best appearance in the Heresy to date and appropriate use of his cosmic-scale horrors. Spear of Ultramar closes out a surprisingly well-done arc for Guilliman of all people, and retroactively makes Lord of Ultramar almost worth reading. The First Wall might be my favourite entry in TBA for its perfect blend of humanity, politics, and sheer 40k madness. His contributions to Maledictions and The Wicked and the Damned strike the perfect balance of the ludicrous and the unnerving, at times going so far past comical it goes back to being frightening.

 

There are things of his I want to check out, like Neferata and The House of Night and Chain, and things I don’t want to come within 40 kilometres of, like his Space Marine Battles contributions. So yes, I suppose that’s a roundabout way of saying I agree. But I can’t fault anyone for refusing to touch his stuff, there is a lot of crap.

 

But he should have been on the Siege team before a couple authors I can name.


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