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Rate what you Read, or the fight against Necromancy

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#51
Roomsky

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Legion - Dan Abnett

 

That was much, much better than I remembered. I first read Legion early into my fascination with 40k, and didn't really have a taste for Abnett yet. This is just excellent for myriad reasons, not the least of which being the perspective. I really prefer the way Abnett writes the Heresy from a human POV, the legions seem larger than life despite things like Alpharius and Omegon's pithy senses of humour, or the fact that Alpharius has a brief confrontation with a human where blows are exchanged rather than being an immediate curb-stomp. The human characters feel very real, and while I'm not deep into Gaunt's Ghosts yet, the dialogue here is some of the best and most realistically vulgar I've read out of BL. The webs of mystery and an overall lack of pointless combat only seal the deal for me. I won't pretend the ending wasn't a bit rushed (though I'm not as irate as some, I got the impression Alpharius and Omegon were driven mad by the acuity rather than simply being convinced by it), it does little to tarnish my feelings on this one.

 

ANR: 9/10

Must Read


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#52
Tarvek Val

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Soul Hunter - Aaron Dembski-Bowden

 

Just re-read Soul Hunter for the third time. I can say with complete confidence that it is one of my all-time favorite Black Library books (if not one of my all-time favorite books period). The true strength of this book, and the series it is contained within, is in the presentation of the characters. The anti-hero of the story, Talos Valcoran, and his band of merry murderers are used to weave a powerful, compelling story. Oftentimes, Chaos Space Marines are typecast into fairly narrow roles - they are either a bunch of psychopaths who love destruction and carnage and willing embrace Chaos, they are a band of rogues that have been exiled from the greater Imperium, or they are veterans of the Long War who blindly followed their primarchs and commanders into rebellion. The Night Lords of First Claw and the greater warband of the Exalted could not possibly fall further from this cliche - the characters oftentimes act with surprising kindness, generosity, and even (dare I say it) humanity. The novel tells a compelling story, does not feel rushed, and even offers some throwbacks to the era of the Great Crusade and the demise of the Night Haunter.

 

ANR: 9.9/10

Must Read


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"Our holy hatred will make us free!" ~Nameless Dark Apostle

 

"Though my guards may sleep and ships may rest at anchor, our foes know full well that big guns never tire." ~Huron Blackheart

 

"You shall stand in midnight clad, your claws forever red with the lifeblood of my father's failed empire, warring through the centuries as the talons of a murdered god. Rise, my sons, and take your wrath across the stars, in my name. In my memory. Rise, my Night Lords." ~Konrad Curze, the Night Haunter

 

"So... How are you?" ~Cyrion, First Claw

 

 


#53
Rob P

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Fire Caste

 

This was my first go at a Peter Fehervari novel.

 

I struggled with this one. It has a bit of an ensemble cast. The protagonist in the blurb was absent for a huge amount of the book. There were too many characters early on. A lot of ideas were thrown in for one book (maybe). The structure was complex - flashbacks, timejumps, flitting backwards and forwards between characters. The characters weren't quite realised enough - they lacked screen time. The Abel thing was either completely obtuse or too obvious depending on the extent to which you read the cast list. The ending was a bit bizarre/abrupt. The unifying narrative was loose.

 

Basically, I didn't I feel there were insufficient characters to fall in love with and the narrative was not strong enough. Too much was left unsaid.

 

But there was a tonne of stuff I liked about this book too, I liked the exploration of some of the Tau ideas. I liked the barely pass as human characters. I liked Iverson quite a lot. I liked the action. I liked the other alien races. I liked the ideas in the narrative, if not the execution. There were characters that hooked me that I didn't get to see enough of. The author created a really good setting for the story, both physically and philosophically.

 

If there were a few less characters and a couple of story strands had been binned off, I would have enjoyed the book a whole heap more.

 

As I write this, I feel that the negatives, on paper, out-weigh the positives. But this is not true. There is a balance. I'm just finding it hard to sell the positives.

 

Read it if:

 

- You like Guard, Tau or easter egg races.

- You are competent with remembering a host of characters and following a semi-complex plot.

- You intend to or have read the other books/stories by Peter Fehervari which brush alongside this book

 

I will definitely go back to this author again. I found his writing style very readable.

 

6 out of 10


Edited by Rob P, 21 January 2019 - 06:55 PM.

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#54
b1soul

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First Claw is more than "a band of rogues that have been exiled from the greater Imperium", but that's probably the typecast they're closest to
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#55
Roomsky

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Carcharodons: Outer Dark - Robbie Macniven

 

So, I didn't like Red Tithe much at all, if I had to rate it here it'd be something like 4/10, Diehards Only.  So you can imagine how pleasant it is to find Outer Dark is not only more enjoyable, but it also managed to improve on literally every issue I had with its predecessor. The prose is less dull, the cast is far tighter and doesn't waste time on stock cannon fodder, Rannik (my favourite character from Red Tithe) gets an even bigger role, and Macniven now takes the time to flesh out an Imperium rich in history, rather than the plot occupying the ill-defined sump that was Zartak. Pile on that a focus on legion culture over action - everything to do with the Ashen Claws was very well done - and you've got a pretty good read. Certainly not perfect - I'm still not huge on Macniven's prose over all, some of the descriptions were silly when they were clearly supposed to be foreboding, and more than one plot line is jettisoned without much acknowledgement - but its still so huge an improvement that I'm very excited for whatever caps off this trilogy (and beyond?)

 

ANR: 7/10

To Taste


Edited by Roomsky, 26 January 2019 - 04:00 AM.

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#56
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I ordered Perturabo The Hammer of Olympia almost by mistake (I thought it was Ferris Manus!) But despite being an avid Imperial Fists fan I've found it to be an excellent book. The Hrud are rarely featured in any gw fiction except as passing mentions so it's really great to read more about them. I'm hoping gw focus on them as a faction and bring models out at some point after reading is. Kudos to Guy Haley
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#57
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And my last Ghosts book before I get The Anarch

The Warmaster

This novel was well worth the wait. As the book is still fairly new, I'm going to put specific comments in spoilers.

10/10

Spoiler

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#58
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Mechanicum - Graham Mcneill

 

Mcneill continues to surprise, I remember finding this book pretty tedious until the last third. Where once I was frustrated by his obsession with minutiae and describing the martian scenery, I now adore the texture it brings to the book. I also really appreciate how much ground Mcneill manages to cover here, he tells Dalia's story and the opening moves of the martian schism without ever feeling rushed, and IMO neither plot-line is over or under-cooked. The wide cast made each battle scene quite distinct as well, from the confrontations with the Kaban machine to to Titan shootout at the end. Special mention to Remaire, who has much less page time than I remember but is especially memorably vile. Besides the usual Mcneill-isms (which were in fairness fairly limited here compared to his other works) a couple of his descriptions did still tend towards the obtuse, and Kelbor Hal and co came across as a little over the top for me. Overall though, a very solid read.

 

To Taste

ANR: 7.5/10


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#59
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The Voice of Mars - David Guymer

 

Know that I was tempted to use the Rick and Morty high IQ :cusspost template for this review. I love David Guymer and I love this book. The prose and story are so dense, the cast so wide, it makes Matthew Farrer look like Ben Counter. I can't really blame people for disliking Guymer's work, his characters aren't really likable, he doesn't follow a three-act structure, and what I call nuance most will fairly take as being under-written. But I love everything about it. The Voice of Mars is made of distilled atmosphere, every character of every factions is psychotic, every facet of life and politics on display are horrifying to behold. The description of the Hospitaller's command bridge alone would make me love this book. There's even a little bit of that tongue-in-cheek silliness lurking among the sheer sadism of it all. Everything is ludicrously complex in this book, perhaps detrimentally so, but I can hardly blame it for its ambition. As an example, I tend to skim action sequences more and more these days, but Guymer's writing is so convoluted I need to pay attention to every word to have any idea what's going on. Yes, I consider this a good thing. 

 

Some minus points for barely having an ending (Give me Sapphire King already, gosh darnit). Bonus points for having a genuinely disturbing death scene involving a super-heated floor.

 

If you liked Ian Watson, I imagine you'll like this. If you couldn't stand him, you may want to avoid.

 

ANR: 8/10

Perhaps the epitome of "To Taste"


Edited by Roomsky, 23 February 2019 - 07:06 PM.

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#60
Xisor

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I'm thrilled to hear you enjoyed Voice, Roomsky. Guymer's IH stuff is so damn good. (I say that, having not read Ferrus yet.)

But yes, I almost don't care about the specific contents of Sapphire King as much as just having more material of that nature to read!
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#61
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Angel Exterminatus, by Graham McNeill

 

I'm reading the HH series in numbered-book order, and I'm up to #23. The prospect of a 550-page novel quietly filled me with dread because there are several moments in every Graham McNeill book where the prose style and clunky dialogue make me grind my teeth, and this was no exception.

 

The first 300 pages were dull, then it livened up a little, but by the end I couldn't wait for it to finish. The loyalist sub-plot petered out into nothing. Fulgrim was a shallow caricature, and his ascension was ridiculous and excessively drawn out. The bolter porn was dull (although bolter porn in nearly every BL novel is dull), there was no tension/character development or plot twists in the book at all, and the whole thing could have been improved by halving the word-count.

 

The main plus point was the depiction of Perturabo, but (and no fault of AE itself) I have already read Guy Haley's Primarch series book on Perturabo, which was superb, so it robbed this book of the novelty and originality of the backstory that it would have had when first released.

 

Verdict: There is a decent novella in here trying to get out. Not as bad as Battle for the Abyss, but definitely one of the weakest HH entries so far. For HH/Iron Warriors/Emperor's Children completists only.


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#62
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Just a reminder, folks, that the Bolter & Chainsword is about the Warhammer 40,000 setting (which includes the period back to the Great Crusade).
 
Posts with Age of Sigmar/non-GW content have been removed or, when possible, edited (where there was relevant content).
 
In the future, replies with Age of Sigmar/non-GW content will simply be removed (because editing takes far more time, and that's on you), with the possibility of disciplinary action for repeat offenders.
 
=][=
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#63
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Fear to Tread – James Swallow

 

This book gets far too much :cuss. This isn’t to say it doesn’t deserve much of what it gets, but there is a lot of good here. Swallow writes a strong Horus, and his relationship with Sanguinius is well done. Sangy too is well portrayed, charismatic and kind, but never once mopey, and always eager to exact vengeance when earned. The subplot about Horus’ designs vs Erebus’ is a great idea, as are the occasional interludes that look back on the key moments building to the heresy. Swallow’s prose is smooth, and the book had me fairly hooked up until the stars went out, which in itself was a wonderfully atmospheric scene. And boy oh boy, the epilogue is genius. Some of the best Horus all series.

 

As for the negatives, if nothing else, this book should be at least 100 pages shorter. The plot meanders after the first third, and doesn’t seem to realize it’s trying to hold a foreboding tone long past its welcome. It’s also a tad difficult to keep 2 large daemons intimidating after the initial strike was vs an entire planet. While Sangy is a standout, and the Word Bearers, Kyriss, and Ka’bandha are well defined enough, the rest of the Blood Angels are as bland as can be. Raldoran, Azkaellon, Meros, and Kano are all fractions of a degree apart in attitude and reaction, and the legion seems to have no culture beyond… well, anything really. Despite taking up the meat of the novel, the legion in question is just so boring, and everything about the ending battle is just forgettable. And that’s not even taking into account the incredibly short-sighted decision of having Sanguinius defeat Ka’bandha on Signus Prime. Way to bleed all tension out of their eventual rematch there, Swallow.

 

5/10

Diehards Only


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#64
Rob P

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The Buried Dagger

 

I'm going to try and keep this spoiler free, but I will make reference to the Dramatis Personae and blurb.

This book represents the mono-style books that everyone was after in the early days of the series. It has Mortarion's origin story and the climax of the Death Guard/Nurgle story. It also has an original series of events happening on Terra which is overlaid with a climax event for one set of characters and an origin story for another set of characters (if you have seen the Dramatis Personae you will know what I mean).

I can't know how you will feel about the main blurb story if you have no idea of where this leads, but if you have any knowledge and/or love of Mortarion and the Death Guard in 40k, as I do, I would strongly suggest that you skip this book. If you can imagine the most pedestrian take on the origin story and the Nurgle/Death guard climax, then this is it. You will imagine a better narrative by not reading this book or that is, at least, how I feel.

The story on Terra is generally a bore. It is a tying up of loose ends from earlier stories and, whilst some of the easter eggs, and specific scenes, are fun, the overall novel just does not hit the mark. It felt like it was tidying things up ready for the next series.

The characters are also deficient. They don't come over as individuals - save the 4 biggest players. Malcador in particular feels too flippant, opaque and reckless and Mortarion feels too much like a naive child.

 

1/5 - Avoid

 

Postscript - the prose is very readable, but, as above, I found I didn't like a lot about this. Maybe 1/5 is overly harsh - I dunno. I couldn't give it 2/5, though I toyed with that, as what i've said doesn't support that score. I also fee like an ass writing this as Jim Swallow has written some books I really liked and in the afterword he mentions working through a personal difficulty during the writing of this one. On the other hand, this review is honest.


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#65
mc warhammer

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eh, you didn’t attack the author, you voiced your experience of the work. while i think it’s good to remember we’re discussing real human beings behind this hobby...it doesn’t mean we should be less than honest about how said hobby affects us
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can't touch this
can't touch this
can't touch this
warhammer time!
 

#66
bluntblade

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Siege of Castellax and Wrath of Iron.

The former remains rather workmanlike for me, with some action scenes that end all too abruptly or perhaps lack a sense of time passing to sell the gruelling nature of a siege. The Orks are well done, but the Iron Warriors lack much of an inner life as a whole and the regular Designated Villain Reminders irk and rather jar with the expectation I had of an army both above and below spite.

In comparison, Wrath of Iron offers a surprising amount on the second reading. It's an action book, and unashamed about it, but one with a lot on its mind. The Iron Hands are given enough character to be distinct from one another, whilst never feeling out of step with their cold Medusan character. Non-stereotypical Commissar characters are always welcome too, and Heriat offers up one of the funniest moments I've come across in BL fiction.
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#67
Roomsky

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Prospero Burns - Dan Abnett

 

Ah, the better half of the Prospero Duology, and my favourite of Abnett's works, bar none. He just does such an excellent job of making the 31st millennium feel lived in, you learn so much not only about the Wolves, but of Terra and the galaxy at large as well. Not that the Wolves themselves are any slouch, never liked them at all until I read this. Everything is packed with nuance and detail, each character's voice is pitch perfect, and Kasper is very well realized. Scenes, be they battles or introspection, never overstay their welcome, and the way all the disparate threads come together at the end is brilliant. Special shout out to making Horus feel genuinely ominous and threatening compared to his mishandling under the pens of other authors, despite not even featuring.

 

It's not perfect, Abnett weaves his plot threads together well, but seems to have trouble establishing them, leaving the first quarter or so feeling a bit disjointed. It's a pretty minor gripe though, and I don't hesitate to give it an:

 

ANR: 9/10

Must Read


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#68
Manchu warlord

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Deathwatch - Steve Parker

 

This is my one of my all time favorite BL books out there (probably my 6th favorite).  "Deathwatch", not a very original name, but the purpose of the book does just that: it talks about the clandestine Deathwatch chapter/organization and beyond.  The book develops and builds characters slowly, step by gradual step, in a way that some of those steps could be skipped.  But personally, I enjoyed reading every single one of the steps, for they eventually lead to the big part at the end.  The characters are very likeable and the members of the protagonist squad all have very differing personalities and attitudes towards one another that the humor of the team is balanced.  

It is a very informative book that explains (at least a particular method) of how the Deathwatch recruits members, how they train, how they learn about all kinds of xenos race, using new and unorthodox technologies, learning covert and stealth tactics, etc.  The first half of the book talks about recruiting Deathwatch members, train them, assign them to teams and get them ready for their first mission.  The second half talks about the region-of-interest on a planet the Inquisition is interested in, and the eventual deployment of the Deathwatch team as they execute their first mission against the genestealers.  As much as this is a Deathwatch book, it also talks a good deal about the Death Spectres chapter, as the main character is a librarian from that chapter.    

 

Every good and very relaxing read that may elicit contempt towards the Inquisition.

 

9/10

Must Buy

 

 

 

I'm so excited the sequel is coming out on April.  After six years, it's about censored.gif  time.


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#69
bluntblade

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I went back over Carrion Throne, and found myself appreciating more the drip-feed of horror that comes with the depiction of Terra. The old grimdark is frequently handled in dollops, whereas here, except maybe for the reference to children being "ripped" from their mothers at the nearest convenience, it's a gradual build-up until it begins to feel suffocating.

I'd also forgotten how much I like the trip into the void, and the oddly Pratchett-esque (cockney?) Storm Trooper sergeant, who manages to be quirky whilst never implausible.
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#70
Gongsun Zan

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The Painted Count (Short Story) - Guy Haley

 

A somewhat predictable story about how the Night Lords are put on course for Terra, but Haley's execution is entirely spot on in this (surprisingly humorous) short. There's plenty of solid character work here - Slraivok's makes for a great POV, and I hope to see more of him at the Siege. 

 

8/10 - Must Read. 

 

 

 

 

 


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#71
SkimaskMohawk

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That's interesting. I absolutely hated Haley's night lords in all of their appearances. It was so bad it put me off Haley until I read hammer of Olympia and Lord of shadows.

Now, painted count itself isn't bad, but it relies so heavily on pharos for context, which damages it immensely imo. At this point in night lords stories, there's a large expectation for black humour and some comedy too.

#72
mc warhammer

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hadn't read pharos, but got through painted count unconfused. 

 

maybe that's because there are chunks of the HH i've skipped, and i already anticipate having to catch up with any new story i read


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#73
Gongsun Zan

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That's interesting. I absolutely hated Haley's night lords in all of their appearances. It was so bad it put me off Haley until I read hammer of Olympia and Lord of shadows.

Now, painted count itself isn't bad, but it relies so heavily on pharos for context, which damages it immensely imo. At this point in night lords stories, there's a large expectation for black humour and some comedy too.

 

I've not read Pharos, but I don't really feel I missed out on anything. I've also not read any of Haley's longer works on the Night Lords, but I suppose with a short story there's also a lot less space to produce something completely off-putting. 

 

Vengeful Spirit - Graham McNeill 

 

This felt like a rushed first draft. There's plenty of good potential for a story in here, but instead McNeill gets caught up in covering so many different events that everything ends up underdeveloped - you have Horus trying to gain power, Loken trying to infiltrate the Vengeful Spirit (and sorting out his feelings with Iacton Qruze of all people), the internal power struggle of House Devine, the Blood Angels and Ultramarines garrisons dealing with their own internal angst, Mortarion suddenly embracing demonology (was there even an explanation for this?), on top of a bunch of red shirt POVs.

 

Yet in spite of all this, Horus' ascension (arguably the whole point for him being on Molech in the first place) is completely glossed over. I get that not everything needs to be explained, but it seems like an odd choice when both False Gods and Slaves to Darkness took the time to explore Horus' relationship with Chaos.  

 

McNeill is also pretty mediocre at writing action scenes, which is bad when half this book is pretty much bolter porn. He relies too much on lazy adjectives (there was a apocalyptic amount of blood!), and there were also far too many times where I had to reread sections because I couldn't figure out who was doing what to whom.   

 

Good stuff: I thought the House Devine plot line was decently done, and Loken's return to the Vengeful Spirit was handled well enough. 

 

4/10 - Diehards Only 


Edited by Gongsun Zan, 26 March 2019 - 01:12 AM.

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#74
Manchu warlord

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The Painted Count (Short Story) - Guy Haley

 

A somewhat predictable story about how the Night Lords are put on course for Terra, but Haley's execution is entirely spot on in this (surprisingly humorous) short. There's plenty of solid character work here - Slraivok's makes for a great POV, and I hope to see more of him at the Siege. 

 

8/10 - Must Read. 

 

 

The Painted Count's adjutant, "Orlon" was such an adorable lad, I love him.  


Edited by Manchu warlord, 26 March 2019 - 12:59 AM.

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Insult me again, brother, and theoretically I will punch you in your practical face.

 

 


#75
Roomsky

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Vengeful Spirit - Graham McNeill 

 

This felt like a rushed first draft. There's plenty of good potential for a story in here, but instead McNeill gets caught up in covering so many different events that everything ends up underdeveloped - you have Horus trying to gain power, Loken trying to infiltrate the Vengeful Spirit (and sorting out his feeling with Iacton Qruze of all people), the internal power struggle of House Devine, the Blood Angels and Ultramarines garrisons dealing with their own internal angst, Mortarion suddenly embracing demonology (was there even an explanation for this?), on top of a bunch of red shirt POVs.

 

Yet in spite of all this, Horus' ascension (arguably the whole point for him being on Molech in the first place) is completely glossed over. I get that not everything needs to be explained, but it seems like an odd choice when both False Gods and Slaves to Darkness took the time to explore Horus' relationship with Chaos.  

 

McNeill's is also pretty mediocre at writing action scenes, which is bad when half this book is pretty much bolter porn. He relies too much on lazy adjectives (there was a apocalyptic amount of blood!), and there were also far too many times where I had to reread sections because I couldn't figure out who was doing what to whom.   

 

Good stuff: I thought the House Devine plot line was decently done, and Loken's return to the Vengeful Spirit was handled well enough. 

 

4/10 - Diehards Only 

 

 

Nice review, Vengeful Spirit's always been a frustrating one for me, Mcneill squanders his plot lines by taking on too many, and turns several stories that should be interesting into under cooked mediocrity. Horus is also a far cry from any kind of tactical ability in this one, compounding my personal salt.

 

Daemonology is a pretty great short story by Wraight that seems to have been written as a band-aid fix for Mortarion in VS. Mcneill claims releasing an explanation afterwards was always the plan but I'm skeptical.


  • Gongsun Zan likes this

Hey I've started a web comic! You can read it here.

 






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