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The Siege of Terra: The First Wall


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#301
Billy the Squid

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Spoiler


Edited by Billy the Squid, 09 April 2020 - 03:35 AM.

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#302
aa.logan

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Re: the above post
Spoiler

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#303
Billy the Squid

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Re: the above post

Spoiler

 

Spoiler

 

Edit: My problem isn't so much the free corps, it's the way in which they were handled and written into the main story was bad. 


Edited by Billy the Squid, 09 April 2020 - 03:06 PM.

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#304
b1soul

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I'd agree that the Freecorps tangent would probably work better as a separate SoT novella.

#305
Tymell

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Ho boy I have some mixed feelings on this one.

 

I'll start with the positives:

 

Perturabo and the Iron Warriors are solid, I particularly enjoyed the brutal grind of Forrix's story in this, it's really good. You see their bitterness, brutality and hunger for glory: Berossus abandoning his post for glory, Kroeger's street fighter tactics, Forrix's blunt willingness to do whatever it takes. But they're not entirely without concern for the lives of their brothers. I also enjoyed the paranoia, like Forrix's softening his words a little for Gharal out of concern that he might just abandon him. It all shows the flaws in the legion's mindset but without feeling cartoonish or overdone, and contrasts well with the Imperial Fists while allowing both to be accomplished.

 

Spoiler

 

...

 

 

BUT...

 

As much as I love Zenobi's story, it does feel almost entirely separate from the assault on the Lion's Gate. Technically it does tie in at the end, but in a way that feels almost irrelevant. It's another example of a HH book with two main storylines which are fine in and of themselves, but feel pushed together into one book (see Wolfsbane or The Buried Dagger). It doesn't help that those bits are all set in the past, so it feels especially jarring to keep getting pulled back to it.

 

In connection with that, my biggest problem with the book is how the narrative flows in the space port parts, which is best summed up as:

 

2a8e7074cca0503d7f8307164fc5bd70.jpg

 

The timeline/perspective jumping is very distracting and almost ruins the whole novel in the first half/two thirds. We keep bouncing between different characters, some not feeling especially relevant or important. I had the same sort of issue with Lost and the Damned (where the closest the book had to a main character was Katsuhiro, who still only appeared in about 20-25% of the entire book). This one wasn't quite so bad in that regard, it does feel like it has more of a focus (the Iron Warriors and Imperial Fists, as well as the aforementioned Zenobi story), but it also keeps moving through different points in time.

 

I've actually gone through and noted all the timestamps to illustrate how much it jumps around, with jumps backwards in red (I've removed Zenobi's parts because, while they do jump back and forth between that and the Imperial Palace, the Addaba parts at least flow forward linearly):

 

Spoiler

 

In addition to the "steps back" above, there are two occasions where a day seems to elapse instantly: At the end of Chapter 15 Zenobi gets ready at the train turrets (60 days before), we cut away...then when we return in Chapter 16 it's 59 days before and Zenobi is still sat at the gun, ready to fire on the incoming aircraft. At the end of Chapter 29 we see Khârn charging at the Imperial Fists led by Sigismund (21 days after), we cut away...then when we return in Chapter 30 it's 22 days after and Khârn is still leaping over them.

 

It makes the whole thing feel like a bunch of vaguely related short stories rather than a coherent story, and robs the narrative of momentum.

 

Additionally, I struggled to really get a feel for the logistics of the battle because of all this. I read what's happening, but I don't really get -why- it's happening, why I should care, etc. Early on there's a big assault on the gate...then the Iron Warriors assault the port directly with lance strikes, drop pods/ships, torpedoes, and entering through additional entrances. So why the big kerfuffle at the gate?

 

So yeah, those are my mixed feelings. I loved Zenobi's story in this, even if it had basically nothing to do with the attack on the space port. A lot of the prose and character writing is solid, but the lack of any kind of narrative flow and focus early on hurts this novel so badly. Overall I did prefer this to Lost and the Damned, but Solar War remains the best example of balancing all the characters involved.

 

I give it a 7/10 overall: Zenobi's stuff is worth an easy 9, but the pacing problems of the book as a whole drag it down.


Edited by Tymell, 11 April 2020 - 07:59 PM.

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#306
Ascanius

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The one real weakness of the novel was the Zenobi thread in the book. It was initially a nice change of pace to see a more human aspect to the war, but as the ongoing trudge towards the palace that they face, reading it was a similar trudge - and I quickly became bored. As I want to speak more about this I will put the rest in spoilers, so read on at your peril (and if you want to talk about it further, please continue to use spoiler tags):

Spoiler

 

I'm not going to say "You're wrong", but I really disagree on a couple of points:

Spoiler

 

That's just me, but it was my favourite element of the book.

 

I haven't always been fond of the way Zardu Layak foreshadowed Abaddon's future role, if for no other reason than that Black Legion did such a good job at demonstrating that his rise was never exactly a foregone conclusion. On the other hand, now that he's dead, perhaps that thread will be left to trail off and we can assume that it was Layak's particular conviction that Abaddon was The Guy, not a general belief held by all and sundry with a line to the Dark Gods.


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#307
Moonreaper666

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The one real weakness of the novel was the Zenobi thread in the book. It was initially a nice change of pace to see a more human aspect to the war, but as the ongoing trudge towards the palace that they face, reading it was a similar trudge - and I quickly became bored. As I want to speak more about this I will put the rest in spoilers, so read on at your peril (and if you want to talk about it further, please continue to use spoiler tags):

Spoiler


I'm not going to say "You're wrong", but I really disagree on a couple of points:
Spoiler


That's just me, but it was my favourite element of the book.

I haven't always been fond of the way Zardu Layak foreshadowed Abaddon's future role, if for no other reason than that Black Legion did such a good job at demonstrating that his rise was never exactly a foregone conclusion. On the other hand, now that he's dead, perhaps that thread will be left to trail off and we can assume that it was Layak's particular conviction that Abaddon was The Guy, not a general belief held by all and sundry with a line to the Dark Gods.

To be fair Laylak told Abaddon not to rescue Khârn saying that the Gods do not approve. Had Abaddon obeyed the will of Chaos, Laylak would still be alive

Khârn dies but is revive by Khorne anyway so it was moot for Abaddon to rescue him

Dorn>Laylak>Guilliman

#308
Indefragable

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So I finished this a while back....before the whole COVID19 thing was on the minds of most of the planet. I've been struggling with my review, however, since I literally have to mentally switch gears to the Before Times to pick back up and complete it. Yea, I know it's just for these forums so it's not exactly impacting human history, but it nags at me to have started something without finishing it (like my entire collection of unpainted models). I'll see what I can do soon. 


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#309
Red_Shift

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I finished this yesterday. I enjoyed it overall, and I view Thorpe novels with some trepidation.

I thought the iron warriors were well handled. The right degree of pessimism and suspicion and the fight scenes were good. I never felt like they had too much plot armour although I would have liked to have seen one of their bigger characters bite it.

I found the free corps sideline a bit pointless. Where in previous books the imperial army viewpoint gave some perspective I thought it was largely wasted. I didn't see that particular twist coming but I was expecting a twist, such as them all being stepped on by a titan the minute they arrive. I think it would have been fine if the page use hadn't been so excessive.

Spoiler


#310
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I'll say the first half or so was a bit slow, then it got better, then I really enjoyed the last several chapters. I loved the end of the free corps plot line.

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#311
Indefragable

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Re-listened to this. Not often I do that, but this one I decided to. I had previously finished the audiobook moments before COVID became a thing so as I alluded to in some other posts, it felt like a decade since I had absorbed it. I had started writing my usual tome of reaction, but I'm just gonna be quick about it below. 

 

**********

 

Like Buried Dagger I found this one an odd mix of stories to include. Each are pretty good on their own, but put together....I have to ask what the author's intent was. Like an album you listen to that is widely varied--almost jarringly so--with the tracks on it. If it's a collection/greatest hits/mixtape? Sure. But if that's the creator's intent....I don't get it.

 

Unlike Buried Dagger, I thought this one was pretty good overall..it just seemed odd to have these 3 stories put together, let alone as a numbered entry in DA SIEGE. 

 

1. Imperial Fists vs Iron Warriors: this was the best part of the book, and precisely the sort of thing we've all been wanting from DA SIEGIEST SIEGE THAT EVER DID SIEGE. The mind games, the unstoppable force meets unmovable object nature of the IF v IW rivalry...we got a taste of that. Not a cooked to perfection meal, but a nice taste. Forrix (sp?) and Rann stole the show....but since they're on the cover, maybe it was their show all along. An excellent blend of individual combat, tactical maneuvering, greater strategy, and the confluence of them all. If the entire series was mostly this, I'd be happy. I was less pleased with:

Spoiler

 

2. Adabba Free Korps: I like this story. Especially the second time around, I really appreciate it. I can even see why it's part of SIEGE OF TERRA, THE. I just don't get why it had to be told here, now, as part of this particular numbered entry. It clearly was a neat idea that Thorpe wanted to expand on, so good there, but how it fit into the battle felt tacked on and lacking any meaning. If....

Spoiler

 

3. Amon + Keeler + Malcador: most boring part of the siege to me so far. Yea yea the start of the Imperial Creed and how faith can literally shield you. Again, felt a bit too on-the-nose for us readers with our knowledge of life 10,000 years later. It's not a bad little story at all, it just feels off to be in this book at this point in the Siege. I know the scale of the battle is beyond human comprehension, so there's plenty of sections of the palace that are calm and relatively untouched, but a detective story in the middle of it was jarring....like reading about someone on a quest to fix a vending machine during Pearl Harbor.  A cumulative effect of the HH and Siege series I also find off-putting:

Spoiler

I have to give Thorpe credit on writing some of the religious aspects, especially as someone who has admitted that's not their comfort zone. There was a part that hit home for me from a discomfort level, and that's always a good sign for an author. Also, to make sure I get it right:

Spoiler

 

I submit that many of my gripes and queries around "why was that included in this book" may be answered as the rest of the series unfolds. I hope it does and that my complaints here are more of the "just watch" variety rather than artistic oddities, but we'll just have to see. 

 

Again, I harp on the negative stuff mainly because that's what stands out the most to me. This was decent overall. 

 

My arbitrary rankings so far (too lazy to look back at what I previously gave them). 

  1. The Solar War = 7.5
  2. The Lost and The Damned = 6.5
  3. The First Wall = 7

To be honest, I have not been blown away by any of the Siege novels so far. Solar War was good and an interesting way to kick it all off. I am a bit partial to Lost and Damned because I'm a BA guy and A. they finally got some interesting moments, especially the criminally under explored Raldoron, and B. the more I think about it the more the Katsuhiro arc has grown on me.  First Wall was 1/3 good, 2/3 good-but-not-Siege-y to me. 


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#312
LetsYouDown

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I have to give Thorpe credit on writing some of the religious aspects, especially as someone who has admitted that's not their comfort zone. There was a part that hit home for me from a discomfort level, and that's always a good sign for an author. Also, to make sure I get it right:
Spoiler

 

Spoiler

 


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