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What is your least favorite HH novel?


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#276
Phoebus

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Those are good points.

 

Not my meaning though. 

 

I meant Khayon as a narrator. Of course the characters should speak in absolutes (well, I'd debate Alpha Legion). I mean that I dont think its fair to expect people to pick up on that when there is nothing to contradict their narrative and the book goes out of its way to undermine other positions.

 

I also dont think highly of those that dismiss critique by grouping in every objection into a summary dismissal. I started by saying I thought his prose were fantastic, he is a good writer after all, but I do not think he excels at the portrayal of the unreliable narrator. And I confess to being tired of how quickly critique of him gets flanderized to being equivalent to the more abusive aspects of the fanbase. 

I meant Khayon as a narrator, as well. Where expectations of the reader are concerned, I’m by no means trying to advocate for elitist attitudes, but what Dembski-Bowden did with Khayon has been a staple of fiction for a long, long time. Here’s an example of what I’m thinking:

 

Unless you read the Dune prequels, objectively speaking there’s no reason to assume the Harkonnens hold any moral high ground over their Atreides rivals. At the same time, it’s contingent on the reader to pick up on the second- and third-order effects of the surviving Atreides son’s quest for vengeance: it’s not Frank Herbert’s fault if I don’t pick up on the fact that justice leads to a galactic jihad, as this is both implied and outright stated in his novel. No, I don’t have the right to be aggressive or condescending with someone if they don’t recognize that the Atreides themselves are becoming something terrible in the name of “species survival”... but pointing out that this theme is reinforced throughout that series of novels isn’t, in and of itself, elitist.

 

Bringing it back to this discussion, I feel comfortable saying that Khayon’s beliefs with regard to his cause are subjective, and that his competence — as a sorcerer, as a communicator, etc. — doesn’t change this. The Talon of Horus conveys Khayon’s truth, not the objective truth, and the war he has fought is sacred in his eyes — not everyone else’s. I by no means want to come off as looking down my nose at someone when I say this, though. I wholeheartedly agree that a story is better served by the author providing means by which to discern right and wrong: if Herbert never showed the cruelty of the Harkonnens and the malicious glee they experienced during said acts, readers would rightly wonder just why they’re supposed to root for Paul Muad’dib. But the Harkonnen’s deeds do speak for themselves, and so do Khayon’s: he’s an often unapologetic killer and a practitioner of arts whose cost in moral currency is qualified both in that novel and throughout the larger catalogue of the Black Library. We don’t have to assume that this makes the Imperium the “good guys,” but while Khayon is a protagonist in The Talon of Horus, I don’t think it’s fair to say that story presents him as a hero (again, in the “good guy” sense).

 

Thinking about it further, the one thing I'll say in Prospero Burns defence, is that I think the one-sided showing of the Space Wolves was partly because it was intended to be a companion piece to Thousand Sons. Of course, the issue then is that Thousand Sons still presents the Wolves actions as almost correct, what with all the hand-wringing and declarations of guilt from Magnus. 

If we had Prospero Burns showing the Wolves as awesome, and the Thousand Sons as evil incarnate, with Prospero Burns showing the exact reverse, it could be somewhat excusable. Sadly, that's not what we got.

Here’s a genuine question:

 

Should both primarchs (and their legions) share that kind of self-view? Magnus is genuinely contrite, and he has his reasons for feeling that way. There’s definitely an argument to be made for Russ to be more introspective about the contradiction and hypocrisy inherent in his Rune Priests, but I don’t think it’s really in his character to feel guilty for carrying out his brother’s censure.


Edited by Phoebus, 08 May 2020 - 05:33 PM.

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#277
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My issue with PB is not even the wolves.

 

The issue with the book is that nobody external to the wolves offer's ANY kind of counter point, simply reinforcement of the belief (utterly flawed and biased) that they are the scariest, hardest, most loyal, utterly unwavering, Marines Marine, legion without question.

 

Of course the Wolves think they are hot, thats not my problem at all. Its how we are simply told this, not show it, and there is no question or ambiguity about it.

 

It is not a coincidence that they are taken down MANY pegs later by other authors, across many books.


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#278
bluntblade

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Does anyone counter the Sons of Horus' assertions to that effect in Horus Rising? Or the Dark Angels' in their books?

 

I don't recall any point where Abnett even has the Wolves say they fight better than any other Legion, let alone infer it through the text, except for the old "That's not unprecedented." Which, as we all know, can be read in many ways.

 

The Wolves' arc was always to be brought down to earth, and it's not in a "tear down the other guy's work because I don't like it" way. Chris Wraight clearly loves the Wolves and he writes a number of the body blows they take. It's simply him keying into the Legion's logical arc.


Edited by bluntblade, 08 May 2020 - 05:41 PM.

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#279
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If I even still own the book, there is no chance I dig it out of storage to supply the quotes on this one.

 

If that disqualifies me from further discussion on it thats fine. I could look up my posts here but....nobody is going to change their minds on this one. :P


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#280
StrangerOrders

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Does anyone counter the Sons of Horus' assertions to that effect in Horus Rising? Or the Dark Angels' in their books?

Of the top of my head?

 

-The Invisible King's Stand-in.

-Sinderman upon seeing the carnage.

-Literally all the Remembrancers.

-The Interex.

 

There is honestly no one that does not contradict or present a counter-narrative to some facet of Loken's PoV in that book.

 

I'd count Samus depending one whether he is the man beside you or the end at the given time.

 

Heck, there are a half-dozen conflicting positions on the Lodges alone in that book.

 

Edit: Forgot, the book literally starts with a jarring change in PoV.


Edited by StrangerOrders, 08 May 2020 - 05:43 PM.

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#281
Brother Lunkhead

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=][=

 

A lot of the discussion here is getting too in depth for the topic at hand. State the HH novel that is your least favorite, say your piece, and move on. If you wish to have a more detailed discussion, then I encourage you to take it to the thread for the particular novel, or create a new topic.

 

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#282
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=][=

 

A lot of the discussion here is getting too in depth for the topic at hand. State the HH novel that is your least favorite, say your piece, and move on. If you wish to have a more detailed discussion, then I encourage you to take it to the thread for the particular novel, or create a new topic.

 

=][=

 

 

A thread without discussion, without back and forth, is a vapid waste of time. Nobody is being prevented from continuing with the original premise, or providing further feedback on a tangent relevant to the thread.

 

Why is this necessary? 


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#283
Kelborn

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There's nothing wrong with discussing certain povs or reasons why someone dislikes or likes certain novels but let's be fair.
The last two pages were a mixture of Dan Abnett yay or nay - here's why and general comparisons between the BL authors or here's my humble opinion of author xy.

I was about to do a very similar post like Brother Lunkhead did, while catching up.
Thankfully, we returned back on topic so I'll leave it as it is.

Again, discussing is fine and appreciated but try to avoid drifting off from the core point of a thread.

Edited by Kelborn, 08 May 2020 - 09:20 PM.

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#284
Xisor

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My issue with PB is not even the wolves.

The issue with the book is that nobody external to the wolves offer's ANY kind of counter point, simply reinforcement of the belief (utterly flawed and biased) that they are the scariest, hardest, most loyal, utterly unwavering, Marines Marine, legion without question.

Of course the Wolves think they are hot, thats not my problem at all. Its how we are simply told this, not show it, and there is no question or ambiguity about it.

It is not a coincidence that they are taken down MANY pegs later by other authors, across many books.


As others have said, the book was conceived of, workshopped and worked on with the intent of being a two-hander with A Thousand Sons.

If anything, I can see the complaint being that Abnett overestimated what the counterpoint raised in ATS would/should/could be.

The lingering motif of PB is nevertheless how unreliable the stories we tell ourself are. The whole plot is about someone trying to get the "story" on the Legion, trying to unravel the whole mess that surrounds them.

The book presents that answer, but in such a way that the absence of counterpoints is conspicuous. You know?

This goes wider, to the idea of unreliable narrators more generally.

It also has two important details.

1- The HH relies on unreliable narrators, but spends too much time never playing with who the narrator is, so lulls us all into the security of taking everything at face value. Not because we can trust them, but because we've had nothing really to suggest suspecting otherwise.

There's some fairness in laying this in the hands of the readers, but equally: the doubtful narratorship of, say, the first ten non-Legion books essentially play it all straight. And Legion is about being unreliable (yet played straight with the narrator, still).

There's no sense that Garro or Loken or Tarvitz aren't "on the level" as narrators, that their stories might be a bit sanitised.

Even "reading between the lines" for them, it's more blindspots and naivety, not wholesale warped or curated views of "reality".

Prospero Burns at least feels that way, because you can see the implied spaces left open where competing views could be hidden.

But almost nowhere else in the series does that. (I'd read a good take on "Descent of Angels" that suggests this both of Zahariel and the Lion - but caveated with the fact the novel's suitably lacklustre that even if deliberate, it doesn't add much to redeem the novel, and not done well enough to be a convincing prevailing opinion.)

2- Not only did the series not do much with them, there's a lot of places where it SHOULD have. (Or at least, I'd contest, would have.)

With "Fulgrim" there was a sort of implied unreliability that leant the reader a lot of flexibility in interpreting the novel. (Following novels basically said "no, that was just mistaken identity. Fulgrim was always going to fall, but also somehow survive and moustache twirl his was to saying it was his plan all along". For me that revises the flexibility to actually inflexible: and means that Fulgrim as a novel is actually pretty one dimensional, just with an unintended/lucky optical illusion of depth.)

Similarly, A Thousand Sons could have benefit from playing up Ahriman's wilful, reckless disregard for 100% integrity. But the noble sorcerous naivete he has is diminished.

Look at the implication in PB for Amon and Ahriman and things - there's a sense of a lot of stuff going on without Magnus' oversight.

In ATS, that seems just to have been some "more risqué learning", not actual scheming across the Imperium.

(This opportunity was present in Battle for the Abyss, but Skraal and Mhotep were played pretty straight.)

Again, this could have cropped up with a ton of things.

There's a sense - retrofit for the most part - of "oooh, what are they up to!?" with Maloghurst, Erebus and Malcador.

Except that their shadow wars are all fairly basic and - again - played straight except in particular plot points.

I find them broadly favourable, especially where John French, Chris Wraight and several others have touched on these things.

But the aggregate problem is that things that are trivial aren't flavoured with a bit of doubt and confusion - though some shorts and Swallow's Nemesis half-toyed with his - but also that even the things that are devious, as sort of tied up all nice and neat, so you think it's safe to stop suspecting things.

The uncertainty and vagueness of motivations, of factions and whatnot is all there - we don't trust Alpha Legion, we know Night Lords are too nostalgic to really be trusted, and the Salamanders' bleeding hearts might cause some hassle - but none of that's the same as flavouring the whole thing with a piquant sense of "but what if this is the red herring?"

---

It's all there - right back to "False Gods" and the Horus/Magnus/Erebus dream sequence.

Horus, despite having seen the case blown wide open, still disregards Magnus and sides with Erebus.

Not in an "I'll be sure to keep an eye on every detail" sort of thing that will colour the whole rest of the series, but in a "Well that's the last we'll hear of that, tune in next week for an episode of SPACE MARINES GET EXTERMINATUSED!"
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#285
Lexington

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Horus Rising.

Like, I’ve tried. Really have. Four or five attempts, just can’t get past that first hundred pages or so. It’s so ponderous and boring and everything is weighted with a portentousness that makes my eyes hurt from rolling so much. I normally love Abnett, but I’ve never understood how this book launched such a huge series, or stands out in people’s mind as a high point.

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#286
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Unremembered Empire for me. I bought that novel years ago, couldn't finish it and haven't touched it since. The whole subplot of the Empire Secundus didn't grab me like I thought it would I guess. I even read all of Fear to Tread and I feel i'm the only person on the planet that didn't have much of a problem with it. laugh.png

 

I read Know no Fear and didn't have issues with it. Best thing about the book is that it allowed Honour to The Dead to exist and I listen to that a lot more than I read any of the HH books.


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#287
The Observer

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It has to be either Vulkan Lives or Unremembered Empire. Vulkan Lives I just couldn't get into because the writing seemed so uninspired to me and the plot didn't offer me anything particularly interesting. Unremembered Empire, though well written, just doesn't really do anything or go anywhere. The premise of Guilliman creating a second Empire in order to preserve his father's vision strikes me as a very noble and in-character thing to do - I love the idea! But just too little is done with the potential for negative backlash from other characters. Sure, we as readers may know that Guilliman is of noble intent and loyal, but that doesn't mean that other characters and even his brethren do. It feels like one of those books that has a great amount of potential on a conceptual level but ultimately does nothing with them.


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#288
Lucerne

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A good chunk of the Siege so far.

Seventh Serpent was a literary disgrace and honestly grounds for never letting McNeil near Alpha Legion ever again- if we're counting novellas...

Pythos was pointless.

Vulkan Lives...a good chunk of the Imperium secundus arc centered around loyalists...Ruinstorm...


Edited by Lucerne, 24 May 2020 - 01:18 AM.

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#289
bluntblade

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I feel like Unremembered Empire would have gone over better had the Vulkan and Curze factors not been involved. And had the actual concept of Imperium Secundus not been allowed to bloat and devolve into repetitive cat-and-mouse with Curze and the stuff with the Painted Counted, simultaneously eating up space for other narratives.
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#290
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Fear to Tread

...but only because I managed to finish it

I gave up on Deliverance Lost, Nemesis, Vulkan Lives etc.




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