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What is your least favorite HH novel?


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#51
Morovir

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McNeill himself said that he had only read the first and second books of French's Ahriman trilogy, which pretty much answers why it seemed to be a rehash of the third book.


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#52
Jareddm

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I'd say the most dubious authorial creative decision in the HH for me was McNeil's plot for Crimson King seeming to just be a reinterpretation of French's ideas for his Ahriman series, that only seemed to canonically invalidate a lot of those books. Then again it's been ages since i read the Ahriman books so maybe on a reread it would fit together better.

 

Completely agree on Crimson King. It's like McNeill was taking the same ideas that were explored in the Ahriman trilogy but doing them in a clumsier, less sophisticated way. I've read the Ahriman books recently-ish so reading Crimson King after was like seeing a pantomime version of the same broad ideas wedged into a heresy novel. Like a fetch quest type thing with less interesting versions of the same characters. I think they technically fit together in that there's no obvious contradictions in timeline or whatever but the spirit is so different.

 

Honestly seeing the proliferation of 'primarch shards' as a kind of Horcrux-like item through the heresy and 40k as opposed to their more shadowy and esoteric origin in French's book has been a big disappointment.

 

McNeil has said that while the idea of Magnus's shards was something he and French discussed back when the first Ahriman book was being written, the delay in writing The Crimson King meant that he never read Ahriman: Unchanged, and wasn't aware French had ended up using it in his series.  It's a sucky excuse in my opinion, and it's unfortunate that far more people will read TCK than the Ahriman trilogy.

 

Ninja'd.


Edited by Jareddm, 26 November 2019 - 05:45 PM.

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#53
Ingo Pech

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"Battle For The Abyss", "The Outcast Dead", "Vulkan Lives" and "Deathfire".

"Battle for the abyss" is just plain boring with stereotypical and bland characters...

"The Outcast Dead" was just not my cup of tea.

"Vulkan lives" was too much "Vulkan lives" for me. And I really dislike the whole "Vulkan is a Perpetual-thing".

And the Last battle-scene in "Deathfire" felt like a fever dream of a pubescent with a dinosaur-fetish. Totally over the top and not in a positive sense. More like a really bad C-movie. The Death Guard were shown as completely incompetent dorks and the whole story would have fit on a beer map...
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#54
Fedor

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Deathfire went up to 11 on the fantasy/mythological vibe Kyme had been building up. There's definitely a lot of stuff in it that doesn't exactly fit well with the sci-fi side of the lore. The Nocturne beasts and big giant flamethrowers destroying the life eater virus, Vulkan's whole arc of reincarnating from the soil of Nocturne etc..

 

DG villain was terrible too, though i did like the Word Bearer that had dedicated himself solely to martial excellence through the usual WB daemonology stuff. That was a refreshing take on them. I never understood how Narek had been able to kill that Knight Errant and why he took on his indentity either.



#55
MegaVolt87

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"Battle For The Abyss", "The Outcast Dead", "Vulkan Lives" and "Deathfire".

"Battle for the abyss" is just plain boring with stereotypical and bland characters...

"The Outcast Dead" was just not my cup of tea.

"Vulkan lives" was too much "Vulkan lives" for me. And I really dislike the whole "Vulkan is a Perpetual-thing".

And the Last battle-scene in "Deathfire" felt like a fever dream of a pubescent with a dinosaur-fetish. Totally over the top and not in a positive sense. More like a really bad C-movie. The Death Guard were shown as completely incompetent dorks and the whole story would have fit on a beer map...

 

I actually didn't mind Vulkan Lives, but I thought Deathfire was a complete dumpster fire of a novel. Kyme tried way too hard making Numenon a bad censored.gif  by having him cake walk all his fights. We kept being told how dangerous DG were as foes, but they came off as complete noob scrubs getting floored so easy. The DG commander was hopeless, when he could have been way more threatening. Nocturne deus ex machina beating a superior DG force, instead of a hard fought battle really cheapened that victory for the Salamanders. The only character I liked was that High Chaplin on Nocturne, he was the real boss in the whole thing.  


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#56
Manchu warlord

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yes, totally a ploy to badmouth a fictional character. worth investing years of his life and artistic passion towards that end. maybe the emperor hurt adb when he was a child. seems likely

 

Well obviously.

 

 

 

Huh? His Black Templars, Grey Knights, Space Wolves, Celestial Lions and Emperors Spears have all been fantastic. Or going back to Master of Mankind, he's the only author so far that has actually written a decent Blood Angel, his Corax, brief as he was, was awesome and devastating, and pitted against the odds as they were, his Ultramarines from Betrayer were decent characters. And then we have his Dark Angels which were just far beyond anyone elses.

 

It seems that just because of his Night Lords and Black Legion series, then The First Heretic and Betrayer everyone see's him as Chaos only or that he favours Chaos. When I'd argue he's almost written more loyalist or just as much.

 

So Dan Abnett is not the Imperial Guard guy?  McNeill is not the Ultramarines guy?  Wraight is not the Space Wolves and White Scars guy?  Thorpe is not the Dark Angels guy?  Kyme is not the Salamanders guy?   ADB is totally the Chaos guy mate.

 

 

I really don't get the hate for master of mankind - yeah, the Emperor's a bit of a psychopath, but of course he is - he's looking at the big picture. What he does makes sense in a utilitarian way.
I personally thought MoM was a bit below ADB's usual standards mainly because the main characters didn't have much of a moral conflict, and were all just really, really loyal. The look at how the mechanicus would betray someone was pretty cool though.

 

I don't mind what the Emperor did, the man had to have done something that would anger Chaos and its followers enough to start the whole Heresy that would lead to the 41st first millennium.  I just didn't like ADB's lack of good/humane points about the Emperor.  When other authors write about the Emperor (I feel) they at least make him appear kind of good and likable, but MoM just made him down right villainy.

 

 

 

Don't really get the extent of the praise for Savage Weapons i've read over the years, it's a perfectly good Dark Angels short and is notable for being the first of their HH entries to indicate they weren't going to go down the "plays both sides/waits it out" debate that AoD introduced, but it was hardly some radically new take on the DA or big difference in quality than what we had got for them before it imo. The entertaining Lion and Curze dialogue was the best thing about it for me.

 

That slight disagreement aside, i completely agree with everything else angel of blood said about ADB's loyalist writings. It  also just seems utterly childish to think a writer would willingly sabotage a faction or character through petty bias.

 

I'd say the most dubious authorial creative decision in the HH for me was McNeil's plot for Crimson King seeming to just be a reinterpretation of French's ideas for his Ahriman series, that only seemed to canonically invalidate a lot of those books. Then again it's been ages since i read the Ahriman books so maybe on a reread it would fit together better.

 

I do not think so.  Biographical works of many famous historical figures are full of controversial information, some are good and sheds a optimistic like upon the figure (constantly mentioning the good stuff the figure did, asides from the bad stuff), while some are bad and aimed to demonize the figure (focusing mostly on the bad stuff they did and all the people they killed, and barely mentioning any of their optimistic reforms).  Chinggis Khan, Napoleon Bonaparte, Empress Dowager Cixi, there are many books about these people, and a lot of them are deliberate attempts to bad mouth them.  Other figures, like Winston Churchill, we see praises about him all time, but what about the 3 - 4 million Indians he starved to death during WWII, why don't we ever hear about that, and was always taught that he was a hero.  

 

So, to me, it does not seem 'childish' or out of place to think an author would be bias and choose to sabotage a faction.


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

 

 


#57
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I stumbled in here not expecting a morning headache, but alas, I found it anyway.


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#58
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(Considers several points, considers DC's headache)

Let's just all remember that AD-B's MoM portrayal does not decanonise all His other appearances. They're the interpretations of individual characters and we are meant to recall all the Primarch interactions. Though he did misjudge that a little, and putting a meeting with Dorn in might have helped.

Also, history is :cussing complicated.

Edited by bluntblade, 27 November 2019 - 07:55 AM.

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#59
Xisor

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With "Deathfire", two major points stick out to me that I don't think have ever been resolved to my satisfaction inside (in wider HH) or outside (hot takes, etc) the story.

1- the Salamanders abandoned the war. I know of people making arguments that 400 out of perhaps millions of soldiers is neither here nor there, but I can't quite square that. For one, it somewhat undermines the concept of discipline. For two, nobody was in a position to know with any confidence that the Salamanders weren't turning traitor, or just being afraid or selfish.

As readers we know the point about them being reckless gung-ho fools with hearts of gold, supposedly, but it just seems absurd to me to think that amidst the Heresy it would go unremarked, unlamented or unscrutinised.

They nicked a super-magic body and disappeared off on some warp quest. Into the Ruinstorm! The sort of thing many Navigators might rather die on the spot than attempt without good reason.

2- the Death Guard fleet's assault on a Legion homeworld system and all its attendant military and civilian fleets, systems, powers and refugees.

Or: one (1) spaceship full of people & equipment with dozens of decades of rugged experience at invading superbly dangerous, monster-filled planets versus an empty, lonely planet of *planetbound* dinosaurs.

----

The implication - as I recall - wasn't that the death guard were especially crafty, or paid a high price, or exhausted many high-end skills, to get to Nocturne. Rather: they crept up, and then it turned out they didn't need to because there was nobody (NOBODY 'CEPT THE DINOSAURS) home.

Not ship after ship of system-bound defence monitor. Not teeming with space stations. Not with a moon-based gargantuan Legion Fortress poking out into the void whizzing around the planet at an unholy speed and distance which causes horrible tidal and tectonic problems for the world below...

None of that.

An (almost, ignore those dinosaurs) empty planet, a single spaceship and an intimate vista without distractions.

It's unsatisfactory, conceptually.

---

The actual concept of the tomb-robbery, jaunt across untold horror risking it all just to see space-dad's body put to rest in the proper firehole is and was kinda neat. Conceptually, I quite liked the damn idea of the Salamanders doing the breakout, of making the hard choice to turn their back on the war, to make the case that four hundred wouldn't add up to a hill of beans etc...

But it didn't, and there weren't consequences, the vaguer, implicit links of cosequence and whatnot all just seemed... severed.

I was vaguely anticipating a reprise in "Pharos" or similarly timed books, but for whatever reason, many of the other HH books seem to go out of their way to omit anything hint of a detail of the consequences of Deathfire and its connections.

--
I vaguely imagine...
--

"Hey Pollux, what happened to those Salamanders we were getting reinforced with. They seemed to know a bit about this magic mountain tech?"

"Eh, yeah. You'd better sit down, Legionary. They've... They abandoned the fight. They took Vulkan's corpse and - whether in despair or in treachery - plunged themselves headlong into the storm."

"The storm that's killed, within a rounding error, everything except those ships guided by this mountain...?"

"The very same. Unless they've sold themselves to the monstrous powers of the deep warp..."

"Another Legion turned traitor through despair. Damn it, they could have helped."

"To hell with them."
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#60
DarkChaplain

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To me, the worst part about that lack of consequences from Deathfire comes in the form of its sequels: Sons of the Forge and Old Earth.

 

In Sons of the Forge, we see T'kell, who had been set up rather nicely in Artefacts, basically delaying his freakin' journey to hide the artefacts until after Vulkan's body is back on Nocturne, leaving just before Vulkan wakes from the dead. He literally leaves with the remaining, super-powerful weapons and ship, right before his dad got back into the action, but waited literally years before receiving the command pre-Isstvan V and this midway point through Imperium Secundus. He slept on his ONE duty as first Forgefather for years, and then conveniently is absent by the time Vulkan actually might be able to tell him off for it.

 

And then in Old Earth? Vulkan does it all secretly. He leaves his entire remaining Legion to mourn, and only takes what, three dudes with him? Just to then ditch them all on the Throneworld regardless? He could've taken a couple hundred Salamanders, surely. Heck, had T'kell still been around, he might have even taken the super awesome ship for himself instead of going on a wild goosechase through the webway (which also, iirc, retconned him being aware of his immortality in Old Earth, by referencing his days on Nocturne, while in Vulkan Lives, it seemed more of a surprise to him).

 

So Vulkan never benefits from having a garrison on Nocturne. He never chides his sons for turning tail, or those that did at any rate. He never smacks T'kell for being a buffoon and almost delivering the tech-marvels into the hands of Regulus. He never tells his sons what's up, that he didn't die, that Horus didn't wipe two Primarchs on Isstvan V... he just leaves in secret, to keep himself out of the traitors' eyes. Yeah, Vulkan was currently presumed dead by Fulgurite, but I'd argue news of his survival - rather than the baseless chanting of Vulkan Lives! by his sons - would have had more of an effect on the loyalists than knowledge of his survival would've helped the traitors, especially when considering his path to Terra, or that he got unveiled through the Iron Hands anyway - and those weren't exactly the trustworthy kind anyway.

 

Vulkan just leaves the same status quo behind, for the benefit of secrecy. Heck, his sons still think Artellus Numeon committed a pointless suicide. So not only did the Death Guard fail to leave any impact on Nocturne or the Salamanders, being entirely throwaway characters in Deathfire, Vulkan didn't either. He ends up where he needs to be by the end of Old Earth, but I can't help but think that what he brings to the war is excessively poor.

 

....that being said, I really struggled with Old Earth and put off reading it for months after failing to get past the first few chapters smoothly. When I eventually did read and finish it, I liked bits and scenes, but was barely invested in Vulkan's journey while wishing the Iron Hands had gotten their Iron Tenth novel after all. And I don't even like Iron Hands.


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#61
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It makes it easy to see how Dorn forgets Vulkan had been to Terra during the Siege. The authors didn't want to remember these books happened either.
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#62
DarkChaplain

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....and that's one of the scenes I really liked about Old Earth!



#63
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Old earth was probably my biggest let down, after quite liking Vulkan lives and deathfire (haven't reread them in ages though, so maybe I'd dislike them now). The scale was pretty weird and everything was a bit off and/or contrived.
I also like false gods a lot less than the others in the original trilogy, it could have been done much better. The zombies were dull, and Horus's character seemed to jump a load from Horus rising to the start of this one

#64
DukeLeto69

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To me, the worst part about that lack of consequences from Deathfire comes in the form of its sequels: Sons of the Forge and Old Earth.

 

In Sons of the Forge, we see T'kell, who had been set up rather nicely in Artefacts, basically delaying his freakin' journey to hide the artefacts until after Vulkan's body is back on Nocturne, leaving just before Vulkan wakes from the dead. He literally leaves with the remaining, super-powerful weapons and ship, right before his dad got back into the action, but waited literally years before receiving the command pre-Isstvan V and this midway point through Imperium Secundus. He slept on his ONE duty as first Forgefather for years, and then conveniently is absent by the time Vulkan actually might be able to tell him off for it.

 

And then in Old Earth? Vulkan does it all secretly. He leaves his entire remaining Legion to mourn, and only takes what, three dudes with him? Just to then ditch them all on the Throneworld regardless? He could've taken a couple hundred Salamanders, surely. Heck, had T'kell still been around, he might have even taken the super awesome ship for himself instead of going on a wild goosechase through the webway (which also, iirc, retconned him being aware of his immortality in Old Earth, by referencing his days on Nocturne, while in Vulkan Lives, it seemed more of a surprise to him).

 

So Vulkan never benefits from having a garrison on Nocturne. He never chides his sons for turning tail, or those that did at any rate. He never smacks T'kell for being a buffoon and almost delivering the tech-marvels into the hands of Regulus. He never tells his sons what's up, that he didn't die, that Horus didn't wipe two Primarchs on Isstvan V... he just leaves in secret, to keep himself out of the traitors' eyes. Yeah, Vulkan was currently presumed dead by Fulgurite, but I'd argue news of his survival - rather than the baseless chanting of Vulkan Lives! by his sons - would have had more of an effect on the loyalists than knowledge of his survival would've helped the traitors, especially when considering his path to Terra, or that he got unveiled through the Iron Hands anyway - and those weren't exactly the trustworthy kind anyway.

 

Vulkan just leaves the same status quo behind, for the benefit of secrecy. Heck, his sons still think Artellus Numeon committed a pointless suicide. So not only did the Death Guard fail to leave any impact on Nocturne or the Salamanders, being entirely throwaway characters in Deathfire, Vulkan didn't either. He ends up where he needs to be by the end of Old Earth, but I can't help but think that what he brings to the war is excessively poor.

 

....that being said, I really struggled with Old Earth and put off reading it for months after failing to get past the first few chapters smoothly. When I eventually did read and finish it, I liked bits and scenes, but was barely invested in Vulkan's journey while wishing the Iron Hands had gotten their Iron Tenth novel after all. And I don't even like Iron Hands.

 

Ok so now I have a headache - man that was hard to follow (not @DC but Kyme).

 

I read Deathfire and thought it was ok (not great but enjoyable enough and I liked the whole Homer's Iliad / Odyssey thang) but I have not read Vulkan Lives (because it got such bad feedback) or Old Earth (both on the shelf with all the other HH MMPB but unlike the rest they have shiny non-creased spines).



#65
Enosh

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Well Abyss is probably the worst from a pure objective standpoint, but Master of Mankind is the only that made me angry reading it so that one gets my vote



#66
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On Xisor's point about the Salamanders abandoning the war to go on their own quest, a similar thing happens in Old Earh with IH. They basically secede from the imperium and go blackshield at the end of it. I wonder if we'll ever get any follow up on that, or if they will have a change of heart and show up at some point for the Siege.



#67
Fedor

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Though technically not HH series i'd add in a reread of Solar War over the last few days really fell flat for me, other than the interactions with Emperor and Horus.

 

The time spent on the oliton subplot (which ended as a ridiculous way to take the Phalanx out of play) Loken's rank imcompetence as part of it and too many things being resolved by a daemonic win button just didn't hold up. The way the orbital defences and Luna were overcome by that ritual teleporting the Chaos fleet in and a Know no Fear kamikaze retread was as narratively lazy as it gets. I know this isn't hard military sci-fi, but at least give us more of a fleet engagement with some back and forth tactics as well as the daemonic edge that the traitors have. It brought what should have been the culmination of the Solar War down to a few big GOTCHA moments.


Edited by Fedor, 27 November 2019 - 05:58 PM.


#68
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My personal least favourite novel is Descent of Angels, and that has nothing to do with it "not being relevant enough to the Heresy" etc. The writing is just so unbearably bad, it's a real chore to get through. The story is dry and dull, the characters are laughably inept and stupid, it's just a mess.

 

But very close, and for very different reasons, is False Gods. With that one it's not so much that the core prose is bad (though the character writing is still pretty terrible, especially following on from the work Horus Rising did), more because it's such an important moment so badly done. It should be where we see the reasons for the entire Heresy, but it completely drops the ball in this regard and gives Horus no good reason to do what he does. Descent of Angels is worse in terms of writing, but in terms of missed opportunities and the gulf between what a book should be and what it is, False Gods sits far above the rest.


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#69
Brother Lunkhead

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This is a real toss up for me between...….

 

…...everything Nick Kyme  wrote about Vulcan and the Salamanders. I feel like these guys really got the shaft in the Horus Heresy. Not only did they get massacred at Istvaan but were totally marginalized throughout the Heresy to the point that they would have been better served had no one written anything about them at all. This all seemed like such a huge waste of potential.

 

and......

 

…...James Swallow's Nemesis. I think Swallow must have picked the short straw in writing this novel. There was just no joy here. If you're writing a novel that's going to end in a train wreck and everyone already knows that it's going to end in a train wreck, the least you can do is make the characters interesting and make the story leading up to the end compelling. Sadly, for me there was none of that. There was no character development and the assassins spent the whole story spitting at each other all the way to the end. On a positive note, the end did make me laugh..... it's a dark humor thingteehee.gif


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#70
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I also like false gods a lot less than the others in the original trilogy, it could have been done much better. The zombies were dull, and Horus's character seemed to jump a load from Horus rising to the start of this one

 


I think at the time one of my biggest disappointments going into False Gods was the timeskip. We never got to see the aftermath of the dealings with the Interex, we're just told they'd been wiped during campaign and Horus was still bitter about it. There was an obvious story to tell, still is, to transition Horus from the noble, compromise-seeking Warmaster, trying to cope with the to him irrational betrayal by the Interex, to the bloke bitter and mad about the foe and the Imperium's policies. The Interex just didn't provide anything after the fact.

 

I'd even make the argument that a short novel or novella covering the Interex conflict could serve as a way to bridge the leap between Horus as the loyal son to him actually believing the chaos visions on Davin. We know the Interex had been in touch with tainted species and artifacts, the Anathame most notably but not the only thing. So it stands to reason that any sort of large-scale warfare with the Interex - who could be considered a Tau Empire Pre-Alpha - would also lead to the Xenos-lovers employing tainted weaponry like that. This could easily serve as an opening for weakening Horus' resolve properly, rather than just telling us briefly that he got upset over not being able to make peace (a notion he originally held despite general Imperial policy!) and being turned into more and more of a pen-pusher, and lead more towards the revelations of False Gods being a confirmation of what had come before, rather than a sudden "y'know, I think I believe you, not-Sejanus, my daddy hates me" moment.


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#71
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I think there's also a case to be made for a story with Loken and Torgaddon actually being in effective exile, between False Gods and Galaxy In Flames. As the text is presented, they're still on the Vengeful Spirit and not many people are talking to them. If they're elsewhere in the fleet - aboard the King-Eater, say - or even on detached duty, fighting elsewhere, then their isolation and disfavour is actually dramatised.


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#72
Splog

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DAMNATION OF PYTHOS

It stole the prize from Vulkan Lives, and before it Fear to Tread. It nearly ended my reading of the HH. It seemed so strange and out of place and and and.... I ended up glossing over much of it. And stopped looking forward to new releases. For me, while there were some highlights afterwards I didn’t become a excited for the series again until I started reading Master of Mankind.

(I feel bad saying it but... every Salamanders book, Crimson King, and whatever it was where they were finding giant bone castles in space bigger than solar systems or something).

#73
MegaVolt87

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DAMNATION OF PYTHOS

It stole the prize from Vulkan Lives, and before it Fear to Tread. It nearly ended my reading of the HH. It seemed so strange and out of place and and and.... I ended up glossing over much of it. And stopped looking forward to new releases. For me, while there were some highlights afterwards I didn’t become a excited for the series again until I started reading Master of Mankind.

(I feel bad saying it but... every Salamanders book, Crimson King, and whatever it was where they were finding giant bone castles in space bigger than solar systems or something).

 

Yeah, that one felt like a 40k story more than a HH one. Did that demon prince (?) at the end even do anything major after that ending because it made out as if this entity is a big deal. 


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#74
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It was. Madail is a major factor as part of the Ruinstorm's daemons and haunts the Loyalist fleets, only being broken along with Davin by Sanguinius. That, and the entire thing is opening the Damnation Cache, which is going to be closed by the new Grey Knights in one of their first major outings post-Heresy, once they've reappeared in realspace. The Damnation of Pythos does not exist in a vacuum, even if Heresy-only readers won't necessarily realize that.


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#75
Tymell

Tymell

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To be clear from the off, I don't want to tell anyone their personal taste on a fictional book series is wrong, but I've never understood the outright hatred that Damnation of Pythos gets.

 

I don't think it's fantastic either, but I don't get what there is to hate about it. The prose is fine, it doesn't mess up major characters or events, and while, yes, it doesn't depict a big event that's going to shift the course of the wider conflict, why does it have to? To outright say it "doesn't have anything to do with the Heresy" or the like is nonsense: it's all about a group of Isstvan survivors, how the outbreak of this war affects them and how the galaxy itself is changing now. And isn't part of the point of this series to expand and flesh out the whole war?

 

Its timing for release wasn't great, since it came out during the "dry spell" of the series, and at a time when the general timeline had moved on beyond Isstvan V and its aftermath. But that doesn't make the book itself bad.

 

I just feel like the worst that could be said about it is that it doesn't stand out or is just "fine" and doesn't have a lot of wider impact, which doesn't seem to justify the kind of rabid hatred it generates.


Edited by Tymell, 27 November 2019 - 11:08 PM.

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