Jump to content

Welcome to The Bolter and Chainsword
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!
Photo

What is your least favorite HH novel?


  • Please log in to reply
196 replies to this topic

#176
DarkChaplain

DarkChaplain

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 2,074 posts
  • Location:Germany

This thread is gonna get nuked soon, isn't it?


  • Kelborn likes this

#177
Snazzy

Snazzy

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 61 posts
  • Location:King of Prussia, PA
  • Faction: SoH, DIY Fists

I'm still struck by the decisions made in Fulgrim.  I was looking forward to a portrayal of Fulgrim that would make him relatable.  Fulgrim was not that book.  He never came off as likeable.  Even his friendship with Ferrus seemed shoehorned in so that he seemed relateable.

 

At the time i was growing tired of the trope about divisions between Terran marines and those from the Legion's recruiting worlds.  They had used that plot device in the DA novels and with Qruze.  I felt no attachment to Saul Tarvitz.  The only thing i remember liking was the conversation about how attacking up the middle was not artful, unless you do it well enough.


  • mc warhammer likes this

Sons of Horus

Corso Legion (DIY Fists)

 

Builder of 5 previous SM armies.  Power Armor is addictive.

 


#178
mc warhammer

mc warhammer

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 1,289 posts
agreed on all counts on fulgrim, it was just...so obvious

there were some things to enjoy in it despite that. and it's a book that many many readers seem to love. mileage definitely varies
can't touch this
can't touch this
can't touch this
warhammer time!
 

#179
bluntblade

bluntblade

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 9,167 posts
  • Location:Herts
  • Faction: Inkspillers
I think it needed a clearer through-line, and McNeill doing a Back to the Future 2 meant that it often didn't feel like its own story.

Edited by bluntblade, 26 January 2020 - 06:43 AM.


#180
Xisor

Xisor

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 1,118 posts

agreed on all counts on fulgrim, it was just...so obvious

there were some things to enjoy in it despite that. and it's a book that many many readers seem to love. mileage definitely varies


I'd heard it described as a case of mistaken identity.

That Fulgrim's written in such a way that its easy to infer into it ideas that don't seem to have actually been intended, but that are interesting all the same, and fit with the text.

Join it up with The Reflection Crack'd, Angel Exterminated etc and suddenly those implications are clearly figments of the reader's imagination, and not cunning webs woven in deliberately trippy-seeming, hallucinatory-styled mists.

Maybe not mistaken identity, but paredoilia?
  • Noserenda likes this

#181
Scammel

Scammel

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 479 posts

I'm not sure either are my worst, but I definitely want to give shout-outs to both The Crimson King and Wolfsbane. The former has the Sons outsmarted at every turn and getting thrashed by opposing psykers, with yet another 'Death of Prospero' psychic-metaphor thing. No, the books aren't meant to be fanservice but for a legion as small and relatively non-involved as the Sons you'd assume the trade-off is that they take names when they do finally decide to commit.

 

Wolfsbane features Russ on a wolfy visionquest while cementing his title as worst decision-maker of the entire Heresy. Yawn.



#182
Shield-Captain

Shield-Captain

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 36 posts
  • Faction: Adeptus Custodes
Worst for me is either Abyss or Vulkan Lives. Abyss was just bad and I found most of the Salamander stuff boring and everything about Vulkan Lives was just the worst for me. Pythos is also up there. It was too enamored with things happening to really explain why things were happening. But I suppose the issue with these novels is a lot like the issue with comic books. Too many tie-ins can be confusing.

23.jpg


#183
Indefragable

Indefragable

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 3,824 posts
  • Location:Boston, MA, US of A
  • Faction: Blood Angels

agreed on all counts on fulgrim, it was just...so obvious

there were some things to enjoy in it despite that. and it's a book that many many readers seem to love. mileage definitely varies

 

 

 

agreed on all counts on fulgrim, it was just...so obvious

there were some things to enjoy in it despite that. and it's a book that many many readers seem to love. mileage definitely varies


I'd heard it described as a case of mistaken identity.

That Fulgrim's written in such a way that its easy to infer into it ideas that don't seem to have actually been intended, but that are interesting all the same, and fit with the text.

Join it up with The Reflection Crack'd, Angel Exterminated etc and suddenly those implications are clearly figments of the reader's imagination, and not cunning webs woven in deliberately trippy-seeming, hallucinatory-styled mists.

Maybe not mistaken identity, but paredoilia?

 

 

I kind of like Fulgrim the HH novel (as opposed to the Primarchs novel, which I love, but that's separate). 

 

Your points are not wrong, but I think why Fulgrim stands out to me is that, especially for being so early in the series, it is arguably the most self-contained of all the books. It can be read on its own and its story arc shows pre-fall III Legion to post-Isstvaan corrupted dudes. As a result, it feels like what at the meant was meant to be the "Emperor's Children one" which would then have similar showcases for all 18 Legions. Instead plots became further and further intertwined and we got less and less case studies on each individual Legion/Primarch (until an entire other novella series was developed for that reason). There was Thousand Sons, and Prospero Burns, and kinda sorta maybe but not really but I guess  Fear to Tread that took up the one-book-one-Legion structure....and then of course there is Scars which took that format and injected it with cocaine-laced jetfuel being pumped directly into the aorta. 

 

Is Fulgrim a great book? Maybe not. But as a self-contained one with one of the most complete arcs, it's definitely not a terrible book IMHO. 


  • DarkChaplain likes this

Call me Indy. It's less syllables.

 

 

gallery_93095_13980_27776.jpgETL_VI_Banner_Primus_Interpares_Astartes


#184
DarkChaplain

DarkChaplain

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 2,074 posts
  • Location:Germany

I'm honestly surprised by the mentions of Fulgrim. As far as I remember, it used to be one of the most well-regarded and nigh-universally appreciated books in the series.

 

If I had to hazard a guess, it might be down to posthumous dissatisfaction about Ferrus Manus and the Iron Hands, as well as Graham's choices via The Reflection Crack'd and so forth.



#185
Indefragable

Indefragable

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 3,824 posts
  • Location:Boston, MA, US of A
  • Faction: Blood Angels

I'm honestly surprised by the mentions of Fulgrim. As far as I remember, it used to be one of the most well-regarded and nigh-universally appreciated books in the series.

 

If I had to hazard a guess, it might be down to posthumous dissatisfaction about Ferrus Manus and the Iron Hands, as well as Graham's choices via The Reflection Crack'd and so forth.

 

I think it's a victim of age and the "first wave" of HH books compared to later gems that are drooled over. 


  • fire golem likes this

Call me Indy. It's less syllables.

 

 

gallery_93095_13980_27776.jpgETL_VI_Banner_Primus_Interpares_Astartes


#186
Red_Shift

Red_Shift

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 1,134 posts
TBH all I remember about Fulgrim is that at some point he took out an Eldar Avatar and it caused a lot of controversy at the time.

The worst heresy book that I have read was The First Heretic, but it might not have been badly written as much as I just was completely uninterested in the plot and it failed to draw me in. Kymes Salamander series was the only 40k book I gave up on half way through so I have no difficulty believing that any Salamander heresy book by him would have been a hard read.

#187
aa.logan

aa.logan

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 308 posts
  • Location:Stockport
  • Faction: Kartash’s pious stink
Partially inspired by this thread and partially driven by Audible’s recent sales I’ve revisited both Descent of Angels and Battle for The Abyss as audiobooks.

They’re certainly not the strongest entries in the series, but neither are they totally devoid of merit.

On my first read through, way back in 2009, I guess, when I devoured the series as far as it had been written, I found no real fault with the either of the Dark Angels novels- maybe because I was newly returned to GW and BL and full of the joys of boltguns, maybe because they offered a nice escape from a job I hated or maybe because they’re not actually that bad and as others have set the tone of the series hadn’t yet solidified, I can’t say for certain. I was, however, completely put off by the reception that Battle for The Abyss got and the fact the school I was working in didn’t have a copy of it in the library unlike the prior books in the series so I didn’t actually read it until 2013 out of sequence and after some of the total series highlights. I thought it was alright at what it did, but essentially throwaway- admittedly because it’s essentially self-contained, it doesn’t feature any major players in the Heresy nor does it explore any significant lore. It’s a book that BL must have put out half a dozen times, two ships chasing through the warp. Sometimes, you strike gold and get Mark of Faith. Other times, you get... this.

So, did returning to them add anything to my appreciation of them? Yes. But also no.

I’m not always the best at keeping track of character’s names, so I could never remember which of the protagonists of this book got on the wrong side of the Lion. I thought the re-read would help me do that, but other than one being a psyker and the other not, the two aspirants were bland as anything and largely indistinguishable. The look at pre-Imperial Caliban is pretty good and I guess sets the precedent for what we see in the Primarchs novels, so that’s a strength of the book, and there are plenty of nicely ironic references to schisms between brothers, rivalries, betrayals and the actual Cabal that I didn’t pick up on first time round. Ultimately though, not much happens and what does isn’t that important. There’s potential for a good story to be told about the arrival of the Great Crusade at a planet from the rediscovered people’s PoV, but this isn’t it. Also, the books features one of my biggest bugbears- repeated words. This is especially noticeable in an audio- at one point during a battle I felt compelled to shout “STOP SAYING BLADE!”; a synonym or two would really have helped...

Battle for The Abyss has some good stuff on how astropathic communication works, exploring the importance and duality of symbolism. Genuinely some of the best in BL. The idea of the Word Bearers having an even bigger plan than just messing up the muster at Calth is not awful? Not having lots of named characters beyond the core of Captains prevents confusion? I quite like the comedy of where the big gun is hidden? I’m really struggling for positives. The characters are shallow, the plot is flimsy and ultimately you know reading it that none of it matters; had I cared about a single character I might have been invested but I didn’t. It was a nice frothy listen. The voices for the Word Bearers were nicely overblown, the loyalists dull and almost parodic. I’m glad the tone for the series veered away from this book, and it probably doesn’t deserve all of the vitriol it receives but it is probably the weakest entry in the series. There may be worse stories, there may be flatter characters, but I can’t think of any that combine both factors in quite the same way. It kept me company on several very early and long dog walks though, so I did get *something* out of it...

#188
Lord_Caerolion

Lord_Caerolion

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 3,539 posts
  • Faction: Sons of Sobek

TBH all I remember about Fulgrim is that at some point he took out an Eldar Avatar and it caused a lot of controversy at the time.

The worst heresy book that I have read was The First Heretic, but it might not have been badly written as much as I just was completely uninterested in the plot and it failed to draw me in. Kymes Salamander series was the only 40k book I gave up on half way through so I have no difficulty believing that any Salamander heresy book by him would have been a hard read.

 

I will defend Fulgrim in as much as the critics of the Avatar death claim that Fulgrim 'choked' the Avatar, saying that they don't need to breathe, but the novel has him crush its neck entirely.


"And then Horus landed on the Moon, which looked like the moon. Funny that, isn't it?"


You're hired.


#189
mc warhammer

mc warhammer

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 1,289 posts

 

agreed on all counts on fulgrim, it was just...so obvious

there were some things to enjoy in it despite that. and it's a book that many many readers seem to love. mileage definitely varies


I'd heard it described as a case of mistaken identity.

That Fulgrim's written in such a way that its easy to infer into it ideas that don't seem to have actually been intended, but that are interesting all the same, and fit with the text.

Join it up with The Reflection Crack'd, Angel Exterminated etc and suddenly those implications are clearly figments of the reader's imagination, and not cunning webs woven in deliberately trippy-seeming, hallucinatory-styled mists.

Maybe not mistaken identity, but paredoilia?

 

that's interesting and probably the case for the majority, but i kinda hated it on my first read. along with FotE, it brought me close to dropping the HH.

 

i'm also not to married to "authorial intent", if a book is "accidentally" imbued with more meaning and complexity by the readership than the writer is consciously capable of...even better.


Edited by mc warhammer, 31 January 2020 - 03:03 AM.

  • Xisor likes this
can't touch this
can't touch this
can't touch this
warhammer time!
 

#190
mc warhammer

mc warhammer

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 1,289 posts

 

agreed on all counts on fulgrim, it was just...so obvious

there were some things to enjoy in it despite that. and it's a book that many many readers seem to love. mileage definitely varies

 

 

 

agreed on all counts on fulgrim, it was just...so obvious

there were some things to enjoy in it despite that. and it's a book that many many readers seem to love. mileage definitely varies


I'd heard it described as a case of mistaken identity.

That Fulgrim's written in such a way that its easy to infer into it ideas that don't seem to have actually been intended, but that are interesting all the same, and fit with the text.

Join it up with The Reflection Crack'd, Angel Exterminated etc and suddenly those implications are clearly figments of the reader's imagination, and not cunning webs woven in deliberately trippy-seeming, hallucinatory-styled mists.

Maybe not mistaken identity, but paredoilia?

 

 

I kind of like Fulgrim the HH novel (as opposed to the Primarchs novel, which I love, but that's separate). 

 

Your points are not wrong, but I think why Fulgrim stands out to me is that, especially for being so early in the series, it is arguably the most self-contained of all the books. It can be read on its own and its story arc shows pre-fall III Legion to post-Isstvaan corrupted dudes. As a result, it feels like what at the meant was meant to be the "Emperor's Children one" which would then have similar showcases for all 18 Legions. Instead plots became further and further intertwined and we got less and less case studies on each individual Legion/Primarch (until an entire other novella series was developed for that reason). There was Thousand Sons, and Prospero Burns, and kinda sorta maybe but not really but I guess  Fear to Tread that took up the one-book-one-Legion structure....and then of course there is Scars which took that format and injected it with cocaine-laced jetfuel being pumped directly into the aorta. 

 

Is Fulgrim a great book? Maybe not. But as a self-contained one with one of the most complete arcs, it's definitely not a terrible book IMHO. 

 

 

yeah, i can see that as both a strength and something that annoyed me a bit at the time too, because it essentially felt (to me) like a condensed retread of all the acts from the opening Sons of Horus trilogy. just with more pervy stuff.


can't touch this
can't touch this
can't touch this
warhammer time!
 

#191
mc warhammer

mc warhammer

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 1,289 posts

I'm honestly surprised by the mentions of Fulgrim. As far as I remember, it used to be one of the most well-regarded and nigh-universally appreciated books in the series.

 

If I had to hazard a guess, it might be down to posthumous dissatisfaction about Ferrus Manus and the Iron Hands, as well as Graham's choices via The Reflection Crack'd and so forth.

for me, it had all the same issues that "reflection..." and every other mcneill book i've read tend to have. like most, i consider "ats" his best, but i also suspect that's because he had such great source material to mine. when he creates from the ground-up, he's just an author that doesn't capture my interest or fascination.

 

not bothered in the slightest by the ferrus stuff and only marginally more by the avatar thing (i was more confused by that than anything else)

 

on the flipside, unlike some, i think he can turn out some really beautiful prose.


Edited by mc warhammer, 31 January 2020 - 03:22 AM.

  • DarkChaplain likes this
can't touch this
can't touch this
can't touch this
warhammer time!
 

#192
Fedor

Fedor

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 186 posts

Fulgrim also punched his fist through the avatar's face if i remember correctly. It was the daemon in the laer blade telling him that the spear was going to come back in comedic IT's BEHIND YOU FOOL fashion to save him from a swift impaling and then him using it as a throwing stick to distract the Avatar that i thought was bad about that fight..

 

Not as bad as Ferrus knocking himself out though. Fulgrim overall is good fun, in retrospect imo it would have worked a lot better to slow down and split that EC arc from circa Laeran to Dropsite into two books but we all know the series was suppose to be much shorter back then.

 

On the characters in Abyss....Brynngar is actually one of the very few Space Wolves i can remember as distinct characters from the series other than Bjorn. He's a gloriously over the top final showing of the older Bill King SW with just enough darkness added before Abnett altered things to a more serious tone. Overall i much prefer the Legion as Abnett, Wraight and Haley later depicted them to the older Bill King sort of stuff, but those books were more about Hawser and Russ.



#193
Roomsky

Roomsky

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 748 posts
  • Location:Canada, eh?

I think Fulgrim suffers a lot from the series' progress since that time. It's a decently structured book with an "epic" story, lots of action, and a passable portrait of the legions in focus. But since then we've had better looks at Fulgrim and his legion, better looks at Ferrus and his legion, better action, a better look at a legion's fall, even a more interesting look at Isstvan V. It's not necessarily fair to hold it at the same standard to things published in the decade since, but I can't exactly read fair, can I? Mcneill set the groundwork, sure, but I still have a hard time enjoying it when Reynolds is doing it so much better nowadays.

 

 

 

The worst heresy book that I have read was The First Heretic, but it might not have been badly written as much as I just was completely uninterested in the plot and it failed to draw me in. 

 

*Heavy Breathing*


  • Lord_Caerolion, fire golem, DarkChaplain and 2 others like this

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

 


#194
aa.logan

aa.logan

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 308 posts
  • Location:Stockport
  • Faction: Kartash’s pious stink

On the characters in Abyss....Brynngar is actually one of the very few Space Wolves i can remember as distinct characters from the series other than Bjorn. He's a gloriously over the top final showing of the older Bill King SW with just enough darkness added before Abnett altered things to a more serious tone. Overall i much prefer the Legion as Abnett, Wraight and Haley later depicted them to the older Bill King sort of stuff, but those books were more about Hawser and Russ.


He’s old-school, and nicely OTT, but he’s Fenrisian and that’s about it; you’re right, the later books have spoiled us with their duality, but it would have been nice to see him presenting a different side of himself and the Legion to the many unnamed Blood Claws following him around or frankly doing anything that wasn’t just a broad parody of a proud savage warrior who doesn’t trust magic. He has no discernible character beyond that.

But if he did , I suppose, he’d stick out like a sore thumb compared with the rest of the cast...

#195
Fedor

Fedor

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 186 posts

Oh, i wouldn't call him a well-written character, he's just an over the top, shallow example of the older SW lore, but i found a lot of his scenes highly entertaining and memorable anyway. That probably had to do with the book being a simple battle/chase action story and not feeling like it ever had much intention of being some grand continuation of the overall HH plot. It wouldn't have worked for me in a deeper, more character focused story.... for instance sevatar surfing through space on the back of a fighter in the otherwise really good Prince of Crows just annoyed me.


  • Xisor likes this

#196
Xisor

Xisor

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 1,118 posts
In fairness, Brynngar as a character isn't all that, but the arc he gets as a character is actually pretty swish. He's the wobbly, squeaking third wheel on the tricycle of decent characters in the book. Skraal & Mhotep being standouts at the time when the name Legionaries were basically indistinguishable from one another.

Loken & pals, Garro & pals, Tarvitz & pals,god knows what the Ultramarine lead was & pals. All extraordinarily interchangeable. See also Remembrancers.

In hindsight, Horus Rising was a powerful book for setting up such interesting stuff that - for a good ten novels - people largely squandered.

But of all that? Skraal, Mhotep and to a lesser extent Brynngar actually added something entirely new into the mix.

(That's not entirely true either - it only applies to Space Marines/Primarchs - and only the likes of "After Desh'ea" & others in Tales of Heresy, and Graham's mightily enjoyable [if somewhat dissatisfying] "Mechanicum" actually broke serious new ground. If you view Descent of Angels as something that could have been supported and encouraged into being a really neat Primarchs novel, there's some good things to be said about it too. And it's a serviceable book too... Just doesn't compare favourably with other books of the day. And - alright - "Legion" does great too. FINE! I'll never make sweeping statements EVR again.)

But for the focal characters of the series? Jesus can people write a lot of boring Space Marines.

Skraal and Mhotep (& Brynngar) showed that the "misfits" of the Great Crusade were infinitely more interesting than Interchangeable Space Marine Captain and his pal.

The problem with Battle for the Abyss, of course, is that they're side-characters, and the supposed story is once again about two Interchangeable Space Marines: heroic Ultrama Rine, and villainous Wordbe Arer, and their respective pals.

Goodness those Ultramarines and Word Bearers were Not Fun.

(The Word Bearers also suffer from markedly diminishing returns on the Erebus/Abaddon -> Grulgor/Typhon -> Lucius/Eidolon theme.)

Edited by Xisor, 31 January 2020 - 10:08 AM.


#197
Ingo Pech

Ingo Pech

    +FRATER DOMUS+

  • + FRATER DOMUS +
  • 34 posts
  • Location:Cologne, Germany
  • Faction: Alpha Legion, Iron Hands, Imperial Fists
In "Battle for the Abyss" the characters are even more one-dimensional and comical than in all other books before... the only interesting part was seeing members of the "traitor legions" staying loyal to the Emperor.

But beyond that they always reminded me of a typical DSA-/RPG-party:

- the warrior and good guy (Ultramarine)
- the barbar (Space Wolve)
- the magician (Thousand Sons)
- the berserk and bad good guy (World Eater)
- the elf and the dwarf (well, okay, they've bypassed them of course.. )

Bland and stereotyped to the extreme...

"I am the Emperor´s loyal servant, and through me his will and vengeance will be done!" - Ferrus Manus, Primarch of the Iron Tenth (Iron Hands)

 





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users