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Gate of Bones/ Dawn of Fire


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#1
ThePenitentOne

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Debated a lot about which sub forum to post this in, and I figure this is it.

 

Today's announcement that Gate of Bones will be heavy on Sororitas content, it looks like I'm going to have to get into it. That's okay, because a) I was curious about Dawn of Fire anyway, it being the contemporary book for all the in-game stuff that is happening now and B) I want to step up my reading schedule in 2021 anyway.

 

Now Dawn of Fire has been out for a while, so I have a few questions to those who have read it.

 

How close to the opening of the rift is it- ie. does era Indomitus formally begin with the opening of the rift, or are there years and novels between the opening of the Rift and the onset of Indomitus? I'm trying to make a campaign back story fit into lots of 40k fluff- the BSF stuff is important to the campaign, as is the Rift. Are there novels I should read BEFORE Dawn of Fire?

 

Is DoF all Marines/ Guilliman/ Bolter porn, or is their some degree of Imperial faction Intrigue? I'll probably read it anyway, because I need the Sisters content from Gate of Bones, and I don't want to start with the second book in the series, but I do want to set my expectations.

 

Finally, how does Dawn of Fire stack up against other BL books? I've read Abnett's Eisenhorn trilogy, Cult of the War Mason, and Requiem Infernal. Loved Eisenhorn, liked Requiem and hated the way the War Mason, despite being a supposed sisters vs GSC book, it still somehow seemed to be all about Space Marines.

 

Thanks in advance, and sorry if this is the wrong place for this post.


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#2
Vanger

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Dawn of Fire picks up where Gathering Storm ended. The Cicatrix Maledictum is pretty fresh, the Blindness just ended. There is nothing to read if only refresh your memories on Return of the Primarch.

Guy Haley is never about bolter porn. He has multiple characters and plotlines running throughout his books, which range from the Primarch ro lowly administratum level serfs. In DoF you'll have Guilliman, some space marines, an Astra Militarum officer, an Inquisitor and it's party and an administrator from the terran beaucracy as protagonists. Also it gives a good look at the Imperial powers. Of course there will be some action scenes (it opens with one), but you can't have a BL book withouth with :D

I took ballistics in school. Fascinating subject. Things go up! Things go down!

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#3
SkimaskMohawk

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The time line is hard to establish. The rift opening and the astronomicon going out lasted for about a month on terra, but longer or shorter on other planets. After that, guilliman returns and Vorlese is secured rather promptly, and then uhh...I honestly forget the exact time span between that, the events of Regents Shadow and the first dawn of fire book. But it's all rather short, like within a year.

The first book has a large chunk of action in the last third? Quarter? But is otherwise pretty good; theres a subplot that's one of the most 40k things ever, and some good character work for the firstborn marine and guilliman and cawl. I'd call the book a solid 7, with it suffering from obvious first in a series syndrome and bolter porn portion.

Who knows if the sororitas will be a large part of Gate, we can't really translate the events of the first into the second; it feels like it'll be a new cast with a few returning characters.

Edit; lol vanger did you even read the last chunk of the book? It's solid action the entire time.

Edited by SkimaskMohawk, 13 January 2021 - 06:11 PM.

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#4
DarkChaplain

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I'd say the only book that's really worth reading before Avenging Son is The Emperor's Legion, because that details the arrival of Guilliman on Terra, whereas Avenging Son had him on Terra for a while to establish some necessary groundwork and assemble forces, with the arrival being handled in a clever flashback in the opening.

 

The action towards the last quarter of Avenging Son is certainly the weakest part of the novel, even though it still establishes some points that'll probably come back up later. The bulk of the book, though, deals with Guilliman's role, the ways various characters view him and the reformist attitude he brings to the Imperium, as well as the bureaucratic nightmare and the politics involved in Cawl's Primaris project. Well worth reading.


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#5
Lord Nord

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Personsally I think the Chris Wraight stories are so good that they should be read no matter what. And Guilliman is in both books of the Watchers of the Throne series. All of the first one (The Emperor's Legion) takes place before, during, and immediately after Bobby G shows up to Terra. But the second novel (The Regent's Shadow) begins during the period right before Avenging Son but then after a handful of chapters it's advanced to a point after Guilliman leaves on the Indomitus Crusade. It seems like Emperor's Legion > Avenging Son > Regent's Shadow is the accepted order, which does make sense since as I said Regent's Shadow very quickly moves past the entirety of the Avenging Son timeline.

 

That said, since you mentioned the Sisters in the Gate of Bones, I have to conclude that you're talking about the Sisters of Battle. In fact, they're almost non-existent in all of these books. It's the Sisters of Silence who are a huge part of the Watchers of the Throne series but the Sisters of Battle... not. And neither of them have a presence worth mentioning in Avenging Son unless I've forgotten something (not impossible, I read Avenging Son the week it came out and haven't re-read it since).

 

But overall, you should be happy with Avenging Son itself or the Watchers series if you're looking for Imperial intrigue. In fact, if that's what you're after then the Watchers series really is a must as it's largely devoted to shenanigans that the High Lords and others get up to since prior to the Rift's appearance into the weeks following Guilliman's departure. And for that matter, Wraight's other series (The Vaults of Terra) has more of the same. It takes place during the same time period as Watchers but can be read independently, even though there is some character crossover (only of minor supporting characters, though). There are obviously heavy action scenes in all of these novels (they are 40K books, after all) but Wraight enjoys finding ways to end battles that aren't obvious going in.

 

As for how long it all takes, the Rift definitely made its way to Terra within a couple months of Cadia's fall, then you have 33 days of the Astronomican being dark, then Guilliman shows up on Luna very shortly after that, and then he leaves on the Indomitus Crusade probably no more than a year or so later, if that.


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I wouldn't even gatekeep you.


#6
SkimaskMohawk

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I'm still really lukewarm on Regent's Shadow. I felt like it lost a lot of the personality of the first book with Tierion being replaced and Aleya being less...angry. I get the whole point of the book is to show that guilliman is a statesman and is very capable of the long-con intrigue, but it felt so out of the control of the characters that they just felt like they lacked agency.
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#7
Lord Nord

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I'm still really lukewarm on Regent's Shadow. I felt like it lost a lot of the personality of the first book with Tierion being replaced and Aleya being less...angry. I get the whole point of the book is to show that guilliman is a statesman and is very capable of the long-con intrigue, but it felt so out of the control of the characters that they just felt like they lacked agency.

 

That may be true, but only in retrospect. Right up until the climactic moment of the final battle, it seemed that the protagonists were the ones moving the action, or at least the only ones trying to thwart the actions of the antagonists. Yes, it's less suspenseful when you realize what was going on behind the scenes, but a murder mystery also loses a lot of its impact on second read.


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I wouldn't even gatekeep you.


#8
b1soul

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Aleya still felt very Aleya to me. She shouldn't be the SoS equivalent of an AngryMarine. That gets old fast to me. Over time she should "mellow out" just a little bit as she now has to work with Sisters from different SoS orders and non-Sisters.

I did prefer Tieron's voice to Jek's. Felt Wraight should have kept him for one more book to build upon the first...and then have him retire.
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#9
Vanger

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Edit; lol vanger did you even read the last chunk of the book? It's solid action the entire time.

Disclaimer: I don't think that any BL fiction is high art or literary masterpieces, but there are good writers and bad ones. And I tend to give the better ones more leeway.

I think you are talking about the part where we have 2 paralel plotlines going on and both are very action oriented. The first one the book was building towards and is moving the plot forward, the second one could be considered "bolter porn" but it serves the growth of a character and as worldbuilding.

I consider the pointless (a.k.a. the story is too slow, let's put some action in it - John French), overly descriptive action scenes (RAKKKKK...BOOM-FWOOSH - Ian Watson) and their ilk bolter porn. Haley is far from perfect, but in his books action always serves a purpose, is very cinematic (as in you can clearly estabilish who is where and doing what) and even though he has a fetishistic relationship with the thesaurus, he refrains from "product placement" and verbose descriptions.

But maybe that's me, because I grew up on old school fantasy and sci-fi pulp :D


I took ballistics in school. Fascinating subject. Things go up! Things go down!

*Laughs in Heretic Astartes*


#10
SkimaskMohawk

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@lord nord it's because jek from the start talks a big a game and then fails and needs to go back tierion. He was the "main" character of the first book so I expected his successor to have more agency.

@b1soul there was just something about her. I reread her parts from emperor's legion right after and I felt like there was a noticeable difference in the character.

@vanger to me, my interest in those plotlines ended when the big battle started. And a lot of people who also enjoyed the book tended to agree that the big battle burned them out. Compare that to say Betrayer where the majority of the book is battles, Haley definitely writes bolter porn.

#11
DarkChaplain

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To be fair, the battles in Betrayer, especially towards the end with Guilliman, are the parts that I remember the least of when thinking back to that book. "Oh yeah, Angron ascended. Oh yeah, Angron lifted a Titan. Oh yeah, Lorgar got his face blown off. Oh yeah, Khârn lost it again" are basically the main points I recall. Key moments, or their results, but the battles themselves don't fill me with awe either.


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#12
SkimaskMohawk

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I agree the battles aren't the main takeaways, but the fact that so much of the book happens mid-battle and is still captivating is what I was going for. Avenging son got dragged right down by its battle, while betrayer didn't.

Granted Ive read betrayer a lot, so things like valika junction, lhorke defending lotarra, Khârn charging the shieldwall, the ultramarines assaulting nuceria, the titan battles, etc... are all key points in the book for me.
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#13
DarkChaplain

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See, I remember some of those things happening, but that's after you named them. I do recall Khârn jumping at the shield wall more thanks to an artwork of it than the text, though.

 

By which I mean to say, that Betrayer feels kind of forgettable to me, barring some key character interaction. In terms of the action sequences, it's just another "ADB writes bombastic action setpiece xy featuring Marines" for me, that isn't much different from, say, Annandale writing his setpieces - just that David has weird destruction engines in them sometimes.

So basically, personally, I'm not sure that ADB's battle scenes really elevate his books. For me, they're usually the least interesting part, especially when they involve gunship-surfing. At best, they're a vehicle for character interaction or introspection, but when they're not, I'm prone to put the book away.

 

And while I'm at it, I'm glad Vanger mentioned French's habit of using a battle scene to make his novels appear more dynamic, when they really don't need that. I re-read Ahriman the past month, and the battles / skirmishes were clearly the low points, putting a halt to interesting developments and interactions on the altar of being a space marine book.


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#14
SkimaskMohawk

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Ya I'm not saying they elevate his books either; my favorite parts were between-battle stuff on the capital ships in betrayer. They just don't suck the life out of his novels the way avenging son did.
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#15
ThePenitentOne

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Thanks so much for all the feedback folks! This is exciting- I tend to through GW books FAST, but I've got a few lined up now.

 

I'll do all of the books associated with Gathering Storm, then all the Watchers, then all the Dawn of Fire. 

 

@ Lord Nord: Yes, I was talking about SoB, but I love SoS almost as much, so Watchers is a good fit too.



#16
Vanger

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@vanger to me, my interest in those plotlines ended when the big battle started. And a lot of people who also enjoyed the book tended to agree that the big battle burned them out. Compare that to say Betrayer where the majority of the book is battles, Haley definitely writes bolter porn.

I guess, tastes do vary. I do like how Haley writes action scenes, they keep me engaged and it's never a slog. Compared to some other writers.


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#17
Taliesin

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Just read the bit about Galathamor Prime in the Custodes Codex. Pretty interesting piece, could be interesting battle if that's fleshed out here, as it clearly seems to be.


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#18
Lord Nord

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Just read the bit about Galathamor Prime in the Custodes Codex. Pretty interesting piece, could be interesting battle if that's fleshed out here, as it clearly seems to be.

 

Glad you enjoyed it. Last night I found another mention in the same codex. Page 64 has a blurb regarding a specific Custodian's part in the battle. Given how small Custodes contingents tend to be, he may be mentioned by name in the novel as well.


I wouldn't even gatekeep you.





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