It has been a while since I wrote any form of book review. I find that as much as I enjoy reading 40K novels, they’re all decent and enjoyable so I’d stopped bothering. A few people have given me mixed reviews about Dune, and after seeing (and loving) the film I thought I would read it and see what I thought for myself.
I had wondered whether the novel would suffer from ‘old book syndrome’ – wherein a book was written so long ago that the language makes it difficult to understand. Written in 1965, I found Dune an easier read than some more ‘modern’ counterparts (Neuromancer, I am looking at you).
Don’t get me wrong, the book does make the reader do some of the work. Explicit descriptions are left out in many parts of the book, unlike most 40K books I have read recently. It makes you think and lets your mind fill in the gaps, which I enjoyed a great deal. Some of the concepts are not explained within the novel either – though there is a handy appendix at the end in case you need reminding, or something explaining. The novel expects the reader to accept that some concepts are so ingrained in the social norms of the book, that they do not need explaining.
I liked how House Atreides’ members had familiar names, whereas the Harkonnen and Fremen characters had more exotic ones. It is a good way of earmarking the ‘familiar’ and ‘other’ without it being explicit. All the characters – and there are a few of them, are well written, thought out and have a purpose. There is a large variety of characters within the novel, and not one of them felt like a stereotype. They have a decent balance within them, and I felt it easy to relate to some, and easy to dislike others. I always felt as though I was supposed to feel this way, rather than them being poorly written.
I also loved the use of dramatic irony within Dune. Several of the characters, both protagonist and antagonist, allow the reader in on what they are thinking, so the reader has specialist knowledge that other characters do not. It has been a long time since I have appreciated this technique and it is done masterfully by Frank Herbert.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Dune. I will say this: We all know that the true heroes of this story is the Giant Sand Worms – go and read the novel for them!
This is the first time I have read a book that has come alongside a release, and I want to talk about that as it had both pros and cons that come with it.
On the one hand, I was able to relate to every single character and unit mentioned in this novel because I had the miniature that went with it. I knew what the plasmancer looked like, I knew what a Judiciar was and this meant that in some scenes of the book, it was easier to follow. Knowing that an Eradicator has a huge flamer weapon was definitely helpful in understanding who did what in the fights.
The downside of this is that there are so many units and characters that came out in the release, that at times it was hard to keep up with so many names.
What this book offered me was an insight into Necron culture. I knew very little about the faction until I read this and find they are rather interesting. The part from the perspective of the Destroyer Character was really good. I won’t spoil it but you learn some details about his past and why he is set on destroying all life. I could relate (if not condone) to his actions and that was surprising.
I think my favourite character was the plasmancer. She was belaboured by incompetence on all sides and she fit nicely. I never knew how heirarchical necorn society was, or how many different factions were working within it until I read this novel.
Of course, there are plenty of good Ultramarine characters within the novel too, and the little details written add a layer to them that can sometimes be lacking in Space Marines. The Captain remarking to himself that carpet is strange underfoot after so long on a voidship is the one that springs to mind. There is plenty of bickering and banter, but underneath all that, the will to get the job done without hesitation is there too. All good stuff.
The plot of the novel is no real stretch of the imagination, but it’s not dull or drab and it certainly doesn’t drag. The ending is fitting, and it leaves the reader wondering what happens as well. I wonder if there will be a sequel at some point – I do hope so!
I wanted to read something a little lighter after the last physical read – Chernobyl Prayer – and this has been on my list for quite a while.
What a book! It was so funny and contained the humour and wit of both authors that I have come to expect. This book would have kept me reading late into the small hours if I hadn’t fallen asleep while trying to do so.
I am not entirely sure where to start with it. The characters. I love well written characters and this novel is packed with them! They are all relatable – even the demons – and they are all individuals. There were no sterotypes, and they were all in keeping with the slightly off the wall feel of the novel. Don’t get me wrong, that off the wall feel is what kept me reading.
The structure and pace of the book are good too. As I mentioned earlier, I really wanted to know what happened so kept ‘turning the page’. The Chapters are arranged into the corresponding days rather than strict Chapters, which made one of them rather long, however there were plenty of logical places to stop so that worked for me.
There are plenty of funny – ironically so – details within the novel as well, which are so typically Pratchett. I have read less Gaiman in my time – something I am now going to change. I laughed out loud on several occasions at some of the thought patterns.
Read this book because it has amazing characters, is a new take on the dichotomy of good and evil, and is honestly a funny read!
This was a fantastic book. It contains some of the best description I have read in the past forever. Let me explain without giving away too many spoilers for the story itself.
The tale centres around the actions of the Word Bearers against the Ultramarines to eliminate them from the Horus Heresy. One of their actions is to destory planetary defense systems and orbitals around the planet of Calth. The description I found amazing was how the destruction of the orbitals and ships affect the planet itself. The scope of the thought that has gone into this part of the novel are exceptional and the devastation of such is just mindblowing!
The pace of the novel keeps you wanting to know more. The stakes for the characters are expectionally high and the story pulls no punches in that regard. Characters are developed swiftly and are very relatable in my opinion. As a reader you care about what happens to them. Of course, there is the appearance of some old favourites as well and yes, you still want to call them jerks on reading this.
One thing I will say as a niggling point of contention is that some of the Space Marine Characters say things that seem mroe appropriate to the Guard. It is a minor point but I can understand how some people would find this jarring. I did, but the strength of the story, plot and pace glossed over this for me.
This is a fantastic read, a good step forward in the Horus Heresy and completely on point. Give it a read, it’s awesome!
Seeing how I shall very soon be painting the miniature of Fabius Bile, I thought it was about time I listened to the story. Many people have recommended it to me, so I got the book on Audible and listened to it while I was painting. Here are my thoughts:
The premise of the book is pretty simple. An old apprentice of Fabius Bile’s returns to him with a proposition to help another warband take a not-too-well defended Eldar Craftworld. Seeking new samples and some delicious spirit-stones, Bile agrees and chaos ensues on the way to do so. Add in somem Harlequins and you get a twisty, turvy plot that it a pleasure to read.
The characters within the novel are amazing. As with all chaos, none of them truly like one another. There is plenty of back-stabbing and intrege to go around, though some are more inclined to do so than others. The main protagonist, Oleander Ko, is a former member of the Emperor’s Children but his excesses are not so extreme as to become tiresome. He is witty, amusing and not above singing the odd song here and there. Tzimeskes – an Iron Warror with a preference for machinary – is perhaps the sassiest, mute character I have ever read about. Without uttering a word, he manages to give as good as he gets. That is a credit to the author’s characterisation and writing skills. There are other characters that deserve mention too: The Word Bearer Prisoner, the World Eater apothecary and Bile himself of course – all of them are brought to life well and are not carbon copies of one another either.
I want to give a special mention to the Kakaphonie (noise marines) too. The reminded me very much of the Raptors from the Night Lord trilogy. Lucoryphus and his band of nutters kept to themselves in much the same way, until they were needed to do something bonkers. The noise marines proved themselves every bit as insane – and useful – in the story and they were one of my favourite events. Butcher Bird – a gunship – comes a close second.
Some of the scenery within the book is delightfully well written. At one point, Bile and Co have to go to a market and the description allows the reader to picture that place perfectly. I want to go there – or at least make a diorama of sorts displaying it. The battle description is every bit as interesting. I didn’t find it tedious or too lengthy either as I have with some novels in the past. Every word did its job and did it well. There are some exceptionally well written metaphors within the pages of this book as well.
This tale is definitely worth reading, I thoroughly enjoyed the listen and I am eager to listen to the next part of the tale, if only to find out what wonderously disgusting things the Primogenitor does next!
I won’t lie, this is one of the most intense books I have ever read. It is a collection of memories, stories, thoughts and feelings of the survivors of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
This book pulls no punches when it comes to telling the stories of those who were involved in some way with the disaster. Some of them left me in tears, some of them left me horrified. All of them were moving in some way.
I am unsure where to begin with this one, it is not my usual read! I picked it up because I wanted to find out the personal stories of the people – to get a bit deeper than the HBO show went. This book certainly delivered that. The story of the Fireman who was first on the scene was far more graphic when told by his wife – they omitted some gruesome details in the show – and it was difficult to read from an emotional point of view.
What hit home in this book was how little the people actually knew about what was going on. They had no idea how dangerous the disaster was and that is down to the political environment at the time. It is a very alien way of thinking – to me at least – and seeing people volunteer for what was essentially a suicide mission seems insane.
Then I reached the stories of the people who moved TO the exclusion zone to escape the civil wars that was a result of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. I think, how awful must life have been for those people if moving to an irradiated death-trap was a positive move?
The tales of the surviving children is also hard hitting. A lot of them are unwell, a lot of them spend time in hospitals and know they are going to die.
The book is certainly enlightening, and bleak, however it is very much worth reading. I’d recommend it – the translation is good and language wise, it is easy to follow. The content however, that can be difficult to swallow.
I have been thoroughly spoilt this year with books I have read, I’ve not had a bad one yet, and they keep getting better. This one is no exception.
I am trying to think of the best point of this book and I really am struggling to select just one. The plot, pacing, characters and language contained within this book is all fantastic.
Let’s start with the plot and pacing. The book does take a while to truly get going, but the time spent at the start of the novel is essential. None of it drags, all of it is well crafted and a good introduction to the setting of the story. The plot is masterfully crafted, twists and turns in most unexpected ways and honestly, leaves you reeling from the side-swipes it takes. I don’t do spoilers in my reviews, as you know, but I am still trying to wrap my head around what happened – go and read it, you won’t regret it.
Characters – there are some amazingly written individuals in this story. The narrative is written from the Point of View of a Chapter serf. She has an interesting history herself, and the story is told through her. I really enjoyed reading about how she uses her augmetics, and how she serves her Master. Some of the details of the Mentor Legion are left out as they are ‘secret’ and not for any reader to learn. Through her eyes, the reader is witness to exceptional interaction between some very different cultures. All the characters go through an emotional journey and are not the same as they were at the start of the story.
Technically, the novel is brilliant. None of the language is overly technical, but nor does it skimp on detail. The novel still feels like a 40K Science Fiction novel, but the details are not overwhelming. Nor are the more ‘poetic’ devices, such as simile and metaphor. The whole read is balanced and thoroughly enjoyable. There were some late night sessions because I was unable to put it down, which hasn’t happened for a while.
I also hope that there will be a follow up story to this one, it is hinted at that it is the first chapter of a longer tale, and I eagerly await the next installment!
I finished listening to this today, and I must say, I really enjoyed listening to it. Graham McNeill had really delivered a kick ass novel here for several reasons.
First off, I really enjoyed the setting of the novel. Terra, and the Petitioner’s City was really interesting to read about. It came across as a richly detailed environment without the descriptions being too heavy or too laboured. There are some really grim places that are shown, which hammer home the darkness of the 30K world setting, as well as some slightly nicer, which contrasts well between the different classes of people and the stark gulf between them. There are hints of the beaurocratic nightmare contained within Terra, the squallor as well as the social construction of the Petitioner’s City.
As always, the novel is populated with a diverse range of characters from different backgrounds. The adventures an astropath, some space marines, a custodes, and several other humans can get up to is very interesting. All of them are padded out and none of them appear flat either. Three of the Space Marine characters are World Eaters and all of them are different as well. In my opinion, this is quite a tricky feaet of achievement. The dialogue between the characters is good, it flows well and always adds to the story.
The plot is strong, the pace is good and the fight scenes are artfull crafted. The language within the story is not overly poetic or laboured, nor is it overly complex. There is special mention of the word ‘mushrooming’ which I found delightful.
I am not sure what the book adds overall to the monster that is the Horus Heresy Tale as a whole, however it allows the reader to learn of elements of Terra’s past (Thunder Warriors) and by itself is a well crafted, well penned tale – well worth reading.
So, I finally finished the the Mephiston trilogy and I must say I will be sad to see the end of it. I have thoroughly enjoyed the other tales of Mephiston and friends and the last one in the set was every bit as good. As usual, I will try not to give anything away in the review.
The final tale sees Mephiston, Rhacelus and Antros finally catching up to the demon that has been irritating them for some time. Mephiston, having survived the Primaris embiggening – the rubric that makes him bigger and less likely to lose control of himself and blast anyone who gets too close, finds out that the demon is up to hi-jinks in the Prospero system and asks to go and sort it out.
Dante agreed in a heart-warming scene so long as he takes Rhacelus with him.
What follows is a whirl-wind of events that culminate in a heart-aching scene, which I won’t say about here.
The tale flows very well and contains more interesting characters. We are treated to some wonderful interactions between the three librarians but we are also introduced to some interesting characters from the Imperial Guard. The fellow who survives is far from a two dimensional man who is only there to support the main characters. He has his own goals and works towards them in what must be terrifying situations.
The pace of the tale is good too. I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened and this led to at least one late night. The language is easy to read but not too simple either. It doesn’t distract the reader from what is happening and for me, is very balanced.
I shall miss reading about these Blood Angels, they are responsible for a new army appearing in the cabinet after all. I do hope there will be more adventures around them in the future. Go and read these tales, they are well worth it.
As many of you know, I went on holiday, which was an amazing opportunity to relax and read! And read I did! I picked this up due to the portrayal of Dante in Devastation of Baal and wanting to know more. This book did not disappoint. It follows two lines of story – one of child Dante and how he became a Blood Angel, and that of Chapter Master Dante just before the events of Devastation of Baal.
I don’t put spoilers in my reviews because the details of the story are part of the joy of reading. In this story, we are treated to so many anecdotes and memories that have happened during Dante’s long life. One of the funniest was how he got into trouble when he was a scout the first time he saw rain. It is an act we can all relate to – looking up and trying to catch it with your mouth is something I think we have all done – and it shows Dante as attached to his humanity more than other Space Marines. This is just one such tale in a book filled with them.
The side characters are not neglected in the tale either. We all know that Dante goes on to become a Blood Angel, so that is no mystery to the reader, however it does not make the tale redundant. The journey is filled with characters who are interesting and their stories are just as good. None of them feel flat or as though they are there to just pad out Dante’s story. They are individual and worth reading about too! One of them had me in tears of sorrow – a difficult feat to acomplish so well done!
Guy Haley’s use of language in this novel is great too. None of the book feels like redundent description, it is all relevent and none of it is too floral or poetic. Meaning is clear and well thought out. I read this book in less than two days, which is really quick for me.
The short part is that this book made me fall in love with Dante, it is worth reading, full of emotion and just all round fabulous! Go read this!