40K · science fiction · Wh40K

Review: Prince of Crows

Time for reading is limited at the moment, however when I found myself with an hour to spare I knew what to do. I had left the Night Lords Trilogy at home but knew I had Prince of Crows on my iPad. I didn’t get it all finished in the one hour, I am not that quick at reading, but I certainly wanted to. I could not put this story down.

I shall try and relate its merits without too many spoilers.

Prince-of-Crows

The novel occurs after the disasterous Thamas Crusade and depicts the Kyroptera trying to piece back the broken fragments of their legion and work out what to do next. The first thing that struck me with this novel is that Sevatar is hilarious. I don’t think detatched, mass-murdering bastards are supposed to be that funny but he is written in a way that makes him utterly relatable. From the moment he decides to clean house, to the end of the novella, he is cracking one liners and shows an irrepressable cynicism that keeps the reader on his side. There are aspects of his personality that surprised me, and he does the COOLEST thing I have read about for a long, long time.

The narrative shifts in the middle of the novella to show an exploration of the childhood and growing up of Konrad Curze. I enjoyed the insight into the homeworld of the Night Lords. It was interesting, dark but interesting. It made me feel more sympathetic to him as well, in many ways.

Moving on from the great characters, I want to talk about the superb minimalist writing of the author. I always enjoy Aaron Dembski-Bowden and this novella is no exception to that. There was a particular line that gave me goosebumps when I read it, ‘The pale man burst the minister’s heart in his hand, in a rustling squeeze of abused meat.’ I don’t want to think waht thay says about me but this line really got me. It is not over described, it’s not over written and it allows the reader to fill in with their own imagination what it actually looked like. I discussed this with a friend of mine and they indicated this was one of the aspects that made the author brilliant and I find I am inclined to agree with them.

I won’t waffle on further about how amazing this novella is. Just go and read it. Do it for the quick witted, one liners. Do it for the immense action scenes, it is well worth the read.

40K · Uncategorized · Wh40K

The Black Legion

In my last post, I talked about the amazing new miniature that was Abaddon the Despoiler and the levels of excitement he managed to produce in myself. I felt that I should perhaps talk about his pals in this post.

Let’s start with some quality pictures I have collected of my particular favourites:

Haarken Worldclaimer was what sparked it all off. He was announced at the Open Day in December while I was at Warhammer World. I remember thinking he was stunning then and that I had to have him. I’ve collected Black Legion for a while and as they were the first Chaos Army I have for 40K, I have a bit of a spot for them. What I love about Haarken is the dynamic pose he is in. I can really imagine him getting all stabby in someone’s face.  I look forward to getting him on the painting table.

The Master of Possession and the Greater Possessed are also lovely miniatures. Again, the posing on them is sinister, interesting and look like a lot of fun to work with.

Now let’s have a look at some new troops:

The new Chaos marines look way, way more interesting than the old ones. I have had some of the old ones on my painting table for ages now but don’t really do anything with them other than use them for testing paint and different schemes here and there.

These new ones will not be getting that treatment. They looks as bulky as you would expect but interesting as well. Ther also seems to be some scope for individualising them as well, but I will see when I get a chance to look at the sprues when the multi-part kit comes out. The terminators as well, though I am not sure how different they are from the old ones.

Then the man with the bog chopper was announced today. The Master of Executions looks like he will be a barrel of laughs to face on the battle field… Or not.

What I am trying to say here is that I want them all and I need to paint them up. I then want to go and smash people with them. That would be a great deal of fun!

40K · Warhammer 40000 · Wh40K

Ahriman Appreciation thread.

Seeing as I am known for my apparent love of Ahriman, and I have been asked about the range of cloaks I have painted him. I decided a post here would be better than an easily lost thread. So, here were are: Ahriman and his many, many cloaks of space.

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Ahriman number 1 – this was the one that sparked it all off about eighteen months ago.

This second one is the one I did for the tutorial. I thought that would be it then, but oh how I was wrong…

This version happened during the paint-a-thon I did. 12 hours of non stop painting in order to raise money for luekemia. He now lives on my desk at work.

Ahriman number 4 was his 40K incarnation. I painted a vortex on his cloak and thought I would be done with the miniature. Again, I could not have been more wrong. The next four Ahirman I painted were for the diorama for Golden Demon.

This took a long time to construct, earned me a commended entry and was a lot of fun to build. The Eye of Terror on his cloak was tricky to get right, but I surprised even myself with it.

Ahriman number 9 was a commission from a good friend, who wanted a star being sucked into a black hole on his cloak. So, here he is in all his shiny glory!

Let’s have some images of those cloaks all next to each other.

Other appreciation things I want to share are some of the amazing pictures people have drawn for me and sent in:

Art by TragicFanGirl,  https://tragic-fangirl.tumblr.com/ https://amriinthewarp.tumblr.com and https://misterculexus.tumblr.com/

Last, but not least, I have to pop up one of my favourites from Abaddon and Teal:

heresy 321

40K · book review

Review: The Ahriman Series

Some of you may have noticed that I have a little* bit of a soft spot for Ahriman so, I thought it would be a good idea to actually give the books by John French a read. I looked up his blog for the reading order, loaded up the kindle and off I went. I will try and do this without too many spoilers, but the books have been out for a while and I think most of us know the outcome by now anyway.

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One day, I too hope to shoot lightning out my hands…

I enjoyed All is Dust – a short story from the perspective of a Rubric Marine. What is that you say? They’re just dust floating about in armour! This one seemed to be able to recall his name and some basic emotion when roused to battle but rapidly forgot it when he returned to the inert state. I liked this because it offered insight into what are basically suits of armour that are pushed about by sorcerers.

In the series, there are three novels and a collection of other short stories told from the Point of View of a sorcerer known as Ctesias. These are told in first person narrative and I am going to admit that Ctesias did my head in. His insights into what was going on was irritating, though I think that was the character rather than the tales he was telling, which were good. I do enjoy it when a character grates on my nerves. Not all characters are written to be liked after all and Ctesias certainly got a reaction. The outcome of one particular story was rather satisfying for me as a reader, if not Ctesias himself.

So, the story of Ahriman then. Well, he sulks a great deal. The start of the series is after the rubric and he is hiding away from what he did. The three books follow his journey to ‘power’ and ends with the (and this is the HUGE spoiler here) failure of the second rubric. The books are easy to read, well constructed and even the characters that I don’t like are engaging. There is a range of different personalities within the three novels but none of them dominate. They all get a good amount of ‘screen time’ as well. The plots are well constructed, elaborate and engaging. I know for a fact that I will read these again and not just because I am fan of the Thousand Sons.

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Just a regular day in the warp.

The one thing that these tales confirmed for me, again, is that Magnus is a giant, selfish jerk who really needs to get his head out his butt and think of someone other than himself once in a while. There was rage… I do like it when characters and books make me actually feel something! It is a real treat!

The next book I am reading is Primogenitor by Josh Reynolds. Friends have been on at me for months to read it and I managed to grab a copy at the weekend.

 

*It’s not that little really, my adoration of the Persian Space Wizard is well known and unashamed.

40K · hobby · miniatures. · numbers · Uncategorized

Display Cabinets

A few days ago, there was a discussion on twitter about display cases and such. I was asked for pictures of them. I also mentioned that there was an entire battle company of Ultramarines as well. I was once again asked for pictures. So, here we are with them…

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This is the Black Legion cabinet, within dwells Abaddon, Teal, Falkus Kibre, Khayon the Black and a few pals of theirs. Also some fliers. The rest of the cabinet is filled with chaos space marines and other nasties.

The next cabinet contains the Thousand Sons, the walking around Ahriman and their chums – picture turned out grainy, it is evening and the light is sub par.

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Here is the dreadnought attached to ‘Special Squad’ – a place dedicated to all questionably painted miniatures. Try and guess why he was sent there…

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Between the Black Legion and the Thousand Sons is the Ultramarines. Nervous and unsure, they are all there to ensure no uber violence occurs when I am not about. Primaris and Guilliman at the top, regular dudes occupy the rest of the space.

Then there is the Death guard…

This is the whole lot – one wall of our house… There are also minis in many other places dotted around the place too.

40K · book review · Uncategorized · Warhammer 40000 · Warhammer 40k · Wh40K

Review: Black Legion – Aaron Dembski-Bowden

BLPROCESSED-Black-Legion-coverThis book is so awesome I am going to leave the picture huge. I was fortunate enough not to wait long for the second installment of the Black Legion series, which was a relief seeing as I loved the first one.

The story picked up a ‘few’ years on from where the last one left off, once again being told through the eyes of Iskandur Khayon, former Thousand Son Legionary. He has become Abaddon’s assassin and seems to be struggling with the role. I won’t go into details because spoilers but I will say when he overcomes these inhibitions, awesomeness ensues.

The narrative of the novel is in the first person once again, something I found well crafted before and was not let down this time. The voice of Khayon comes through clearly throughout; you can definitely tell that he was a member of the Thousand Sons before his change of allegiance. When he is explaining things to you, he does so from the stance of a scholar – it is a little like being in a lecture. Instead of detracting from the pace of the novel, it explains things about the Eye of Terror that the reader doesn’t know. Khayon never gives up the opportunity to enlighten the reader about the trials and tribulations he and his brethren face on a daily basis!

Although the book deals with the serious, and often deadly, threats that face the newly established Black Legion, there is no shortage of funny aspects either. Each character is well established with one another and there is no shortage of bickering and sniping a one another, which provides the novel with some much needed comic moments. We all know and understand that life in the grim dark future is just that but these interactions remind the reader that there is humour too.

Also: Abaddon fights Sigismund… Well paced, perfectly written and oh my word what a page turning ending to the novel! Just amazing! The rest of the fight scenes are amazing – highlighting the brutality needed to win and the lengths of the character’s ambitions too. There is also a wicked space battle that had me turning the pages quicker than I thought possible.

It is a perfect follow-up to an epic start, I just hope the next installment isn’t too far in the future!

book review · Wh40K

Review: A Thousand Sons – Graham McNeill

Thousand Sons I had the distinct pleasure of reading this novel on the decks of the Thompson Majesty while on my honeymoon – often with a cocktail or two; it would be rude not to after all.

What a real pleasure it was to read too! I’ll start off by celebrating all of the rich description within this novel. During parts of the novel, I could easily picture the setting, to the point where I felt as though I was actually walking down some of the Tizcan streets with the characters as they spoke. Maybe that could be attributed to the warm climates I was in too but it was a real pleasure. The choice of words used paints a truly wonderful picture, one that I devoured gladly and you should too! It was as though I could smell what was being made in the markets, hear the traders calling and feel the heat of the sun too.

Characters in the novel are spectacularly well written; the leading cast are well rounded and layered. McNeill carefully ensures that the Space Marine characters are not carbon copies of each other and that they are different from the contingencies of remembrancers (humans) too. Not all the characters are likeable, they’re not meant to be, but they are well written. I found it very difficult to be sympathetic to the Primarch of the Thousand Sons; he came across as an aloof, arrogant being without a trace of thought for those he used – he was meant to. I could find solace in the fact he was well written and that his sons were far more likeable than he was.

The pace of the novel was perfect too, there were no points where the story lulled or seemed to drag on either. Each twist and turn of the novel is woven carefully together and the differences of opinion of the characters are artfully displayed.

I cannot stress enough how I enjoyed the novel and really look forward to reading a lot more about the Thousands Sons legion. I hear there are some pretty devastating turns in store for Ahriman and his friends.

book review · Uncategorized · Wh40K

Review: The Talon of Horus – Aaron Dembski-Bowen

 

Talon of HorusWell, I read this one a bit quickly! The Talon of Horus had been on the shelf for a little while now and I fancied reading something that wasn’t in the Horus Heresy saga. Those of you who know me well will also be aware that I have a bit of fascination regarding Abaddon and so this book seemed like it would be an interesting read.

The fact that I managed to read it in less than three days whereas the last book took more than a month says a great deal about how amazing this read was. I was a little wary of the first person narrative to begin with. I’ve read a few books written in this style and they have been absolute rubbish. Not the case here. The narrator has a very clear voice and it never loses focus through the novel. The reader is never left with a sense of disembodiment and the point of view is clear and maintained throughout the tale.

There are plenty of moments in the novel that made me laugh out loud too, I don’t want to spoil any of the details but there are a few well thrown punches and dry quips that are golden. The World Eater character can be relied upon to act according to his nature in moments that are utterly brilliant.  One of the things that really resonated me with this novel was how the narrator highlighted how inhuman he was and yet in other parts would act in very human ways. He is very aware of the differences and is very keen to remind the reader of them yet his actions, at times, show the opposite

The pace of the novel is perfect. The blend of action and narrative is just right and it kept me turning the pages late into the evening and well into the day when I should have been doing other things. The action within the novel is well written, engaging and never seems to drag on as it has in some other stories I have read.

Within the pages of this novel there are some tastefully used metaphors, something I don’t normally pick up on. I am not known for subtlety after all… The part when the main characters are walking through acid rain and the colours of their former legion is washed off is just too poetic not to mention. Especially as the novel deals with the birth of the Black Legion! Hats off to you Aaran Demnski-Bowden

All in all, this was a devastatingly amazing read. You should go and read it right now. You’ll want to join the Black Legion afterwards, but that’s alright; what’s a little heresy between friends?

 

40K · book review · horus heresy · Warhammer 40k · Wh40K

Review: Fallen Angels – Mike Lee

Fallen AngelsIt seems to have taken me forever to read this book. Being busy at work has certainly not helped matters but I have finally managed to finish it! Not that the summer holidays have had anything to do with that, no sir!

I’ll start by saying that I wasn’t a huge fan of the first Dark Angels book – Descent of Angels by Mitchel Scanlon. I found the pacing a bit off and compared to the rest of the series, it was a bit of a bad egg. It wasn’t awful, it just wasn’t as good as some of its predecessors.

Fortunately, this one is better. The pacing at the start of the novel is slow, I will concede that point and it took a while to get going. When it did get going however, it turned into the ‘cannot put down’ page turner that I expect from a Horus Heresy novel.

The story picks up the two separate tales of cousins Nemiel and Zahariel; the two protagonists from the first novel and continues their saga. I’m not going to say overly much about what happens, I want you to go and read the novel for yourself and find out but I will say that it is exciting.

The plot of the two stories don’t really entwine with one another. Nemiel’s is based on the planet of Diamat, where the Dark Angel’s, along with their Primarch have to thwart the rebel’s attempts at securing the planet. Zahariel’s is set on Caliban along with Luther and the other ‘banished’ Dark Angels. The two plots are both engaging, when they find their momentum, and there are some astonishingly well written battle scenes to boot. There are some pretty hefty twists towards the end of the book too which were interesting, again, I’m not going to discuss them in detail but believe me, you’ll roll your eyes!

Give the book a read, it is well worth it despite the slow start!

book review · Warhammer 40000 · Wh40K

Mechanicum – Horus Heresy Book 9 – Graham McNeill

Mechanicum-A5-thumbI was fortunate enough to read this book while I was sunning myself on the beach in the far distant Caribbean, both of which was a treat.

This book was rather different than the last few I have read. Instead of focusing on Space Marines and Primachs, this one looks at how the Heresy affects the workings of the forges on Mars (The Mechanicum as the title subtly suggests…)

I found this book to be a welcome change from the material I have been reading so far. There are mention of Space Marines, however they are far from the focus of the novel. Instead, the reader is treated to the inner workings of large warmachines – Titans, and their respective Princeps. As well as following the tale of a young tech genius and her friends.

I am not going to give away what happens, that would be unfair and I hate writing review with spoilers in. The book is well worth a read, the characters are well written and although I was not as taken with them as I have been in previous books, they are still worth reading and investing in!

There is one particular piece of writing that I feel deserves a special mention – the description of what happened during a particular disaster that spread across the whole planet was particularly masterful. I was easily able to picture exactly what was happening throughout the section and the sense of impending doom that ran through the section was spectacular.

I did feel that the pace of the book was somewhat slower in places, though it never dragged. I have put this down to being used to the rapid flow of the previous novels. Not every book can run at a break neck speed and the story did not lose anything because of this.

All in all, I rather enjoyed the change of focus of the novel and would recommend it as a decent read.