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 · figures · Uncategorized · Warhammer 40000 · Wh40K

Abaddon the Despoiler.

Some of you may be aware that I have a bit of fondness for Abaddon. I didn’t to begin with, there was a time when I painted over the Abaddon part of Abaddon Black, but those days are long gone and I have seen the error of my ways.

If you have not encountered my unending enthusiasm for the character, you might want to head on over to http://www.abaddonandteal.wordpress.com for some of the stories I have told about him. (Warning: contains silly)

So, when I said I would rather like to paint the miniature and get myself a Black Legion force, some friends said I should wait, he was getting a new miniature – that was eighteen months ago and a patient woman I am not.

I ended up with this guy and for a long time, he was my best painted minature:

 

The Wargames Exclusive miniature was a beautiful mini to work with and far better than the old Abaddon by Games Workshop. I will not put a picture of him here.

So, I still waited in hope of a new one but I had this guy as a back up. He went out, wrecked a few faces, a wall and a tank in one game, and utterly annihilated in another one.

Then new Black Legion miniatures started to be announced. I was very excited. People around me commented on it. I contained it as best as I could.

When the new Abaddon was announced and revealed, I may have exploded a little. Here is why:

 

First off, he is stomping on a baddie! Awesome.

Second, LOOK AT HIM! The details on that miniature are everything I wanted them to be.

Third, he has three head options. I put up Horus face because it’s my favourite, but you could have screaming mad Abaddon, or face covered by a rebreather Abaddon.

There is battle damage to reflect that the Chaos/Traitor Legions haven’t got access to the same resources as the Imperium and he has been in there for ten thousand years. The Talon looks wicked and the faces on Drach’nyen are still there.

Above all, he is huge. He should be huge. He was always described as huge. (Although Tarik Torgaddon was taller for those of us who remember such details.)

For me, it was everything I wanted from a new Abaddon Miniature. I am really looking forward to getting my hands on him and painting him up. Soon, Abaddon will be the best painted miniature I have, again.

40K · Uncategorized

Suddenly, drawings!

I have never made it a secret that I write. I do a lot of RP writing on Tumblr with a great bunch of people. I maybe do this too much but I find it enjoyable and while it might not be the most consrtructive of passtimes, it is a lot of fun. Over the years, I have made many a friend through RP and the group I find myself with at the moment are among the best of them.

I speak with them on Discord and have been supported by them in times of trouble and woe. So, in order to pay them back for their unending support and friendship, I decided to draw them all.

Here are the first two, which are now finished:

Some of them write canon characters, some of them write their own. Some of them write several at once.

My drawing style, when I am not relying on templates, always seems to return to the ‘Chibi’ style – small, cute with large heads. When I drew Sevatar, I stunned myself with how he turned out. No murderer had any right to look that adorable!

Anyway, I wanted to share my thoughts on them here. There are going to be thirteen of them in the picture and I am already most of the way through drawing number three. I shall share some more when they are all done!

Like my stuff? https://ko-fi.com/hereticdeb

 

figures · fine detail · hobby · miniatures.

The Novelist.

I wanted to talk about these two lovely miniatures that I painted over Christmas. How they came about was rather strange in a way and I want to share it.

I will show the miniatures first and then tell of their tale.

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The images are darker than I first thought but they will suffice for now. I have also never painted tartan before, so please don’t judge me too harshly.

I painted these for Graham McNeill – that is the McNeill tartan, or thereabouts at least, after a conversation on twitter. I have spoken to him a few times here and there and have always found our conversations to be encouraging and him to be exceptionally pleasant.

So, these two came around after a conversation that went a bit like this:

GMN: (after watching the Outlaw King) I want to write a high fantasy novel with loads of warring factions.

Me: Do it, that sounds amazing.

GMN: Alright, but you’re painting the miniatures to go with it.

Me: Deal, but I want a signed copy.

GMN: Done.

I am paraphrasing of course. My husband then suggested I should paint his tartan on the back and I am loathe to turn down a challenge. These two were selected and painted up and the result is for you all to see. Of course, these miniatures now belong to Graham McNeill; when we meet in person, I will hand them over. I am way too scared to ask for a place to send them, though the prospect of meeting someone you really look up to is also rather terrifying. I will have to try not to run away in a nervous fit of excited energy…

Anyway, I do not expect anything in return, the conversation was pretty tongue-in-cheek after all and I would never impose in that way. I am just pleased that it was remembered and brought some smiles about. I also got to paint some tartan, which was fun!

40K · hobby · painting

Goals and Dreams

I did a post like this about writing a little while back and thought that, seeing as we are in the new year, I would do one for hobby as well. I am a bit more focused on painting than I am writing currently and so I think I will switch to this one for the time being. That does not mean I will stop writing, not sure I would ever be able to do that but it doesn’t mean I cannot work on both!

Goals:

To learn how to create Object Source Lighting when I paint.

Enter Golden Demon with another bonkers diorama.

To push for more commission painting work

Improve on what I am already capable of

Speed up and solidify the three levels of painting I currently offer.

Enter local painting competitions

Dreams:

To be able to get enough commission work to stop teaching.

To win Golden Demon – or at least place.

To win any competition for painting.

 

Not that long a list really but it doesn’t need to be. I have my mind set on doing this and I will get there, I just need to stay focused and ensure I keep working at improving myself all the time. If I do this well enough, for long enough, things will start to happen!

 

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!

40K · fine detail · miniatures. · space marines · Wh40K

The Cloak of Stars, a 50p Heretic and The Second Company.

I’ve been a bit busy getting married these past few weeks and as such have not had a great deal of hobby time to get either writing or painting. The wedding was wonderful and the honeymoon a big pile of fun too. However, after recovering for a day, we did manage to get some hobby in to make up for it. While away, I was browsing Pinterest and saw an awesome effect on a cloak of a miniature and decided that I wanted to try and recreate it myself. Here are the results:

The effect of painting a galaxy on a cloak was a tricky one that involved creating a base of the swirling colours and then painting an awful lot of little dots over the top finishing off with some white ones. The colour of dots depended on which part of the cloak I was painting but I think it worked out well over all. I think I will be trying this technique again on psyker/librarian characters too. It’s just a shame that this heretic – Ahriman – will likely never see much play time.

The other model I have been painting was found at the Warboot at Element Games a few weeks ago (with a huge hangover no less) and was picked up with a friend who is some sort of demented chaos apothecary with Fabius Bile’s pack back. The Thousand Son miniature was already undercoated and having just finished the novel, I decided to paint him up all nice. He is a fine-cast miniature but let’s not hold that against him, he looks alright and I am sure he and Ahriman will be running off with all the cookies in the cabinet in some sort of heretic shenanigans.

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Look at them both – planning on raiding the Ultramarine Cookie Jar already!

Another I wanted to mention was sorting out the marines I had into squads. It was a job I have put off for a while but I finally got the time to sit down and get it done. I knew I had a lot of models and that they needed to be sorted – more so I know who belongs where and who gets what markings. Turns out I have enough for seven squads of a battle company and some Terminators, Dreadnoughts and Bikes (not assembled yet) for support. I also have other models that are not yet put together which will form the majority of the command unit too. Here they are, the Black Hands Second Company in all their ‘organised’ glory.

And finally,  I have to mention one of the awesome gifts my husband and I received as a wedding present. We were given a lot of gifts and are exceptionally grateful for all of them. I feel this one needs a special blog mention though:

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The Emperor’s Palace on Holy Terra – Now on our living room wall in all its glory.
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!