Friday, November 30, 2012

Booknote: False Gods

I am enjoying the Horus Heresy series so far, so I am sharing my review as posted to my GoodReads profile of the second book in the series, which I finished last night. The ending of the novel, which I will not spill, was just, well, wow. Let me just say it sets up the rest of the series very well. I will note that I am not a hardcore WH40K fan; I am familiar with the tabletop game, but I am not an active player. I have read some of the other books in the Warhammer 40K universe; the Ciaphas Cain series is a favorite of mine. So I come to this series as a casual reader looking for some escapist military scifi fun. If you have read any Warhammer 40,000 books, the Horus Heresy events take place 10,000 years before the "main" or "regular" books. Think of it in terms of Star Wars perhaps: Horus Heresy would be like the time of the Old Republic in the Star Wars universe. At any rate, I am enjoying the tale so far, and I am finding very fascinating how these novels set up the events of the current WH40K universe.

False Gods (The Horus Heresy, #2)False Gods by Graham McNeill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very good novel. McNeill picks up right where Dan Abnett left off in Horus Rising, and the move from one book to the other is seamless. In a way, you can't tell where one book begins and the other ends if you go by the very good prose in these two novels. I can only hope that as I continue to read the series, which I will, that the feel of consistent quality storytelling and ambiance will be there. So far, so good.

The plot thickens in this novel. Revelations are made, and it seems not all is as it seems. I am fascinated by this series taking place so long before the "regular" events in Warhammer 40,000. I have said before that I often do not like books where you know how things will end beforehand. And in this series, that is the case. You know, if you have read any of the other books in the WH40K universe, how things will end for the most part: the Emperor as a corpse deity, the battle between the forces of the Imperium, the xenos, and other forces of Chaos raging on. And yet, the Horus Heresy series draws you right in. You really want to find out how things happen. What discoveries are made. Why things are the way they are. I think as a reader you get a sense of wonder as you see Horus, the Primarchs, the Astartes as well as other Imperial forces coming face to face for the first time with Chaos. Again, not all is as it seems.

In this novel, Horus is wounded. His men, some of them, rush to try to find a cure in the world of Davin where some mystics (so to speak. You could call them sorcerers, etc.) may or not have a remedy. And if he survives, Horus will be sorely tempted. Will he fall for that great temptation? He learns new things along the way that may tilt the balance of the Great Crusade. And what exactly are Erebus's motivations and machinations? There is a lot of intrigue in this book as well as a lot of action. McNeill chooses to focus much of the novel on the point of view of Captain Loken, and I think this makes a good choice. Loken, though an experienced warrior, does play the part of the new guy, and that view serves us readers well to appreciate the upcoming conflicts, when Astartes will have to decide if they will fight their brothers or not.

But I will not say more. If you are fan of WH40K, you need to be reading this series. If you like military science fiction in general, give this series a try. I know I will be looking for the next volume in the series.

View all my reviews