Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Booknote: Mechanicum

Graham McNeill, Mechanicum. Nottingham: Black Library, 2008. ISBN:  9781844166060.

Series: Horus Heresy
Genre: Science Fiction
Subgenre: Military science fiction, gaming-based fiction. 

I continue reading the novels in the Horus Heresy series, and we are now up to Book 9. This is a book about how the civil war arrives to Mars. Mars is a key point in the war as it is the home of the Adeptus Mechanicum, the tech priests who manufacture the weapons and materiel that both sides need in the war. The fabricators of Mars start taking sides, and the dark forces of Horus launch a vicious attack, what we could call a hacker attack, that hits much of Mars. In the midst of that, Koriel Zeth, Mistress of the Magma City, strives to build the Akashic Reader with the help of a team of experts led by Dalia Cythera, a transcriber who also seems to have a special affinity with technology.

If you want a book that focuses on the Mechanicum, this is it. If you like novels with a lot of political intrigue, this is a good book for that as well. We get to see the rise of the Dark Mechanicum, and we see the Mechanicum be divided between those loyal the Emperor and those taking sides with Horus Lupercal. A strength of the book lies in the many descriptions and details of the forges and the lore of the Mechanicum. However, the book really picks up the pace in the last third of the novel. Prior to that, some of the descriptive passages can be a bit slow, but I think the reading is still rewarding. I found tragic the loss of so much knowledge. We get to see the roots of the theocratic regime that will be the reality in the 41st millennium forming now. Koriel and Dalia are among the last people embracing science and reason at a point when most of the Mechanicum is more interested in the past and rituals rather than making progress.

In the end, this was a pretty good entry in the series. I liked it, but that was about it, so I am giving it 3 out of 5 stars.

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