Books of 2020 #4 War Without End

I’m way behind on my book reviews! I finished War Without End the first week of February. It is the 33rd volume of the Horus Heresy Series. It is another collection of short stories as opposed to a full length novel.

It can be purchased at Amazon with this link: https://amzn.to/3aAFNci

Or from Black Library with this link: https://www.blacklibrary.com/the-horus-heresy/novels/hh-war-without-end-ebook.html

The Good:

  1. The Devine Adoratrice by Graham McNeill

    This story provides background information for House Devine featured in Vengeful Spirit – an earlier volume in the series. Graham McNeill is an author I have mixed feelings about. There is good Graham, Bad Graham, and in-between Graham. This is more of the Good Graham. I most enjoyed the depiction of how Knights bond with their pilots.

2. Howl of the Hearthworld by Aaron Dembski Bowden

ADB writes Space Marines with the best of them. His take on the Space Wolves is solid and falls in line with the trail blazed by Dan Abnett. This story has some humor to it too. I recommend it.

3. Lord of the Red Sands by Aaron Dembski Bowden

This is a very short story that features the Primarch Angron making war on his own legion during Istvaan V. It’s entertaining and well written. With that said, ADB has done a pretty good job helping to improve and flesh out Angron’s character – unfortunately the outcome of this story is just kind of goofy. I don’t believe a freedom fighter who actually valued the concept of free will would slaughter his own people for having an opposing viewpoint.

4. Artefacts by Nick Kyme

Nick Kyme is like Graham McNeill for me. I feel like the quality is all over the place – many times within the same work. This story was enjoyable. I’m hoping down the road someone didn’t quite destroy all of the weapons in the vault and they reappear.

5. By the Lion’s Command by Gav Thorpe

In general, the Dark Angels have not been treated well by the series. Most of the works featuring them are convoluted, boring, and kinda painful to get through. The Lion is also a giant turd that is some how supposed to be awe inspiring. This story was actually pretty enjoyable – mostly because the Lion, Luther, and the rest of the gang aren’t around.

6. The Harrowing by Rob Sanders

The Alpha Legion doing what the Alpha Legion do without some of the over the top stuff penned in by other writers. If I were to offer any general criticism of how the Alphas are featured – they do better when treated like elite special forces conducting clandestine operations and espionage. When they are done badly it is due to the whole cult / terrorist aspect of the legion being over done. This depiction threads the needle.

7. Gunsight by James Swallow

The story of Eristede Kell from Nemesis continues. I have to say I liked the character as more of a hero, but this is not a bad way to go either.

8. Allegiance by Chris Wraight

In general, I’m kind of over Chris Wraight. He has done well at fleshing out a culture for the White Scars. Unfortunately, he just doesn’t treat his creations appropriately. This story is something you will enjoy as you read it. I wasn’t so happy with Arvida’s attempted escape as it seemed out of character for him.

9. The Laurel of Defiance by Guy Haley

I like Lucretius Corvo. He’s a lot like Aenoid Thiel for me. The way he treated the Lion was priceless.

10. A Safe and Shadowed Place

This story is a prequel to Pharos. It’s enjoyable.

11. Imperfect by Nick Kyme

I’m pretty tired of Fulgrim, but this story kept my attention in spite of that. I’m not sure the implications of primarch cloning serve the best interest of the setting, but now that the genie is out of the bottle we will have to see this goes from here.

12. Chirugeoun by Nick Kyme

This is a pretty good take on an origin story for Fabius Bile. Spoiler: He is a doctor of ass-hattery with the bed side manner of a serial killer.

13. Twisted by Guy Haley

Guy Haley is growing on me. He does good work. I don’t think he’s on the same level as ADB or Dan Abnett, but he’s ahead of the rest. This is a pretty good story featuring Maloghurst who has been a hard character to like. I enjoyed it.

14. Wolf Mother by Graham McNeill

Sevarian and Alivia Sureka are good characters. So many of these stories are so dark and heavy it was really nice to have a happy ending for a change.

The Bad

1. Hands of the Emperor by Rob Sanders

A bureaucratic pissing match of epic proportions conduced by “heroes”. The story is silly and pointless.

2. The Phoenician by Nick Kyme

Well written, but we’ve seen this story before. We all also know all about Fulgrim – who has been done to death at this point.

3. Sermon of Exodus by David Annandale

This is a prequel to The Damnation of Pythos. I thoroughly despised Damnation – It certainly didn’t need a prequel……

4. All that Remains by James Swallow

Some stories stick with you. Some stories you read them and they just kind of fade away. This one faded away for me.

5. Daemonology by Chris Wraight

Mortarion is a turd. It’s impossible to connect with him in any way shape or form. It makes him a difficult protagonist to follow.

6. Black Oculus by John French

This story isn’t poorly written – the problem is the Iron Warriors need the Dan Abnett treatment badly. They have not been treated evenly by the different authors who have taken them on. They are hard to connect to and just bleh.

7. Virtues of the Sons by Andy Smillie

The Blood Angels also need the Dan Abnett treatment. The individual battles of Azkaellon and Amit are well written and enjoyable. I just don’t get Sanguinius. The way his character is depicted does not mesh with how other characters think of him. You actually have to be dynamic and awesome to be dynamic and awesome. The way he behaves does not match the adjectives that typically describe him.

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