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Are any of those Warhammer 40k books any good?


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I keep finding myself drawn to the Warhammer universe. About once every fortnight I'll start looking them up online and think about buying a few squads of terminators and painting my own chapter :angry:. I even started looking at a Codex book the other day...

I've heard that some of the books are actually pretty good. Is this true? And if so, which ones?

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The first four of the Horus Heresy are good...they deal with the fall of Horus and everything kicking off. After the first four they get a bit meh. Though Legion (about the Alpha Chapter was different...in a good way). The weird thing about the series is that they are written by different authors. So some authors have a great grasp of hand to hand yet the characters are weak and vice versa. Don't expect Dune!!! but they are entertaining.

I've read the Ultramarine Omnibus and the Soul Drinkers Omnibus.... Ultra was good/ ok and the Souldrinkers was just a bit weird. Had some good moments but it was a bit of a slog to get through it. Allegedly the books about the Inquisitors are supposed to be really good (more character driven).

One thing that all the books tend to have is the theme that life is cheap in the 40K universe. It's good in a way to see major likeable characters being wasted left right and centre in some of the books.

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I have the first three Horus Heresy books if you want to borrow them - The first one is really good, as is the third, second rushes things a lot.

BTW, where does 'the story' go from there? I know there are loads of Heresy books, but which one continues?

They don't really continue as such from the third book... they all take a step back to the start of the Heresy. So book 4 is chapter X and how it is in league with chapter y and then shit happens yadda yadda. Its a shame it never got into the nitty gritty of the war... it just really deals with the slaughter of a lot of loyalists caught on the hop. Other books I've read seem to take a 2,000 year leap and deal with the effects after the conflict mopping up the odd bit of Chaos and Tryranids etc.

Descent of Angels: Loyalty and Honour is the only one I never read...supposed to be utter shite.

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I have the first three Horus Heresy books if you want to borrow them - The first one is really good, as is the third, second rushes things a lot.

BTW, where does 'the story' go from there? I know there are loads of Heresy books, but which one continues?

Excellento! If you leave them in the kitchen I can begin working through them as soon as I get home :D

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The Descent of Angels isn't that bad, it just gets most grief as it is so loosely based on the HH that it shouldn't really warrant being in the series. Oh, and the ending has no justification and makes no sense. Other than that, if it was a stand-alone book I don't think it would get the slaughtering that it does.

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I have the first three Horus Heresy books if you want to borrow them - The first one is really good, as is the third, second rushes things a lot.

BTW, where does 'the story' go from there? I know there are loads of Heresy books, but which one continues?

If you consider the story to be Horus's conversion to Chaos and subsequent rebellion against the Emporer then the first three books (Horus Rising, False Gods, and Galaxy in Flames) and Fulgrim which details the Dropsite Massacre are the only essential books in the series to date.

The Descent of Angels isn't that bad, it just gets most grief as it is so loosely based on the HH that it shouldn't really warrant being in the series. Oh, and the ending has no justification and makes no sense. Other than that, if it was a stand-alone book I don't think it would get the slaughtering that it does.

As a standalone book it doesn't achieve very much. I think the Dark Angels have one of the more interesting histories along with the Thousand Sons and Blood Angels but DOA just comes across as filler. I agree with you on Legion though. Somewhat perversely it's one of the better books because the space marines take a back seat in the story.

Grab any of the 40k books written by Abnett.

The Eisenhorn Trilogy in particular.

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Ive been lent the first four books over the past few weeks from a friend, after getting back into 40K. They're okay. Probably helps a lot if you know a fair bit about the universe beforehand. Because it's set 10,000 years before the game (30K, basically) it's missing some of the races you might be familiar with. No Tyranids, for example, althought the Megarachnid things in Book 2 are a lot like them.

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  • 2 months later...
Reading Mechanicum just now. It's utter shit.... all about Mars siding with Horus etc. It's just not working for me.. I've had it since new year and I just can't be arsed finishing it. When I do, or when I give up on it and post here and someone can have it for nowt.

Oh dear, Graham McNeill is a friend of mine, and I only really read this thread hoping to read some nice feedback about his books.

That backfired didn't it?

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Oh dear, Graham McNeill is a friend of mine, and I only really read this thread hoping to read some nice feedback about his books.

That backfired didn't it?

oops.

It's just that so far is dealing with the whole adeptus mechanicus dawgs hanging out on their red planet. It does not grab my attention because I'd rather read about Marines and Imperial Guard knocking shit out of something. Things haven't kicked off but I'm sort of avoiding reading it.

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oops.

It's just that so far is dealing with the whole adeptus mechanicus dawgs hanging out on their red planet. It does not grab my attention because I'd rather read about Marines and Imperial Guard knocking shit out of something. Things haven't kicked off but I'm sort of avoiding reading it.

Nah don't worry about it, I'm sure he's read far worse criticism on some of the more extreme message boards dedicated to the genre.

I've never actually read any of his books, but he's an amiable sort of chap I'm sure he'd take your comments in good humour.

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Nah don't worry about it, I'm sure he's read far worse criticism on some of the more extreme message boards dedicated to the genre.

I've never actually read any of his books, but he's an amiable sort of chap I'm sure he'd take your comments in good humour.

I've only read the first three Horus Heresy books so far, and thought they were all a jolly romp. You can tell your mate I thought False Gods was sweet as a nut.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Reading Mechanicum just now. It's utter shit.... all about Mars siding with Horus etc. It's just not working for me.. I've had it since new year and I just can't be arsed finishing it. When I do, or when I give up on it and post here and someone can have it for nowt.

Picked this up last week and finished it off. I was only about 100 pages into it when I left it around Christmas. It does pick up a bit but its still a bit drawn out for my liking. One thing that is pissing me off about the Horus series... its just the same time period over and over (I know that sounds retarded of me to say but bear with me). It's good that they cover how Horus descended into Chaos and the betrayal on other Legions etc. But I'd like to also read about how the Imperium got their shit together and defended Terra from Horus. Thats how I expected the series to go, not going over the same events but from one Legions perspective, and then another and then Mars.

So yeah the books OK, but its not a patch on his other stuff.

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Abnett really is the only good W40K author.

He really isn't. His writing is often of high quality but he seems to have little respect for 40K canon, often going off and making up his own stuff because it sounds cool. Of course this won't bother you if you're only loosely familiar with the universe but if you do know some background then it does become irritating after a while.

40K fiction has always been a bit frustrating for me, as earlier books like Space Marine and Inquisition Wars show what it could've been before Black Library targetted the young teenage market ( you'll universally find in all 40K books that ribcages exploding, heads severing, and people being blown to bits is absolutely fine as long as there's no naughty sex ), now you'll have difficulty finding a book which doesn't focus around battle after battle after battle. This is great fun to begin with but in the end it means way, way too many books about Space Marines, and often too many underdeveloped characters ( something I cannot fault Abnett for ), which is why the Horus Heresey is not so much breathing fresh air into 40K as giving it mouth to mouth.

Wong, I'm curious as to how well Graham McNeill does financially. Not expecting anything as crass as an exact figure but seeing as I have a great interest in writing myself, possibly in 40K, and he is what I would consider to be a successful author I'm hoping he's not on the breadline at least! Also, please tell him that I have enjoyed much of his work, but if he's going to write about the fall of another Primarch then he needs to give it a lot of consideration - personally speaking I didn't find Fulgrim or Horus convincing in that aspect.

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Wong, I'm curious as to how well Graham McNeill does financially. Not expecting anything as crass as an exact figure but seeing as I have a great interest in writing myself, possibly in 40K, and he is what I would consider to be a successful author I'm hoping he's not on the breadline at least! Also, please tell him that I have enjoyed much of his work, but if he's going to write about the fall of another Primarch then he needs to give it a lot of consideration - personally speaking I didn't find Fulgrim or Horus convincing in that aspect.

Well, we've never discussed it specifically, but he seems pretty comfortable. I certainly think it beats having a proper job! He seems pretty good at making himself work when he needs to, which has always struck me as the hardest part of being a writer.

I'll pass on your comments the next time I meet up with him.

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He really isn't. His writing is often of high quality but he seems to have little respect for 40K canon, often going off and making up his own stuff because it sounds cool. Of course this won't bother you if you're only loosely familiar with the universe but if you do know some background then it does become irritating after a while.

I'd be interested to know what stuff he gets wrong as generally it's seemed pretty spot on. I mean I can't think of anything from the books I've read that seems glaringly out of place in the universe (except maybe in Brotherhood of the Snake). It's certainly better to my mind than tosh like the Soul Drinker and Ultramarine's trilogies which both seem completely implausible in the context of the 40k universe.

That said my comment was more about his writing ability rather than anything else. He is the only GW book (fantasy or 40k) author that I've read who I think writes well and he's pretty consistent too. That's not to say I don't like books by other authors but it's always to do with liking the general lore or idea rather than the implementation

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Picked this up last week and finished it off. I was only about 100 pages into it when I left it around Christmas. It does pick up a bit but its still a bit drawn out for my liking. One thing that is pissing me off about the Horus series... its just the same time period over and over (I know that sounds retarded of me to say but bear with me). It's good that they cover how Horus descended into Chaos and the betrayal on other Legions etc. But I'd like to also read about how the Imperium got their shit together and defended Terra from Horus. Thats how I expected the series to go, not going over the same events but from one Legions perspective, and then another and then Mars.

So yeah the books OK, but its not a patch on his other stuff.

GW are undoubtedly gonna milk the Horus Heresy story for as long as humanly possible. I don't have too much of a problem with that, as I love the whole storyline and stuff, but I guess it could be utterly frustrating if you want to get to the 'end' sooner rather than later.

Apparently the next book in the series (after the short story collection) is going to be the 'sequel' to the Dark Angels one, which to my mind is the best of the lot.

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I'd be interested to know what stuff he gets wrong as generally it's seemed pretty spot on.

ditto, although from getting back into this stuff after a decade away GW themselves seem to have messed with a lot of the cannon as I remember it from the 2nd edition days.

GW are undoubtedly gonna milk the Horus Heresy story for as long as humanly possible.

From an interview with Abnett the plan is 20 books over 10 years, the majority written by him & McNeil.

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ditto, although from getting back into this stuff after a decade away GW themselves seem to have messed with a lot of the cannon as I remember it from the 2nd edition days.

I suppose they can use the excuse that there's been 10,000 years in between the Emperor having to order his wheelchair and the 'present' day, so they can use the term 'myth' and 'legend' a lot I guess!

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I'm up to Fulgrim (book five, I think), after starting to read them last summer. Chap in work has them so once I've finished one he passes me the next. They're okay, decent page-turners for the bus to work. Main problem with them is that I hate Space Marines, and would much rather read some books based on the other races, instead of a barrage of 500-page books full of arguing macho men.

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