Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Sonofmalice reviews the Heresy series (one...book...at...a time)
Initial rubric for review:
I have long wanted to undertake this project, rereading and analyzing all of the Horus Heresy series that are out, but only recently have I found the time to do so. I will add reviews as I finish the books and, school and work permitting, will finish them with reasonable haste. First though I will outline my process so that anyone reading a review will understand where I am coming from.
Point 1: These books are read as if by a person with NO knowledge of Warhammer 40k whatsoever. I am approaching this as if it were simply a fantasy/sci-fi series in its own right.
Point 2: My rating system is as follows: (Edited on the advice of CKCraford)
As the ratings I had initially decided to use looked deceptively low I am changing the rating system. I have not read a HH book that wasn’t at least a 6 on my previous scale.
[1 out of 10: Abysmal-Nothing whatsoever redeeming about this work.
2 out of 10: Horrid-The only thing keeping this work from being a 1 is some random element that might strike a person’s fancy.
3 out of 10: Disappointing-Something about this work is good but is overshadowed by a host of other things that are substandard.
4 out of 10: Below average- This is almost run of the mill and nothing special but some aspect of it drags it down.
5 out of 10: Average-This is benchmark, the line in the sand. It is neither so good that it is hugely memorable nor is it so bad that it is actively repellant. It is simply neutral, nothing too good or too bad to say about it.
6 out of 10: Above average-This work has something about it that pulls it up. Could be good characters, could be good use of language, it could even be a unique plot but it elevates the work.
7 out of 10: Engaging-A work that inspires you and makes you want to read more with no obviously bad material included.
8 out of 10: Gripping-You don’t want to put this book down. The story arc is well crafted and the characters are interesting and relatable.
9 out of 10: Stellar-This is a book that you will remember whole parts of after a first reading, it sticks in your mind. At this point every character is important and lends something to the story. The story itself is multilayered and subtle.
10 out of 10: Perfection-No work is truly “perfect” but from your perspective this one is. You go back and reread it and it never loses quality. ]
Since that is the case I will change the ratings as follows.
1 out of 5: Worthless (equates to a 1-2 above)
2 out of 5: Average (equates to a 3-4 above)
3 out of 5: Above Average (equates to a 5-6 above)
4 out of 5: Excellent (equates to a 7-8 above)
5 out of 5: Perfect (equates to a 9-10 above)
Story as a whole 1-10.
The total rating of the book will be the sum of the two ratings divided by two out of a possible ten stars overall. Some books are great by themselves but don’t add a ton to the narrative as a whole while others are great for story but not the best by themselves. I feel this will address the earlier issue with Horus Rising more effectively and also give a better approximation of what a first time reader would think if they read it.
Point 3: I will break down characters into several groups.
1. Main Characters/Protagonists
2. Secondary Characters
3. Background Character
4. Name Drop
A main character is the focus of the story or its main narrator. How good a main character is depends on how well the advance the story and retain the interest and empathy of the reader.
Secondary characters are important though not the main focus. They will have their own adventures that tie back to the main character.
Background characters are not given many lines or thoughts and are present to facilitate the story but not add their voice to it.
Name drop characters are not present in the work but their name and prestige cast a shadow over the actions of the other characters.
Antagonists are quite obviously the personified obstacle that the protagonist must overcome.
Point 4: As I reread everything I will continually update a scale of how well I think the series is doing as a whole. This will be 0 to 100 and will move up or down according to the total picture provided.
Point 5: Everything is subjective. I have already read all of these and liked them all to some degree. I tend to mention things I don’t like more than things I do. Assume that if I don’t heap praise or scorn on everything that those things not mentioned are acceptable but not exceptional.
Point 6: Since some of these characters are written by different authors I will also rate continuity and point out things I think break it. I don’t usually mean glaring differences between books (there usually aren’t such things or if there are there is a reason) but rather characters acting, well, out of character. If space marine x is always portrayed as humble, five books later he is described as arrogant as an example.
I will answer comments on my review but please remember that this is all subjective. If you love Deliverance Lost and I don’t, for example, neither of us are wrong, we just have a difference of opinion.
Last edited by SonofMalice; 10-24-12 at 08:45 PM.