Join Date: Apr 2012
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I'll just put my name forward for this because I think it would be AWESOME.
Storm Of Iron by Graham McNeill
Storm of Iron tells the tale of siege of Hydra Cordatus by the Iron Warriors. This is one of the rare Warhammer novels that tells the story from Chaos point of view; or more precisely from the point of view of Honsou the half-breed, Captain of Iron Warriors. Hydra Cordatus is a wasteland, with only the mighty citadel resting upon its barren surface. It hides a terrible secret and that secret is the reasons why the Iron Warriors are knocking on its doors.
McNeill is a good writer; he captures the atmosphere pretty well and has a terrific sense of pace. Pacing is certainly the highlight of the book, the book draws you in its vile clutches and you can’t put it down until you’ve read it all. The plot also follows loyalist forces perspective and gives additional depth and intrigue to the whole thing. However, although many people claim that the book keeps you on the edge as to who is going to win to the very end, that’s not true. Halfway through the book I knew Chaos was going to win, since everything the loyalists had planned turned out bad for them. Chaos troops die by thousands, crushed under relentless artillery barrage, landmines, weapons fire, tank shells, Titan weaponry, bolter fire and Space Marine chainswords. Yet, at the end, they push on and take the citadel as if they had no casualties whatsoever. I don’t mind Chaos winning (actually, it was a nice refreshment from generic Space Wolves kick ass novels), but I would at least like to see that their victory, almost Pyrrhic in nature, bore some scars on the Iron Warriors. To me it feels like Honsou said: “Okay, we won this, now all our dead troops will respawn at out base camp for the next campaign.”
The next thing that caught my attention was lack of any serious descriptions of locales and characters, as well as loyalist characterizations. The Chaos side was well developed, especially Honsou, who is among my favourite Warhammer 40k characters. The Imperial side however feels like copy/pasted from a Codex with their genericness. I don’t even remember who the Castellan of the citadel was nor is there anything worth remembering about Captain Eshara of Imperial Fists. They feel like cardboard cut-outs. The verbosity in describing battles is also somewhat lacking. I know that most people prefer their action fast and hard, but several times I found myself re-reading certain paragraphs to understand who was killing who, especially the part when loyalists stormed the trenches in a desperate counterattack.
Storm of Iron is a good novel, and a recommendation to anyone interested in Warhammer 40k universe. However, it falls short on some basic points, and it’s definitely not the best there is among other BL books, compared to Abnett’s or Werner’s work. If you’re interested in Chaos novels, this is a good choice, and I recommend that you read it before Dead Sky, Black Sun, which continues the story of Honsou.