A review of Assault on Black Reach from Big_Cheddars - Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-08-12, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
Member
 
Big_Cheddars's Avatar
Big_Cheddars's Flag is: England
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: In Swindon
Posts: 61
Reputation: 1
Default A review of Assault on Black Reach from Big_Cheddars

I bought the Island of Blood and Assault on Black Reach together in paperback form (my first actual physical copies of BL books and not ebooks) and I have to say BL love being cheapskates. The paper they were printed on was pretty crap, but oh well. One of my newer adages when it comes to reading is that it doesn't matter what you're reading them on, what really matters is the words themselves. I digress, however, and onto this book, this marvellous book.

This novella is a gem, simply put. After reading TIoB I went into this expecting substandard prose and flat characters, and I got neither. The Ultramarines Second Company is attempting to retake the planet of Black Reach from the ork invaders, and leading them is the infamous glory-hunter Cato Sicarius. Sicarius is valorous, for sure, but as the sort-of main character Scipio Vorolanus says, he is occasionally very reckless. This novella is filled with awesome characters. From the grim Scout-Sergeant Telion (Yes, he's here, and he's awesome!), to the taciturn Iulus Fennion that is one of Sicarius's early detractors. And then of course there is Scipio. Scipio is a sergeant, and a relative rookie to the officer ranks. There are many parallels to be drawn between Sarah Cawkwell's Gileas Ur'ten and Scipio, as they are both rookie sergeants that are proud warriors and have the makings of something great. I honestly loved the variety of the characters in this novella, and even though the antagonists didn't have much character (being faceless orks) the Ultramarines made up for it by being awesome.

You get the feeling that Nick Kyme wasn't trying to write a novella about the 'Assault on Black Reach', as it were, but he was trying to write a novella about how the Ultramarines see each other and how they conduct war from a more strategic point of view. The actual action is thrilling and satisfying, especially when Telion is involved, but most of the novel is about the Ultramarines planning their attacks and their internal politicking. Although, the opening was pure class, and the description of the drop pod flying through the air and landing was truly magnificent and evocative.

The novella is excellently paced, and surprisingly didn't ever feel rushed. Nick Kyme has managed to cram a lot more story into exactly the same page count as Darius Hinks had with TIoB. The brief entry of normal humans into the novella, with the beleaguered defenders of a hive city, shows how caring Kyme can make the Space Marines, as a small interaction between Iulus and a human shows. It is nice to see a little humanity in a novella which is mainly dominated by Space Marines, who are questionably human when it comes to interacting with actual humans.

After this novella, I honestly cannot wait to read Fall of Damnos, which has some of the same characters in, because I know it will be awesome.

Back to the current novella though, and a summary: In the end, AoBL is a real gem of a novel that you would be foolish to under-estimate. It has brilliant characters, a decent plot, and some excellent storytelling contained within its pages. Nick Kyme is a firm BL favourite for me after this, and I honestly cannot wait to read his other books. I would give AoBl a 9/10 for being awesome, and as it's only £3 I advise you nip down to a GW store and buy it (as I think they have copies in every store).

Hey, I write a lot, I read a lot, and everything from BL that I read I'll review.
Big_Cheddars is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-20-12, 09:18 PM
Senior Member
 
Xisor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 210
Reputation: 2
Default

I don't mean to berate Fall of Damnos, but the charm and excellence exuded in this novella is sadly missing from FoD. Or at least, it was for me. It's not an awful book by any means, but it certainly lacks the charm and...buoyant, gung-ho enthusiasm of AoBR. If anything, FoD is a bit too action-packed and maudlin all at once - not enough of the character insight and hook seen here.

Kyme's Salamanders books carry the feel from this novella a lot better for my tastes. That said, I did enjoy FoD well enough, but it's unfortunately one of the lesser SMB books.
Xisor is offline  
post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-20-12, 10:14 PM
Entropy Fetishist
 
Mossy Toes's Avatar
Mossy Toes's Flag is: USA
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Eš
Posts: 4,249
Reputation: 117
Default

Yeah, AoBR was a good one. I love to hate Sicarius as a character, in all of his flawed arrogance and resounding success. He's like a version of Eidolon that's actually effective.

CSM Plog, Tactica

What sphinx of plascrete and adamantium bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination? Imperator! Imperator!
Mossy Toes is offline  
Reply

  Lower Navigation
Go Back   Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums > Fiction, Art and Roleplay Game Discussion > Black Library Book Reviews

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome