Your rating of the novel is your own prerogative, and I certainly don't find 8/10 to be a bad score by any means. Plus, I'd respect anyone less if they changed it the first post I disagree with them...
I happen to dislike books that are generally liked by parts of the 40K community, (Fulgrim, for instance - not that it's relevant). and I also happened to enjoy Battle for the Abyss, even though I couldn't ever bring myself to rate it as anything better than mediocre.
The only part of your review I didn't fully understand was that specific line I quoted in my post. The Iron Warriors weren't well done at all. They came out worse than Storm of Iron, and especially worse than Iron Within. And yes, they are, in fact, the accessories to Perturabo's tuxedo.
I suppose some part of the problem is that I'm not into the tabletop hobby at all. I'm into 40K for the background, for better or worse. I just can't make that leap of arguing for or against a book because of the effect it has on me to associate its characters with the way they will determine my preferences for another pastime. Another part of the problem is that I'm a sucker for character moments, and I don't tend to let battle scenes influence my ratings, unless they really screw the book up, or there's not much else the book can show for itself...
But still, after reading the book, I never for a second, got the impression that the Iron Warriors were supposed to shine here in the first place. Honestly, everything lead me to believe that they were in fact out of their element. That's not an excuse for mediocrity, I know. But not a great stage to take to the spotlight, either. Just neutral ground, really. For me, this makes the pill at least somewhat easier to swallow.
Anyway, I'm aware of Graham's shortcomings, and I'm not going to great lengths to defend him here. I agree with most of the points you made (even if the bearing they have on my subjective perception of the book might differ) I'm not all too thrilled with splinter groups of loyalists going behind enemy lines, much less so the logic guiding the actions of the band in this particular book. I agree that Toramino and Harkor are backstabbers for the sake of it. I agree that two marines should not be able to escape two legions' worth of armed guards.
I just didn't understand why you were picking on THAT particular detail. Even compared to some of the other stuff in Angel Exterminatus got wrong, saying they felt generic when Perturabo seemed like he actually wanted and went actively chose to put them in a situation to break the routine and fight like all the other legions seems like nitpicking to me.
So, my argument was simply meant to say: "Look, aren't you overreacting on that one account? Here's why it didn't seem that bad to me..."
But you Lupe are an Iron Warrior fan. Quite interesting. As far as things go, Iron Warrior was pretty much the only other Iron Warrior novel to show the legions success. Unfortunately, Graham McNeill destroyed Honsou's success and the Iron Warrior Legion as a whole. This novel just adds to the fact that Graham McNeil uses this legion as canon fodder for his other works. Honsou made the Ultramarines awesome, in this novel, Fulgrim is the player and Perturabo the pawn.
Totally missed this part. Yes, I'm a fan.
See, I've never had the chance to read Iron Warrior (what, with it being limited edition for so long, and I never bought the omnibus for some reason). But knowing Graham's track record, I expected this book to turn out a lot worse than it actually did. I was especially afraid that Perturabo would fall short of my expectations by a great margin. He didn't. He exceeded them, and he quite frankly got me sold on a few new facets that I hadn't envisioned in him. I'm willing to cut the book more than a bit of slack for that, and I'll be the first to admit that I'm taking sides somewhat. I'm sorry you didn't like it, I'm sorry we don't see eye to eye but that's that. Were your expectations higher, or was I prepared for a much worse book than you? The answer would be purely academical, of course. I can't make the book better in your eyes any more than you can ruin it for me. I was just debating about the vibe the depiction of Fourth legion is supposed to instill...