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post #41 of 66 (permalink) Old 08-27-12, 07:23 AM
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I really think you're mistaking mediocrity for brilliance but to each his own...
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post #42 of 66 (permalink) Old 08-27-12, 09:38 AM
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I really think you're mistaking mediocrity for brilliance but to each his own...
Well that's your view. I myself have some similar views on other books. Like Legion, I really don't think its one of the Top 5 Heresy books like many claim, or that it's as good as many people say.

I also really liked Nemesis.


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post #43 of 66 (permalink) Old 08-27-12, 11:46 AM
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I'll also echo Phobeus in that I don't dislike Swallow. I'll not deny that I would have rather had one of the power horses like Abnett, ADB or Mcneil write about Signus, but I don't have any problem with Swallow, I also really, really liked FotE, definitely up there as one of my favourites of the series, Garro proving Swallow can write good characters, but again FtT lacked.

The one scene I did really like however along with my favourite quote from the books(there aren't many but I really liked this one) Is when Sanguinius tears off Ka'Bandhas wing and says 'Only angels may fly' before throwing him off the edge.

I'll concede Amit was probably one of the only characters I thought was remotely interesting, especially when he doesn't shrink away from calling Horus a traitor. But he just wasn't in it enough, so very almost a background character, and I generally dislike everything to do with Wolves including their eventual fate. I was quite excited when the Wolves arrived, thought Swallow could have done really well with them. Horus placing his agents within the IX Legion in the form of the Word Bearers and the Sigilitte putting his own men with them in the form of the Wolves, sadly that's not how it panned out.

You say you liked Raldoron, but how did he justify his position of First Captain to you? Once again I found nothing special about him at all, sure he's very loyal, but then so are so many other characters in the series, kind of moot. Was it Corswain or Alajos(or even Argel Tal perhaps? really can't remember) in Savage Weapons who upon seeing Sevetar goes on to mention the other great First Captains who could be his match, including Raldoron. But from what I read of him in FtT, I can't see him standing up to any of the other First Captains seen so far except perhaps Gage, and plenty of other regular captains would give him a run about from what we see of him.

Another thing is I was really looking forward to seeing what made the Blood Angels different pre-Heresy when all the other Legions were so diverse. The Luna Wolves have the Mournival, the lots that get chosen for the spear tips, the lodges, the (deserved)arrogance yet easy going manner. The Emperors Children had the Brotherhood of the Pheonix, the Lord Commanders and perfection angle. The Thousand Sons don't really need to have much more said for how different they were, same with the Wolves/Vlka Fenryka and the Alpha Legions. But the Blood Angels just seemed so.....Ultramarine tbh, sure they had the Sanguinary Guard, but they were literally just really nice looking bodyguard and ultimately weren't very interesting at all, but generally they just seemed very very generic and didn't really stand out at all.
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post #44 of 66 (permalink) Old 08-27-12, 12:10 PM
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The one scene I did really like however along with my favourite quote from the books(there aren't many but I really liked this one) Is when Sanguinius tears off Ka'Bandhas wing and says 'Only angels may fly' before throwing him off the edge.
Indeed that was a brilliant moment. I also loved the part when Kyriss goes mad and rants about how they should love and praise him for what he's done and then Sanguinius skewers him.

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I'll concede Amit was probably one of the only characters I thought was remotely interesting, especially when he doesn't shrink away from calling Horus a traitor. But he just wasn't in it enough, so very almost a background character, and I generally dislike everything to do with Wolves including their eventual fate. I was quite excited when the Wolves arrived, thought Swallow could have done really well with them. Horus placing his agents within the IX Legion in the form of the Word Bearers and the Sigilitte putting his own men with them in the form of the Wolves, sadly that's not how it panned out.
But that is how it turned out. Both the Sigilite and Horus put agents in the Blood Angels, both made their plays and failed. As for Amit I admit I would have liked to see more of him but i'm sure we will down the line which I look forward too, especially to see how his guilt over Redknife will affect him.

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You say you liked Raldoron, but how did he justify his position of First Captain to you? Once again I found nothing special about him at all, sure he's very loyal, but then so are so many other characters in the series, kind of moot. Was it Corswain or Alajos(or even Argel Tal perhaps? really can't remember) in Savage Weapons who upon seeing Sevetar goes on to mention the other great First Captains who could be his match, including Raldoron. But from what I read of him in FtT, I can't see him standing up to any of the other First Captains seen so far except perhaps Gage, and plenty of other regular captains would give him a run about from what we see of him.
Easy. Everything I said is why Raldoron is the great First Captain that Corswain declared him to be. He is loyal, steady, trustworthy and humble. He's good at what he does and doesn't need accolades for it, he can always be counted on and doesn't shirk away from the dangerous tasks that he asks of those under him.

Also neither Argel Tal nor the Word Bearers were even mentioned in Savage Weapons.

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Another thing is I was really looking forward to seeing what made the Blood Angels different pre-Heresy when all the other Legions were so diverse. The Luna Wolves have the Mournival, the lots that get chosen for the spear tips, the lodges, the (deserved)arrogance yet easy going manner. The Emperors Children had the Brotherhood of the Pheonix, the Lord Commanders and perfection angle. The Thousand Sons don't really need to have much more said for how different they were, same with the Wolves/Vlka Fenryka and the Alpha Legions. But the Blood Angels just seemed so.....Ultramarine tbh, sure they had the Sanguinary Guard, but they were literally just really nice looking bodyguard and ultimately weren't very interesting at all, but generally they just seemed very very generic and didn't really stand out at all.
The Sanguinary Guard, the uniqueness of the Captains, and the Black Rage and Red Thirst hiding under the skin all add to the Blood Angels character as a Legiion. They have their nobility and strength, but the darker core hiding it. They look a bit like the Ultramarines to the observer, but to the insider they hide their dark secret that in the end is what truly defines them. Their differences are hidden because they are so awful.


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post #45 of 66 (permalink) Old 08-27-12, 02:16 PM
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LotN,

Forgive me for speaking for Angel of Blood, but the problem is that you're just telling us these things rather than showing us. If that sounds like a trick statement, it kind of is... since the burden lay on Mr. Swallow to show the readers how these characters were deep and memorable.

In the case of "Fear to Tread", the author seems to have decided that his characters would be defined by the titles given to them and the situations they were thrust in. What other depth is provided? Those traits you provided for Raldoron... they don't set him apart from the majority of the named Blood Angels characters of Sergeant rank or lower, who also performed with steadfast loyalty, trustworthiness, and humility. What do we know about Raldoron besides his rank, or his planet of birth? Very, very little. Now go back to "Flight of the Eisenstein", and compare that treatment with Swallow's work on Nathaniel Garro.

It's literally like night and day.
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post #46 of 66 (permalink) Old 08-27-12, 02:27 PM
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Finished it yesterday.

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Originally Posted by Lord of the Night View Post
I suppose this book has received a typical James Swallow reception then. You either love it (Me, Bane of Kings, Shadowhawk2008) or you hate it (Monty, CotE and Angel of Blood).
Don't get me wrong, I don't "hate" it. But it stands far from the peak of the Heresy series in my opinion. I actually quite enjoyed it up to a point; apart from a few snags the build-up to Signus was good - the war on Melchior, Horus's discovery of the flaw, and Horus's use of their shared experience of the Nephilim to lure Sanguinius to Signus. Even the veil that blocked out the stars and the planet-turned-signal was suitably chilling and foreboding. But after that, I considered everything a bit slapstick and poorly portrayed. There was no climactic peak, nothing that made me sit down and say "wow" after closing the book. Instead, I just felt cheated that such a pivotal event in the Heresy wasn't handled in the right manner.

There was no driving character around which the plot was based, there was no Loken, Ahriman, or Argel Tal. Instead, there was the lackluster trio of Raldoron, Kano and Meros. All of whom were unengaging and well, dull.

Also, am I the only one who really disliked the interaction between Ka'Bandha and Kyriss? That, and the description of the Cathedral of the Mark - which was meant to be the epicentre of the madness - just felt lacklustre.

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You seem to be basing your appreciation of those characters directly on the plot, rather than their development as characters. Whilst both obviously go hand-in-hand, there is a significant difference. For example, I could write:
Quote:
Captain Jan was amazing; he was the dutiful, humble and had won countless battle honours. During the Heresy he killed hundreds of traitor Space Marines and high-fived the Emperor.
But those deeds don't make him an interesting or compelling character. You are telling us why you think the characters are interesting, but Swallow failed to show us. After reading the novel, tell me how Raldoron stands out as a character when compared to any other Blood Angel? He doesn't.

EDIT: Phoebus beat me to it on that last part.



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I do love how we don't even need CotE to comment anymore, chances are he has already said something intelligent before that can be re-applied to the current situation.
Heresy's Background FAQ. (Fluff Project)
CotE Reviews: Prospero Burns (HH Review), Age of Darkness (HH Review).

Last edited by Child-of-the-Emperor; 08-27-12 at 02:40 PM.
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post #47 of 66 (permalink) Old 08-27-12, 03:33 PM
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I forgive you Phobeus :p You and CotE took the words right out of my mouth though, I'm of the exact same opinion and thoughts.

I found the interactions between Kyriss and Ka'Bandha to be more odd than anything, something about two greater daemons from different gods having a long chat in a room just didn't seem right.

Also, and this isn't entirely Swallows fault, but none of the descriptions of Sanguinius lived up to Abnetts or more so ADBs, sure his descriptions were good and descriptive, but they just lacked the impact and awe that Abnetts had in Horus Rising. This is more ADBs fault than Swallows(yeah I'm looking at you dead.blue.clown if you see this!), but the one short description of Sanguinius during the Seige of Terra in Aurullian was beyond incredible and I'm not sure any other author will live up to it.
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post #48 of 66 (permalink) Old 08-27-12, 04:14 PM
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In the case of "Fear to Tread", the author seems to have decided that his characters would be defined by the titles given to them and the situations they were thrust in. What other depth is provided? Those traits you provided for Raldoron... they don't set him apart from the majority of the named Blood Angels characters of Sergeant rank or lower, who also performed with steadfast loyalty, trustworthiness, and humility. What do we know about Raldoron besides his rank, or his planet of birth? Very, very little. Now go back to "Flight of the Eisenstein", and compare that treatment with Swallow's work on Nathaniel Garro.

It's literally like night and day.
Hm, well i've never been good at making my thoughts clear really. But I just enjoyed the characters, I enjoyed the situations they found themselves in and I enjoyed how those characters changed over the novel. How Kano went from being a bitter Ex-Librarian to be willing to break the rules to do what's right, how Meros went from being unsure of everything to becoming a real hero, and how Sanguinius accepted that the Red Thirst was not something he could hide anymore. And personally while I enjoyed FotE it doesn't make my Top 5 HH novels, or even my Top 10. To me Garro was cool but because of what he was, not who he is.

And I loved the scene where they decide not to tell Sanguinius what happened to Redknife and his wolves, because it would just be too cruel to do so. And it wouldn't end well for anybody.

And I thought that Ka'Bandha and Kyriss were brilliant together. Daemons aren't always killing each other, sometimes they've gotta put their differences aside and work together. If Slaanesh and Khorne could do it for the Heresy then surely their chosen representatives can. Plus the moment where Kreed thinks to himself that the Daemons are very human in their bickering is very interesting and imo accurate, they aren't that dissimilar to us. No species is above pettiness.

Truthfully I like Swallow's work, and Fear to Tread imo is the best HH novel yet. Better than KNF and TFH, and all know how I feel about ADB's work so from me that is a big compliment. But no book is universally loved, I myself found Legion to be adequate and nothing more whereas i've seen many on this forum praise it as the best thing before TFH was released. I also think that Gaunt's Ghosts is overrated beyond belief and I like both the first two Blood Angels novels and Nocturne.

Different opinions are what make this place fun.


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post #49 of 66 (permalink) Old 08-27-12, 04:23 PM
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There was no driving character around which the plot was based, there was no Loken, Ahriman, or Argel Tal. Instead, there was the lackluster trio of Raldoron, Kano and Meros. All of whom were unengaging and well, dull.
There doesn't need to be. A novel can work as well with multiple protagonists rather than just one that drives the story along. Three pov's can sometimes work better than one central one.

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But those deeds don't make him an interesting or compelling character. You are telling us why you think the characters are interesting, but Swallow failed to show us. After reading the novel, tell me how Raldoron stands out as a character when compared to any other Blood Angel? He doesn't.
Well let's compare him to the others. Raldoron is not bloodthirsty like Amit. He isn't paranoid like Azkaellon. He isn't unsure like Meros. He isn't bitter like Kano. Raldoron is the straight-man, the uncomplicated man who does his duty and does it well. Whereas the others are beset by their own internal problems, Amit's hunger for battle makes him unreliable in certain situations, Meros's lack of confidence makes him lesser than he could be, Azkaellon's rampant mistrust makes him tough to trust himself, Kano's bitterness makes him likely to lash out. Raldoron has no complications that lessen his ability, he is simply dependable and loyal yet has the skills of a First Captain but none of the handicaps that others show. Eidolon was monstrously arrogant, Sevatar was insubordinate, Abaddon was argumentative, Corswain was too tractable. Raldoran reminded me of Loken in some ways.


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post #50 of 66 (permalink) Old 08-27-12, 06:49 PM
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I found the interactions between Kyriss and Ka'Bandha to be more odd than anything, something about two greater daemons from different gods having a long chat in a room just didn't seem right.
This. Very much this. This whole concept of greater daemons working together is so mindbogglingly insane that it's not supposed to feel right. It's the kind of thing that you couldn't ever get right if you tried to make it feel natural. So, yeah, odd is good in this case. Chaos should be unfathomable by sane minds, and interactions between its polar opposites should be anything but what you'd expect them to be.

The fact that there's even any interactions between the two daemons should also give the readers a hint just how important it was for Chaos to turn the Blood Angels over.

On a different note, I agree that character development was done more by descriptions and outright statements than through memorable scenes or lines, but I found it somewhat refreshing.

Sure, Raldoron doesn't come off as great as Argel Tal, or Sevatar, or Corswain, or Azek Ahriman, or Aenid Thiel, or... Anyway, back to my point. I like the fact that characters get sketchy development time, and that they feel more like rank and file marines.

An individual's capacity for heroism is not just measured by the opportunity to be in the right place for a really awesome character development scene. Not everybody gets to utter "Forgive me" before plunging the galaxy into civil war. Not everybody gets to ram a chainsword up a primarchs' spine. Not everybody gets to be the first to utter the words that still rally the forces of Chaos ten thousand years after he dies. Raldoron isn't that guy, he's far more understated as a character, even though his well deserved reputation is still enough to ensure he is counted among the equals of the aforementioned characters. He's more evenly tempered, none of the others' traits are as obvious about him. He's not as prone to the others' greatness, but neither is he as prone to their flaws.

Another thing I feel like mentioning is that he's actually closer to a Space Marines Battles character than his Heresy counterparts. In a broader sense, that's a good thing. There's an obvious difference of style between the two series, and having all Heresy-era characters portrayed as larger than life figures just dampens the heroes of the 41st millenium somewhat and leads to saturation of the Heresy series. Every now and then you need a book that focuses more on revealing new events rather than on adding yet new characters whose needs for development will only cause more trouble reconciling as the story drives closer to the siege of Terra.

Anyway, I wouldn't go as far as LotN as to say it's the best Heresy book (mostly because I can probably recite half of The First Heretic by memory alone now), but it was a very enjoyable read nonetheless. I really didn't have any problems with the characterizations being kept light (even though I'm a sucker for depth and grayshading), nor did the pacing seem off.

Amit rocks, though. I could well see him in an audiobook of his own...

Last edited by Lupe; 08-27-12 at 06:57 PM.
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