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post #21 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-19-14, 09:06 PM
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At least it was unequivocally a Heresy novel. Pythos could be 40k for all it matters.
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post #22 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-21-14, 12:57 PM
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What does this novel even contribute to the overall series? It sounds like a post-Dropsite Massacre Horus Rising without the reems of goodies that made Horus Rising great. And, frankly, Horus-Rising-like novels have no place in the series in 2014.

Even trying to explain away the lack of linear plotting - with the good ol' sandpit analogy - doesn't fully cover it. Never mind the quality of the prose, the novel itself feels like a complete non-entity. As you say Vaz, a SMB novel with 30k window dressing.

The only positive caveat I can think of is showing the Iron Hands post-Dropsite Massacre and dealing with the death of their primarch. Well, there has been a glut of that since Fulgrim, and frankly a single, moving and well-written short story would sufficed. To be frank the Dropsite Massacre has lost a good deal of its impact for me with all this Iron Hands, Salamanders and Raven Guard material lately.

It seems the Black Library's (and their fans') urge to SHOWALLTHETHINGS (which is already simply poor storytelling short and simple) to SHOWALLTHETHINGSANDTHENSOMEYOUDON'TNEEDTOSEE.
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post #23 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-21-14, 04:26 PM
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What does this novel even contribute to the overall series? It sounds like a post-Dropsite Massacre Horus Rising without the reems of goodies that made Horus Rising great. And, frankly, Horus-Rising-like novels have no place in the series in 2014.

Even trying to explain away the lack of linear plotting - with the good ol' sandpit analogy - doesn't fully cover it. Never mind the quality of the prose, the novel itself feels like a complete non-entity. As you say Vaz, a SMB novel with 30k window dressing.

The only positive caveat I can think of is showing the Iron Hands post-Dropsite Massacre and dealing with the death of their primarch. Well, there has been a glut of that since Fulgrim, and frankly a single, moving and well-written short story would sufficed. To be frank the Dropsite Massacre has lost a good deal of its impact for me with all this Iron Hands, Salamanders and Raven Guard material lately.
This is interesting, because I feel that the Hands have been underserved, and basically ignored since Manus was killed. What stories have you seen their post-Isstvan plight dealt with? Other than Riven - which had very little to do with the legion itself and was a micro-level look at one rogue warband - there has been next to nothing on how the Iron Hands have coped.

Have I missed something? Do you have other examples?
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post #24 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-21-14, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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Honestly, it feels like pretty much every book has Iron Hands in them. They were the most numerous loyallist Legion involved post-drop site, admittedly, but any book involved the Shattered Legions has Iron Hands involved, who near enough single handedly manage to fuck things up, and simulataneously be the most uninteresting characters written.

I'm not going to lie, I might be slightly biased in that I was never interested in Iron Hands prior to the Heresy information - they were just a legion which preferred bionics to tap into that Terminator-style vibe (with a part-metal, part-plastic tactical squad being produced for them around the time of when Matrix 2 and 3 were at their biggest hype, IIRC back in late 3rd/early 4th edition, IIRC), similar to how Tau tapped into Gundam interest etc.

Damnation of Pythos
Angel Exterminatus
The Primarchs

All of these have major focus on the Iron Hands following the legions - Angel Exterminatus was notable for the Iron Warriors first major appearance, and how Fulgrim interacted with that, while Damnation of Pythos was meant to be "the return" of the Iron Hands to the screen. In addition to that, there are a ton of other references and inclusions of Iron Hands dotted about, where, they didn't need to be.

If you want to sum up the novel, The Iron Hands went to a world, jumped through a few hoops set by a Daemon, and they created a Daemonic Invasion. After Dawn of War, and Ben Counter, everyone is sick of that same fucking storyline. It's not interesting. They most relevant part of those novels, though? They're 40K, not 30K.

Sure, Madail might return in another book, but why did we need to have a storyline that was "dur, Iron Hands are thick as shit, look", and have to pay money to have someone write not only that novel, but waste my time reading it (and yes, I feel like I wasted my time reading it).

I'm not saying that the Iron Hands would have noticed "oh, they worship Chaos", but rather that "why do they make no mention of the Emperor ever?" It was as predictable a plot twist as the Knights of House Devine, or the Raven Guard "Solaro" who was the "traitor", rather than Agapito. (Seriously? Keep referencing the scarred face of Agapito that often, you're going to draw an intelligent person to think the opposite because it's that hammed up).



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post #25 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-21-14, 08:20 PM
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Honestly, it feels like pretty much every book has Iron Hands in them. They were the most numerous loyallist Legion involved post-drop site, admittedly, but any book involved the Shattered Legions has Iron Hands involved, who near enough single handedly manage to fuck things up, and simulataneously be the most uninteresting characters written.

I'm not going to lie, I might be slightly biased in that I was never interested in Iron Hands prior to the Heresy information - they were just a legion which preferred bionics to tap into that Terminator-style vibe (with a part-metal, part-plastic tactical squad being produced for them around the time of when Matrix 2 and 3 were at their biggest hype, IIRC back in late 3rd/early 4th edition, IIRC), similar to how Tau tapped into Gundam interest etc.

Damnation of Pythos
Angel Exterminatus
The Primarchs

All of these have major focus on the Iron Hands following the legions - Angel Exterminatus was notable for the Iron Warriors first major appearance, and how Fulgrim interacted with that, while Damnation of Pythos was meant to be "the return" of the Iron Hands to the screen. In addition to that, there are a ton of other references and inclusions of Iron Hands dotted about, where, they didn't need to be.
My point isn't that the Iron Hands are merely mentioned in a novel, but that we get to see and experience the loss that come with a primarch being killed. That just hasn't been presented in any of the post-Fulgrim novels save Pythos.

The Hands were the secondary focus of the Exterminatus novel, but that was almost wholly an Iron Warriors story. There was almost no mention of Ferrus Manus or what his loss meant to the legion. They were essentially just a kill-squad. Whereas Pythos went into much more detail and focused more fully on the fallout of Manus' death. In particular the passages about the resultant intra-legion power structure, lack direction/vision, and competing agendas within the survivor group(s).

Feat of Iron, the story from The Primarchs had no relevance to the post-Isstvan Iron Hands. It was a snapshot from a battle that showcased zero creativity, strategy, or problem-solving ability from the Hands. And this was with Ferrus leading the attack. The message from this one was simply that the hands had gone too far in distancing themselves from the 'weakness' of the flesh. There was no disruption of power dynamics, as Ferrus appointed the leader of the fighting effort while he took his journey. So while they may have been mentioned, or even featured in this case, very little (or nothing) is made of what will happen to the legion once their primarch is gone.

Now it's entirely possible that I'm just dismissing these other stories because they didn't fit into the bos of what I wanted to read. That's a completely fair critique. But the description of the hurt, the chaos (pun not intended), and the general pall over the legion were what made Pythos a huge step up from the other references to the post-Isstvan X Legion.
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post #26 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-21-14, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Fair point.

But you cannot deny that they are boringly portrayed - the idea is cool, but execution, is... beige. One saving grace (maybe) is Atticus' attitude to the Salamanders and Raven Guard, but that was near irrelevant.

What did we see? The Iron Hands were sad at FM death? Yes. The IH lost their Father, and Commander in Chief (sans Emperor). What else? They were unsure of what to do without orders? They were angry at Sallies/RG. Only atticus presented that.

There presented too little characters to present that. You have a pro diplomacy IH, and an ALWAYS ANGRY and a serf. A couple of bit parts.

What else did they say?



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post #27 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-23-14, 09:28 PM
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Finished it last night and I have to agree with the OP. No need for this book in the HH at all. There are a myriad of better ways to portray the IH's reaction to Ferrus' death than having them go to a chaos manipulated death world and fight dinosaurs. As a matter of fact the HH has lost the plot somewhat and is lacking direction with too many tangents and offshoots. Maybe we should stop putting 's in BL's pockets until the series gets back on track!

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post #28 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-23-14, 09:49 PM
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Check out the short story Riven by John French, it details an encounter with Post Istvaan iron hands and their terrible act in detailing with the death of Ferrus Manus. Where you really saw the psychological trauma inflicted on their stoic legion.
The protagonist Iron Hand is one of the Crusader Host, newly aware of the istvaan atrocity.

http://www.blacklibrary.com/horus-he...ven-ebook.html
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post #29 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-13-14, 12:11 PM
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Late to the party but I broadly agree with what si said here. I really feel the IH just come across dull in the telling. Maybe it is inevitable, take the human weak flesh out of the already a bit cut out Astartes and they get less interesting. ADB is a freaking genius (as is Abnet for me, though i know others argue) because the endows the astartes with personality and drive. Pythos sucked because not only did we have the not so interesting IH, but we also had an enemy who was just a bunch of monsters with little personality themselves.

I think Annandale did a fairly mediocre job but I think the deck was stacked against him. What about the IH has actually been good so far? Abnet did a great job in extracting character from the cookie cutter ultrasmurfs as ADB did from the potentially cookie cutter Night Lords, and McNeil did a rare star turn with the richer material of the TS, but the IH plus the author with a bit less weight really made this a dull book I am afraid. I got through it only as I was on a plane. Reading it after Talon of Horus was also a mistake, as that was so goddam good i was even more disappointed. I also tried to read death of Antagonis, but found that equally bland and bailed.
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post #30 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-21-15, 03:07 AM
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So what was the final word that was sent?
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