Chaos God of Old Night
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: The Eternal Night
I was half impressed and half disappointed by SaGC for a number of reasons.
What I Liked:
-Culmonios was a great character whose increasing rage and bitterness towards the universe, and dislike of the future he sees his Chapter is now bound to, really made the highlight of the novel. His disdain for the "trogs" like Hwygir showed the typical Sothan arrogance, but unlike Tiresias he developed a bit of respect for them after witnessing their capabilities. Still it wasn't enough to give him hope for the future, and it was interesting to see through him the perspective of a Space Marine who has lost everything and doesn't see the point anymore.
-Thracian was an interesting character let down only by his association with Hadrios. But it was cool to see a Scythe who realised what a total and complete f*ckup Thorcyra was and took matters into his own hands. His interactions with the lieutenant of the Heart of Cronus were quite interesting as well, showing a real humanity and connection to the people of his homeworld that most Space Marines do not have, a real contrast to the end where it's clear that he is essentially condemning the remnants of the Sothan people into slavery for his Chapter.
-The battle scenes against the Tyranids really captured the futility of the entire Miral campaign. It was doomed from the get-go and you can see it in every battle where the Tyranids just keep coming, no amount of casualties inflicted stopping them or even really being worthy of note. The Tyranids won Miral the very instant they decided to move towards it, the Scythes were merely a bump in the road. By the end it was clear that the entire slaughter was caused by vanity and an unwillingness to admit defeat, which cost the Scythes dearly at a time when they could not afford to lose anything more.
What I Disliked:
-Chapter Master Thorcyra. In his entirety. A poor character with zero leadership skills, and a bad depiction of a Chapter Master overall. I find it hard to believe that this idiot could have risen to the Sergeant rank, let alone leading an entire Chapter. He learned nothing from the Fall of Sotha, regardless of whether or not he was there he should have seen the ravaged remnants of the Scythes and realised that they needed to do stuff differently, like Thracian did. And the worst part, for most of the novel he doesn't even lead. He lets Culmonios do it?! What the hell?! Marneus Calgar didn't let random Brother Donatos lead the Chapter during the Battle for Macragge, there was no conceivable or believable reason that a Chapter Master would let a random battle-brother lead his Chapter in a good situation, let alone the extinction event that the Scythes were facing.
-Everything about Brother Hadrios. He came out of nowhere, made no sense about anything, brought a nonsensical and pointless side-plot into the story, and had no real characterisation beyond being mysterious and willing to kill battle-brothers, if he was even a Scythe. This was the weakest aspect of the story because it was utterly meaningless, Hadrios comes in and the reader learns there is a mystery afoot, something happened at Sotha and it's connected to secrets in the Chapter. Ok, cool. What might have happened there, what hints can we be given?? Uh, well... nothing. Something happened at Sotha, and a random marine is the only one who knows. The reader doesn't get a hint, or even a clue as to what might have gone down, why on earth the gene-seed was connected to it, why Hadrios does anything that he does in the book. A mystery for the sake of a mystery with no real meat to it, supremely disappointing.
-The shortness of the book and the lack of short stories. Not only was SaGC half the size of a regular SMB book, which on it's own would have been a real shame, it was coupled by the fact that some time ago it was mentioned that SaGC would contain some of the Scythes short stories that LJ Goulding penned, like Helios, to add some more story to the book. That did not happen, and it just means that SaGC feels short and the events feel rushed. Never a good thing.
Can only really say this book was average, it had good parts and bad parts.