I had to write this book review, because this legion is close to my heart.
Anyhow, reading the new novel... As the biggest Iron Warrior on this forum and perhaps the world... The novel seemed very "so, so." I will say this, if you are going to write a book about two legions, I seriously don't think you can depict them very well if you have the Istvaan survivors running around.
What did they contribute? Next to nothing is what I'll tell you. They wasted time and space on this novel. This novel could have been glorious, but it wasn't. Too much bullshit.
To elaborate, I first thought the Istvaan survivors were being used in this novel to prevent something from happening sort of like a sabotage force, nothing else. They didn't. Graham McNeill used a couple hundred astartes to fend off two entire legions. This is wrong... I can't express myself more. Was this or was this not the novel to show the Iron Warriors at their best. Every other legion and their novel has left their mark.
As a legion I'm afraid, the Iron Warriors did not shine very well. I would say that every other legion with their heresy novel would be able to attract a lot of fans and game players to go out and play these legions. However this novel does not make me want to play the Iron Warriors. We didn't really learn from the legion entirely. The way they fought was very bland and messy. The first battle was an opportunity to show the Iron Warriors at their best. And instead, Graham McNeill, decided to shine the light on the Imperial Fists.
I don't want anyone thinking I'm pessimistic about this novel. It did meet standards. The problem is when you write about a legion, I think you should write about it using your whole heart. We've read about his Thousand Sons and Fulgrim. I'm afraid Angel Exterminatus does not reach those two with greatness by any stretch of the term.
If you came out of this novel going... "I could really play the Iron Warriors," and especially if you've read about the other Legions in the heresy, boy do I feel bad for you.
Perturabo was well written. I will give Graham Mcneill that much. I think that the mystery that unfolds from Perturabo in the novel makes him one of the most liked characters in the novels so far. I'd rate how well his character was written right under Horus. Graham McNeill made Perturabo easily the most liked and powerful Primarch in the heresy... so far. Especially when we get to see his visions of the Imperium and the things Perturabo has invented but never let be. He was the angel in the Great Crusade that did not get to sing, but his song was probably the most beautiful.
For the Iron Warrior Fans and Followers, you get to see every single Iron Warrior in Honsou's journeys. In a way, it is a pity that we know Graham McNeill killed them off. But their personalities are well written in Angel Exterminatus
The biggest accomplishment made in the book was probably the new fluff presented. It shows the chaos legions colliding with one another. More specifically it shows that those legions more devoted to chaos to be more destructive against themselves and their allies. It almost makes you wonder, if chaos was trying to make itself lose the rebellion against the Emperor.
The novel did a great job of showing the Emperor's Children and Fulgrim totally at rock bottom of chaos. They were lunatics and crazy bastards. The wonderful character of the Emperor's Children characters from Fulgrim, completely destroyed, butchered, and perverted. It does show in many ways Graham McNeills original intent of making this an Emperor's Children novel.
Another interesting peace of fluff is that we see that Perturabo is not on the same page of rebellion as Horus and the rest of the traitor legions. It supports my theory in the sense, that Perturabo maybe sabotaged the rest of the rebels due to their differences of their means. And we see some support of this right after Perturabo regroups at the end of the novel and begins his new quest.
It is definitely a must read if you are a Heresy Fan. However, I can tell this novel's original intent was not that of an Iron Warriors novel. I suppose it is a novel about Perturabo, but the Iron Warriors looked like nubes. It was a disgrace upon me as a big fan of Iron Warriors, but Perturabo's might compensated for the lack.
You will leave this novel saying Perturabo is the shit. Fulgrim recognizes at the end of the novel that Perturabo was perhaps the mightiest of the primarchs, and Fulgrims use of Perturabo for his ends would really suggest that.
I agree that their fighting prowess wasn't really shown in this novel. What's that special "something" that makes them IW? I have no idea...they didn't look particularly impressive in the novel. The Raven Guard character was the most interesting fighter in the book...
Oh, and good review. It's good to see someone that reviews a book and actually talks about its bad points. Pretty sick of reading WH40k reviews that have nothing bad at all to say about the book. That's BS...every book has its bad points. *sigh* at all the 10/10's...
Thanks for the response. But I think you would agree then. This novel does not make one want to go start painting my chaos marines like Iron Warriors. I would rate every other Heresy Legion book higher than this one in that category.
I will admit, they had some likable characters. For the most part, it isn't a very likable legions though.
The two scenes in which McNeill could have made the legion shine made the legion look retarded.
But let me ask you this first. What would make you think "I could really play Iron Warriors"? Because if it's scenes that expand on their reputation as siegesmiths, then there's a lot of stuff that does that already...
I think Graham made a perfectly conscious decision in making them feel like any generic space marine legion. Granted, it might not come across as a good thing, but that's not my point. He's specifically avoided getting into siegecraft for this novel (although the man can write a good siege, as Storm of Iron proves) for a reason.
Even you, as a fan, expect them to fit a certain style that you think suits them. Here's the funny thing. In universe, everyone expects them to fill their one specific role, as well. Everybody just assumes they're the Emperor's diggers, and their frustration over repeatedly being cast into that role is actually a considerable (although not the main) part of the reason Perturabo renounces his oaths of loyalty in the first place. It's also an important factor in his decision to play along with Fulgrim's folly of a plan.
So, now, uncharacteristically and for the first time, we see them take to the field as a mobile fighting force, and they fare no better or worse thany any other Astartes legion. That's the point Graham is (granted, not all that skilfully) trying to get across. The Iron Warriors aren't all about sieges and trenches, they just happen to end up dragged into them every time.
I sort of liked the fact that they can fight coherently in the open, and even put on a better show than the Emperor's Children. And I sort of liked that even then, some of their smaller quirks still surface (i.e modular Rhinos, use of field artillery, etc).
Could it have been done better? Certainly. The irony of the situation could have been capitalized on a lot more, and more memorable fighting scenes surely couldn't have hurt the book. But they didn't come off as badly as you make them appear (or, more to the point, as you see the whole situation).
I do find it somewhat unfair that you're judging the portrayal of the Iron Warriors bad, when the whole point of that portrayal is to cast away some of the (unreasonable) stereotyping that's been built around them over the years and in the absence of any half decent background fleshing (Storm of Iron notwithstanding). But, I guess that depends on the question I raised at the start of this post. What would make you think "I could really play Iron Warriors"?
If you wanted to see Iron Warriors do what they do best, there's going to be ample opportunities for that later on. The Siege of Terra. The Iron Cage. Tallarn, quite possibly. But just not now. This was Perturabo's book, and a lot of what happens in it, happens because of his decisions, the choices that reflect his character, simple as that...
If you wanted them to truly shine in a situation that doesn't really become them, though... well... I suppose then you can blame Graham for disappointing, but if had he done that, it would only have served to make some other legion less special in their own book...
I don't understand your argument Lupe. You say that the Iron Warriors were in fact depicted well because the novel did not show their strength as an overwhelming siege tactic army... and yet, they were deployed in this book because of that reason. Fulgrim used the Iron Warriors to besiege the Eldar Fortress and to fortify their position while he sacrificed their primarch to the Dark Gods. Even as I write these words this story sounds stupid.
We couldn't even avoid the stereotypes if we wanted to. The whole novel they were building or sieging something. We all chose armies based on what we think about the novels, so a novel about the Iron Warriors because it was Perturabo's story should have bolstered their view in Warhammer fans. This story cannot do that for them. Contrary to every other legion that has been depicted thus far, having the author championing them. Even Fulgrim and his Emperor's Children were shown to have some awesome characters and badass ones, like Lucius. All we got in this novel were a bunch of characters from Storm of Iron and its spins that weren't very Iron Warriorish. It was really boring from an Iron Warrior Fan perspective. It was like seeing a prequel to something with the original characters just for the sake of having it.
To add to that, besides for the Storm of Iron gang, essentially every other Iron Warrior was depicted as a stereotypical back stabber even though the Iron Warriors had just turned traitor. I don't even think its fair to say that they had been tainted yet. Further supportive of my theory is that the Perturabo is seen to have a different concept and goal to the Heresy than Fulgrim or the other traitors. Plus, Erebus did not have a footing in the ranks.
So you had that, plus a bunch of random characters from other legions running around trying to screw up the two legions. Sound like another stupid story that we heard before? Sure as hell sounds like a Battle of the Abyss novel to me. So while some characters in this story were written well, others were just written in cliche format. I wonder if Battle for the Abyss had been written around this time, would it have been better praised? Especially now that people are okay with this idea of splinter cell astartes sneaking around and sabatoging legions. Following legions for miles in space, landing on planets occupied with two legion unnoticed. Managing to penetrate the defences of two legions and putting a bullet in the head of a primarch. Bad guys go ROAR and fight so blindly that they praticaly suck and have a hard time killing a few loyalists. I have seriously lost faith with who the heck is reading this stuff. Seriously, what the heck is going on? I suppose the new hard books were suppose to highlight a "new beginning" to the Heresy. A new beginning to bullshit.
Do you think I should have rated this novel any higher? An 8/10? I practically grin at this grade, and was about to put it lower. But its so hard to rate something when you have other people rating it a fricken 10/10! Are you serious? This book was just that fucking good huh? I can see it now, a bunch of french guys putting down their cigars and their mouths open in awe. MAGNEFIC! Tears rolling down their cheeks as their lives are complete. If I put it down at a 6 or 7, where I really think it should be, can you imagine the skew? It pratically means I fucking hate Graham McNeill and all his works, when in fact two of his Heresy Novel are in my top 5.
The novel is a piece of shit. My rate of the novel is only an alternative view and democratic way of putting it up without scaring the shit out of people. Is it so bad you shouldn't read it? Well fuck... as a heresy fan, its kind of hard to just say, "fuck it, I'm going to stop reading this shit," when in fact I've invested to much time and interest into it. I can only hope it gets better.
Whats worse is if I graded this novel as a third person. Can you imagine. I could just say, well who gives a fuck about Perturabo? I don't care. That, and what this novel brought as far as really interesting fluff or crap (depends on your view I guess). Then wow, this novel pretty much gives no contribution to the Heresy. I graded it the way I did, because I am a Iron Warrior fan, and Perturabo's story does interest me. But guess what? In the scheme of things, he's not that big of a player to most people. And I guess thats why people like the fact that his image as well as the Iron Warriors were tainted in the making of this book. It didn't matter to most people, and they got a Raven Guard shooting Fulgrim in the head. A few Iron Hands that could hold off two whole legions. A Salamander who is just the huggable type. Good shit all around for people who benefit with the Iron Warrior's legacy just being raped.
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.
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..."
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...
Dude... not even mad at you. Bad month I guess. Your cool Lupe. Any Iron Warrior fan is cool in my eyes.
But in a serious note, this book has really been overrated. All the characters except Perturabo were a dissapointment. Lots of Battle of the Abyss going on. A made up story created by Fulgrim that everyone including the reader follows. CRAP
Nice review, mate. I appreciate your straightforward, spoiler-free approach and the lack of pretentious formatting -- just honest words from the heart.
I haven't read the novel yet, but as a big Emperor's Children fan with very fond memories of Fulgrim I can't say I'll have the same reaction. But, I will take your criticisms into consideration during the read.
I actually thought I was more than nice with my review looking back at it. We have to stop feeling like children when someone takes a few points away from it. This book is a 7-8 at most, and doesn't compare AT ALL as one of the best Heresy Novels and works to give it a 9 or 10.
From third perspective this book really doesn't contribute to the main scheme of things in the Heresy. It is very much like Battle of the Abyss.
Looking at it logically, an 8/10 is 80%. That's pretty damn high. Even despite good qualities, if I had some serious issues with a novel, then that's pushing it, and I know this forum has the tendency to attribute 7+/10 to practically anything regardless of its actual merits. To me, an 8/10 is the type of book I loved at the time and could recall fondly at a later date, but still with negative qualities I could mull over. 7/10 is similar, but with more mulling and a more hazy recollection of its quality. 9/10 is reserved for something you've got to sit down and deliberate its faults and 10/10 (and some people don't even use this score) is for that once-in-a-few-years book you experience.
Given your impression, a 6/10 seems more appropriate, but honestly, if you were left with a slightly more negative impression, I don't see any harm with a 4/10. To me, a 5/10 isn't a shit score by any stretch, it just means the good managed to balance out the bad -- not overcome it.
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