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Details:
Name: Warrior Brood
Author: C. S. Goto
Length: 251 pages
Type: Space Marine, Deathwatch

Description:
Death comes to the world of Herodian IV when the horror of a tyranid hive fleet descends from the heavens. The untold nightmares within have but one mission: devour every living thing possible and leave the world a barren rock. The clock is ticking for the forces of the Imperium before the planet is lost forever; and to making matters more dire, Inquisitor Kalypsia of the Ordo Xenos and a team of Deathwatch space marines have been charged to investigate the purpose of a mysterious facility that may have some connection with the hive fleet. What terrible secrets is the facility hiding, and does the young inquisitor know more than she is letting on? Time is running out for Herodian IV, will her defenders be able to bring about salvation or is it already to late and they are fighting a desperate escape before the ravenous alien horde tears them apart?

Review:
Now before getting into any actual reviewing I must do something I am normally loathe to do; and that is spoil some aspect of the book that you cannot get from the description. In this case it is the appearence of the Mantis Warriors and how they are a fairly prominant part of the story. The very appearence of the chapter is an important thing to take note of, because it is perhaps the first time we get any insight to the Badab War, and from the perspective of one of the chapters who sided with the Astral Claws and later repented and have been on a penitent crusade. I'm gonna leave this at: we are treated to the fallout of this mistake, and how much it has cost the chapter, and likely all of the others on similar quests.

Anyway, no more of that; onto some actual reviewing and less spoiling, this time broken up into sections.

  • Start:
Explosive, goes right into action, no setup or explanation given; the novel starts off with the epic scene of a last stand extraction. The start is all of chapter one, about thirty pages of the book that kind of starts to get old after about ten pages, because in all honesty there is only so much you can write about before its the same format of: heroics, something comes along that is a threat to the group, someone makes an epic sacrifice. Rinse and repeat a good two or three times and then extraction, and onto the next chapter.

  • Flow:
Warrior Brood has a pretty linear motion to it, unlike other novels which make use of a number of flashbacks to explain things in detail. Instead we get a few mentions of past events, often from those with first hand knowledge, but the story itself remains in the present.

  • Description:
Alright so here we see where things get bad for the book; many of the descriptions are interesting and powerful but a greater number of them are repetative. It seems that every time a librarian was mentioned, he was twirling his force staff or brooding. Every time someone thought about the Mantis Warriors, renegade and borderline were not to far. I know that in some cases you can't help this, but dear god does it get boring and draw the reader away from the story.

  • Action:
Broken up into two major sections: action in space and action on the ground. To be perfectly honest, I found the action in space to be far more interesting because in the end it is the Imperium fighting a hive fleet that is devouring a planet. So in the end, its the Imperium fighting a losing battle for the very life of a world. The ground action was less interesting, mostly because its here that Warrior Brood suffered the most from being repetative and boring. It was the same bolter-porn over and over with a few interesting things sprinkled in there.

  • Development:
There was very little of this, the human characters were fairly cardboard in nature: boring and predictable. The space marines were the most interesting thanks to it being a deathwatch team and the Mantis Warriors. The multiple chapters present in the team was one of the novels greatest strengths. And come on, point of view of a disgraced chapter seeking to repent for what it did, regardless of whether they believe it was right or wrong.

  • Pacing:
Yeah, this was a straight rollercoaster of a book. It had some fast parts that worked, and some where you wish it would go slower because you enjoy whats happening. And then there are some god-awful slow parts, well I think these outnumber the fast parts actually, where your willing the story to pick up again. Its interesting to note that the slow parts tended to be geared toward the fighting, which is likely why they tended to overstay their welcome, while the character interaction was over far to soon and little changed.

  • Sub-story:
About four sub stories, one dealing with the inquisition and two with the space fighting, and one about the Mantis Warriors. Of the two space stories, the larger of the two gets a lot less face time, but is far more interesting; the smaller one is very boring and by the time it ended my thoughts were: thank god now I don't have to read about that anymore. Honestly, I could have done without that one.

The inquisition sub story was very interesting, and by the end I found myself smiling because I did not see the end coming. Truth be told I fell into what was likely an intended trap, and thought something completely different was going to happen.

The Mantis Warrior sub-story, that one I found myself liking the most and this is largely due to the fact that it focuses a great deal on the the feeling and treatment of the chapter; both by others and by its own marines. The novel starts and ends on this sub-story, and by the end I felt myself truly feeling for the chapter, for all that they had lost, for what they stood for, and for what they would be remembered for.

Best Parts:
-The Mantis Warriors: disgraced chapter teetering on the brink and trying to find redemtpion. My heart went out to these marines and what they end up losing, and that ending..

-Space battle: oh so glorious; not to many stories involving fleet engagements against a tyranid hive fleet.

Worst Parts:
-Repetative: lets look at librarian Bob as he twirls his force staff, ten pages later lets go back to him, oh look spinning that staff some more.

-Boring: catch all of the pacing and being repetative; once or twice I found myself reading on only to get through the book, not because I was enjoying myself.

-Rocky pacing: would have truly loved some more time spent on characters and less time spent on the bolter-porn; this book has the formula for doing pacing wrong.

-Spelling: I don't think I got through a single chapter without tripping over something spelled wrong. Bit of an editting debacle that one.

Rating:
4/10

Final thoughts:
Its not god-awful overall, and I would say get Warrior Brood for, if anything, the Mantis Warriors. Truth be told they were the real heroes in this book (well the battlefleet as well but you get the point) and they are still a repenting chapter from the Badab War. Otherwise, I cannot in good conscionce reccomend this book.
 

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I enjoyed Warrior Brood a bit more, it was about a 6/10 for me, not great but decent enough. The sequel Warrior Coven however, is a 4/10. The Space Marines were quite interesting but the Eldar were god-awful, and the Dark Eldar even worse. Eldar do not make pacts with the twisted kin, and the twisted kin certainly do not inhabit worlds in the material realm or make pacts with Daemons of She Who Thirsts.

I agree with you that the Mantis Warriors are very interesting and tragic though, we need more stories about them. There is a Mantis Warrior in Warrior Coven as well, Kruidan the first Mantis Warrior to officially serve in the Deathwatch since their disgrace, he was very very cool. There's also a Mantis Warriors story in Legends of the Space Marines, set after the Badab War, very good story but one of the harshest endings ive seen in 40k.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for that Ploss, and just going from this book alone I would be hesitant to pick up another book. However if I were to base my entire view of his ability on this one book then I would be a fool, so despite hesitation I'd give something else of his a try and see if he improves or things remain the same.


The book was not all bad, I thoroughly enjoyed the Mantis Warriors, and found myself deeply saddened by the end of the book and the thoughts they had on those final actions. I was rather pleased that despite everything done earlier, deathwatch captain Octavius wishes he could take certain things back and wishes to make amends and do right by the chapter.


Lord of the Night, appreciate the input, and I had forgotten about that in Warrior Coven, but lets leave the talking of other books to other threads.


A big thing for me about the ratings is that all books begin at 5/10 and either work their way up, or are cast down. To me five is the average, with the lowest being a one and the highest being a ten.

When I do ratings I tend to work with the following scale:
10/10: Perfect, written by god or some deity on a platinum tablet in flaming gold script; nothing will ever be its equal or better. You'll find many things epic, but believe me there will always be something down the road that beats it. If your giving something a 10, you've gone from being objective to gushing and tacking additional praise where it is not needed.

9/10: Epic; absolutely glorious, you will be hard pressed to find anything wrong unless you are one of those people who go around doing just that. It'll bring you much joy, you'll definitely recommend it to others, and you will walk away having felt you spent your time well.

8/10: Awesome; not quite epic material but a cut above great. You walk away with your fill and then some, this is worth the time spent as the good almost eclipses the bad.

7/10: Great; better than good but not quite awesome. You will be thoroughly pleased with the end result and feel time well spent, but deep down there is a feeling that something is missing or could have been improved. End of the day though, its great and you had a blast.

6/10: Good; the good shift from neutral, has more good aspects than bad, and you can walk away happy but wanting more

5/10: Neutral; neither good nor bad, its the middle ground that most things should start at. It has an equal measure of positives and negatives, maybe a little skewed to one side but not enough to warrant placing higher or lower.

4/10: Bad; the bad shift from neutral, has more bad aspect than good, and while you may not walk away happy you do realize that there are far worse things.

3/10: Terrible; a swan dive from bad, however something contained within is still worth the buy. When asked about this, you will make mention that you found it to be very bad and would advise against unless people are looking for object X contained within.

2/10: God-awful; you got no joy, and actually walk away feeling cheated. You will not recommend this to others, you will likely spend that time warning them against it in an attempt to save them time or money or both.

1/10: Waste of time; exactly as it sounds, there is nothing redeeming about this, or if there is it is buried by so much bad that you are likely just wasting your time.

0/10: Unrated; in my opinion even bad work deserves some credit, so to me giving something a rating of 0 is more of an indicator of not reading or being led by the nose by some opinions or bias. Its not a fair rating, its not objective, to me its no good.


So, for those wondering that is my feeling towards the 0-10 scale for the ratings when I do a review. Looking at the rating I gave Warrior Brood, this indicates that I actually though the book alright with its downsides tearing it down only a little. It is still worth the buy and read through, but people should be warned that they may not come out of the reading as happy as when they went in.
 

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An interesting scale, mine runs along the same ones but its the 10 where I disagree with you.

Perfect is an ugly word, it implies there are no flaws at all, which is inherently impossible. Nothing is bereft of flaws, and implying that something is.. well its arrogant for the book and the reader.

For me a 10/10 score means something else. Its a book where the flaws, whatever they may be, do not bother you, where they are minuscule and when you see them you are too impressed by the book to let them bother you. A book that contains such an epic moment that it burns itself into your mind and makes you imagine it in vivid detail is around an 8 or 9, but a book that contains multiple moments like that is a 10/10. Where the many of the characters are likeable, not just the protagonist, and you find yourself empathizing with them all, thats a 10/10 factor.

Ill admit ive been somewhat liberal with scores in my past reviews but I like to think that ive now reached a fairer stage. I'd say there are two, maybe three, BL books out there that have earned a 10/10, A Thousand Sons and The First Heretic, maybe Helsreach as well. I don't think giving a 10/10 is gushing praise, its congratulating an author who has worked hard and created something truly excellent. A 9/10 isn't something to dismiss either, its an excellent novel still but it falls short of the 10/10 by something, sometimes it has to fall short because it cannot contain a truly epic 10/10-worthy scene because of the story or time constraints, or because its character flaws came off as whiny and annoying, maybe because they had to.

But for me a 10/10 is an achievable goal, a very hard one but achievable nonetheless.
 
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