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The Emperor Protects
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If there are enough Fear to Tread supporters on this board I'd be happy to host a structured debate. It is definitely one of the most divisive novels of the Horus Heresy, especially now the Prospero Burns controversy has died down.
Since it's trying to take over The Wolf King thread and bobss has already thrown the gauntlet down, let's start a dedicated, comprehensive debate about the novel. There appear to be some who like it, a lot who don't, but both parties seem prepared to argue it. Now before anyone yells about kettles and pots, I'm well aware that I am one of Swallows biggest negative critics and have spoken quite bluntly and comically(in my head) about what I think of the novel and it's author. But let's try to keep this clear, concise, without generic unsupported 'It's just shit' comments.

Reasons you like it, and why.

Reasons you don't, and why.

What you thought could have been better?

Thoughts on the characters, and positives and negatives regarding them.

How you think it could have/should have been done.

Any other pertinent points about the novel.
 

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Closet Dictator
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Hated the book, reasons, it seemed like an overly complicated plot to turn the angels by using their red thirst, when it would have been better to have a stand up row. Horus showing up in the hut at the start just by magic was ridiculous, how sang got his legs broken with a lash of a whip was told a lot better in visions of heresy when ka banda danced on his ass, the first edition anyway have not seen the latest. About a million times in the novel we are told "one more push and the angels will break" and this happens a lot. Now I'm ranting from memory so please hold off on nerd rage.

The plot was a joke, it should have been a straight up ambush with a" join me luke and together we can do great things " attempt to corrupt the B.A. Trying to corrupt with the red thirst just became laboured, the whole demon thing at the end was just like a tangent to nowhere and felt like filler. Now I'm working nights for the next three nights so if any rage is directed my way I probably wont be replying before monday. Hugs and kisses Oldman
 

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I actually liked the book quite a bit. It isn't the strongest of the HH but its a strong read altogether while flawed. The Red Angel story was interesting and the little mind-games as to who it will be out of the "new" characters kept me interested. Really enjoyed the scenes with Sanguinius and Horus, building their friendship made the impact of the betrayal all the sweeter; in particular how Horus is the only one San trusted with the knowledge of the red thirst. I also thought that the portray of chaos was great, the fact it worked like a force of nature half the time was chilling. Scenes like where the planet was split reinforced the idea that to chaos the war is more like a Vietnam or Korea where the scale is relatively small (To chaos's immense power) but they are treading carefully.

What I didn't like was how the Blood Angels lacked an Identity compared to all the other legions. They felt too generic and besides the blood drinking oath and the obvious red thirst didn't have anything that set them apart from the rest. If you look at a legion like the wolves, Thousand sons, Emperors Children, IW or most of the others they have their own methodology's and strategies along with a distinct internal culture (Scars brotherhoods, Cults of the TS, Stupid amount of company's UM or the whole rout business). Otherwise some of the scenes of the books where a little lazy in writing, ether events just happened with no "flair" to them and where a little too much of a tell what happened.

Other sub-plots like the Wolves and the remembrancer where okay at best but kinda forgettable in the long run.

Would have mainly liked the culture side to be improved, give the Angels some real identity, but otherwise just tighter writing and some chopping off/ reworking off the dull side plots would have been nice. In the scheme of the heresy I have always seen it as a 6/10.
 

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This is it, lads. The thread where angels fear to tread. May our discussion be honoured by future Heretics for generations to come.

I purged my Black Library bookshelf a few years ago, so naturally I don't have a copy of Fear to Tread, but I'm more than happy to support my points with textual examples (via torrent) if I'm asked to elaborate on my criticisms. As I'm moving into university accommodation this weekend I can’t jump straight into the discussion, but I'm absolutely gagging to get to grips with this novel in proper detail. I don’t think we've had a thorough novel discussion for a while, and with Fear to Tread constantly raising its head in our community this is a fantastic opportunity for a good literary brawl.

I'll make sure to get a strong post up in the next few days and I encourage others to use AOB's guideline in the OP for at least a semblance of balanced criticism – after all, there's a lot to say about this novel, some good; but mostly bad. :wink:
 

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The entire setting had/has an enormous potential and was/is hard to screw up, in my opinion James did not get enough out of the given setting, the BA came across as angry UM's with a red power armor.
I can only imagine what say ADB of wright would have done with it, in all honesty even Graham, the short description of BA's in vengeful spirit was interesting.
I was also biased after disastrous BA books from James.
 

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I liked it. I remember first cracking it open and grinning like a fool during the first chapter..." 'We are the Anvil,' Horus repeated, pointing with his sword. 'Now behold the hammer' " Then the fury from the heavens was unleashed & the Blood Angels introduced themselves proper. I guess it's just that which has stuck with me. The visuals that are depicted. I still look back to when the angels arrive in the sector and are welcomed full blown by a planets transformation...thought that was great. I loved Kyriss...thought his lines were fantastic...even better in the Audio Book. It had the makings of a stand alone sci fi horror movie to me. Just something to be...creeped out by...something to make you proceed cautiously as the plot unfolded. It had the right dash of eeriness and foreboding.

My only complaint was the Red Angel part. Only because i have no clue what role he is to play in the future. Just...kinda built him up...then peaced out for whatever reason.

It's a solid entry and anyone who says otherwise is a filthy ephemeral....or well, just has like...a different opinion, man.
 

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Dazed and confused.
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My initial enthusiasm for the book was huge, as we were finally going to see Sanguinius up close and personal. Considering the way his reputation had been built in previous books, with other primarchs and even SMs thinking he was the baddest bad ass of all the brothers, my expectations were huge. I wasn't bothered that it was Swallow writing it, because FotE is still one of my favourites in the series, and I was hoping to see a repeat of that high standard.

What we got was just a pale and washed out version of what this story could have been. The potential was huge. The primarch who seemed to most universally popular amongst his brothers, yet admired as potentially the greatest warrior of them all, a huge plot to sway this most loyal son to Chaos, greater demons abounding, and finally an explanation as to who the mysterious Red Angel was from that famous image in Visions of Heresy.

Alas, it wasn't to be. There were some good points, like the portrayal of Chaos, but this is something that Swallow has always been good at, whatever his flaws. At the end of it I just felt let down. I am going to go back and read it this week though, just to make sure I'm remembering everything and can more fully debate the topic.
 

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Craw-Daddy
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Meh. Just meh.

I had a hard time to get to the end of the book. There were some very cool moment, but it never got really memorable in the end.
I think thats what really upsets people. Its one of those early stories before the Heresy series started that people were really looking forward to see in more details.

With such a story, I guess its kind of hard to not to make Fear to Tread somewhat enjoyable. However, it wasn't Swallow's overall plot. It was simply given to him and he didn't really develop the characters enough for most to connect with.
 

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I thought the Watch Pack subplot was completely wasted as well...BA vs. SW interaction could have been fascinating...Amit vs. Redknife could have been an interesting fight (imagine if Redknife's pack were suffering from the Wulfen curse)...could've had some vampire vs.werewolf action 40K-style
That would have been a great idea !:eek:k:
 

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In my opinion, this the problem when the publisher is a small company and the majority of authors live close by. They don't want to step on each other's toes for decorum's sake and obviously don't want to offend one another.

The Space Wolves were William King's forte but he's clearly moved on to other things.
The same with whoever wrote the first Night Lord stories until ADB reinevented them not unlike what Nolan did with the Batman movies.

John French staked his flag over the 1K Sons. Wraight seems to have claimed ownership over the Wolves, extending his reach over the White Scars as well.

It's interesting how the Blood Angels have been locked down to one author since the start and all other mention of them has been restricted to short stories.

Master of Mankind was to feature a Blood Angel only to be replaced by a Custodian. Perhaps ADB's reinterperation of the BA's would have shit all over Swallow's upcoming works (The Signposts Strike Back: The Red Angel's Failure to Yield.)
 

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I think your spot on with how some authors have "Locked down" a legion. Some of, if not the best, Horus Heresy books where written by writers taking a new spin on a legion. For example McNeil is traditionally the Ultramarines guy but Dan's take in Know No fear breathed new life into them as a legion and helped shed the "Generic" vibe they had (Not honestly McNeils fault, but the fact those books have been around so long means that they have become the default by accident almost). Other examples are ADB taking the Word Bearers instead of Anthony Reynolds and McNeil himself taking Thousand Sons. By writing a legion they are not used to they reinvent them from how they want to see the legion 10k years ago. Compare this to how Nick Writes the Salamanders and James with the Blood Angels its just feels like its 40k but with "chapter" swapped for "legion", there's a distinct lack of new energy in the writing. Obviously this isn't always true, I personally loved Angel Exterminatus and McNeils IW even though he still writes them in 40k, similar with ADB and his Night Lords just being incredible all the time.
 

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In my opinion, this the problem when the publisher is a small company and the majority of authors live close by. They don't want to step on each other's toes for decorum's sake and obviously don't want to offend one another.

It's interesting how the Blood Angels have been locked down to one author since the start and all other mention of them has been restricted to short stories.

Master of Mankind was to feature a Blood Angel only to be replaced by a Custodian. Perhaps ADB's reinterperation of the BA's would have shit all over Swallow's upcoming works (The Signposts Strike Back: The Red Angel's Failure to Yield.)
You're kidding me? I was looking forward to an Blood Angel as the main character. I surely hope it's not Swallow pissing on his territory. If it was ADB owns choice, I have huge faith it was a choice needed the be done.

I think your spot on with how some authors have "Locked down" a legion. Some of, if not the best, Horus Heresy books where written by writers taking a new spin on a legion. For example McNeil is traditionally the Ultramarines guy but Dan's take in Know No fear breathed new life into them as a legion and helped shed the "Generic" vibe they had (Not honestly McNeils fault, but the fact those books have been around so long means that they have become the default by accident almost). Other examples are ADB taking the Word Bearers instead of Anthony Reynolds and McNeil himself taking Thousand Sons. By writing a legion they are not used to they reinvent them from how they want to see the legion 10k years ago. Compare this to how Nick Writes the Salamanders and James with the Blood Angels its just feels like its 40k but with "chapter" swapped for "legion", there's a distinct lack of new energy in the writing. Obviously this isn't always true, I personally loved Angel Exterminatus and McNeils IW even though he still writes them in 40k, similar with ADB and his Night Lords just being incredible all the time.
I think the IW in Angel Exterminatus would have worked better if it was set pre-Isstvan V. Nick Kymes interpretation of the Ultramarines in his SMB was quite good as well. They should, as you say, switch around and let others touch their babies and focus on other areas instead.
 
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