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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It seems to me we are getting a lot more negative reviews than positive ones as the series goes on. Do people feel the same? are BL taking note of this? is there someone who controls the direction that the series is supposed to be going in?

I want to know about the heresy far more than just random stories but I'm finding it harder and harder to justify spending money on books that are getting more and more expensive when the content is getting not just poor but often bloody irrelevant.
 

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No. At least I don't think so. Perhaps some don't care for the direction the series has gone in, but I love the Horus Heresy series and eagerly anticipate each release.


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I guess the sales are the main indicator of how successful the series is for BL.

As long as people are buying the average books as well as the decent ones it won't matter!
 

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I don't celebrate mediocrity. The standard has slipped. From the fast paced movement and energy of the series, it has settled into a slow drudgeory of 'limited edition' bollocks, with questionable plot lines and writer quality.

A vocal minority is usually used disparagingly to suggest that they are an irrelevance because they have a small number - assocoated woth the likes of WBC etc. I really dislike its use for that matter.

It is a victim of its own success, like Starbucks, or apple, where the name sells itself. I still stupidly get each HH nonaudio release, simply by virtue of its name. (except the LE's), so I am equally gullible, but I'd rather having read it make my opinions known, especially in regards to dross such as the latest couple.



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I personally think they reached the Dropsite Massacre in two books and went "Shiiiiiiiit..." when they realised that if they kept up the same pace, the entire series would be done and dusted in less than 8 novels. Now it does seem to be a LOT of pointless padding instead of developing the characters already in existence and moving the overall time frame onwards.
 

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I think we've had a couple of these threads already, but here goes...

and eagerly anticipate each release.
As do I, but unfortunately we've gone from more hits than misses to more misses than hits. Then we have this wave of LE books that seem to be getting in the way of the proper novel releases, which have slowed right down coming off the assembly line.

I am starting to get the impression that they seem to have lost their way, and are filling in gaps with audios, shorts and novellas that would otherwise be left on the cutting room floor.

I'll keep going with the series in the hope that it picks up, but it has lost it's gloss for me, and it's going to take a good run of back to back quality releases to get it back.
 

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It seems to me we are getting a lot more negative reviews than positive ones as the series goes on. Do people feel the same? are BL taking note of this?

I want to know about the heresy far more than just random stories but I'm finding it harder and harder to justify spending money on books that are getting more and more expensive when the content is getting not just poor but often bloody irrelevant.
It's simply a matter of an entire franchise being carried on the shoulders of two (arguably three) men. When, how and why did this happen is something that doesn't have a simple answer.

is there someone who controls the direction that the series is supposed to be going in?
Doesn't seem like it with the occasional destruction of established lore. To me it's more like certain authors take it upon themselves to not go against canon and to take the IP seriously by not creating retarded shit and treating it with respect.

There has been a huge number of new titles, Heresy and 40k, over the past year and I've ignored like 95% of them. Simply based on who wrote the book. That's not how it should be.
 

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I love the heresy series. It is the only series i follow. But i do feel that the novel output has been slowed down and the LE novellas has ramped up. If they could increase novel produciton while maintaining quaility i would be hapy. I dont want to be 50 and the series is still going on...
 

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You know what? I actually think they have made a lot of thing work and make sense in regards of why things ended up how they were and how they effect the 40k world. The Ultramarines portrayal is an example.

However... though they did make things connect, there is plenty of bad story telling. Like... wow... I almost feel like some of the traitor marines were a little more than guardsmen.

I think one thing I was critical about is how certain authors approach certain things. For example, Graham McNeill showed how shitty the Iron Warriors were in the Ultramarines Series and pushed that shit into the Heresy Series to where your like... wow.

I almost feel see the traitor legions as simply a complete corrosion of half the Imperium instead of two strong identies with different ideologies fighting each other. The Chaos forces just look like they are causing their own demise.
 

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To be honest, the Heresy series has never been a series of consistent high quality publications. In my opinion it has always been made up of the odd great, a few good, mostly mediocre, and a few terrible novels. Even looking back to the opening trilogy, I could level significant criticisms at False Gods and Galaxy in Flames, despite enjoying them both. But back then, the series had a singular purpose with a narrow focus. After book five (Fulgrim) the series slowly began to branch out and, in many ways, bit off more than it could chew. With more authors added to the roster (by my estimation we have had 15+ contributors) and more plots and sub-plots explored and created the series suffered from wild inconsistency and never seemed to have the strong direction and purpose which the opening 3-5 novels had. This ambitious branching out after book five did not seem particularly well-managed (eg. it took several years for the authors to clarify simple facts such as Legion sizes), although numerous self-contained sub-plots have worked well within the series (War for Ultramar, Thramas Crusade, Burning of Prospero, etc) there still doesn't seem to be a strong overall direction.

Where we're are at now, the series is constantly skipping around across different sub-plots and creating more all of the time. It is circulated in numerous different formats with three(?) release dates for every novel because of all the different editions. Central novels are supplemented by seperate audio books, compilations, novellas and limited edition releases. There is no central database or timeline to explain the flow of the series. It all just seems very ragtag. Many of us who have followed it from the beginning in 2006 can handle it, but I don't envy people who have just decided to start the series, I can imagine it can be very daunting, you would have to do significant research just to know where to start!

Having said all of that (and I do have many, many criticisms of the series), I do still enjoy it. Some authors have made consistently high-quality contributions (AD-B, French, Wraight and Abnett) and I have liked many things that the authors have done or expanded upon. Unfortunately though, it does have many shortcomings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Writers aside because everyone has different tastes, you highlight one of, what I think, is the most important points. That they seemed to branch out and take on too much.

I would have thought, given how anal GW are over their IP, they would have sat down at the start of all this and planned what they were going to do. What course the heresy was going to take, what legions were involved, when, how, why etc...

There are several books where the general consensus is that they don't really add anything to the series. In my opinion there should be someone at BL overseeing this, looking an synopsis, controlling what is going on.

I normally wouldn't mind what they are doing, but at £30 a pop for audio books. I don't want to buy some of the irrelevant poo they are coming up with.
 

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Chris
Dan
Aaron

^ These are the only talented authours on the team. The HH series would be consistently good if these three write everything. Alas, they're only human. Dan writes at a tremendous pace but he does a lot of non-40K stuff as well. I'm not sure about Chris but Aaron has said he's a slow writer.

Thus we have guys like...Swallow, Kyme, Thorpe, McNeill. Any of these names is a big "DO NOT READ" sign to me.

Now to be fair, I did enjoy A Thousand Sons. However, The Outcast Dead and Angel Exterminatus are excruciatingly bad IMO. I've also tried McNeill's Ultramarines series. To put it mildly, the writing style isn't to my taste. My conclusion is that ATS is an anomaly.

I read good books, I don't want no mediocre.
 

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Bane of Empires
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Writers aside because everyone has different tastes, you highlight one of, what I think, is the most important points. That they seemed to branch out and take on too much.

I would have thought, given how anal GW are over their IP, they would have sat down at the start of all this and planned what they were going to do. What course the heresy was going to take, what legions were involved, when, how, why etc...

There are several books where the general consensus is that they don't really add anything to the series. In my opinion there should be someone at BL overseeing this, looking an synopsis, controlling what is going on.

I normally wouldn't mind what they are doing, but at £30 a pop for audio books. I don't want to buy some of the irrelevant poo they are coming up with.
Yes, I think that's hit the nail on the head.

Regardless of what authors are involved in the series (people have different tastes after all) I don't think it can be denied that the scale and focus of the series ambitiously expanded after book five. Presumably this was always intentional (depending on how well the first 3-5 books sold) and the scale that the series has reached now is only the inevitable by-product. The main issue with this was (and still is) the organisation. This has resulted in problems of inconsistency, confusion, a lack of central focus and frustration.

To talk about the inconsistency a sec: series which have 15+ contributors will inevitably suffer from inconsistencies, but in this case they could have been contained. I know I keep referring to the Legion sizes, but it really does baffle me that something like this was not discussed or agreed upon before the series started or even in it's infancy. It was not actually sorted out until after book twelve!

Another example is when I asked Jim Swallow about why he depicted the Sons of Horus' armour as metallic coloured in Nemesis (instead of the established sea-green) he replied something along the lines of: "actually you'll find that most sources depict it as metallic-coloured". When I pointed out that he was in fact wrong, and most sources depict it as pale-green (including all of the previous novels in the series) and that the only sources I could find that depicted it as metallic were a handful of images in Collected Visions he wrote a very brief reply citing artistic licence. And don't get me wrong, this isn't a catastrophic mistake or a huge issue. But it does demonstrate that when an author gets it wrong there doesn't seem to be a fail-safe - no one to tell them: "hang on a minute pal, their armour is supposed to be green". If there was, these issues wouldn't arise.

I'm trying not to be too critical of the authors themselves here, because as far as I understand it (and I could be very wrong), the authors pitch their ideas to their editors and when green-lighted it is down to them to ensure continuity and consistency by either their own research/knowledge of the lore, their liaising with fellow authors, or by the infrequent heresy meetings. I don't necessarily think that every author's idea for a publication, little or large, should be discussed and democratically agreed upon (artistic licence after all), but there doesn't seem to be any central organisation which they can rely on to alleviate the majority of these mistakes. Seriously, just let me proof-read the final drafts and I'll solve most of these issues. :laugh:
 

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It's honestly a mess, from my perspective. But I'm 99% sure I'm viewing the whole thing differently to how Black Library and its author team would like me to. Whether my opinion is the actual reality of the situation, or whether it's a struggle to convey the complexity of the story onto paper, or whether it's a clash of prose/storytelling styles, I don't know. But yes, there's certainly a strong sense of disappointment from me, who’s been following the series on-and-off since 2006.

As mentioned, there hasn't really been a 'golden age' for the Horus Heresy. The period of releases between Fulgrim and A Thousand Sons was quite dry in my opinion, with the odd oasis such as Legion. I think the growing restlessness from a portion of the community is simply a product of the increased number of releases, more than anything.

Speaking for myself, there's a good 10 novels I would be happy to reread. Out of the 30-40 the series currently offers, along with a ferry full of supplementary material, that isn't a great track record.

However, the reality us long-term fans have found ourselves in is this: Black Library's Horus Heresy series is not (and, frankly, has never been) some sweeping classical epic bound up in a book or two, in the same style as War and Peace or Romance of the Three Kingdoms (granted, I would’ve preferred that). Instead, I believe it’s a serious push to open up the 30k setting, like a big box full of Lego, to create a measure of the richness of the 40k setting, with a loose sense of forward momentum and a generally acknowledged endpoint.

Is that a good strategy for producing consistently mesmerising novels? Probably not. But you can't deny how the popularity of 30k characters, armies and general lore has gone through the roof since 2006. It's helped revitalise the wholesale IP, I think, and has generally given fans of models or novels or whatever 'more shit to do and enjoy.'

And besides, great novels are still being produced.
 

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I definitely get the feeling that GW either never intended the HH books to run for so long or they simply failed to plan out how the series should pan out.

The first books were all very coherent and told a single captivating story. Then it feel like GW discovered that they had created a massive fanbase for this semi-new universe that they could milk dry if they just kept the books coming indefinitely.

The big problem is that we were lead on to believe that each book would progress the story of the Heresy in a meaningful manner and GW is obviously not too keen to get to the later parts of the Heresy like the Siege of Terra, probably due to concern that interest would rapidly drop off after this climax point.

I really loved the first Heresy books and I could even accept and enjoy a few diversions from a strict chronological progression, but at this point I'd really wish that GW would just get on with finishing the main story arch and then they can continue to push out books in the HH series for all I care.
The worst part is that I still buy pretty much every Heresy novel, which just goes to show the effectiveness of this "milking the reader" strategy.
 

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The issue is that the Heresy is in actuality a multi-year war; but the abridged version tends to go from "the great betrayal sequence" (Drop Site Massacre, Calth, etc) right to the Siege of Terra, which actually lasts for only a few weeks.

So strictly speaking the massive expansion of the series to fill in the multi-year gap between the big betrayals and the Siege of Terra is something that we should have expected. The problem is that the abridged version tends to skip this whole period because a lot of it is actually pointless to the overall story - everyone knows that Horus will reach Terra and it will be there that mankind's fate will be decided.

So what we are getting are either battle novels, or pieces that attempt to expand the fluff of specific legions. And quite frankly, I think that by this point everyone is already partial to several specific legions / characters, and thus would see any books depicting the other side (often in a positive light) as being either inconsistent or jarring. If you're a Thousand Sons fan, you're probably not gonna like Prospero Burns while you'll love A Thousand Sons. (As someone who isn't partial to either side, I actually enjoyed both - for reasons in my conclusion)

There are some novels that walk attempt to walk the tight rope, like Betrayer, which tries to have it both ways. The problem still is that perspective is not necessarily a substitute for story-telling.

For instance... I know some people like Lorgar and ADB's depictions of him; but ultimately I'm of the opinion that Lorgar's an idiot. He let his own cowardice and fear of mortality rule him, which is why he keeps searching for "God" even though it led him to worshiping psychotic sentient warp storms (I loved that description of the Chaos Gods in the book). I don't find him to be a terribly compelling character.

It's really down to ADB's skill at open-ended descriptions that all of Lorgar's attempt to justify himself in the novel to Guilliman can be taken as either a sincere personal revelation, or just more whining self-justification revealing his fundamental weakness of character (and taken as the latter; Betrayer becomes quite satisfying for me). The problem with that approach however, is that it doesn't really move the story forward - they're musings and opinions of specific characters; not really a tale of characters actually doing things to change the world.

(I mean, really, all Betrayer added to the big picture is that we know Lorgar will probably use the two super-battleships to make an invasion of Terra possible in the face of Battlefleet Solar's inevitable massed firepower; and that Angorn was now a Daemon Prince. Not a whole lot of movement plot-wise; but a lot of musing and opining about specific characters)

For me - and this is what the series needs more of - are novels that have a compelling self-contained story of their own. Know No Fear for instance is surprisingly self-contained; and actually has a proper and satisfying resolution to the novel's central conflict - contrary to Abnett's typical abrupt endings. It only moved the entire arc by inches, but it can be read on its own and still be pretty satisfying.

On the other hand, Damnos was self-contained and was pretty much just soulless bolter porn; so maybe they really are just filling out the damn series unnecessarily.
 

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People have to realize that the horus heresy is a huge event and there is so much to cover. There is 18 legions for Pete sake! Each legion needs to fleshed out and while I agree a few novels add nothing, the majority are needed. I can guarantee if any legions get little treatment, fans if that legion would be in an uproar
 

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I think the other problem is that whilst it's good to flesh all the legions out, it's frustrating (more with the less known legions I.e. Alpha Legion, White Scars etc) when instead of being given character and interesting depth, they are fleshed out with total bollocks. Because at that point even the 'necessary' books feel unnecessary.
 
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