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What is your favourite Space Marines Battles novel?

  • The Hunt for Voldorius

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  • The Purging of Kadillus

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  • Fall of Damnos

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  • Wrath of Iron

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  • The Death of Antagonis

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Discussion Starter #1
Put this thread up so that the entire SMB series can be discussed, and the poll to find out which is the most popular of the entire series.

For me it's The Siege of Castellax. C.L Werner is my favourite fantasy author and I think he writes the best villains in Black Library, he makes them the kind of character you could read entire series about. And in 40k that is a damn helpful ability since the majority of characters are either outright evil or morally very dark. I also felt he captured the grimdark nature of the universe with his side characters in the slave ranks, the futility of life in such a hellish environment and where fighting back against that hell and the Daemons that lord over everyone in it gets you.

Plus it had Space Marines trying to fly an Ork plane. Hilarity ensued.

So what's your favourite SMB novel and why?


LotN
 

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This is a tough one. I'm torn between Battle of the Fang and Helsreach. Really torn, both were damn good. I'd have to go with Helsreach, I suppose. The epic Black Templars last stand in the temple, Grimaldus' words to his few surviving brothers while he's choking the Ork to death. Just pure badass right there.
 

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With the caveat that I've only read maybe 3-4 of them so far, I'd have to probably say Helsreach too. I just love ADB's writing style since my first taste of it with The First Heretic, which I had put off reading for a long time because I wasn't interested in the Word Bearers in the slightest.

Battle of the Fang and Rynn's World probably tie for second, but maybe Rynn's World edges out ahead a little. I rarely laugh out loud at books, but in Rynn's World did it. There's that bit where the 3rd Company Captain squares off 1-on-1 with the Ork Warboss, then a little later the Warboss comes along and throws the guy's hand at the Chapter Master, only to be jumped by the 3rd Company Captain and killed. When the Chapter Master says to the guy that he's lost his hand, and the guy points across the room and says, "No I haven't. It's over there!" that got a pretty good laugh out of me.

I also liked the first novella in the Architect of Fate book. The Imperial Fist story was beyond dreadful, but I kind of liked the whole suspense-mystery thing that first story had going. Problem with those is that it kind of kills the potential for reading it again somewhere down the line, short of suffering some sort of blow to the head so you forget you ever read it in the first place.
 

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1. Helsreach for being introduced to Grimaldus and the titan battles. oh my god the titan battles were so fun to read.
2. Catechism of Hate cuz he did a great job of writing tyranid threat and i'm a bug player.
 

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'Helsreach' is the best of the ones I've read by far. That having been said, I'll admit to having read only a few because the majority have genuinely disappointed me.

The first I read was 'Rynn's World'. Like a few other readers (from what I saw in the forums and the blogs), I was surprised by the format. Being a bit of an armchair historian, I expected something that would be kind of like an expanded, paperback version of a battle report. Kind of like a smaller scale of the hardcover BL released on the Sabbat Worlds Crusade, for instance. That's neither here nor there, though. As a novel, 'Rynn's World' wasn't very satisfying to me. I thought Parker did a fine job with the opening chapters, got mired in the survivors' rather un-engaging journey to the city, was distracted by an equally un-engaging battle on a different planet, but finally closed on a (somewhat) strong note. I'm not sure that's all the author's fault, though. Some of the SMB stories were at least somewhat pre-determined, and the author had to follow certain plot points.

'Helsreach', I thought was excellent. It had a strong protagonist with a nuanced point of view that, if not necessarily relatable, was at the very least interesting enough to suck you in. It also benefited from an excellent supporting cast that, with at least one secondary character that the majority of readers appear to have been very invested in. The pacing was quite good, the action suited the format of the story well (without the author having to sacrifice plot, drama, or interaction), and the ending wasn't just satisfying - it was apropos to the situation and the characters as well.

I never got into 'The Hunt for Voldorius', probably because my expectations had been set so high by 'Helsreach'. I've yet to finish it - I got distracted by other books - but I will.

I purchased 'The Purging of Kadillus' out of obligation; the Dark Angels are, after all, my favorite Chapter. Unfortunately, 'Purging' was a disappointment. It lacked the drama, engaging characters, and action of 'Helsreach'. I did a whole review on it (see the Reviews section), and I really don't feel like getting into it again.

I skipped 'The Fall of Damnos' because I'd been disappointed by the Salamanders novels Nick Kyme had written.

I next had the opportunity to read either 'Battle of the Fang' or 'The Gildar Rift'. I went with the latter simply because it wasn't a well-known "historical event" like 'Fang'. I hate to say it, but I was disappointed by this one as well. The plot - and the action - were disjointed, and both suffered from a secondary plot-line that really didn't offer anything to the story as whole. The author told me quite a few things, but didn't show me... and that was especially evident when it came to the tactical acumen of the protagonist. Many of the battle scenes (and especially those depicting void warfare) didn't seem to make sense in terms of how they unfolded - why the characters did what they did, and what effect their decisions had.

The last entry that I read was 'The Siege of Castellax', which I enjoyed overall, but wasn't necessarily thrilled by. I thought there were several strong and interesting characters, and the overall plot was engaging and well-paced. Unlike 'Helsreach', though, I felt that the characters were ultimately secondary to the battle. That's an easy mistake to make, I think, when you're writing a novel about a battle, but one ultimately has to remember that the battle is the sum of the actions of the characters. The Battle of Normandy, for instance, isn't so memorable in and of itself, but because of the actions of the men who fought it, and the difficulties and dangers they had to overcome.

I next hope to finish 'Battle of the Fang' and 'Legion of the Damned', about which I heard good things. Has anyone heard good things about 'Flesh of Cretacia'?
 

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'Helsreach' is the best of the ones I've read by far. That having been said, I'll admit to having read only a few because the majority have genuinely disappointed me.

The first I read was 'Rynn's World'. Like a few other readers (from what I saw in the forums and the blogs), I was surprised by the format. Being a bit of an armchair historian, I expected something that would be kind of like an expanded, paperback version of a battle report. Kind of like a smaller scale of the hardcover BL released on the Sabbat Worlds Crusade, for instance. That's neither here nor there, though. As a novel, 'Rynn's World' wasn't very satisfying to me. I thought Parker did a fine job with the opening chapters, got mired in the survivors' rather un-engaging journey to the city, was distracted by an equally un-engaging battle on a different planet, but finally closed on a (somewhat) strong note. I'm not sure that's all the author's fault, though. Some of the SMB stories were at least somewhat pre-determined, and the author had to follow certain plot points.

'Helsreach', I thought was excellent. It had a strong protagonist with a nuanced point of view that, if not necessarily relatable, was at the very least interesting enough to suck you in. It also benefited from an excellent supporting cast that, with at least one secondary character that the majority of readers appear to have been very invested in. The pacing was quite good, the action suited the format of the story well (without the author having to sacrifice plot, drama, or interaction), and the ending wasn't just satisfying - it was apropos to the situation and the characters as well.

I never got into 'The Hunt for Voldorius', probably because my expectations had been set so high by 'Helsreach'. I've yet to finish it - I got distracted by other books - but I will.

I purchased 'The Purging of Kadillus' out of obligation; the Dark Angels are, after all, my favorite Chapter. Unfortunately, 'Purging' was a disappointment. It lacked the drama, engaging characters, and action of 'Helsreach'. I did a whole review on it (see the Reviews section), and I really don't feel like getting into it again.

I skipped 'The Fall of Damnos' because I'd been disappointed by the Salamanders novels Nick Kyme had written.

I next had the opportunity to read either 'Battle of the Fang' or 'The Gildar Rift'. I went with the latter simply because it wasn't a well-known "historical event" like 'Fang'. I hate to say it, but I was disappointed by this one as well. The plot - and the action - were disjointed, and both suffered from a secondary plot-line that really didn't offer anything to the story as whole. The author told me quite a few things, but didn't show me... and that was especially evident when it came to the tactical acumen of the protagonist. Many of the battle scenes (and especially those depicting void warfare) didn't seem to make sense in terms of how they unfolded - why the characters did what they did, and what effect their decisions had.

The last entry that I read was 'The Siege of Castellax', which I enjoyed overall, but wasn't necessarily thrilled by. I thought there were several strong and interesting characters, and the overall plot was engaging and well-paced. Unlike 'Helsreach', though, I felt that the characters were ultimately secondary to the battle. That's an easy mistake to make, I think, when you're writing a novel about a battle, but one ultimately has to remember that the battle is the sum of the actions of the characters. The Battle of Normandy, for instance, isn't so memorable in and of itself, but because of the actions of the men who fought it, and the difficulties and dangers they had to overcome.

I next hope to finish 'Battle of the Fang' and 'Legion of the Damned', about which I heard good things. Has anyone heard good things about 'Flesh of Cretacia'?


The Flesh of Cretacia was the first SMB release I read, and I absolutely loved it. Though I seem to have overall lower expectations from books than most on these forums.
I think Andy Smillie does an amazing job at the Flesh Tearers as well. I really felt the pressure and stress of what it was to be a Flesh Tearer, and the over-whelming anger that floods all conscious thought.
 

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1. Helsreach for being introduced to Grimaldus and the titan battles. oh my god the titan battles were so fun to read.
2. Catechism of Hate cuz he did a great job of writing tyranid threat and i'm a bug player.
I honestly wasn't that big of a fan of Catechism of Hate, though I am also really not a UM fan. And to me it seemed like the nids were a little to easy.
Though it has been a while since I read that.
When I picture the nids, I picture a force that grows at such a rate that you need more than a couple squads to take them down.

Though the author did an awesome job with writing the defense of that one platform with the Titans. I thought that was extremely well done.
And the Lictors. I LOVED the Lictor scenes.
 

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Well, from the ones I've read it has to be Battle of the Fang, though I did enjoy Rynn's World too. I have a copy of Helsreach, but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I loved not only the battle scenes in Battle of the Fang, but also enjoyed the characters. As for Rynn's World, there were a few slow bits, but I enjoyed it overall... and Alessio Cortez = Win.

As for the others I've read or tried to read... The Purging of Kadillus, while featuring my favorite race (the Orks), was kinda dull to me and there were bits that I really struggled to read through. I tried to read The Gildar Rift more than once, but never managed to get past the first couple of pages. I finished Fall of Damnos, but afterwards was left scratching my head as to the point of the novel...


I've been reluctant to pick up any more Space Marine battles novels so far, because my experience with them has been hit and miss. I might crack open Helsreach though, seeing as it's received so many positive reviews.
 

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It comes down to BotF or Helsreach for me. I loved how ADB handled the relationships between human and SM. The awkward, almost autistic way Grimaldus viewed and dealt with the human characters really showed the gulf between humanity and it's post human defenders. There was also a lot of humour in it, with the banter amongst the IG characters actually quite realistic.

I had to go with BotF though. Wraight did a great job with what was essentially a sequel to Prospero Burns. Being a SW fanboy for almost 20 years has a lot to do with it as well.
 

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From the entries in the series that I have read, Helsreach was easily the best. The way ADB handled the relationship between the different Imperial factions was brilliant. The characters were engaging and interesting and the action was nothing short of amazing.

Battle of the Fang was also great, and I enjoyed most of it. Some of the characters I could really not have cared less about, and I was always annoyed when I had to read a few pages of them, but the end was all worth it. Overall a great book.

The Gildar Rift I enjoyed because it brought light on a less well known Chapter and was a cut out of the ordinary Space Marine action. The bad guys were also very, very nice, and I hope more is written about them.

Fall of Damnos was better than some of Kyme‘s work, but it still wasn‘t all that good. I also got annoyed by the number of times the Ultramarines yelled one of their battle cries. Also in the same boat as Chompy Bits on this one: What was the point of the book? There is still enough material left from that conflict for another three SMB novels if they intend to finish it.

Catechism of Hate, another 40€ that went up in smoke. Got really annoyed by those "inspiring heroic" speeches of which none was particularly inspiring or heroic.

Flesh of Cretacia was shit.

The Siege of Castellax was good, but not great. There was a lot of emphasis put on the conflict due to which character development somewhat suffered.

Architect of Fate... I recall that some of the stories were enjoyable, but all positive things I might have said about the novel were washed away by the god awful Lysander story.

Meanwhile, Legion of the Damned was great. The Feast of Blades was really cool, the tragedy of the Chapter was interesting and the way the Legion was handled was a great way to showcase them without revealing their mystery. The three way meaning of the title was also quite a nice touch. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Fall of Damnos was better than some of Kyme‘s work, but it still wasn‘t all that good. I also got annoyed by the number of times the Ultramarines yelled one of their battle cries. Also in the same boat as Chompy Bits on this one: What was the point of the book? There is still enough material left from that conflict for another three SMB novels if they intend to finish it.
Actually there will be more on the Damnos Incident soon.

Nick Kyme said:
A return to Damnos is also on the cards and features very heavily in my upcoming writing schedule.
Nick Kyme said:
I’ve got a story for a new audio, a HH short and the beginnings of a pitch for the sequel to Fall of Damnos, which I’ll either tag up as Sacrifice of Damnos or Siege of Kellenport. Still, that’s a ways off yet
I'm hoping for Siege of Kellenport. Really want to see Venerable Agrippan's heroic sacrifice. And whether or not Iulus Fennion's Immortals maintain their namesake. :grin:


LotN
 

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Rynn's World - Didn't like.

Helsreach - Awesome, my second favourite SMB novel.

The Hunt for Voldorius - Enjoyed it to a certain extent. Plenty of flaws, though.

The Purging of Kadillius - Meh. Nothing too spectacular. Same as THfV, really.

Fall of Damnos - Pretty awesome. A favourite.

Battle of the Fang - Best SMB novel to date. Loved it.

The Gildar Rift - Loved the take on a lesser known Chapter, and the Red Corsairs were pretty awesome as well.

Legion of the Damned - Loved this. Sanders at his best.

Architect of Fate - Nice collection of novellas. Some better than others.

Wrath of Iron - Meh. Disappointed with this one, Wraight has produced a lot better work in the past.

The Siege of Castellax - Loved this. Couldn't put it down. CL Werner, please write more Iron Warriors books.

The Death of Antagonis - Haven't read.

List in Order, from favourite to least favourite:

  1. Battle of the Fang by Chris Wraight
  2. Helsreach by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
  3. The Siege of Castellax by C.L. Werner
  4. Legion of the Damned by Rob Sanders
  5. The Gildar Rift by Sarah Cawkwell
  6. Fall of Damnos by Nick Kyme
  7. Architect of Fate by Various Authors
  8. Wrath of Iron by Chris Wraight
  9. The Hunt for Voldorius by Andy Hoare
  10. The Purging of Kadillus by Gav Thorpe
  11. Rynn's World by Steve Parker
 

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Battle for the Fang was a brilliant read for me - pacy with plenty of background fluff (don't tell James Swallow I used that term).

Helsreach was one of the first SMB novels I picked up. I've forgotten which Chapter features (Sigismunds lot?). Pure bolter-porn for me, but nothing wrong with that *pew pew*.

The worse SMB book was the one by Andy Hoare.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Helsreach was one of the first SMB novels I picked up. I've forgotten which Chapter features (Sigismunds lot?). Pure bolter-porn for me, but nothing wrong with that *pew pew*.
It was the Black Templars, and what the hell? Bolter-porn? Helsreach was so far away from that the distance is measured in light-years.


LotN
 

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Legion of the damned was the one that i could not put down, not just for the engrossing story but the book was loaded with so much suspense it was a real treat to read.
 

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Opinion is always subjective.

The battles, strategies, and even the scenes that actually reminded me that Grimaldus was once human, are well done. The Reclusiarch's character has the perfect amount of depth development. Yet in various parts the narration becomes very long-winded. Fans like 'fluff' - which I'm not adverse to either.
 
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