Oh God-Emperor, this one will be long and hard...
You see, I'm HUGE fan of this guy, he's my favorite writer in the Black Library. I've began to read the BL production by reading Soul Hunter
When I registered on this forum, I swear to God-Emperor I didn't knew he was registered as well, and when I learned that, me, a Thirthy-five year father of three children, giggled like a fraggin' little school girl, so forgive me if I seem to be lacking some objectivity.
Where do I begin ?
I love the way he write his characters, I love the way he writing action. He's not as much over-the-top and epic than let's say... Dan Abnett, or Graham MacNeill when he's on a good day, but he combine some of their best writing trait.
Don't get me wrong, I love Dan Abnett, and I love Graham MacNeill, but ADB just come first in my list.
One of his best writing feature, I will say, is the depth of his characters, mainly his protagonist. ADB has the trick to put you under their skin, in their soul, and make you understood why, they are who they are. They aren't unidimensionnal characters, they have a background, they come from somewhere. They are being of soul, flesh and blood
He give the WH40K universe a soul, and thus, some kind of credibility.
Another of his trait is his ability to give the antagonist of his novels some credibility and awesome attitude. With some rare exceptions, they are awesome : Just reread the Ultramarines in Betrayer
, the Genesis Chapter and the Marines Errant in the Night Lord trilogy
, and you will find them awesome. They aren't just jobber who are just there to take blow and being trumped by the protagonist.
They show their qualities, even Abaddon in Soul Hunter
is quite impressive, for all his smugness when you double-think of it.
Another of his strong point is his women. God-Emperor the written women of ADB are just gorgeous characters ! They are lovely, sometimes frail, but they are never helpless, they are always interesting, they are never stupid archetype of princess in distress. They try to take their fate unto their own hands and don't wait to be rescued by the guy. Even Cyrene, who's an non action girl, is a character able to move battle hardened veteran like Argel Tal and have an insight that give more power.
Beyond that, has ADB writing has any flaws ? Well, I will say yes but that is the kind of weakness that is not really that bad.
You see, I'm a firm beleiver that most of authors, writers, storyteller have, at the core of their soul, only one or two real story to tell. One thematics that will shape all of their story and will be echoing unto all of their works.
The story that haunt ADB writing is the fate of true human struggle in the Warhammer 40K, and the struggle of the soul between two kind of absolute. The anarchics and amoral power of chaos, and the blind, cold, sterility of the imperium.
Like Argel Tal have said in Betrayer
, there's no good side in that war and each characters of ADB is trying to stay human and keep some personnality in this titanic struggle : Hyperion of the Grey Knight and his brash need of being recognized by his pair, Argel Tal who find himself more and more estranged from the imperium and
his own chapter, Talos Valcoran, who wanted to be a hero so much he blinded himself to the worst side of his own legion. Iskandar with his love for his sister...
Even Jago Sevatarion, who hide his real me, his psyker ability for the love of his legion and Primarch.
They all struggles, fail or succeed to prerserve their individuality, their humanity in this titanic inhuman and uncareful struggle imposed on their son by abusive fathers figures.
They all share this same thematic, and so the story ADB wrote aren't always that
original, but truly, I don't care because they are written that
Another one would be that he's not that good on writing aliens. I mean, the only aliens I've seen in his work is the Eldars from the Night Lord trilogy
and the dark eldar huntress from the claw of Horus
. Maybe he's not interested, but I've had to admit that writing convincing alien is difficult, and that between the former eldar craft world and Nefertari, there's a serious leap in quality.
His last take on BL, the talon of horus
, did disappoint me a little. Maybe it was the pacing of the story, maybe I wasn't in the mood. (I confess I had to read Betrayer
and the First Heretic
twice to really enjoy the novel.)
But anyway, each time a new novel of ADB is announced, I quite have some trepidation, and Master of Mankind
make no exception.