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Battle for the Abyss (8) (The Horus Heresy)…
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Battle for the Abyss (8) (The Horus Heresy) (vuoden 2014 painos)

Tekijä: Ben Counter (Tekijä)

Sarjat: The Horus Heresy Novels (8), The Horus Heresy (VIII), Warhammer 40,000 (fiction) (Horus Heresy novel #8 (Aug 2008))

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
4361258,527 (2.98)3
Book eight in the New York Times bestselling series Now that the news of Horus's Treachery is in the open, a time of testing has come. Some Legions have already declared allegiance to the Warmaster, while the loyalty of the others lies firmly with the Emperor. As Horus deploys his forces, loyalist Astartes learn that the Wordbearers are sending a fleet to Ultramar, home of the Ultramarines. Unless they can intercept and destroy it, the Ultramarines may suffer a blow from which they will never recover. Battle for the Abyss continues the epic tale of the Horus Heresy, a galactic civil war that threatened to bring about the extinction of humanity.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:bbeers2024
Teoksen nimi:Battle for the Abyss (8) (The Horus Heresy)
Kirjailijat:Ben Counter (Tekijä)
Info:Games Workshop (2014), Edition: Reprint, 416 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
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Battle for the Abyss (tekijä: Ben Counter)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 12) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
I want to start by making a few things clear, before getting into this review:
- I was coming in so hype from Flight of the Eisenstein (I'm saving my re-read of Fulgrim for the whole Shattersong Omnibus following www.heresyomnibus.com) and I was at peak Warhammer, especially Horus Heresy, hyperfixation on a special interest and having a ball.
- I think Counter is a fantastic writer, I love a lot of his work, and he was so lovely when I randomly met him at a Magic: The Gathering re-release event many moons ago.
- They quality of the Horus Heresy books vacillates, but coming back to the opening quadrilogy after reading a whole lot in the last year and being shocked by how much they stand up and in my honest mood even surpass many far more respected books in terms of the way literature is critiqued (art is subjective and not a competition, but we understand their are certain qualities and attributes that raises the quality of a work), so I'm not going to be grading this series on a curve like I might do with other Black Library titles.
- Expanding on the above, if this had the white cover, bottom third cover art, big red title, and the the grey Aquila Space Marine Battles banner across the top, I would have very different expectations and reactions than the full cover art with top third black text box with outline and text in gold. I know this is ridiculously granular, but this was the eighth book released of a series which had established itself with certain qualities.
(No shade on Space Marine Battles in particular, I just think this has the feel of a good entry in that series, rather than as part of this one)

I feel a huge amount of relief at having this book finished because, while their are moments of quality writing with beautiful moments and gorgeous descriptions, this one really missed the mark for me. I feel awful for how much negative stuff I have to say, some of which I don't think is Counter's fault at all, and all of which is my own subjective opinion, especially as I remember having a good time with this previously.

The Word Bearers with the aid of what will eventually become the Dark/New Mechanicum/s make the biggest, baddest spaceship and are heading to go mark Calth up with it as the decisive sucker punch against the Ultramarines. A ragtag group of Astartes from various Legions, Space Wolves, World Eaters, and Thousand Sons, lead by Ultramarines and their commandeered ships have something to say about that.

I know I've been in a lot of pain and discomfort today, while reading the book and writing this review with my chronic conditions flaring like Warp storms, so maybe I'm being unfair in how I felt, or more importantly didn't feel, about this. But it was laid up listening to the good, the bad, the ugly, and the phenomenal that had me sobbing pretty much from start to finish of Horus Heresy audio dramas that made me begin this quest to finally actually fully complete the saga, especially with The End and the Death Part III released this year.

Unfortunately, I didn't like a lot of this (for a Horus Heresy novel).

I think in many ways this novel (and Counter) were given a raw deal in when this novel was released and what it had to do. The foundations this is built on are incredibly shaky, eschewing the established Horus Heresy formula of introducing a single Legion through their past and present, using this to specifically hone in on their reputation and perceived character, while exploring how they are and aren't like this. This is essential for creating a baseline, exposing misconceptions, establishing tensions that were fermenting long before Davin, let alone Isstvan, and, most importantly for anyone who isn't a 40k nerd, actually giving the reader an idea of who, what, why, where, when, and how. There is a ludicrous amount of lore, history, knowledge, and dramatic irony we nerds are aware of, but is all but impenetrable for someone coming in fresh. This is something I praised Horus Rising and whole opening quadrilogy for, as they gradually increase the scope and elements over the course of several novels. Honestly, to be fair to Counter here, I feel like this was a bad call on Black Library and the Horus Heresy planning team that he is taking the blow for, especially when The First Heretic and Know No Fear are so far away. I get that chronologically this makes sense to be before Know Know Fear, but chronology? The Horus Heresy doesn't know her, and introducing the stakes and reasons to care about the Shadow War: Red Vs Blue Heresy Boogaloo are far more important. Counter got done dirty and Black Library made logistical mistakes, which I know is hard to believe as, despite the quality of a lot of the work their authors create, they seem to be run with the same efficiency and methods as the Munitorum in the Dark Millennium.

Going by the release and almost all suggested reading orders, at least as far as the novels are concerned, outside of the odd character and reference, we know nothing about the Legions involved in this story. So far we have become familiar with and invested in the Lunar Wolves/ Sons of Horus, Emperor's Children, and Death Guard, as well as getting an introduction to the Dark Angels and a glimpse of the Alpha Legion. This novel doesn't do much to address this or really give the Space Marines much individual character, backstory, or motivations beyond being the absolute embodiment of the stereotypes and tropes of their respective Legions. They do develop as the story goes on, but not as much as I hoped and thought I remembered.

We have the drinking, fighting, good times, but hates Thousand Sons because of the Edict of Nikea (which we get a very brief explainer for), Space Wolf, the shamed and secluded, but really making making an effort to be an ambassador for his Legion, Thousand Son, a mega-scarred and lary World Eater (who has mutual distrust and not liking the mirror match with the Space Wolf), and a couple of Ultramarines, embodying the rather starched Roman legionary, but will do what's necessary of they have to thing going on. The only additional elements being given to these Ultramarines who are essentially the main protagonists is that they are lonely, homesick, and one had a vision (having a vision is not a personality trait). Don't get me started on this being the introduction to the Word Bearers (beyond Erebus), one of the most fascinating Legions and narratives in this whole saga, once they get the introduction they deserved in The First Heretic and Aurelian, being reduced to moustache-twirling villains without any aspect to them, beyond zealotry and cutthroat ambition that reduces them to slapstick buffoons! I know I am the bearer of the word of myth and foundation story archetypes, but they aren't presented like that and this novel lacks any of the mythic legend, outside of the David versus Goliath aspect.

Even as individuals and preexisting relationships between the Ultramarines and the Space Wolf, we have next to nothing to go on beyond Star Wars Prequels levels of told not shown relationships:
'Hello there, Ultrakin, remember when we brought that nest of gundarks to Compliance?'
'I do, master... I mean Fenrykenobi'

Another less Horus Heresy, more standard 40K fare is the curse of the Whedon dialogue that's infected nearly all genre media. My go to example of this the tonally bizarre, especially considering the context, Poe/ Kylo Ren dialogue that opens the Force Awakens as an instance of this in a film in generally love. I want to be clear that the Dark Millennia are ridiculous and silly in their grimdarkness; Blanchean, but unnaturally quipping Ultramarines giving it the classic 'that went well' (if I recall correctly, multiple times) in intense situations feels weird, forced and 'cool', rather than in character. Torgaddon is an archetypal fool and a constant joker in the previous books, but there soldierly camaraderie, almost dad joke quality to his humour, rather than Alan Tudyk in Macragge Blue power armour.

I also think themes and expressions honour, tragedy, and sacrifice are somewhat mishandled, certainly not to the same degree as in Honour to the Dead which I am rather dreading being the capstone of the Shadow War I Omnibus. I am all about and have genuinely felt bolstered in real life considering positive and meaningful moments that can exist in the micro within a galaxy where everything is awful and grimdark in the macro, but I think it's something, especially with the honour and Imperial Truth indoctrinated into Astartes and their whole worldview, that needs to be handled with deftness and care to not become affirming or apologia for the jingoistic nightmare that is the Imperium. Of course, most of the individual Space Marines feel this way and are true believers, so it is down to the author to construct the narrative and narrator's voice that doesn't reinforce that. If you really look for it the difference is definitely there and incredibly important, something Games Workshop and Black Library can be very slack on, particularly because the vast majority of media is presented as coming from the in universe perspective of the Imperium.

Never forget that 40K (and the surrounding millenia) is a satire of empire, authoritarianism, and religious extremism that used to be much more clear about how inhuman and monstrous a weapon Astartes are made to be. Don't get me wrong, I love my Lokens, Tarvitzes, Garros, etc., but I celebrate their personal victories and adore how their narratives explicitly criticise the state of things and show the inconsistencies and hypocrisy in the Imperium, and the tragedy of being stuck in the impossible situation the system has created, as much as the external threats, again, many of which are only threats because of the beliefs and actions of the Imperium. This is why the Night Haunter, the Red Angel, and Corax are my favourite Primarchs, and Khârn, Argal Tal, Torgaddon, and the Loyalists (and specifically how they are treated) of the Traitor Legions are some of my favourite characters. They truly embody the way both the Imperium and Immaterium choke all that is good with their dogma and brutality.

This book was the first time I started to fear Heresy Burnout, which is scary with how I've barely got started, but I am determined to pass the Rubicon and I am looking forward to Know No Fear being the next novel in this Omnibus, which is one of my favourites and, I believe, is widely acknowledged as being in the top tier Horus Heresy novels.

As much as I have had to criticise, I do have some positive things to say and there certainly are pockets of brilliance with a lot of competent, but unexciting logistics between them. The main thing Counter is fantastic about is how he handles anything to do with the Warp. His descriptions of the geography and denizens of the Immaterium as fragments and reflections of emotion are surrealist masterpieces! His command of presenting the uncanny unreality of the Aether is sublime. The way this is then channelled into the paranoia and horror of Warp entities on board the Loyalist ships and the way the Realm and sorcereries of Chaos affects the mind creates some wonderful 'The Thing' vibes is great and could have been given even more screen time to be honest. I am just infinitely fascinated with the Immaterium, Warp travel, and it's affects on the laws of physics and the psyche.

The description and story that go along with the gallery on the Furious Abyss are also really well done, as are elements of the World Eater and Space Wolf's storylines (and to an extent the Thousand Son), especially in the way they echo each other and the similarities and differences of what they go through and how they reflect on and experience feeling alone and disconnected from their battle bother cousins. There is one moment of the Space Wolf ruminating on his feelings and remembering a trial he went through as a neophyte that was one of the only times I actually felt any connection or emotion.

I absolutely powered through this, but not in my usual excited, insatiable way. Instead, I just let it wash over me while I've been laid up with chronic pain, stimming by rearranging my whole 40k ebook library by factions, which took all night, from the individual authors I had been sorting it into in recent weeks. I just needed to have this done, so it didn't bog me down.

The reason I have referred to the characters by their Legions is because, beyond Skraal and Cestus, I genuinely didn't recall or dare to learn their names, which, as someone who really needs to connect, positively, negatively, or otherwise, with characters to feel anything or have the stakes or tension mean anything, says everything about my experience.

There are moments of brilliance, where Counter's imagination, descriptive, and emotional flare shine through, but, ultimately, this is in my honest opinion a not great Horus Heresy novel released in an order that makes no sense that would be a pretty good 40k one. Honestly, swap the Thousand Son for a Grey Knight or any Librarius heavy Chapter, the World Eater for a Flesh Tearer and this works pretty much as is as a 40k novel, which I really don't think should be the case for what we have come to expect from the Horus Heresy. ( )
  RatGrrrl | Jan 28, 2024 |
La traición de Horus ya es conocida por todos, y ha llegado el momento de que todos sean puestos a prueba. Cuando el Señor de la Guerra despliega abiertamente sus fuerzas, llega a conocimiento de los Astartes leales que los Portadores de la Palabra han enviado una flota contra Ultramar, el hogar de los Ultramarines. A menos que logren interceptarla y destruirla, es muy posible que los Ultramarines sufran un daño del que jamás sean capaces de recuperarse.
  Natt90 | Jan 11, 2023 |
Honestly, this book was a grind. Now I know I've read it before, but I couldn't remember any of it. That's a fair appraisal. Nothing that happens in this book is interesting or noteworthy. It's the first book in the series that is really a background story to the HH arc, and the first truly bum note (plenty more to come, sadly). Its just dull Space Marines fighting in boring places, cliched baddies, incomprehensible and improbable decision making, and a grand finale that makes no sense whatsoever. An absolute waste of everybody's time. ( )
  elahrairah | Dec 3, 2022 |
Relatively boring and without point. Some interesting prose on the nature of chaos within 40k otherwise not worth your time. ( )
  LiamJH | Jan 18, 2022 |
Weaker than some of the preceding Horus Heresy books. Maybe it is just because I find the Ultramarines and Space Wolves such bland legions, I really didn't find any of the characters super interesting. ( )
  Paulnakhiv | Nov 24, 2016 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 12) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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Roberts, NeilKansikuvataiteilijamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
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Mighty heroes battle for the right to rule the galaxy.
Introduction: The Horus Heresy / It is a time of legend.
Olympus Mons burned bright and spat a plume of fire into the sky.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

Book eight in the New York Times bestselling series Now that the news of Horus's Treachery is in the open, a time of testing has come. Some Legions have already declared allegiance to the Warmaster, while the loyalty of the others lies firmly with the Emperor. As Horus deploys his forces, loyalist Astartes learn that the Wordbearers are sending a fleet to Ultramar, home of the Ultramarines. Unless they can intercept and destroy it, the Ultramarines may suffer a blow from which they will never recover. Battle for the Abyss continues the epic tale of the Horus Heresy, a galactic civil war that threatened to bring about the extinction of humanity.

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