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  1. #1
    WHAT's Avatar
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    Angel Exterminatus Review (Spoilers)

    Hey guys, so I just finished reading Angel Exterminatus and wanted to give my thoughts and see what you guys thought.

    First of all I was really looking forward to this book, Storm of Iron was my first 40k novel so knowing that characters from that book were being built up here made me super psyched to read it. On the otherhand I was dubius about two things. First of all McNeill is a bad writer. There I said it. He has a bad style and his prose can end up dragging out. What he is good at is making a story, and being a fluff-smith. The second fear was that Perturabo would have as bad of a representation as John French gave him in 'Crimson Fist' where he varied from incompetent to retarded varying on how awesome it would make the imperial fists look.

    Overall I found that my hype was misplaced, but so too were much of my fears and so it was an enjoyable read.

    The best part of the book to me was the representation of perturabo given by McNeill. The main problem with primarchs like mortarion and untill now perturabo was that they weren't human. They didnt have the same empathy that the reader had with the likes of Magnus or Curze, they were half enigma and half inhuman. As far as we knew untill this book the iron warriors joined horus just so that they could own some Imperial fists, and look how that turned out at Phall.

    McNeill gave perturabo a character. Gone is the cold calculating 1910's style general that we've been seen before. The terrible idea of him watching fights froma computer screen from Crimson Fist is gone, or atleast explained. Perturabo is now an engineer and a warrior, he's shown to care for the lives of his soldiers and to be far more astute than the raging lunatic French made him out to be (ok I'll stop banging on about that novella now). Perturabo is a much more complex character than his fellow traitorrs, as McNeill wrote in his afterward he didn't join the heresy out of some desire for revenge or a thrist for power, he wasnt seduced and he wasnt tricked. He felt guilty over Olympia and Horus' offer of friendship came to a primarch who's been resented and alone for all his life.

    Even his actions in the heresy made the reader more empathetic to him, hoping to bring the war to an end quickly without absolute victory, and allowing the Iron Hands to escape out of honour is one example. McNeill is quickly making pertuabo into a character among the traitor primarchs who is more or less still a good man and who doesnt blindly hate the galaxy for his lot in life - the representation of him given untill now.

    There were flaws in McNeill's writing that I disliked though, Perturabo now suddenly being the most deadly of the primarchs doesnt sit well on me, beating he shit out of fulgrim while sapped of power for instance makes me a bit twitchy. However I just find myself going back to something ADB said- that when primarchs, or any characters, fight, its not the strongest who wins, there isnt an easy was of saying "well fulgrim must have WS10 compared to peturabo at WS8 so obviously fulgrim wins all the time". There is a precise set of circumstances and conditions that lead to each and every fight and at the end of the day all of the primarchs are so equal in strength its hard to say that one is ever 'better' than another.


    In terms of storm of iron references I was giddy with the at the beginning but quickly found myself tire of them. The weird reference to Honsou at the end made me eager, but at the same time annoyed. The events of storm of iron are leading up to the 13th, why the fuck is the half breed being referenced before the siege of bloody terra. This is the same issue I have with the other refences, The Warsmith is now a character, but so much time passes before storm of iron it feels like he, and the other warsmiths are being developed prematurely. Either this is poor writing by McNeill or we're going to have only one more IW book tops before 'modern day', and I fear the latter.


    In terms of McNeills writing he was helped by the piggybacking of the book on a multitude of engagements, when 50% of the book is fighting its hard to fuck up, and with the exception of a few pieces where I lost interest in general McNeill was alright. Not ADB or Abnett standard, but good and better than most of the writers int he scene.


    So all in all it was a nice book, mainly carried by the building of Perturabo's character. In general there wasnt to much by way of unanswered questions, but as a Night Lords fan boy I cant help but wonder about the labyrinth build for Curze.

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  2. #2
    Rolling an 18 DrakonTheNightLord's Avatar
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    Good review. I personally don't mind McNeil too much. On the subject of foreshadowing of characters, he's crazy like that. He mentioned Uthizzar and Ahriman in False Gods... several books before Uthizzar and Ahriman were introduced in A Thousand Sons!

    This looks like an interesting book and I'll have to read it and change my Horus Heresy articles accordingly


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  3. #3
    SourImplant's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DrakonTheNightLord View Post
    On the subject of foreshadowing of characters, he's crazy like that. He mentioned Uthizzar and Ahriman in False Gods... several books before Uthizzar and Ahriman were introduced in A Thousand Sons!
    The difference being that Uthizzar and Ahriman were there during the Horus Heresy. As @WHAT said, Honsou is a character from the M41 timeline. Having any mention of him at all in a Horus Heresy novel, especially given all the statements in Storm of Iron about Honsou not even being born until thousands of years after the Heresy, is just ridiculous.

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  4. #4
    Rolling an 18 DrakonTheNightLord's Avatar
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    Let's all shake our fists in Mr McNeil's general direction and go:

    "GRAHAM MCNEILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!"


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