Monday, 20 December 2010
Prospero Burns - The Review
So I did what I haven't done in a long while and read a book in a day (my missus claims that this is taking being a geek to a whole new level).
I should start off with this line, unfortunately this is not going to be a wholly favourable review.
Perhaps because of the anticipation I had false hopes although I don't think this is the case. Unfortunately the book is just slow. I don't think I have noticed before but looking back at Abnett's other work his style seems to be to introduce characters without giving any back story for example Horus Rising starting off with the line 'I was there when Horus killed the Emperor.' No back story just straight into it. I haven't read any of his guard books so if its not like this in those will you let me know? Prospero Burns uses the same mechanic but to not nearly as good effect, it introduces characters and you sit there for chapters thinking 'WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?'. I don't know about you but I struggle to remember the names of Horus Heresy characters when I don't know who they are or care for them. That happened a lot in this book and this really gets to the crux of why I didn't enjoy this book. Its a book about Space Wolves right? Except that Space Wolves aren't really introduced into the book until page 149.
A Space Wolves book where the main character isn't a Space Wolf? Crazy right? Instead the main character is a 'Coservator' which is basically a historian chronicling the stories of the Space Wolves or 'The Rout' as they call themselves. He follows them through the latter parts of the Crusade telling us how they fight in strange leather masks (what's going on there) and recording the heroic deaths without ever revealing anything significant. By the time we get to Nikea the book is almost over and it leaves very little time for the meat of the matter. I seem to remember that Abnett said before he wrote it that he didn't actually like Space Wolves I wonder if that is why he avoids Astartes so much. 'The reason for this - and I really do understand that the following revelation is such a heretical statement that Eisenhorn might have to come and shoot me through the lungs - is that I don’t really like Space Wolves.'
Another major gripe was that it very much concentrated on one company. There was no indication of the scale of the legion;. We saw one of the original Space Wolves from Terra but that was it and he didn't get that much face time.
Was it all bad? We no I actually thought the battle of Prospero was better written than in A Thousand sons. Abnett has a better sense of the grand battles but as said that was spoiled because there just wasn't enough time for it. I said in my review of First Heretic that when I read a Horus Heresy novel I want to have a story that I already know fleshed out with details. This failed on that and whats worse it failed to entertain me.
Please don't think I am some sort of hater for Black Library or the Horus Heresy Series. I love both, Black Library is what got me into 40k. If you compare this with one of the Horus Heresy books I love and seeing as it was most recent I will use First Heretic it just doesn't have the same gumption. First Heretic made you care for the characters even the villainous ones, it gave you a constant flow of action and it gave you massive revelations. The more I think about it the more I compare this to Abnett's book Legion. I know a lot of people enjoyed that book, I know its many peoples favourite. I however did not, it like this was too slow and too subtle. When I read a Horus Heresy book I want a David Haye knock out punch not a Stephen Hawking, here's something to think about. Also like Legion I believe that this book will be remembered for the revelations rather than the actual storyline especially the first 300 pages which were completely forgettable.
I give Prospero Burns a disappointing 4/10 (I would give A Thousand Son's 5/10)
Just not enough Wolfy action to ever be a great Space Wolves novel and certainly not enough of The Wolf King, I can't remember a Horus Heresy book (Bar Legion perhaps) that has featured a Primarch but shown him so little. My advice to you is skip to page 300 and read from there. Pretend that there was nothing else and this really is a book about Space Wolves rather than the book of intrigue that is masquerading as a novel of the Wolves of Russ or else forget it exists and wait the 170 days until Battle for the fang comes out and pray to the All Father that that is better.