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Whats the Sigmar Triology Like?

PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:16 pm
by Words_of_Truth
Just picked up a used copy of the Legend of Sigmar trilogy book on the net and was wondering what people thought about it without giving away to much detail?

Re: Whats the Sigmar Triology Like?

PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:44 pm
by Erunanion
I've only read the first book, but I really enjoyed it. It puts me in mind of traditional swords-and-sorcery, action fantasy fare. The plot is straightforward, gripping enough, and the characters are likeable. The action is well done, and Sigmar is well realised, if predictable. If you aren't looking for anything challenging, but want to be entertained, then you have the right book in your hands.

Re: Whats the Sigmar Triology Like?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:46 am
by shadowhawk2008
Yep. Pretty much what Erunanion said. The first book is very by the numbers, but it is quite entertaining. I certainly enjoyed it.

Re: Whats the Sigmar Triology Like?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:02 pm
by Athelassan
I didn't like it. The first book had its moments, but was pretty derivative, and the later books went downhill. I didn't find any of the characters particularly interesting, found the plots variously dull, predictable or overly straightforward, and the writing itself didn't really do anything for me either. I also didn't think the books paid enough respect to existing background on the subject.

Obviously, others disagree with me, though.

I've moved this to the P&D board, since it's about a BL book specifically.


Re: Whats the Sigmar Triology Like?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:14 pm
by Vivia
Described as the ' the wretched Sigmar books set in Caliban'. Immortal words.

Re: Whats the Sigmar Triology Like?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:50 pm
by sam vimes
I quite enjoyed all three but then I like battle for the abyss sowhat do I know lol

Re: Whats the Sigmar Triology Like?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:46 pm
by Xisor
Skip to the final paragraph for TL;DR summary.

Yeah, Sam's a twit, don't listen to him. ;) :P

To the point of the books, I've only read the first two. It's only completeness and morbid curiosity that keeps any cinders glowing with respect to reading the third one.

It's intensely annoying, in a strange way. The first book did have its moments. There's a fight with a Shaggoth, for instance, which really stuck in my memory as actually being quite... exciting and dramatic. Obviously we knew who had to win (trilogy, after all), but it was really rather engaging.

Otherwise, the characters and plot were obtusely boring. They're grand, but they make massive missteps or logical leaps which just seem... a bit twee. Historically, that is. We know that this is roughly two millennia prior to the near-enough renaissance period of the modern Empire. Why does it feels like only a century or three? The foundation and institution of the Empire, for an historically (largely) illiterate plonker like myself, should surely be something mythically momentous and definitive, demarking what went before with what went after. The sort of 'place in our hearts' that the Declaration of Arbroath or the signing of the Magna Carta should have.

Once that's done, you shouldn't be left with, except for a few name switches and mod-cons, be left with a largely recognisable modern Britain.

Indeed, the edifice and monument of the Empire should be something grand, something wonderful and exciting to follow. The first book seemed to skip a lot of the story in favour of Sigmar running around being a bit... remarkably unremarkable in a field of tedious or token characters.

Empire didn't help things at all. Indeed, where it had the opportunity to, say, play with the idea of 'barbarians' aspiring to make massive logical-leaps across massive educational and learned gulfs (e.g. composing bureaucracy, logistics), we just had one of the aforementioned tedious characters... solve it. As a sub-plot, it 'touches base' with a few of the ideas, but does so in such a boring and yet tritely unbelievable way that it seems more like someone'd thought it'd be a good idea... then just not bothered to develop it in any direction. As if the initial concept itself was sufficient. "Of course, you have to see someone doing the actual leg-work of developing a civilisation..."

But without much interest in it, in literary or thoughtful capacity.

Shadowhawk mentioned it's a bit 'by numbers' - it would be, but even the painting-guide to follow the numbers wasn't very good.

It left me with almost* no interest at all in reading the third book.

* Curiosity is irrepressible.


Contrast this with the other two opening trilogies and you see some really cool things. Foremost, is that Mike Lee's Nagash books actually share a lot of similar flaws: there's an 'extant civilisation' that's for the most part 'complete', culturally there's not a huge backdrop of social change or movement - the world as present is really a bit flimsy. (Arguably this is played on well with Gav's work: the Elves are deliberately this way and it's used as a story point, as well as a massive hook for Malekith [and Hellebron, in Bloody Handed] and their sense of motivation/despondency.)

Similarly, for a long section, many of the characters in Lee's work simply don't stand out massively. But, and this is critical, his writing carries it along. There's little twists, there's big jumps, there's some higher-concept things being played with in the background. Whilst it's riddled with fairly serious flaws, none of them are anywhere near enough to ruin the books. Whilst they're a bit pedestrian and a bit derivative, for the sheer word-count of the Nagash trilogy, they're also fairly straightforward yet engaging reads - and quite starkly personally (for the author) creative as compared to a lot of BL publications.

By the time I reached the third book in the Nagash series, I was genuinely engaged - the story tone and style had really found its niche. Not super-amazing by any means, but actually pretty gripping too.

Similarly, Gav actually seems to have taken pains to play almost explicitly with character and concepts in his books. The sense of spectacle and battle is used well, but ultimately used as an aide, not a focus, in favour of dealing explicitly with the characters. Malekith, Alith Anar and Imrik (as well as Morathi, Aenarion, Hellebron) all have pretty resoundingly intriguing characters. They're perhaps also a tad derivative, by necessity in a lot of respects, but they're also very well used. The sheer number of people in forums online who seem to have found that Shadow King really resonated with them absolutely bowled me over.

I mean: it didn't quite 'do it for me', and the first half of Caledor was tedious in the extreme, I don't think the books were bad because of it so much as just 'not directly for me' - I was happy to read them and really appreciated a lot of what was done... but I wasn't quite the target audience. Malekith and the latter half of Caledor on the otherhand... oh my. It's a strange thing to reflect on that almost precisely half of a trilogy could be so acutely perfect for me, whilst the other half I could 'take or leave', without thinking it was actually bad.

Putting them beside the Sigmar books? Well, the Sigmar books were just a bit... bleargh. They could have spoken directly to me - I'm certainly interested in and engaged by a lot of what McNeill touches upon, but I don't think it was handled at all well. Or interestingly. And at that, for a large portion of Empire, I was beginning to question my investment in reading it at all. (Hence no God King, yet.) Despite swathes of the Nagash & Sundering books not engaging me, they never once (to my memory) had me thinking "actually, I'm pretty certain I'd just rather read something else."


Bring in the new books, Dead Winter, The Great Betrayal and Neferata and I'm pleased to report that even though there's weak-points in places, they're also resoundingly more tight, focussed and engaging than the original trio of trilogies. Dead Winter takes most of the complaint about 'setting' for the Sigmar books and actually does some really cool things, thematically and in strict choice of facts/exposition presented, that aside from concerns of character and plot (and actual quality of writing [there were none of these, for me, in DW, but they're valid in a general sense]), really tickled my fancy and kept me wholly immersed in the book.

Similarly, though The Great Betrayal faltered on a good few points with regards to plot and character, Nick's also a talented author and kept me immersed in it all despite the odd dubious choice - in a manner, his style allowed me to be quite forgiving of 'little problems' without seriously endangering my enjoyment of the book.

And then, Neferata... well. All of the above in terms of praise but with almost none of the noted problems. It astutely avoids some of the bigger concepts yet nevertheless manages to sneak them in by back-doors. (Neffy's evaluations of the dwarfs, for example, speaks in a quiet yet powerful way about the very nature of Warhammer and does so in a way that should have been rife through a Sigmar series... yet was wholly absent, except for the odd time when it was [IIRC] blatantly bludgeoned onto the page in as trite a manner as possible.)


Anyway, Sigmar trilogy: entertaining if you like someone running around hitting things with hammers to make the Old World's centrepiece civilisation without much added detail (or sense) in the wake or backdrop of his actions. Tedious if you want to actually think about what's on (and off) the page.

Re: Whats the Sigmar Triology Like?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:48 pm
by Xisor
I know, I know: double posting. Since writing the last...

I accidently God King.


Also, I really adored "Priests of Mars". McNeill's certainly not incapable of turning in a tremendous, meandering-yet-monolithic-in-scope tale. Can't wait for "Lords of Mars".

Re: Whats the Sigmar Triology Like?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 6:11 pm
by Major Rawne
sam vimes wrote:I quite enjoyed all three but then I like battle for the abyss sowhat do I know lol

You know lots. Anyone disagreeing with you knows nothing. And that is the truth of it.

I myself enjoyed them all to a certain extent, with the first being the best of the bunch. And that was also a problem. To me the epic story of Sigmar got all used up the first book and then what we got next were just a couple of stories with him in. Enjoyable, just not EPIC and LEGENDARY!

Re: Whats the Sigmar Triology Like?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 6:31 pm
by Vivia
Dunsany's review of God King gave insight:

Re: Whats the Sigmar Triology Like?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 6:47 pm
by Words_of_Truth
Hmm well, I got it for cheap so I can't complain. I'll get the Nagash trilogy sometime as well.

Re: Whats the Sigmar Triology Like?

PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 4:05 pm
by Words_of_Truth
Started reading it and I have to say it's not what I expected...the culture seems so "normal" I thought Sigmar brought humanity out of their barbaric ways and yet it already seems they have a normal culture on the levels of vikings etc.