2017 A Year In Review.

Considering Black Library books, products and events.

2017 A Year In Review.

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:08 am

Early 2018 we will be reviewing the year that we are currently experiencing.

But we can't do this without you. So this December we need you to nominate your best picks for Black Library releases in 2017. Pick your options, write a few sentences about why they're your choice and your viewpoint could be used in our end of year review.

You have until the 31st of December to make your choices. It'd be useful if make only one post in this thread your nominations (but feel free to edit them if you get a Christmas gift of a book that blows your mind end of December) so that we don't miss anything when filtering through the chat that will undoubtedly follow.

The Categories for our picks of the year are as follows.

Short Story of 2017: Your Favourite Short Story released in 2017.

Novel of 2017: Your Favourite Novel released in 2017

Audio of 2017: Your favourite Audio release of 2017

Author of 2017:Maybe it is the Author who wrote one of your other picks, maybe it is the author who was consistently second pick across all the categories. Maybe it is the Author who saved your child from that runaway bus in April. Pick someone and let us know why.

Scene/Concept of 2017:Trying not spoil anything if there was some idea or scene or piece of worldbuilding that delighted you. Let us know roughly what it was and ehere you found it.

Non 2017 release of 2017: To read piles are ever increasing so some of what you've read wasn't released this year. It could still have been good. Maybe you wanted to revisit an old favourite, or refresh yourself with a series before the latest release came out this year. Whatever the reason a non 2017 release may have been something worth celebrating as a really good read/listen you had this year. We'd like to know that as well.

So there you have it let us know what you liked about this year. But remember expressing opinions on this thread is going to be considered permission for us to use those opinions alongside your username in the blog post about what the community enjoyed this year.
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Re: 2017 A Year In Review.

Postby Major Rawne » Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:37 pm

Despite what I say below I am fully open to bribes of all kinds.

Short Story of 2017: I'll need to think on this one, the list is probably as big as the numbers of fingers on one hand. But there is one I have in mind.

Edit: I ended up spending most of Xmas reading all the short stories I had, but hadn't got round to. My nomination for short story goes to Magisterium by Chris Wraight. Chris is back once again with the Custodian Guard this time during the Heresy in the final moments before Horus reaches Terra. For me he did an absolutely wonderful job of not only showing the Custodian Guard as they regroup after the Webway War, but also their relationship with the Primarchs through the eyes of Valdor. However the reason that I chose this story is entirely down to a throw away line that tied in beautifully with another throw away line in Watchers of the Throne: The Emperor's Legion, and it shows that for all the span of time between the Heresy and modern 40k things haven't necessarily changed.

Novel of 2017: This one is hopefully easy. Watchers of the Throne: The Emperor's Legion by Chris Wraight.

Edit: no change on this one. It was a close call though with Guy Haley's Dante, which was a superb look at one of the universes most iconic characters. Watchers of the Throne: The Emperor's Legion on the other hand takes time to really look at the Terra itself in a way we've never really seen. It's a Terra and galaxy that, like during the Heresy, is the on the cusp of monumental change. Chris crafts a story that looks at how the events that we've been seeing over the last few years (and further back) from GW are perceived on Terra and the decisions that are having to be made to try and deal with it all. One thing that I thought was interesting was that despite the obvious link and comparisons that can be made to the Horus Heresy series, throughout reading this book I couldn't help but keep thinking back to last years Beast Arises series. It's very interesting to spend some time musing on how things have changed from the Heresy, through Beast Arises to the modern setting. It really was an awesome book.

Audio of 2017: Not listened to any yet, but the Christmas advent did just go live and will be chock full of Audios!

Edit: I got through the fantastic selection of audios from this years BL Advent. My nomination for audio goes to Konrad Curze: A Lesson in Darkness by Ian St. Martin. It revolves around the first compliance for the Night Lords with Konrad Curze now at the head of the Legion, and as such he's showing them how things are really going to be done from now on. Ian does a fantastic job of showing the beginnings of the Night Lords descent into the monsters we know them as today, and coupled with the audio effects creates for a chilling visceral experience.

Author of 2017: At the moment I think i'll have to give this one to Guy Haley, not only did I finally read the brilliant Death of Integrity but also the superb Dante. He was also a thoroughly nice chap to meet again at the Weekender. WAAARRRGGHH!!!

That being said I think Robbie MacNiven is not far behind, if only for the cracking Dawn of War 3 tie in. Was like being back with old friends again and reliving the many hours playing the games as a teenager.

Edit: No change, Guy wins.

Scene/Concept of 2017: Another one that needs a think. I might have to go back through my #AmReading tweets to refresh my mind of some of the cool stuff I have read this year. There was a lot of cool stuff that I read.

Edit: After some thought I'm giving this nomination to the scene that pretty much makes up the entirety of the Primarchs Audio Malcador: First Lord of the Imperium by L J Goudling. The tag line for the story ultimately says it all and anything more would be spoiling it.

Malcador the Sigillite sits vigil by the bed of a dying friend and the two discuss the past, present and future – and revelations are made.

What's not to like about two old farts having a chat.

Non 2017 release of 2017: So far this award goes to the brilliant Malodrax by Ben Counter. Though there is a title from late last year that could beat it if I actually get round to it.

Edit: I have procrastinated too much and failed to finish Fabulous Billy, the tale of Billy Connolly gone rogue in the grim darkness of the far future. That being said it would still have been a tough sell to unseat Malodrax. I've chosen this book because it more than anything it genuinely surprised me. I went into this expecting a very standard straightforward story of Lysander and the Imperial Fists heading to Malodrax to reap vengeance for Lysander's previous incarceration. And yes this is that story, but it was also so much more than this. Throughout the book it flits between Lysander's journey in the past and the present, and looks at the brutally hard choices that a space marine can face and the impact that can have on their faith. Alongside this Ben crafted a beautifully imaginative world to set it all on. More often than not chaos is depicted very two dimensional but here they had a real sense of life and individuality. There are times when I wish we could see more of this imaginative, almost character driven, take on the chaos Gods and the daemons who serve them. Hopefully next year there is a gem or two like Malodrax that I finally get round to reading.

I'll update as required before the end date. I think this is a great idea.
Last edited by Major Rawne on Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2017 A Year In Review.

Postby Lord of the Night » Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:49 pm

Short Story of 2017: Eminence Sanguis by Guy Haley - Loved the reveal of the Angels Encarmine and their secret, and how the Blood Angels view such an act. Really showed that not every Chapter deals with the Rage and Thirst in healthy ways, and that despite their dark impulses the Blood Angels really are a noble Chapter.

Novel of 2017: Carcharodons: Red Tithe. I've loved the Sharks ever since the Badab War supplement and finding out they were getting a novel had me over the moon, even more so when the antagonists were revealed as my boys the Night Lords! And Robbie absolutely hit it out of the park with the brutal and inhuman Space Sharks fighting the sadistic Night Lords in an underground prison, and the Maori/Pacific islander cultures that Robbie used to flesh out the Carcharodons made them feel so unique for more than just their chilling approach to warfare.

Audio of 2017: Hand of Darkness by Gav Thorpe. Brilliant voice acting for the Eldar, especially the Visarch, and the fascinating relationship between Yvraine and her shadow the Visarch made for an enjoyable audio. And more prominent female characters is always a big plus!

Author of 2017: Robbie MacNiven takes this one for being the author who put out Carcharodons: Red Tithe and The Last Hunt, plus he's an all around cool guy!

Scene/Concept of 2017: Black Legion - Abaddon vs Sigismund. Nothing more needs to be said.

Non 2017 release of 2017: Slayer by David Guymer - An epic and heartbreaking close to the saga of Gotrek and Felix. Guymer utterly nailed how G&F should have ended, although I do wish that the End Times hadn't necessitated it be a bittersweet ending.

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Re: 2017 A Year In Review.

Postby MalkyDel » Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:18 am

Short Story: "The Greater Evil". Once again Peter Fehervari takes what we think we know and twists it into something beautifully dark and mad, combining his two great sweeping arcs of work on both Tau and Genestealers.
Runners up: "In the Grim Darkness" by Guy Haley, for almost singlehandedly saving Belisarius Cawl for me. Also, "Execution" by Rachel Harrison. A drum-taut story of necessity and heroism that screams 40k and inspired worldbuilding.

Novel: "The Carrion Throne" by Chris Wraight. A stunning insight into Terra itself and the trials facing the inquisitors that reside and fight there. Characterful, deep, and with an inspired take on one of my favourite codex plot-hooks.
Runners up: "Resurrection" by John French, for showing the inquisition as it ought to be. Not as space detectives, but as the divided architects of humanities survival. "Red Tithe" by Robbie MacNiven. An organic and brutal slog through one of the sleeper-hit chapters of the Imperium. A novel with true kick and some wonderful culture development.

Audio: "The Binary Succession" by David Annandale. Politics, intrigue, titans. It has it all. Some wonderful voice and effects work elevate this to something truly transcendent.

Author: Joshua Reynolds continues to impress with his lively fan engagement, his incredible AoS worldbuilding and musings, and his insightful and meditative works which transcend mere bolter porn.

Scene/Concept: Either the final confrontation in "The Carrion Throne", or the fact that a book called 'My Desire to Generate Children With You is Only Exceeded by My Devotion to Him" exists.

Non 2017 Release: Primogenitor. This novel still has a hold on my mind and heart, and still features in my Facebook profile pic. I will die on the hill of quoting and requoting the "deadlier than the male" segment.

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Re: 2017 A Year In Review.

Postby Death Nikorps » Sat Dec 02, 2017 4:07 pm

Short Story of 2017: I don't read much of short stories (too expensive and I don't like digital stories), but Restorer by Chris Wraight was pretty good.

Novel of 2017: Carcharodons: Red Tithe, an excellent book on a very interesting chapter.

Audio of 2017: I don't listen audios.

Author of 2017: Robbie MacNiven, in only 2 books (Carcharodons & The Last Hunt) he's now on my top 5 authors.

Scene/Concept of 2017: Abaddon vs Sigismund in Black Legion. It was so cool.

Non 2017 release of 2017: Legends of the Dark Millennium: Deathwatch by Ian St Martin, I bought it when released but read it months later. It was a good surprise for me, a good book with a good story.
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Re: 2017 A Year In Review.

Postby Xisor » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:08 pm

Audio of 2017: The Binary Succession by David Annandale. Easily outstanding. Everything else is a distant second, even all of the below! Massive politics, utterly beautiful production values, crushing and moving. It's an absolute masterpiece. A profound sadness for anyone who's not up for or otherwise able to listen to it. It's also available on audible for only £9, so there is absolutely no excuse (except, y'know: sensible excuses. Like "£9 still isn't cheap" and "not everyone likes to throw money about like a madman". Still: I'd recommend the investment, even if it's sizeable in tight times.)


Other lesser works follow. ;)

Short Story of 2017: Execution by Rachel Harrison. I'm always keen to experience fresh writing, and this ws impeccable. Not my usual choice for topic of a story (I often find commissars a bit dull, or improperly done for my tastes), but I couldn't fault this - it dealt with the right emotions, the right motivations and so forth, and did it very well.

Novel of 2017: The Emperor's Legion by Chris Wraight. Earlier in the year, I had an inkling that the books The Carrion Throne or Resurrection would likely top the list - but I'm sad to say I was wrong. Not too sad, though, as without those two I'm not sure the ground would have been laid for the sheer thrill and horror that TEL yields. It's beautifully done, and combines brilliantly with a few of the other more political novels (such as all those in The Beast Arises, or even political pieces of novels - such as Dark Imperium). It's not surprising, as it's the same author that gave us all the White Scars goodness from the Horus Heresy, but it's astonishing to see it so competently sustained and dealt with in various ways. A compelling surprise entry just missing out on the top spot is David Guymer's Eye of Medusa. I have a deep worry that, on re-reading and distance from the shocks, I might reverse the order and place Eye of Medusa higher. It's a glorious book too - but I've a review of it I need to push out there sharpish so I won't waffle on about it here, save to say: it's highly recommended.

Author of 2017: Following on the last one, I think Chris Wraight takes the top-spot of everything I've read this year. That said, a close joint-third is John French (with Resurrection & shorts) and Gav Thorpe - his Jain Zar was sublime (with Ghost Warrior being an amazing treat), and certainly a candidate for novel of the year)and I have a suspicion that Guy Haley might be being neglected by me - mainly as I've not read Dante or The Devastation of Baal that have been released this year. Still, getting The Emperor's Legion and The Carrion Throne out in the same year, hell, in the space of a couple of months, is no small feat at all.

Scene/Concept of 2017: The Binary Succession. Again, the audio breathes life into it, but David's insight into the nature of the issue, the implications of it and the stunning turns the plot takes to explore it... it's utterly glorious. An honourable second mention to Gav's 'The Library of Biel Tanigh' in [/i]Jain Zar[/i], and its humble janitor and extraordinarily depressing and creepy librarians.

Non 2017 release of 2017: Valedor by Guy Haley. If Jain Zar, Ghost Warrior, The Emperor's Legion and Dark Imperium do stunning things now with relatively recent material, Valedor read in amongst it (January or February this year, I thin I read it) looks like the work of some demented but genius prophet. It's a beautiful book, deeply poetic and moving, but also an absolute riot of ideas and themes and... emotions. It's cracking.
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Re: 2017 A Year In Review.

Postby Robbie MacNiven » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:49 am

Very much surprised to find myself on any of these lists, thanks guys! :mrgreen:
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Re: 2017 A Year In Review.

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:24 pm

I'm trying to cram as much extra reading in before I put up my full list. It'd be unfair on folks like Robbie for have my book of the year before I read Carion Throne. I don't want to give false hope by editing too much.

That said this placeholder for all my votes can open with my pick for Author of 2017

The ever regrettable Josh Reynolds.


Josh Reynolds is my rock. He writes fun romps sure. He does great world building playing with themes and notions that speak to me and my fandom and headcanons. He has the audacity to throw shade at male space marines in a line that also works as a bluff that he has read some Kipling. But what I mostly rate in his output is his pandering to me on social media. He isn't the hero I deserve, but he is the one I have right now.

Editing to add in the extra bits I haven't done to date.

Short Story of 2017: Execution by Rachel Harrison. In a year where Warmaster finally got released and a new Commissar Cain book got announced it seems harsh to overlook a cracking short about a Commissar actually Commissaring it properly like a Commissar should. Especially with the deftness in which the two narratives join thematically to be such a great statement on why the Commissariat is.

A mention has to be made for "God's Gift" and "The Tainted Axe" by Herrs Guymer and Reynolds in the advent batch. I haven't read all the advent stories yet but these are great fun in very different ways and really sell the adventuring and romping and monstrosity of the Age of Sigmar setting.

Novel of 2017: The Carrion Throne by Chris Wraight.

Stunning. It will leave you stunned. It is the deepest 40k take on what 40k is. The beauty of it is the grounding, it is easy after almost two decades of obsessively fanboying over the setting to look down upon it as a god. Here you perch on the shoulders of the characters and look upwards into the wartorn sky, everything is how it should be but it looks magnificent from the new angle. It is also a hell of a thriller and exactly what you'd want "Inquisitor's on Terra" to be, pacy twisty and with ALL OF THE STAKES whilst being more of all of those things than you'd reckon possible.

Chris almost beat himself with The Emperor's Legion which does much of the same beautiful realisation of the universe of Carrion Throne whilst also making the Gathering Storm- 8th edition 40k transitory events really pop.
Spear of Shadows by Josh Reynolds has some of the most fun moments of any book I've read this year. Also great world building, great adventure and divine philosophising (literally, he has a god muse about philosophy). If it were a year when Chris Wraight wasn't writing my entire perspective on the 40k setting in novels written better than my imagination can imagine it would've been a strong contender.

Audio of 2017 First Lord of the Imperium by LJ Goulding.
I don't listen to many audios. It isn't a medium that agrees with me. My mind wonders, I'll get distracted and I'll miss things. So I have only listened to a few of the advent audios, as they're the only ones I have so far. So out of a very small field Laurie wins my pick of the year with a great Siligite story. It'll be remembered for trolling the portion of the fanbase to whom the narrative portrayed in the novels is somehow correct or right or in anyway reflective of the reality of the universe the stories are set in. It'll be used relentlessly in angry online debates about the Heresy . What it should be treasured for is a beautiful telling of the importance of faith in the Imperium back in 30k, specifically the faith that the Imperium had in itself (and its Emperor in a non religious way) and how that needed to be defended in the face of the Heresy as much as the Palace itself.

Scene Concept of 2017: A fair few to choose from.

"The Sack of the Lion's Gate" in The Emperor's Legion was immense, especially the time spent with the Anathema Pskyana viewpoint of it. The way a warp negative being views daemonic incursion of that sort was a delight.

The Carrion Throne was full of it, conceptually the working theology of the Imperium and its historical revisionism was a delight to be easter egged in throughout that novel. Highlights including 'My Desire to Generate Children With You is Only Exceeded by My Devotion to Him' which is the sort of romance novel the Black Library should release as written in universe.

My winner has to be Roggen and Harrow in "This gnawing is affectionate, believe me friends the demigryph will be safe to travel in the airship with us." Which isn't a line in the novel but is how I am titling the scene in Spear of Shadows and trust me that title only hints at how amusing I found the whole thing.

Non 2017 release of 2018: *Looks upon the 2016 and 2015 and 2017 books in his to read pile and refuses to admit he has a problem with buying too many books*

This is a hard one, I've read some great books outside of this year, I finally finished The Beast Arises but I can't remember how far I got into it by the changing of the years and choosing the entire thing seems a bit of a cop out and I should probably reread so I can make a proper statement about the variability between the books.

Primogenitor. Is perhaps the only read of 2016 that got reread in 2017, because it is that fun a read I wanted to do it again and it has the asides of surprising depth and ingenuity that I find myself obsessing over even if they aren't worthy of such obsessions. But I've given Josh a lot of credit and it has been lauded already.

So to game the System I'll nominate the Sundering by Gav Thorpe, I read them all again this summer, as I am want to do (I don't think I've gone more than a couple of years without revisiting at least one of these books. Shadow King is often one of my top picks for Warhammer books full stop) and they are still really good even if that is partly just the nostalgia of reading something familiar that you enjoy. Anyone who hasn't read them really should do themselves a favour and pick them up as they have recently been re-released as an omnibus, otherwise you will be without some of the best explorations of love that have ever been undertaken in the Warhammer World.
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Re: 2017 A Year In Review.

Postby Xisor » Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:07 am

It's weird; my foremost thought on Josh is "daft joker" but that really doesn't capture it. The beauty he managed for the dwarfs in Neferata & The Skull Road (two books but writing that I also would like a Harry Potter-style series, perhaps about rival houses of witches and wizards at witching college... no idea where that thought came from...)

The intensity of emotion conveyed for the dwarfs, and the general subduing of their comic qualities is massively endearing. Him, Werner & Guymer are safe & skilled hands I think.


I also finished "Overlords of the Iron Dragon" - it doesn't unseat any of the points I made earlier, but it is a hell of a good read for 2017, so worth ensuring it's mentioned here!
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Re: 2017 A Year In Review.

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:24 pm

I'd be tempted to say that Josh has hidden depths but then he displays them in the books he writes so they aren't really hidden.
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Re: 2017 A Year In Review.

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:19 am

updated my post with all my nominations, a combination of respect for other timezones and me being in work tomorrow probably gives you until tomorrow afternoon-evening British Time before I lock this thread. So time is a wasting for editing or making new bold choices.
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Re: 2017 A Year In Review.

Postby shadowhawk2008 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:58 pm

I didn't get to read/listen as much as I wanted to. There were some very good releases this year, by far.

The novel of the year definitely has to be Guy Haley's Horus Heresy: Pharos. It is simply incredible, capturing everything I wanted to see and distilling it down into a very digestible, easy read. Chris Wraight's The Emperor's Legion is also the same and they compete together, but I feel that Pharos had a stronger payoff at the end that hinted at the larger lore. Plus that epilogue.

Concept of the year: In Chris' The Emperor's Legion, the discussion between the High Lords about whether to change the Imperial Law that restricts the Adeptus Custodes to Terra. The highlight of the novel, by far.

Non 2017 release of 2017: Aaron's The Talon of Horus. Sublime novel. Very unexpected story and a real adventure.

Author of 2017: Guy Haley by a good margin. The Beast Arises novels. The Devastation of Baal. Dark Imperium. Pharos. I read so much good stuff by him this year and loved every moment of all of it. He's definitely become a very phenomenal BL writer.
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Re: 2017 A Year In Review.

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:39 pm

and time is up. Thanks for the nominations I'll create the closest thing to an awards ceremony in blog form that I can muster sometime this week.
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