The Master of Mankind - Spoilers

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The Master of Mankind - Spoilers

Postby Rob P » Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:00 pm

Let’s start with the positives.

I loved the prologue.

I loved the names for the characters they all fit so well, whether it be Ra Endymion the Custodes or Arkhan Land the Technoarchaeologist (another cool word added to the lore).

I liked the way the Custodes were compared Astartes and how they viewed the Astartes. I liked what we saw of the Sisters of Silence and how their language was conveyed to the reader at times through inference.

I liked the take on the Mechanicum and I’m not usually a fan of the Mechanicum. Arkhan Land’s character came across very well. I really liked this nugget from Alpha-Rho-25 too:

‘These creatures that he fought now for five years were hardly ‘daemons’ in the terms referred to in human mythology. They were entities of incorporeal origin, breaching the barrier between the unmapped tides of the aether and the material universe. Aliens, then. A xenos breed from the warp. It was quantifiably true.’

I broadly enjoyed the Emperor scenes but it’s all a bit of smoke and mirrors. For example, he makes several comments about the primarchs being weapons rather than sons, but I get the feeling that could both be true and a soft lie to win over the logical Mechanicum.

Chapter 21 was wonderful. By far the highlight of the book. I loved the vignettes. So many little stories that told a larger picture.

I liked the introduction of Jaya, her back story, her predicament and where that story could have gone.

The early Hieronyma stuff is pretty good.

I liked when the Emperor left the Golden Throne and the start of the attack against the daemons had the visuals of an angelic host.

Finally, I liked the line about each side learning as the war goes on.

There was a fair few large things that I didn’t like.

From a technical point of view ADB uses short sentences, which are usually good and keeping the pace going and keeping the reader on task. However, in this book, I felt that there was far too much description which means that the paragraphs became difficult to read. Instead of being catapulted through the story I felt that we were being taken down a long corridor and we were being forced to look at and appreciate a line of portraits before we could advance to the exciting thing at the end behind the door with the ? on it. Chapter 15 is a prime example of this, but it occurs throughout. Now I know a lot of readers will freakin’ love this, but I find it tedious and it made the book difficult to read.

I also felt the plot was lacking. It’s very straightforward and is stretched by the above. I didn’t finish the book satisfied. I will mention specific points further on.

In terms of character development I found the Custodes dull and clone-like. I think that is probably an accurate portrayal, but it is disappointing nonetheless. Similarly, The Sisters of Silence (whilst less dull) were very like each other. I didn’t get the Blood Angel and Skoia didn’t give me the emotive oomph I needed for her story line (1000 psykers. pfft! That’s nothing to the betrayals we’ve seen before).

I didn’t like the undivided daemon. I would have groaned less if its name had been Samus (honestly). It seemed to follow a relatively simply progression of wreck everything, possess stuff, wreck more things. The Black Sky ‘betrayal’ felt reminiscent of things we have seen before but didn’t feel as well executed (as, say, House Devine). Similarly, Ra =/= Meros?

The war in the webway also felt like the rhythm of the war was off. For example, it seems to start where they’re struggling to keep the defense, but maintaining; then the main characters arrive; then it’s almost immediately changes, without much of a catalyst, to ‘no, we’re screwed’.

All in all I liked bits of the book but I was not satisfied by the product as a whole. My biggest gripe is the first negative point I made above. Too much description and not enough dialogue.

Nearly everyone else i've seen loved this book. So tell me what you liked and why? :)
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Rob P
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