Horus Heresy Order

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Re: Horus Heresy Order

Postby Mossy Toes » Sat Mar 14, 2015 9:33 pm

Well, Xisor, I may need to try a reread pretending as best I can to have a Beginner's Mind, approaching unsullied, to test out your hypotheses--you are certainly passionate enough in defending them that I think your side of things merits a shot...
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Re: Horus Heresy Order

Postby Xisor » Sun Mar 15, 2015 12:40 am

Mossy Toes wrote:Well, Xisor, I may need to try a reread pretending as best I can to have a Beginner's Mind, approaching unsullied, to test out your hypotheses--you are certainly passionate enough in defending them that I think your side of things merits a shot...

Pig-headed, perhaps! It's an appropriate way to feel... given everything.

I was thinking more about it today. There are 'facts' about it, whilst some have utility and are largely ever present even of you know the rough story. A bedrock/foundation.

On top of them we have two sets of laminate overlay with extra details. The order of reading is the placement of the sheets. Which one gets read first is the next 'layer' laid down.

Laying PB first, you get Russ's machinations and the hell ish implications of his plots... laid bare.

Laying ATS first, you get a grand, agonisng fall. A proper tragedy.

Putting ATS second gives you the flesh on those bones, a big sweep of drama that brushes past details you know now to happen offscreen. (Well, you've seen them in the past. You know them, factually, but they're academic points.) So with all that suspense, that foreknowledge, you see Magnus and Yer A Wizard, Ahri, without knowing everything you know.

Putting PB second sets aside that melodrama and picks apart the whole thing. A critical, exceptionally thorough (if bitterly blinkered) dissection of the whole of everything. Beautifully done, tearing Prospero apart piece by agonising piece. Vivisection, maybe. Grim but blimey, illuminating.

Someone mentioned on a podcast today the Hitchcock trick of 'letting your audience know more than your protagonist' - perhaps ATS second is that, an edge of horror. ATS first has the spoilers unfold in the right manner. (Except a detail about Kasper is too easily ruled out in PB if ATS is first - otherwise the spoilers unfold at a better pace...)

----

I digress. It's worth giving them a shot on the reread one day, Mossy, if only to prove me conclusively daft :D

@Morning Soul - absolutely! I think it's one of the things I love most about the 'best' bits of Horus Heresy, they're moments of loss, the start of the crumbling of a dream. In some places (PB especially, with Kasper's musings on Old Night), it's incredibly potent. Ah well, there's a lot more to come. :)
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Re: Horus Heresy Order

Postby Morning Soul » Sun Mar 15, 2015 1:25 am

Xisor wrote:@Morning Soul - absolutely! I think it's one of the things I love most about the 'best' bits of Horus Heresy, they're moments of loss, the start of the crumbling of a dream. In some places (PB especially, with Kasper's musings on Old Night), it's incredibly potent. Ah well, there's a lot more to come. :)


Like a good Shakespeare or Greek Tragedy that way. Yeah HH and HERO OF THE IMPERIUM series are the only ones I haven't read yet since I am still new to WH 40k. Well, a few years but yeah. What order would you suggest?
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Re: Horus Heresy Order

Postby Corrigan Phoenix » Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:15 am

Another update - today I've finished Fulgrim.

Since last time;

False Gods - As always, one of my least favourite of the original opening five books. We know where it's going, it just takes its time to get there. Everything that is in this is required to set up the rest of the series and the other books, I grant that, I just like it less.

Galaxy In Flames - A step us from FG, we finally see the culmination - and firmly take Loken's side as it all unravels. Some great seeds sown for later in the series here, that you can only really see in hindsight.

Flight of the Eisenstein - What was always and has remained my favourite book of the series (I've only got up to Betrayer before I fell behind). The fresh perspective is much needed after three in the same vein (again, it is needed I grant that), and Garro is very much a character that I can get behind, even at this early stage. I also like the pre-turning Death Guard, even Typhon. The inclusion of the Sisters is just a slight TOO much foreshadowing for me, but that is the only flaw I have myself with this volume. It skips over the main areas that we've already read without needing to go into them again, and adds much more of a personal depth to the story already told. It also features the opener of my favourite Primarch - Dorn.

Fulgrim - A mixed bag for me, just as when I first read it. The inclusion of some of the Istvaan III pieces always feel too much for me, and after the previous foreshadowings in other volumes, the Emperor's Children's encounter with the Laer seems just too much for me. That said, Fulgrim himself is a very entertaining character to read, as is the devolution of Fabius, and the interplay of the new rembrancers, Ostian Delafour and Serena D'Angelus. The treachery itself is so much more vivid and emotional when portrayed as the Ferrus Manus/Fulgrim interplay.

Onwards!
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Re: Horus Heresy Order

Postby Corrigan Phoenix » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:42 am

More updates/mini-reviews

The Reflection Crack'd - a solid pure of extra information that fits well just after the fuller-bodied Fulgrim novel. The spotlight on Lucius is entertaining and a nice viewpoint to watch the events unfold (an outsider view, as he stands aa the only"traitor" amongst the Emperor's Children captains).

The First Heretic - Ah ADB's first HH entry. Much like his Night Lords novels, the tale spins well between the main Astartes character, Argel Tal, and the human Cyrene. I love the flow of this novel, it gives you the exact scenes necessary to understand and sympathise with Argel Tal and the Word Bearers, even Lorgar, which is hard to admit in light of what his actions unleash upon the Galaxy. Coming as it does just after reading through the events of Istvaan, it delivers a nicely-edge counterpoint to the heresy so far.

Veritas Ferrum (from Legacies of Betrayal) - following on from the drop site massacre in Fulgrim and The First Heretic, this tiny piece adds a little more urgency and desperation to the loyalists point of view.

Aurelian - The tale of what Lorgar saw in the eye. Once again, ADB provides gripping action interlaced with pinpoint dialogue. The revelations within this extraneous novella do well to further swell the reader's empathy and sympathy with and for the Word Bearer's

Strike and Fade (From Legacies) - another nice short piece, further enhancing the situation of the remaining loyalists on Istvaan V.

Legion - My second favourite book overall so far. The twisting tale that Abnett weaves mirrors the Alpha Legion's persona perfectly, and brings a subtle flavour to the story. The amusing duplicity of my favourite legion is well displayed (as well as spies and secrecy can be at any rate), and the characters of Peto Soneka, Hurtado Bronzi, Honen Mu and John Grammaticus are not easily forgotten.

Battle for the Abyss - this one always gets mixed reviews. Some parts of it seem overdone, with too much added in. Some of the scenes seem extraneous, but that said I like the counterpointing characters of Brynngar, Mhotep, Skraal and Cestus. Though Zadkiel's degradation across the novel flows well, I think it's too early in the timeline - I know that there has always been rivalries in all of the legions, but outright scheming and treachery against each other seems wrong in a legion that is meant to be united in glorious purpose.

Next up, Mechanicum!
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Re: Horus Heresy Order

Postby Therion » Tue Aug 07, 2018 2:25 pm

Which Horus Heresy books are a must have (especially for me) and which can be skipped? I know that their quality is very uneven, so I'd prefer to avoid spending time/money on mediocre/bad stuff.
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Re: Horus Heresy Order

Postby Xisor » Tue Aug 07, 2018 9:40 pm

Best to outlay your priorities.

Formeost: plot vs characters vs prose? (Etc.)

Secondly: Primarchs vs Imperium vs Marines vs Other vs Humanity vs Legion?

Thirdly: what have you previously enjoyed (and previously hated), and if you can say *why*, then it's easier to focus on what's worthwhile.

For my part, I think I could stomach going straight from "Horus Rising" to "Flight of the Eisenstein" & "Fulgrim", leaving "Battle for the Abyss" until much later in the series, and bringing some of the topics closer together.

E.g. The First Heretic gets bumped far ahead, along with Prospero Burns and A Thousand Sons, whilst Descent of Angels can be left as "if you're especially interested".

The series is relatively disconnected in any event, so some of the "necessary"precursors can be skipped in favour of the more *interesting* ones, but only if you don't keep asking "who is this guy?" and "why did that happen?".

Completeness, in this sort of series, is a mug's game. Set your standards too high, you guaruntee disappointment.

That said: I think you could read happily if you kept yourself completely confined to Chris Wraight amd ADB. Not that other authors don't do stunning things, but I think them two have been the most assuredly of a very high standard.

More: even their more isolated stories seem to evoke the rest of the setting in a way that many other authors don't. Graham McNeill, though very readable, has a tendency to make the universe feel a but small and claustrophobic.)

In that respect, the only must-reads for me are Wraight ADB's. Wraight's are better than the rest of the series combined, and ADB out of sheer good writing. Not as huge a fan of his entiries as some are, but are they good? Yes, they're very good.

It's more words to speak on, say, Abnett, or John French.

But the only thing lost assuredly avoided, in my esteem, is The Outcast Dead, Angel Exterminatus, Vengeful Spirit and The Crimson King. Purely to my tastes, of course, but I think Deathfire was more memorable and relevant and respectful of it being a shared set of toys for the authors.

Your mileage may vary!
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Re: Horus Heresy Order

Postby Athelassan » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:49 pm

Xisor wrote:But the only thing lost assuredly avoided, in my esteem, is The Outcast Dead, Angel Exterminatus, Vengeful Spirit and The Crimson King.

Eww....

One of the things to watch with both Angel Exterminatus and Vengeful Spirit, though, is that they are "plot-y" books. That is to say that they progress or conclude major plot arcs running through the spine of the Heresy series.

They do not do this well and they do not do this in a way that couldn't be better served by just using your imagination, but if you're the sort of person who has to know exactly what officially happened then it's hard to avoid them.

Having said that I don't really remember Vengeful Spirit at all. I remember that it was rubbish enough to make me all but give up on the Heresy series as a going concern but apparently not so startlingly rubbish that my brain bothered to remember it in any detail.

Angel Exterminatus I actively hated. Fulgrim wasn't great, but had it been left to stand as an effective end to the Emperor's Children arc it would have been a reasonable place to leave it. Instead they bulled on through with The Reflection, Crack'd which just went "oh yeah you know that major cliffhanger/plot point? Yeah we just resolved that off-screen; as you were" and finally with Angel Exterminatus as to which words fail me.

Words do not fail me as to The Outcast Dead but I - and others - have already spilled more than enough on that subject. Fortunately it can be entirely ignored and nothing of value will be lost.

I don't think I've read The Crimson King but if it's being mentioned in the same breath as those three I'll give it a hard pass.

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Re: Horus Heresy Order

Postby Major Rawne » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:55 pm

So the consensus seems to be skip the McNeill books.

I don't personally subscribe to Angel Exterminatus or Vengeful Spirit being bad, as such I personally quite enjoyed them (though did the latter need to be as long?) and would happily say have at them.

I think the question as Xisor wordily raises is what is it you actually want to read? I myself could say go ahead and skip Betrayer it's broadly the same story as Angel Exterminatus, but if you want to read about the World Eaters in the Heresy then it's a very good book for that.

Another book I would say to skip would be Master of Mankind. Though it's well written and has some really cool moments, it adds little if anything to the overall Heresy storyline.


To get back on topic of the reading order it would certainly be an interesting exercise for me to get back to thinking what order I would put everything in. I have a few ideas how to shift stuff around so some of the story flows better, and that story arcs fit closer together. So for example I'd probably move Fear to Tread up before Unremembered Empire, so the Blood Angels story doesn't sit so alone.
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Re: Horus Heresy Order

Postby Xisor » Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:14 pm

Nah, diversity of opinion's good. Given the swathe of tastes available, I'm conscious that many people shouldn't take my (heartfelt but also 'to tase') advice on things, if they're going to go right ahead and have tastes of their own, an independent existence etc.

Having said that... if books can start in media res, you can absolutely skip out plot-important-but-crap books! Just read the summary/synopsis. And maybe the last few pages.

More: feel free to skim read when they're crap.

----

I say all this, not to suggest that people start firing crap out of cannons into the sun, but that, looking back, I really wish I'd had the wherewithal (or any sort of foresight) to just skip ahead.

Endurance, as I know it and tend to engage in it, isn't quite the virtue I thought it was. And it's certainly not the one that other people seem to imply it is!

Hence: skip! Skip! Skip! According to your tastes, of course, but deary me: slogging through if you happen to not be enjoying it (for whatever reason), then it is not worth it!

Endurance not a virtue? Well, I'm sure impatience will be!
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Re: Horus Heresy Order

Postby Shaggy » Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:42 pm

Major Rawne wrote:Another book I would say to skip would be Master of Mankind. Though it's well written and has some really cool moments, it adds little if anything to the overall Heresy storyline.

Respectfully, I could not disagree more with that statement.

The vast majority of the Horus Heresy writing has - understandably - been concerned with the Horus' rebellion openly conducted in 'real' space. But there's an entire other battlefield in play which has not been covered except in TMOM - The War In The Webway.

Spoiler: This is why the Emperor is not directly aiding the fight against Horus, why the loyalist forces have not moved on Mars, why the Custodes seem to be virtually invisible.
It reveals the fact that not just daemons, but entire armies of Traitor Astartes and titans have joined this second war, it fills in several gaps in the background of various loyalist forces other than the Astartes, it involves us more in the internal politics and beliefs of the Mechanicum, and it lays the groundwork for one of the more horrific aspects of the Emperor in the later 40K era with the Unspoken Sanction.
Plus more insights into various aspects of the Emperor's character...



I'm not mad keen on the Vulkan books ("Vulkan Lives", "Deathfire" and "Old Earth"), "Ruinstorm" and "The Crimson King", but they do at least add some impetus to the overall storyline.

Personally, the one book that IMO could be skipped and lose absolutely nothing is "The Damnation Of Pythos"... surely the absolute nadir of the entire Horus Heresy series. It's the only book of the whole lot that I have simply been unable to re-read even once.
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Re: Horus Heresy Order

Postby Squiggle » Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:38 pm

I found master of mankind interesting but ultimately a little bit dull. Although I agree that the events portrayed are relevant to the storyline, at the same time they didn't serve up enough interest for an entire novel. I think the topic would have been better served in either short stories or as a subplot in a novel capturing the wider sense of the progression towards the seige of terra. I have really enjoyed the Vulkan books and also the white scars arc.
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