|Print on demand cover.|
To sum it up, this story follows a trio of Necromundian youths who enlist into the Imperial First Space Marine Chapter. This is not the Necromunda that most of you are likely to be familiar with, but the Necromunda setting for the Confrontation skirmish game that was published in White Dwarf throughout 1991. Same planet, different trappings. Of particular note, and most obvious of trappings, would be the gangs. The upper hive gangs were known as Brats, whereas the other hive gangs consisted of an assortment of gang types such as Clan gangs, Undercity gangs, Tech gangs and other more exotic ones such as Ash Nomads, Scumniks and Scavies. Some time after first encountering each other in gang warfare, they each decided to give up on their dead-end lives and try enlisting with the Imperial Firsts Space Marine Chapter.
- Did I like it? Very much so. I found Ian Watson's writing, for the most part, to be a lot more focused than Inquisitor. But many times I found myself distracted by his strange apparent obsession with comparing things to sex organs. Seriously. Here's an example: Liquefying, the ornate device slumped in upon itself, shrinking into a bubbling, wrinkled scrotum of sintered alloys. It happens a lot throughout this books and it's odd. I mean, who does this? And then when they get to the tyranid hiveship it's amped up even more so and no effort at all is made to mask this. The opening line of Chapter Sixteen is: "We're going in through it's anus," Biff whooped boisterously. I could quote more, but to do so may exceed the limits of a mere review. ****
- Was it hard to put down? No, not really. it was a very engaging book for the most part and made for a good read.
- Could I care about the characters? Yes, but I found the changing of the three points of view to be a bit more inconsistent that I would like, however I thought it was ultimately vital otherwise the reader wouldn't have the buy-in needed in the final chapters when two of the brothers make their final sacrifice. I think it could've maybe been handled more smoothly.
- Did the writer truly grasp how the 'world' of the 41st millennium works in the sense that it doesn't betray or retcon previously established (as I know it) lore? Or is this the work of a hack chasing a paycheck vs. establishing his mark on the ever-expanding 40k universe? Ian Watson did some serious world-building here, some of which still resonates. Often his works are dismissed as being old and non-canon, but there are elements here that did not exist in the materials presented to us via the game product. The Imperial Fist's fanatic devotion to the Emperor and the near crazy hobby of scrimshawing, pain gloves, etc. these elements still live on, even if so much of the lore has moved on past what was laid out here.
- Was I being talked down too? The snarky tone that annoyed me when I read Inquisitor for the first time is, thankfully, toned way down, so that was a relief.
- How predictable is this story? There are lots of these type of stories that explain the recruitment and rise through the ranks details of Space Marines, but this one sets itself apart by being very unpredictable for the most part.
- Do I recommend this book? Yes, although fans of the current lore for the Imperial Fists might find it...challenging. I don't know much about the current Imperial Fist lore but I doubt they are nearly as sadomasochistic as presented here. Anyone who was involved with Warhammer 40.000 "back in the day" of the late '80's and early '90s might have want to check this out if they haven't done so before. And anyone who wants to see how the 40k lore has grown might want to check it out also. But beware of those distracting comparisons to sex organs
|WD #165 featured a Space Marine excerpt.|
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