Books, an update on my reading

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So, I haven’t don’t a book post in a while, I didn’t get round to one after reading and had moved on before I caught up, so here’s an update on the books Iv been reading

planetkill

I may have covered this one already, I can’t remember, but it’s a collection of short stories from black library and warhammer 40k of planets being destroyed by war. As with many of the older compilations of stories that black library have churned out it’s a bit hit and miss, but it covers a good range of subjects from imperial armies being sacrificed in a retreat to the life of a planet moving through the eye of terror and suffering for it.
My highlight of the book was mercy run by steve parker because it acts essentially as a prologue for gunheads which was one of my favourite imperial guard books

yarrick imperial creed by david Annandale

A year ago there was a short story released about commissar yarrick which was to lead into the end times Armageddon battle, this is in the same series but set in yarricks distant past when he was a junior commissar. The story actually was really enjoyable, with good twists and a constant stream of battle. My only real issue was that it could have been the start of a new commissars story, the use of yarrick himself was somewhere between pointless and a way to guarantee people would buy it. But there was a nice touch as yarrick got a vision of future injuries he would suffer at the hands of a certain ork war boss

commissar by andy hoare

Fresh from my enjoyment of the yarrick book I moved straight onto a new commissar (which is what I had felt would have been a good idea with the yarrick book anyway) and I ended up a bit deflated. The stories good, the plot works nicely and the focus on a small infiltration team as opposed to a full army was a nice change of pace, however the commissar in question seemed to be in far more of a command role than a commissar. Now, I have no issue with this, the commissar is a leader, but I would have wanted more focus on the morale boosting (and skull blasting executions) than just another pretty intelligent imperial commander

tales of the old world part 1 tales of honour and heroism

After so much 40k I needed a change of pace, so read some warhammer fantasy short stories. I picked up the short story book and read the first section. Lots of bretonnians and empire heroes fighting an ‘honourable’ war against foes that aren’t honourable. Yeah, it doesn’t work all that well. I stopped after this section of the book a little bored of the predictable plotlines- honourable knight, fooled by dishonourable foe, works it out, wins, has a new approach to being honourable.

salvations reach by dan abnett

I love gaunts ghosts. Everyone loves gaunts ghosts. Iv yet to meet anyone that has read them and not enjoyed them. They would also admit the series has it’s ups and downs and that the constant reinforcement of a wiped out force at the start of every book gets a little dull. It’s realistic of course, that’s how the imperial guard work. But at the same time the characters we’re used to linger on against insurmountable odds over and again. But still the series is fantastic. This one however felt as though it has gone on a little too long. I believe it’s almost over, with one more planned book next year, but still, by this point the main characters are ageing, and it’s getting a bit too much for them to survive. It’s also a little bit too heavy on the introduction of new characters that later die, like red shirts gone made. However, it was an enjoyable read, the space marines inclusion worried me, but it was kept subtle and small so the human element remained the focus. It was also nice for dan abnett to use an iron snake (a chapter he wrote back when black library was in it’s infancy). This one was enough to make me excited for warmaster to finish the series at least

the blood price and the daemons curse by dan abnett and mike lee

Back to fantasy with malus darkblade, I read the blood price, essentially a prologue first, which was entertaining as a short read but didn’t establish any differences between dark elves and humans, but it did introduce characters that were key to the first real book the daemons curse. This was better, whilst it still didn’t highlight any real differences between humans and dark elves it did at least highlight the political differences, with a focus on a constant internal war between powerful factions. It then led to a long adventure through the chaos wastes before malus was cursed by a daemon and took on a beastman army. Again, the differences between beastmen, humans and dark elves were solely physical, with no difference really created. Additionally I was a little disappointed that malus seemed to take a constant beating, with his body being close to death on numerous occasions before recovering enough for another key challenge which he’d win whilst coming close to death. Maybe dark elves have incredible healing powers, but it felt a little overdone.
The problem I guess is the use of a small force up against the occupants of the chaos wastes (an effectively infinite force), you end up in constant danger but have to survive, without being unbeatable, and so your main character gets hurt constantly but somehow doesn’t die.
Overall the book was enjoyable, but I hope for more when I get onto the next one.

My next read will likely not be a black library novel, though gotrek and felix and ravenor are also appealing to me at the moment

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