Friday, 30 March 2012

No Fool : Stormeagle Conformation

About an hour ago I received the following Forge World Newsflash which appears to settle doubts about the veracity of the Stormeagle picture and confirm it's no April Fool prank.

Books in Brief : The First Heretic by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

My first novel by ADB and oh my! What a way to start.

It is testament to the authors skill and rapid rise to high regard amongst other luminaries of the Black Library and it's readers, that his first Heresy assignment should be to chart the all important fall of the Word Bearers to the machination of Chaos.

As most will know, the XVII Legion are pivotal to the schemes of the Ruinous Powers; by turning them, the Chaos Gods create a lance to pierce the boil of jealousy, ambition and doubt that festers beneath the skin of the Imperial Truth, thus allowing the corruption to spread.

I'll confess to a bias for the Imperials that can be a hurdle for any author telling a story based around the traitor legions, I simply don't like Chaos. I think it coloured my view of Fulgrim by Graham McNeill, something he later overcame with the moving A Thousand Sons. In First Heretic ADB not only had to sell me a tale of a Primarch and his Astartes willingly turning from the Emperor, but one which included First Chaplain Erebus, probably the biggest villain of the Heresy and a character with no redeeming features.

And sell me it he did, with a gripping, well paced and deeply thought out novel, punctuated with visceral action (which I understand to be a signature of the author).

Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Eagle Has Landed : Space Marine Stormeagle

Don't fly like a barnyard Stormraven when you can soar like a Stormeagle! This news appears to be just breaking (I picked it up from Big Jim's Galaxy in Flames) and the page over at Forgeworld isn't yet complete; but I just had to post the picture because this baby just rocks.

Now I'd made my peace with the Stormraven, I'd written a post on my thoughts, justifying it's look, hell I'd even grown fond of the ugly spud; but this!

Curse you Forgeworld and your unending talent, I'll be over in the corner with all the other players of the BA codex muttering 'it should have been ours.'

Postcards from the Edge

Postcards has become a somewhat irregular feature of late, a failing my family and friends could also apply to calls and visits from me; as they, like the hobby, are suffering sporadic bursts of attention due to the curse of 'interesting times' at work.

Still, despite being unable to get behind the painting table since the completion of Tactical Squad Gaurus I have scored a few victories in the battle for work/hobby balance.

The first one was tough, on my wallet that is; but once I got over the inevitable shoppers guilt and the purchases arrived I was once again singing the Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy song. Total Wargamer have been running a series of discounts for GW items on top of their usual discount for about a month now and I took the opportunity of a bargain to bulk buy enough 40k stuff to keep me in projects probably until the 31st Millennium.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Blood Drinker Tactical Squad Gaurus

So here's that Tactical Squad I was so pleased about completing; pleased because at my current rate I should have a fully painted army in time for 40k's 50th anniversary!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Books in Brief : Nemesis by James Swallow

If you've been following my Books in Brief series of posts for a while now, you'll be aware that I've been both hot and cold in my opinion of James Swallows writing. Lauding The Flight of the Eisenstein and bemoaning his Blood Angels novels. As a result I'd put off reading this his second Heresy novel for quite some time but was tempted back after his short story The Voice, in the Tales of Heresy anthology.

Nemesis is another side story to the main events of the Heresy and like the excellent Mechanicum it takes a refreshment break from the slugging match between Superhuman siblings; this time focusing on the shadow world of the Officio Assassinorum.

This novel is an uneven read, in places it shines, expanding on the different Assassin Clades, delivering some great action and death dealing scenes, utilising all the Assassins various skills and arsenals.

But Swallow has set himself a hard task with both his subject matter and plotline. To produce an engaging story with characters you are willing to invest in, he has to humanise what should be to all intents and purpose, remorseless fanatical killing machines and whilst he ably achieves this, it just doesn't feel quite right.

The choice of plotline (with my usual caution towards spoilers) rendered the journey fairly pointless for anyone with a passing knowledge of the Heresy. There are a few plot holes, some clunky devices and an interesting parallel story that sadly runs out of steam before being dumped into the main tale.

On the whole this is an ok read that would probably have fared much better if it had been reworked as a standalone 40k novel rather than struggling against much stronger works in the Heresy series.

As a final observation, am I the only one who detects a hint of a Firefly/Serenity nods in James Swallows writing style? Couldn't shake the impression that Iota the Culexus bore all the hallmarks of another young lady who could 'kill you with her brain'.