Wednesday, March 25, 2015

REVIEW: Scars by Chris Wraight

Today I have a review of the Horus Heresy novel, Scars. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and devoured it in a matter of days.

I read this book back when it first came out and this review originally ran on Bell of Lost Souls a year ago.

In my humble opinion there are two authors who often get overlooked at Black Library in favor of the more prominent writers such as Abnett, McNeill, and Dembski-Bowden. Those 2 authors are John French and Chris Wright. They have not had a single bad novel between them but for some reason they are hardly mentioned. Seriously if you have not read Blood of Asaheim, Battle of the Fang or Swords of the Emperor by Wright or Ahriman: Exile and The Crimson Fist by French go do so now, I'll wait.

Read them?

Good. Now you see what I mean, they are phenomenal. With Scars Wright hits it out the park again. The story starts by following 2 aspirants for the Legions, one a Chorgorian, Shiban, the other a Terran, Torghun. It really lets you see the different aspects of the legion since one of them is essentially an outsider looking in, despite how integrated they try and make him. You get to see some fun aspects of the lore addressed such as how the Terrans are predominantly recruited from peoples of Asian decent, which Torghun even remarks is slightly racist on their part. They also mention why we have heard so little about the White Scars and the Khan so far in the Heresy and 40k lore in general. It is because they are often overlooked and disregarded due to their nature of operating independently of the rest of the Imperium. They would much rather blaze their own trail.

During the first half of the book we also get to see what Russ and his Wolves have been up to since Prospero and how they feel about the whole Horus tricking them into killing a brother Legion. They don't have much time to brood though as the Alpha Legion soon arrive, which is always fun. It was really nice to see Russ and Bjorn again and if anything their appearance seemed too brief and their disappearance in the novel sudden and jarring. This is my one gripe about it and I feel like they could have gone back to them for at least a paragraph near the end to say, oh hey, remember these guys? Unfortunately they completely disappear after the half way point in the book.

The Scars aren't overlooked this time though as The Alpha Legion soon show up at Chondax as well and blockade the Legion in. This sets in motion a whole series of events which forces the Khan to question all of his alliances and decide who does he trusts more, his distant and ruthless father or his charismatic brother? Without spoiling the plot of the book I can tell you that he goes in search of answers from the one brother besides Horus he truly called friend, a few run ins with members of other Legions and a familial clash that holds its own against some of the ones we have seen already in the series. As for his Legion and their tattered loyalties?

I Cannot say.
One of my favorite characters in this besides the Khan is Yesugei, the White Scars chief Librarian and a psyker to rival any of Magnus' brood. It is interesting to see him interact with people not from within his Legion since his spoken parts are then written in broken english. It is stated pretty early on the the Chogorians have a bad handle of Gothic and prefer to speak in their native tongue. When they are speaking to each other in the book it is not broken at all.

At the end of the hard cover addition there is an afterword from the author where he talks a bit about how he approached the novel which is really quite interesting. For instance this was written knowing it was going to be released in an episodic format before being published as a whole which affected they way he went about it. I always figured he had finished the whole story and Black Library decided to try out that new format and split it up. Its also worth noting that they have a new artist for the interior art which is a little sketchier. I think I prefer the old artist but this isn't bad either.

All in all I really enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to more from Chris Wright in the future.

I give it a 5/5 - Must Read!

Now some of you may be wondering where my Tally of Destruction article for Archaon is since I promised it this week. Well, it's taking me a bit longer to write then normal considering there is a total of 28 character deaths and cities/empires that fall. For comparison Nagash had 17, Glottkin had 10, Khaine had 13, and Thanquol had 16 so you can see why it may be taking me a little longer to write this one. I was trying to get it done for today but in the end I decided it would be better not to rush it and compromise the quality of the article. I will have it for you guys on Monday though, I'm already half way through the casualty list. 

I hope this review of Scars holds you over, it was a great book.

Until next time,


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