Monday, May 29, 2017

REVIEW: Echoes of Revelation Audio Drama

The latest audio drama in the Horus Heresy series actually comprises of three separate stories, all focusing on either wrapping up loose story ends or moving the overall story closer to its end on Terra. With contributions from Chris Wraight, Gav Thorpe, and Dan Abnett, Echoes of Revelation promises a lot, but does it deliver?

The Soul, Severed by Chris Wraight

The first story on the audio drama is The Soul, Severed, by Chris Wraight. Focusing on the infamous Lord-Commander of the Emperor's Children who shares the same moniker, Eidolon, we open on a negotiation of sorts for the debased legion. Fulgrim has been missing for years now, pursuing his own desires and agenda, leaving the rest of the legion without a central commander. This of course leads to the remaining Lord-Commanders vying for power amongst themselves. Eidolon has been contacted by Archorian for a possible negotiation on the surface of an already devastated world. 

With the traitor legions nothing is ever as straight forward as that though, and once on the planet a trap is sprung. Without giving to much else away we get to see the Emperor's Children, and specifically the Kakophoni, living up to what we know of them from the 41st millennium. There is excess aplenty and we even get a few random questions answered like why and how the legion changed their colors from purple to the livid pinks we see them in later. It was an enjoyable listen and also helps set the Emperor's Children on the path they're needed to be on for the end game of the Heresy. I'm definitely interested to see the reunion of Eidolon and Fulgrim. I imagine the former will not be too eager to relinquish the power he has accumulated in his Primarch's absence. 

The voice acting and sound effects in this are top notch, just as we have come to expect. I particularly liked the effects used for the Noise Marines' sonic weaponry and Eidolon's amplified scream. Eidolon has been given a very scratchy voice, which I guess is fitting for someone who has had their head removed and reattached, but I always imagined something a bit more refined sounding for someone as pompous as he is. The Soul, Severed is a nice addition to the Emperor's Children's background and definitely an enjoyable listen.

Valerius by Gav Thorpe

Valerius follows the exploits of Marcus Valerius, a character many of you may remember from the Raven Guard stories from Gav Thorpe. He isn't a Space Marine, but just a lowly human in the Imperial Army, although a high ranking one. Here we see him in command of a Leviathan command tank, a truly massive, near Titan sized vehicle that has only ever had a model in Epic. Valerius and his regiment have found themselves in a position to block an enemy counter-attack on a strategically important battlefield. It's heavily implied that Corax has placed him there specifically to die and give his life in service to the Imperium. I haven't ready any of the Corax books since Deliverance Lost, so I'm sure I am missing some of the context for this.

Valerius is a devout follower of the Lectitio Divinitatus though, so that may have something to do with it. The battle scene is truly epic in scale, with the two Leviathans and the rest of the Imperial Army regiment facing off against a maniple of Titans and elements of the Sons of Horus legion. They pretty much know they don't stand a chance, but if they can just delay the traitors long enough then they can give the rest of the Imperial forces times to divert and fully deal with the enemy. The ending to the story is suitably catastrophic in it's level of destruction and the action is fast paced throughout. There is also a nice twist at the end that has me curious as to where all of this will lead. Like I said before, I think this story would be enhanced if you had a deeper connection to the lead character, which I just don't since I skipped some stories. It's still very solid though and was a good listen. Just like the rest of the entries on this audio drama, everything was very well acted with great sound effects and music choices. 

Perpetual by Dan Abnett

This was definitely the story I was most looking forward to listening to for several reasons. I love anything by Dan Abnett, and his absence from Black Library works for the past few years leaves me eager to consume any story penned by him. The perpetual storyline is also one of my favorites from the whole Horus Heresy series. It's the one with the most room to meander and forge its own ending since it's a new addition to the lore of the Heresy since the novel series started. The perpetuals themselves also tend to be some of the most interesting and complex characters just due to their nature. They can never die and so have been alive for longer than recorded history. Oll Persson is the focus of this story, having last seen him fleeing Calth with an anthame in hand, tearing holes in the fabric of space and time as he makes his way to Terra. 

He also has a group of survivors from Calth that he brought with him, just normal humans he felt sorry for and didn't want to leave behind to die. This gives him an interesting group of people to be around and describe his unique situation to as they cut their way across the stars. When we join him now they have been marooned on a single planet for the last two years, unable to decipher where they should make their next cut. What's most interesting about this planet though, is that they are marooned on it back in the past, during the Age of Strife, and according to Oll, at the tale end of the war against the ironmen who rose up and devastated humanity. I love reading or hearing about stuff like this, and Dan is the best at fleshing out these obscure corners of the 40k mythos that was previously just a throwaway line. I don't want to spoil it for you, but if you're interested in hearing about pre-Imperial human history in the 40k universe, then I highly recommend you check this out.

We also get to see another perpetual in the form of John Grammaticus, the original perpetual we met in Legion. I would buy an entire audio drama that was just Oll and John having a conversation. It's so enthralling and interesting. Without spoiling anything more, the story leaves us on a bit of a cliffhanger and definitely leaves me wanting more of this story. My only complaint is that it was too short. The potential story lines they set up with Katt, one of the survivors that Oll has with him, and also a latent psyker, has a ton of promise that I can't wait to read the delivery on. This was the standout of the bunch to me, but sadly, I think it may have also been the shortest. I can't wait to read Dan's part in the final battle at Terra and also his conclusion to Oll's and the perpetual's storylines. 

Until next time,

Tyler M 

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