Sunday, December 19, 2010

The First Heretic - Review

I actually went through this book fairly quickly. I've see a couple of reviews which basically take it as the Word Bearers going from devout Emperor-worshipers to Heretics in only a few pages.

Oddly enough, I really didn't find that. The Word Bearers going rogue was definitely more rapid than I think most people anticipated, but it's somewhat understandable. I mean after you've been doing things one way for a century and your god-figure pops in to say you're a miserable failure; it creates a rather insane situation. Best case, you say "Dude, you couldn't have filled me in on this little nugget say like 99 years ago?" Bottom line though, when you go from zero feedback to 'You've been doing it wrong for years', people don't react well.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. The story flowed well and I'm generally a fan of authors trying to portray the Warp and its various entities. The author actually did this quite well in my opinion. In both cases, he gave enough detail to get your imagination started and left it at that. When you're trying to describe something that malleable, it's one of the ways I prefer to see it done. The characters were pretty much what I expected in terms of the Word Bearers. Devout, loyal and stoic. I'll also say that I think the main characters; Argel Tal, Cyrene and Xaphen would had more depth than they appeared to in the book. The lack of interaction with other Legions and units made it somewhat difficult to see what made the Word Bearers unique. The comparisons we saw between Lorgar and the other Primarchs like Magnus needed to be done on a Marine level rather than between Primarchs. At least, that's my thought.

The other thing I would have liked to have seen was just the Word Bearers prior to their censure. Again, it would have provided a valuable comparison, but really I was just interested in seeing how they originally did things.

All in all though, I enjoyed the book. The beginning seemed a little odd, but it made sense easily enough. There weren't many important characters and while the cast could likely have been expanded a bit, you definitely didn't need to bust out the glossary to keep track of everyone, which was nice. The Word Bearers were interesting enough and Lorgar was well portrayed as the odd man out in terms of his brothers. The Adeptus Custodes were funky and the Possessed Space Marines were cool. The book definitely fits well with the rest of the series.

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