Monday, September 7, 2009

False Gods

I just finished Graham McNeill's False Gods, the second book in Black Library's Horus Heresy series. I read the beefy Ravenor in between books one and two of the series, but it didn't take too long to get caught up to speed with the characters and events. The time between the two novels is fairly short, and the overall storyline continues along without too many hiccups. There is a second author at the helm, with some notable style changes.

The book seemed 'choppy' for lack of a better word. Some of the choppiness was to set a dramatic tone, back and forth between scenes, which was fine. That's kind of expected, but other parts of the book weren't intentional, and came up a tad 'jerky'. There was a list of characters in the beginning of the book, but it seemed a bit unnecessary as they weren't all fully explored. An in-depth look of the massive Imperial Titans was hinted at early in the book, but sadly never followed up on other than a few cameo battle appearances.

Many situations would arise, and I expected the characters to deal with them at one point or another, but as my page count got less and less, I realized that they would just be loose ends. Some did work themselves out, though it seemed to take a while. By largest complaint about the book was exactly how fast the fall of Horus took place. We all know Horus goes corrupt and fights Emperor of Mankind; but to take such a goodly figure and turn him wholly corrupt should take more than half a novel. His fall should've taken place across several novels, there's no reason to rush something this epic otherwise.

False Gods didn't do a whole lot to knock my socks off if you can't tell, but it did have it's good points. My favorite characters of the first book, captain of the tenth company Garviel Loken, and his associated cronies (Torgaddon, Vipus...) continues to get better and I am eager to see how his character further evolves in the third book. Where actions in the book I thought could've been handled better, many of them were handled very well, and the book kept a solid pace going from cover to cover.

When preparing for a long haul like the Heresy series, you're going to encounter some amazing works and some not so much, that's just the nature of things. Don't let my somewhat mixed review throw you off, False Gods is still a solid chapter in the overall picture.


  1. Loken is the shizznit

  2. I agree with your point about Horus, and I suspect a lot of other people did and let McNeill know - just wait until you get to Fulgrim - that's how a primarch should be turned.

    I'm almost tempted to start the series again, but I just got Steven Erikson latest epic, so it will have to wait a month or so...

  3. I too was surprised at how quickly Horus turned. I am almost finished with the 3rd book, Galaxy in Flames. I think you will find it runs more smoothly than False Gods, but still has that epic feel as it flashes from one group of individuals to the other.


  4. @Jake: Yeah, he is, I'm waiting for him to really start knocking some heads!

    @Itkovian: Yeah, it felt rushed, nice to see it wasn't just me.

    Also, are you talking about the Malazan series? I've wanted to pick that one up, but at nine books so far...

    @BJ: I put a healthy dent in 'Galaxy' tonight, and I've been much happier with it so far, Ben Counter seems to have made a deliberate effort to get the series back on track while moving the series forward (even tying up some of those loose ends I mentioned from the previous book).

  5. Yep, the Malazan series is a collection I cannot recommend enough.

    It is however, a serious time investment - there will be ten books in Book of The Fallen, then he has two more trilogies set up down the line, as well as a bunch of short stories collected together. And as far as the main series go, you'll be wanting to re-read it (one or more times) to get the full enjoyment out of the series.

    Erikson does not hold your hand, he lets you figure out stuff for yourself, and there is a ridiculous amount of plot threads. One of the main points about his writing is that history has no beginning, so he throws you down in the middle of a conflict. It can be overwhelming at times, but the feeling of satisfaction is well worth it.

    Sorry, you may have guessed, I'm a bit of a fan... :D

    The best thing you can do is pick up the first book and have at it. You'll either throw the book down in disgust or be addicted for life...

  6. Sheesh, that is quite the investment, even for a quick reader. I'm always looking out for new stuff though, so I may have to plop down for book one and stick it in the queue, thanks for the tip!