Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Reading 'Horus Rising'

I'm only 20% through Dan Abnett's Horus Rising but I'm stuck with two thoughts about the novel.

First, this novel is so character-driven that it doesn't even seem like the Warhammer 40k universe, let alone a story about the ultra-macho space marines. There is a lengthy battle sequence in the first chapter, but it's written in a very dreamlike style that puts more emphasis on how the battle felt than how it actually was. This brings Horus Rising into sharp contrast with the one other W40k novel I've read, Assault on Black Reach. Designed to provide lore for a box of space marines and orks, Black Reach is nothing but non-stop violence and hero worship. The plot is slaughtered along with the countless orks. It's honestly jarring to read space marines as multifaceted characters after that novel.

Secondly, Horus Rising was either written with a thesaurus in one hand or as SAT prep. The word choice is absurd in this book and it would be essentially unreadable without the dictionary built into my Kindle. I'd like to think of space marines as medieval knights in space, so I normally don't mind the archaic vocabulary, but it's going a bit far when the dictionary makes a point of saying that a word is only used in flowery language.

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