Staying at home is the norm... What are you reading?

Hawki

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Aurora Rising (3/5)

Without hyperbole, this is one of the most cliched sci-fi novels I've ever read.

That's not to say it's bad, per se, but it did nearly get a 2/5. There's a 40 minute video on YouTube that delves into the subject better than I can, but for now, I have to deal with this drek myself. Or, I guess I don't, but, well, I'll put it this way - look at the alphabet, pick any sci-fi IP that begins in one of the 26 letters. Chances are, you'll find at least one reference/similarity/homage/ripoff to said IP.

So, to get into things. The first book in a trilogy, this takes place in the year 2380, where humanity is part of numerous alien races (all of which are carbon-based humanoids) in the Milky Way (a.k.a. the Way, because the Verse was taken by Firefly). Among this is a group called the Aurora Legion, which is basically Starfleet, headquarted in what's essentially Babylon 5. Our crew is a band of misfits (according to the back cover), but aren't really, they're just the bottom of the elite. So, like, the top 1%, rather than the top 0.1%. All of these characters are snarky arseholes, that continue to snark even in life-or-death situations, and it really doesn't work, at least not all of the time. If your characters don't take anything seriously, why should I? Also, FTL travel in this universe is done through FoldSpace, which is mainly done through natural or artificial gates in rea-space (Babylon 5, Wing Commander). Among the races in the galaxy are the syldrathi, which are literally space elves (long-lived, pointy-eared), so pick your poison (Star Trek, Warhammer, etc.), who are in the middle of a civil war.

So, band of misfits (Firefly, Farscape, Cowboy Bebop) that are really uber elite (Star Trek), end up being paired with a girl who's been in cryo for 200 years, and is actually psychic (too many to count), but is also "the special" in saving the galaxy from a plant network monster thing (Star Wars, Halo), which has already corrupted the GIA (Galactic Intelligence Agency) branch of the TDF (Terran Defence Force), and now, they're renegades. So they have to infiltrate a worldship coupled from various other spaceships (Valerian), and do an infiltration mission, and eventually get to special girl's original intended colony to discover the ancient evil put to slumber by "the Ancients" one million years ago and gah!

Look, you can see what I'm getting with here. I can bear cliches if the execution is good enough, but this book doesn't have a single original idea in its head, and its execution simply isn't good enough to make up for it. The characters are memorable, to a point, but only because they're walking archtypes. The snark, while humorous at times, does wear down on you as things chug along. I haven't even got into the other stuff yet, such as:

-The Aurora Legion's assignment system is nonsensical.
-The special and elf boy have a 'thing' between them that becomes manifest towards the end, which culminates in absolute assinine dialogue (gravity, planets, love...gah!)
-While not necessarily a plothole, the infected planet has been under quarantine for hundreds of years, and kept secret by the TDF, but hasn't bombed it from orbit because...reasons? Yeah, the GIA is compromised, but not the TDF as a whole (as far as I know).

So, is there stuff I liked about it. Well, some of the snark is fun. There's an AI given to 'the special' to help her get used to the 24th century named Magellan, and everything that escapes his lips (not that he has lips) is gold, as well as his Internet (or 24th century) searches that punctuate chapters. If Magellan was the sole snarky asshole, and the crew more varied, things might be better, but even then, snarky AI is a trope unto itself.

So, yeah. Don't really recommend this book. There's two others in the trilogy, but I'm not in a hurry to read them. We end at the stage of "ancient evil is now emerging and our heroes are the only ones that can stop it," so I know how this story goes.
 

Hawki

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On a related note:


I don't necessarily agree with all of the review, but it's similar to a lot of my thoughts.
 

Gergar12

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I have been trying to read Republican-leaning books on foreign policy, and I read Peter Zeihan's Disunited Nations, which just goes on, and about America's advantages over China, and it keeps saying American soil quality is amazing, and China will starve, lose 700 million people by 2050, etc. and it likely gets half the things wrong, but when it comes to soil quality...


  1. The development of drone-based mapping tools for more accurate soil analysis.
  2. The use of machine learning to predict soil properties and optimise agricultural productivity.
  3. The creation of new organic amendments made from sustainable plant sources.
  4. The development of nanomaterials that can improve water retention in sandy soils.
  5. LED lighting promotes plant growth in controlled environment agriculture.
  6. The creation of artificial soils made from recycled waste materials.
  7. The development of vertical farming systems that use limited land resources.
  8. The use of sensors and data analytics in precision agriculture optimises crop yields.
  9. The study of how mycorrhizal fungi can improve soil health and plant productivity.

Soil efficiency or whatever academic term they have come up it will increase even if some of these technologies work for the future. I have my democratic analysis sources like the Council on American Foreign Relations, but I need a trustworthy Republican source that gets more things right than not. Peter Zeihan admits climate change is real, but he goes about his analysis the wrong way, and I feel like the world is more complex than that.

 

Hawki

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World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness (3/5)

This is actually the second time I've read this novel (a novelization of the game of the same name), and overall, my position hasn't changed. In less than 400 pages, the novel has to cover an entire game's worth of material, plus stuff going on the sidelines, which means that there's no faffing about, things have to keep moving. So as economic as the writing style is, there's little 'oomph' behind it. Main reason I read it was for one of the stories I'm working on covers the Second War, so in many ways, it was a case of reading the book and taking notes.

Can't say much beyond that. Really, if you want a written account of the Second War, Chronicles 2 does a better job, in that even if it's taking a more eagle-eye view on events, it does a better job of conveying the tactics and all that.

The Farthest Shore (3/5)

The third Earthsea book. I didn't skip Tombs of Atuan intentionally, it just happened to be on the shelf at the time, and really, as far as I can tell, you can skip Tombs and get the same feeling. Heck, you could probably skip the first book and read this as a stand-alone.

Anyway, for those who saw my review of Wizard of Earthsea, most of what I said there can be applied here. There's a very 'dreamy' feel to the entire endeavour, and while Le Guin's writing style is often too flowery for my tastes, I can't deny that the writing in of itself is fairly sublime. Pretentious, but sublime. It's not really handling any themes (life and death) that haven't been covered a thousand times elsewhere.

Thing is, a lot of what Shore covers is a repeat of Wizard, in that a lot of it is time going from island to island. The difference here is that in Wizard, I mentioned that regardless of Ged's actions, nothing in the setting would change. Here, a much older and wiser Ged and his companion Arren have to go on a quest that actually WILL determine the fate of the world. Basically, some guy's cast a spell to made himself immortal, and that's causing magic everywhere else to fade, and in doing so, people to act kind of shitty, losing themselves to despair, etc. That said, despite the stakes, Farthest Shore still has the mellow, relaxed, mood-based writing style of the first book.

Of the two, I think Wizard is better, if only because a lot of what Shore does is what the first book did, well, first. I think book 3 benefits from having read 1 first, if only because you can contrast how Ged is handled in both, but as mentioned, the book is fine stand-alone.

On the other hand, Shore actually includes a map of Earthsea (which was bizzarely missing in the copy of Wizard that I read), so that's nice. Also, Le Guin has an afterword that's as flowery as the main text, but as someone who writes myself (don't worry, I'm not putting myself on her level), that made for an interesting read, and I could relate to a number of sentiments i nthe writing process, so there's that.

So, yeah. Earthsea books are certainly unique, but they're hardly my favourite either.
 

Drathnoxis

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@Hawki Have you ever read any of the Deathgate Cycle books? I've acquired them based soley on the recommendation of a completely random person on the internet, but haven't started it yet since I'm still finishing my re-read of the Song of the Lioness series (definitely doesn't hold up to my adolescent impressions). Since you are quite well-read in the fantasy genre, it just occurred to me to ask.
 

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@Hawki Have you ever read any of the Deathgate Cycle books? I've acquired them based soley on the recommendation of a completely random person on the internet, but haven't started it yet since I'm still finishing my re-read of the Song of the Lioness series (definitely doesn't hold up to my adolescent impressions). Since you are quite well-read in the fantasy genre, it just occurred to me to ask.
Fraid not. I reguarly see Hickman and Weiss on the shelves, but have barely read either of them at all.

Also, appreciate the comment, but I'm hesitent to call myself "well-read" in the fantasy genre. I certainly read a lot of fantasy, but it's often more of a quantity thing. There's too many "greats" out there that I haven't read, and the thing about fantasy is that it's a heavy time sink.
 
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Thaluikhain

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As an aside, those two are still pumping out Dragonlance books, apparently.

(Not read the Deathgate Cycle (well was loaned it by a cousin and started bu didn't get very far), but I played the game)
 
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Hawki

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Diablo: Tales from the Horadric Library (4/5)

This is a collection of Diablo short stories. In terms of timeframe, they span across the entire range of the timeline, from the days of the nephalem, to roughly the period of Diablo IV. In terms of tone, it's mostly horror, though there's a few divergences. For instance, in one story, Baal is attacked by demonic cows (it makes sense in the context, trust me), whereas the final story is actually quite heartwarming. For those of you who read the D3 tie-in short stories, this takes a very different approach - whereas most of those stories tied in with classes, and mostly occurred in close proximity to the D3 timeframe, these are far more esoteric, along with the writing styles - for instance, the last story I mentioned is a case of a story told within a story that may not even be true.

Anyway, giving it a 4/5 - some stories are better than others, but as far as overall quality goes, this is the best ranking. Also, the art is appropriately macabre. Like, bathing in blood, baby ripped out of a womb macabre (yep, it went there). To give my thoughts on some of the individual stories:

-The Gospel of Death: This is presented in the style of a myth - of the first nephalem discovering death (as in, one of their companions dies, whereas previously, they had no concept of it), and how they react to it (spoilers: not well). There's some horror throughout, but really, the main focus is on the mythological side of things. Basically a story that may not necessarily be literally true. I thought this was okay, if nothing too special.

-The Rose of Khanduras: This story details the life of the Countess, right up to the night before her first death, as recounted by one of her servants. I'll be honest, I've never really understood the infatuation with the Countess by so many fans, but then, I don't really get the infatuation with D2, period (it's good, just not my thing, even if it's probably the #2 game in the series by default). Regardless, this story was mostly decent. It takes clear inspiration from vampire fiction, even if certain characters aren't vampires themselves. What it mostly succeeds in is atmosphere - the overall sense of dread.

-A Collar of Thorns: The story that has the womb-tearing I mentioned earlier. That aside, this is pretty nifty. Takes inspiration from Gothic horror, of a woman married to a lord in the Fractured Peaks who has to deal with physical and psychological torment. For instance, she knows that she's his tenth wife, but both he and all the servants act like she's out of her mind, and it gets to the point where she, and the reader, wonder what version of reality is true. There's other twists and turns, but overall, pretty solid.

-The Caravan: This is probably the weakest story in the anthology. A necromancer (or a guy with necromancy) comes to town, shannanigans, throats being cut, a talking head bursting out of someone's stomach...yeah, I really didn't care for this one. I can barely even remember key plot details.

-A Whiff of Salt: The second-weakest story in the anthology. A thief travels to the far north of Sanctuary (technically the northeast of the eastern continent, but whatever) where a series of events leads to him learning about the Drowned. Of all the stories thus far, this has the clearest D4 links, but most of the story is pretty basic. The one stand-out is actually the last few lines, which hit hard. I should also specify that per what we learn about the Drowned, they (or at least this story) is taking heavy inspriation from C'thulu, and while that's neither good nor bad in of itself, it did strike me as a bit iffy in a series that's primarily taken inspiration from Abrahamic religions (angels, demons, Hell, etc.). How not!Cthu'lu fits in with that is unclear. But that's a minor gripe.

-The Tomb of Tal Rasha: This is a weird one. The premise is sound enough, as it details Tal Rasha's struggle with Baal after volunteering as a living vessel for his essence, after the shattering of the soulstone meant for him. About 80% of the story is psychological duelling between Tal Rasha and Baal, paragraphs spanning centuries in real-time, minutes or hours by Tal Rasha's perception. Slowly, surely, Baal grinds Tal Rasha down. Then, for the last 20%, things...well, what I've said technically remains true, but as part of the duel, Tal Rasha basically trolls Baal. I'm being glib, but it actually works really well. It's a weird segway from horror into humour, and actually pulls it off. Doesn't detract from Tal Rasha's condition, and anyone familiar with Diablo knows how Tal Rasha's story ends, but in the here and now? Neat job.

-When the Dark Seeps In: This one is a bit hard to quantify. Tying in with D4, if not to the extent of Whiff of Salt, it takes place in Scosglen, where things are shit. Crops are dying, animals are mutating, people are killing each other, protagonist is a boy whose brother leaves to join the Druids, whose parents die, so by 12, he's running the farm itself. His brother returns, but things don't seem quite right. In a sense, the story is pretty basic, but there's something about it that works. The sense that something is fundamentally wrong with the land itself, and its people are paying the price.

-Beyond That Door There Lies No Light: The final and, IMO, best short story of the bunch. Honestly, I can't even really give its premise without spoiling things, so I'll say that this is a case of an author taking a single piece of item flavour lore in D3, making a whole story about it that's part mythology, part tragedy, and has an ending that's both heartwarming and tragic. Again, really can't say much more without spoiling plot twists, and given how much I liked this story, I really don't want to. What I WILL say however is that it has two shit-talking ravens in it, so if that doesn't sell you, I don't know what will.

So, yeah. Pretty neat overall.
 

Hawki

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Avatar: The High Ground - Volume 1 (3/5)

...welp, this was a letdown.

That's not to say it's bad, but given the hype for this comic (some of it being my own), the end result is...okay, at best. To clarify, The High Ground is a trilogy of comics based on Cameron's original script for Avatar 2, that were reworked into a new story that basically acts as a prelude to Avatar 2, rather than being Avatar 2 itself. Volume 1 was released before the film, volumes 2 and 3 will be released afterwards, and given that nothing in the volume really spoils anything (far as I can tell), I can see why.

Anyway, I'm actually going to start off with a list of gripes first, as I have plenty of them. So on that note:

-Maybe it's just me, maybe it's the art style, maybe it's something else, but often, I had trouble recognising which na'vi character was which, at least when it came to Neteyam and Lo'ak (Jake's two sons). This is a problem because not only can I not remember which one is which, but one of them struggles in the way the other doesn't (five fingers rather than a na'vi's usual four, and yes, that makes difference in the context).

-A gripe I've seen a lot of people have about Avatar is that the humans are lacking depth, pure evil, etc. I don't agree, but the book really goes full-bore with the "humans are bastards" thing. Not that this is really an issue per se, there's plenty of settings where humans are bastards, but here, it feels like such a sharp drift from the first film. To be more specific, we see a fair bit of General Aardmoore (basically think a female Quaritch), and the initial introduction is basically her chewing the scenery. It can basically be boiled down to "we're here to take the planet for humanity, don't like it tough, also I've got a special kill team ready to deploy to take out Jake). Things get toned down a bit when she gives her ultimatum to Hell's Gate, where the humans that remained on Pandora can either surrender and be accepted back into the RDA, no questions asked, or face the consequences, and over 50% of them accept. Basically, humans suck, and Neytiri is quite happy to remind us of it (which isn't always a problem, that'll be covered in the pros section).

-While less of an issue, the pacing is very fast. If Adapt or Die was slow and mellow, and The Next Shadow was at an average pace, High Ground keeps moving and never really stops. Again, not a problem per se, it's just not a pace that I feel works all the time.

So, those are the cons. I do have some pros, but for the most part, the comic is simply "okay." Average. Really, you could stop reading now, but if you want to know the few good things that truly stand out, they are:

-Kiri and Spider are kind of the MVPs, and as someone who isn't exactly adverse to shipping, arguably MVPs as well. You can discuss the ethics of me shipping humans with blue space elves, but if you can look past that, I bring this up because honestly, I think they get the best character development. Both are war orphans, but while Kiri's been adopted into Jake's family, Spider has to live with the knowledge that both his parents were "na'vi killers," who were killed in the battle in the first film. So on one hand, the friendship between them is actually kind of sweet, how Kiri never holds anything against him, and sees him as a pseudo brother. On the other hand, Neytiri hates Spider. Really, REALLY hates Spider, considering what the RDA did. I mentioned above about the whole "humans are evil" thing, but here, despite Spider being innocent from an objective sense, Neytiri's emotions are easy to understand. So when the poor kid finally cracks under her latest tongue-lashing...well, it's not exactly the most in-depth emotional anguish in the world, nor is it any in-depth look at the idea of generational guilt, but it's certainly one of the best moments in the comic.

-While more minor, I do appreciate the technical side of things. There's the nature of the ISVs themselves, how the people on the ground are able to spot them due to the brightness of their exhaust plumes, appearing as new stars in the Pandoran sky (given how their engines work, that's a nice bit of science). More practically, it does do Jake's character justice in that he understands better than anyone else how outmatched they are against the RDA, that humans will return eventually, and hence, his repeated drills of using the Valkyrie to train the na'vi and human allies to fight in zero-g. This works in a character sense as well, of Jake being frustrated by the more blase attitude of everyone around him, and how dogma can get in the way (e.g. many na'vi refusing to use human weapons, and likewise fearing that their ways are being lost due to his battle tactics). So considering that Jake's plan is basically a Hail Mary, that he's using his marine training to put it into motion (deny the enemy "the high ground," or more specifically, space superiority)...yeah. Doesn't salvage the comic, but I'll give credit where it's due.

So, yeah. Comic's okay, but also a letdown. If I had to rank the Avatar comics at this point it would go Next Shadow>Adapt or Die>High Ground>Tsu'tey's Path, but meh. I can always write KirixSpider fanfic in the meantime. :p
 

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Star Wars: Bounty Hunters - Target Valance (4/5)

I rated the previous Bounty Hunters graphic novel, but can't remember if I reviewed it. Basically, thought it was good, if not great. This, covering the next batch of issues, is better, mainly because it has a strong focus on one character (Valance) rather than a larger group. Also helps that the series is as ultra-violent as ever (in a good way), and generally fun overall. Can't say much more, but it made for a good read.
 

Hawki

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Stranger Things: Erica the Great (4/5)

So, disclaimer, I don't really know anything about Stranger Things, only that it's something to do with the 70s/80s, something about nostalgia for that period, something about C'thulu-esque monsters, or something. Chances are I got at least some of that wrong. But, whatever, the comic's easily readable as a stand-alone.

As the title suggests, the comic focuses on Erica, a.k.a. "Erica the Great," to use her DnD persona. Yeah, it's one of those stories, where events in the real-world are transposed via DnD, with her friends coming over, butting heads over her Dungeon Master style, cue drama, cue character development, etc. The comic's not doing anything that hasn't been done before, but it does it well, and I had the odd snigger or two. Neat read.
 

Hawki

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Wintersmith (3/5)

Okay, confession time, I've never really got into Discworld. Not for lack of trying - I took part in Guards, Guards! back in secondary school, where I played Carrot - but that aside, I just couldn't get into the books. Having read Wintersmith, it's probably my favourite of the, um, three I've read so far, but it's nothing special. It got a few sniggers from me, but nothing laugh-out-loud funny. Maybe Discworld just isn't my cup of tea.

Fine, overall, but nothing special. In the meantime, my rankings are as follows:

1: Wintersmith
2: Ms. Bradshaw's Handbook
3: The Colour of Magic
 

Chimpzy

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Bad Girl Exorcist Reina
Starts out a lighthearted comedy manga about an exorcist delinquent girl solving ghost and other supernatural problems by punching them real hard. And then chapter 45 comes along and shit gets real. As in child abuse and infanticide real.
 

Hawki

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Read some stuff:

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess – Volume 8 (4/5)

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess – Volume 9 (4/5)

Doctor Who: Thrilling Adventures in Time and Space (3/5)
 

Bob_McMillan

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I have discovered a terrible addiction of late, and that is Warhammer 40k books.

In the past weeks, I have read the following:

The Carrion Throne - Probably my favorite of this trilogy. Really sold everything you expect from Inquisitors, Terra, and the Custodes.
The Hollow Mountain - Meh. Felt very much like a filler, and Crowl being more unstable isn't as fun.
The Dark City - Had one very standout moment, but otherwise felt slow and the ending offputting.

The Emperor's Legion - Fun look at the Custodes again, but man am I just even more confused about them now.
The Regent's Shadow - Kind of a lesser version of the first book.

Plague War - The second book in these trilogies always seem to be somewhat weaker. The larger focus on the "faithful" of the Imperium is both interesting and really annoying.
Godblight - Guillliman always comes off as a bit daft, but the lore implications of this book are exciting.

The Swords of Calth - This is one of those books. The cheap, pointless little stories that feel like a waste of time, they're not even written well enough to be pointless but still enjoyable.

Dante - Dante is a fun character, but why do we have so many of these books that are essentially all setup?

Corax: Lord of Shadows - Corax is fucking idiot. Pretty disappointing book.

Jaghatai Khan: Warhawk of Chogoris - Fun, but seemingly like most of the primarch books, utterly pointless. The Khan is a cool dude though.

Eisenhorn Xenos - At long last I have read the most famous of Dan Abnett's work. The first person perspective did confuse me for a bit, but eventually I began to see why Eisenhorn is held in such high regard. I think Xenos is definitely the best of the trilogy.
Malleus - It was fun how consistently Abnett brings back characters who you know you should be expecting, but still pleasantly surprise you when they show up. As with all the books in the trilogy though, the villains are pretty disappointing.
Hereticus - I didn't like this one, mainly because of how isolated Eisenhorn becomes. You really bought into the friendships he's made along the way, to strip him off that isn't so interesting. The final though, or at least the setting for it, is incredibly fun though.

Ravenor - Was weirdly low stakes, although the concept behind it is fun.
Ravenor Returned - The conflict of the previous book has barely any bearing over this one, which is odd.
Ravenor Rogue - Just... weird. Didn't enjoy this one much at all. The time bending shenanigans were fun though.

Bequin: Pariah - Back to the 1st person format. Takes a little too long to get interesting, but boy does it become interesting.
 

Thaluikhain

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Eisenhorn Xenos - At long last I have read the most famous of Dan Abnett's work. The first person perspective did confuse me for a bit, but eventually I began to see why Eisenhorn is held in such high regard. I think Xenos is definitely the best of the trilogy.
Malleus - It was fun how consistently Abnett brings back characters who you know you should be expecting, but still pleasantly surprise you when they show up. As with all the books in the trilogy though, the villains are pretty disappointing.
Hereticus - I didn't like this one, mainly because of how isolated Eisenhorn becomes. You really bought into the friendships he's made along the way, to strip him off that isn't so interesting. The final though, or at least the setting for it, is incredibly fun though.

Ravenor - Was weirdly low stakes, although the concept behind it is fun.
Ravenor Returned - The conflict of the previous book has barely any bearing over this one, which is odd.
Ravenor Rogue - Just... weird. Didn't enjoy this one much at all. The time bending shenanigans were fun though.
Yeah, I enjoyed the Eisenhorn stories, but think they are over-rated. Actually, that's my opinion of Abnett as a whole, he's very much style over substance, but he's really got the style.

But he keeps adding more stuff to his stories, long past the point where he should have stopped and gone onto something else. Eisnehorn was fine, we didn't need Ravenor and all the other waffle that comes with it. Also, he keeps casually coming up with big, universe changing things that everyone has always known about but apparently never mentioned before, and he doesn't play well with shared universes.

In between the Ravenor series and the Bequin stuff is Magos, in which a bunch of unrelated short stories a reprinted and then rather contrively are made related to a new novel which has to refer to them all. It's still something of a page turner, but also quite a mess.
 

Bob_McMillan

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Yeah, I enjoyed the Eisenhorn stories, but think they are over-rated. Actually, that's my opinion of Abnett as a whole, he's very much style over substance, but he's really got the style.

But he keeps adding more stuff to his stories, long past the point where he should have stopped and gone onto something else. Eisnehorn was fine, we didn't need Ravenor and all the other waffle that comes with it. Also, he keeps casually coming up with big, universe changing things that everyone has always known about but apparently never mentioned before, and he doesn't play well with shared universes.

In between the Ravenor series and the Bequin stuff is Magos, in which a bunch of unrelated short stories a reprinted and then rather contrively are made related to a new novel which has to refer to them all. It's still something of a page turner, but also quite a mess.
Oh darn. I was told to read Bequin first, and then Magos. Oh well.

Yeah I can see what you mean by style over substance. As well as not playing well with the shared universe. It's kind of cute how their adventures consistently take place in what feels like a tiny little portion of the galaxy, despite the massive threats that are being combated.

As for overrated... Yeah I do think I was expecting more. Perhaps it's because I read a different Inquisition trilogy first, but a lot of Eisenhorn and Ravenor felt a little quaint. For Eisenhorn, the journey from puritan to essentially radical was really fun, but over time the impact of an Inquisitor was lost. They felt like any other shmuck. In the Vaults of Terra trilogy, they do sell the awful power of an Inquisitor much better. It's clear that Eisenhorn was written before the Inquisition became the meme it is today.
 

Thaluikhain

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18,745
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Oh darn. I was told to read Bequin first, and then Magos. Oh well.

Yeah I can see what you mean by style over substance. As well as not playing well with the shared universe. It's kind of cute how their adventures consistently take place in what feels like a tiny little portion of the galaxy, despite the massive threats that are being combated.

As for overrated... Yeah I do think I was expecting more. Perhaps it's because I read a different Inquisition trilogy first, but a lot of Eisenhorn and Ravenor felt a little quaint. For Eisenhorn, the journey from puritan to essentially radical was really fun, but over time the impact of an Inquisitor was lost. They felt like any other shmuck. In the Vaults of Terra trilogy, they do sell the awful power of an Inquisitor much better. It's clear that Eisenhorn was written before the Inquisition became the meme it is today.
Well, Inquistors and the enormous power they wield have been a thing for ages, long before Eisenhorn was written. I think the problem is that Abnett (and, to be fair, many others) have problems writing characters who are at once heroic in the conventional sense of contemporary fiction, and part of the absurdly dark 40k setting. So his characters bounce around. Sometimes an Inquisitor or Commissar will be happily burning innocents, because that's what they do, sometimes they'll be saving kittens because that's what heroes do.