Sunday, April 18, 2010

Fallen Angels By Mike Lee

Fallen Angels is book eleven in the Horus Heresy series, and after turning a few pages I instantly realised it had been some time since I read the Horus Heresy book Decent of Angels (number six in the series) which is the book that Fallen Angels follows on from, and before you ask. Yes, you will have to have read Decent of Angels before you can read Fallen Angels. I began to feel nervous that I wouldn’t remember all the characters involved, or their individual emotions and personalities. Luckily for me, Mike Lee does a really good job of catching the reader back to where Decent left off, catching us back up with Zahariel, Nemiel and all the Dark Angles gang after the events of Sarosh and the fallout from that.

What I really loved about this book, was it seems Mike Lee has actually taken some criticism of Mitchel Scanlon’s slow paced and at times tedious to read Decent of Angels and really stepped it up a gear, both in terms of relating events to the Heresy and setting a cracking pace. What I think was the best factor about this book was its dual story lines. I loved the way they leap frogged each other throughout the book, almost to the stage of having two completely different stories but intertwined around a common Space Marine chapter and timeline. I often found i’d be more interested in one storyline more than the other, and would finish a chapter only to be faced with events on another planet between me, and finding out what happens next! Jumping between Caliban and Diamat was quite fun and Lee does a good job of leaving you hanging at the end of every chapter, but just when one story gets a bit bogged down, the other steps up and makes you keep smashing those chapters like a power fist through an ice cream cake.

I really enjoyed the development of extra characters, it was finally good to see the Lion in on the talking action and Luther as well, although I think he could have darkened Luther up a bit more myself, not an emo's eyeshadow dark, just a little darker. The battles were up to the standard we expect from Heresy novels, so no qualms there either. Well written, bloody and brutal, just as 40K should be!

The best bit for me was the way the book finished! The best ending/cliff-hanger I’ve read in a book for a while. I just loved it. I actually think I said the words ‘oh you’re kidding me!’ out aloud as I read the last few lines. Such a good way to finish a book, I can’t wait for the third one in this Heresy’s Dark Angels story arch now, but I guess I’ll just have to wait like the rest of us. I would have liked a bit more ‘Daemon’ action from the events on Caliban, I think Lee probably could have done more with that, but i guess I’m just nit picking.

Overall I have to say Lee did an excellent job. Fun, fast and gripping. It would have been hard to take over someone else’s story (Mitchel Scanlon wrote Decent of Angels) let alone take over from a story that copped a lot of criticism about being boring, dull and unrelated to the Heresy story line. But well done Mike Lee, I loved it.

High point: The last page... finally! A twist that isn’t obvious and you don’t see coming! And honestly left me shocked.
Low point: The fact that both story arches never meet in this book


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