Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rynn's World By Steve Parker

Rynn’s World is the first in a new series of Space Marine Battles novels from the Black Library. Essentially, the new Battles series is the retelling of famous battles the Space Marines have participated in over the time since the Heresy, the series will involve many different chapters and will all be stand alone titles with no sequential reading needed. Rynn’s World involves the historic battle of the Crimson Fist’s Space Marines chapter against a massive Ork Waaagh!(a massive Ork crusade for those playing at home) descends upon their homeworld. Imaginatively called... Rynn’s World.

For the first time, The Crimson Fists chapter finally get to have their moment in the spotlight, Author Steve Parker spends the first few chapters of the book really delving into the chapter’s inner most workings from structure, doctrine and important characters to describing their fortress monastery Arx Tyrannus. Unfortunately, you don’t get much time to get acquainted with many of the chapter’s characters as before long an Ork Waaagh! of unseen proportions, descends upon their homeworld and goes to work on systematically reducing it to a burnt cinder. Without spoiling the plot too much for you, a chance event renders the Crimson Fists chapter to ruins with the majority of their number dead and Arx Tyrannus a smoking crater in the ground. What’s left of the chapter remains fighting off the Ork horde from the planets last bastion of defence, the homeworld capital New Rynn City. Much of the book centres around the fighting at the capital city, but to break up the action, a parallel side story involving the survivors from Arx Tyrannus gives the reader an experience of the Ork Waaagh! from a more up close and personal perspective. If you don’t already know, which as a 40K fan you should, the Crimsons Fists only barley survive the Ork Waaagh! and are left with a Chapter and homework in tatters.

While I did kind of enjoy the book, there were things I did not love about Rynn’s World. Firstly I found that I had some trouble connecting with a lot of the Crimson Fist characters. To some degree this is due to most of the characters dying very quickly. But even the characters that manage to make it to the end only started to grow on me by the last third of the book. By the time I found myself actually caring for their welfare, the book was over. I wonder if that comes down to the actual way it is written by Parker, or the Space Marine chapter itself, which tended to be lacking some uniqueness. The story could have easily been about the Imperial Fists or Ultramarines... just with different colours.

Secondly, what I felt the story was crying out for is a known 40K conundrum. With such a heavy Ork influence, the book begs for a chapter or two from the Ork’s perspective. The major problem with this being, writing such a chapter would be near impossible considering humans are supposed to have no idea how an Ork thinks or feels. This is further compounded by the fact that reading Ork language for any long periods of time gives most readers headaches. Yet, I just kept feeling like a few small chapters telling the same story from the Ork’s perspective would have made what is an ok book into a good book. On the positive side, Steve Parker does his best to describe in detail Ork culture and warfare from the eyes of the Imperium. In this respect he does a commendable job.

Besides the above problems I had with the book, the series is called Space Marine Battles for a reason, if you love fighting, fighting and more fighting. You won’t be disappointed by this book. Once the first few chapters are out of the way it’s basically action all the way to the finish and beyond. While some readers may love this, others may like their 40K with engaging dialogue and complex plots. Although I enjoy the latter, you can’t pick up a battles novel and expect it to be the next Horus Rising can you? In that respect, Rynn’s World delivers exactly what it intends to. The telling of a famous event in Imperial history with a dump truck of action thrown in. Just don’t expect an emotional roller coaster.

High point: Space Marine death match with a power armoured Ork Warboss (basically a Terminator equivalent Ork). And just when you think it’s done and dusted, someone makes a surprising comeback.

Low point: Not getting to see some Titan vs Gargant action!



  1. Great Review mate! Thanks for subscribing to our new location! glad to see you are still able to review with the daughter around. Its a testament to your skill. :)

  2. Thanks Ploss, now that the 'little angel' is finally sleeping through the night, im getting time to start reading again before bed. THANK GOD! i was beginning to think she'd never sleep right through. nice to see you've got TFF a full domain to itself.

  3. Nice review, totally agree with your final score. At the end of the day I didn't really feel that the book told anyone's story. There was a fight, the end of which we really don't see. It was a weird read for me.