Thursday, August 5, 2010

Raven's Flight By Gav Thorpe

Raven’s Flight centres around the events after the drop site massacre at Istvaan V. Sequentially, it fits in where Galaxy in flames and Fulgrim left off. So if like me, you’re desperate to find out what has become of the Raven Guard, Salamanders and Iron Hands after Galaxy in Flames, then this audio book is the answer to your prayers. The story involves Primarch Corax and what’s left of his Raven Guard legion of Space Marines and their desperate struggle to survive against the combined might of the traitor legions on Istvaan V. You see, Corax managed to escape the drop site betrayal, and along with a few thousand of his Space Marines, is fighting a losing battle to stay hidden and alive. Meanwhile the combined might of the Iron Warriors and World Eaters legions attempts to hunt down and destroy them. The narrative jumps between Corax and his efforts on Istvaan V, to the Raven Guards homeworld Deliverance. Where a Colonel of the Imperial army is having dreams he believes are a warning that all is not well at Istvaan. Unfortunately, the small force of Raven Guard left in charge at Deliverance fail to agree with the Colonel, and an ensuring debate about whether to rush to Corax’s aid or stay put on Deliverance as ordered, slowly unfolds to the listener. I won’t reveal all the details as to the fate of the Raven Guard and Corax, but if you know your 40K history, then you’re bound to know the outcome before beginning this audio book.

Despite one chapter of the audio book dedicated to a battle between the remaining Raven Guard and an armoured Iron Warriors force. The book surprisingly does not contain much action. Instead, Thorpe uses this time to reflect on the history of the Raven Guard and in particular Corax. This is done mostly by flashbacks and Corax’s memories as he contemplates the fallout of Istvaan. For those of you interested in Raven Guard history, it’s a fantastic insight into Corax before the Emperor’s intervention on Deliverance, and also into the thinking and rational of the Raven Guard Primarch as he stands now during the Great Crusade. I did find the alternate storyline back on Deliverance rather boring. Most of the time I was just waiting for it to be over so the action would shift back to Istvaan which was far more interesting and engaging. The one battle that is described is unique in that it’s told from Corax’s point of view. If you think a Primarch couldn’t take out 3 Thunderstrikes, a predator tank, a terminator squad and several squads of tactical marines single-handedly, then I’m afraid you’re dead wrong.

The voice acting in Raven’s Flight is quite good. The narrator Toby Longworth does a commendable job of differentiating his voice to make the reader believe they are listening to several different characters speak. I’m pleased to say that unlike in previous Horus Heresy audio books, the Primarch doesn’t sound like he hasn’t hit puberty yet (see my review regarding Rogal Dorn in The Dark King/The Lightening Tower). Primarch and Space Marines voices are deep and resounding like you would imagine them to be, although one of Corax’s veterans could use an asthma puffer. The sound effects for this audio drama have also improved over earlier versions, not so much the battle effects. More so the general sound effects in the background during non-action sequences. In particular, listen out for great shower, shaving and dressing effects as Colonel Valerius gets prepared in the morning. You really do feel like you’re there with him, well not directly in the shower with him as that would be a little uncomfortable.

Overall, I did enjoy the audio book. Some parts did get a little boring, but the ensuring action back on Istvaan does more than enough to make up for these slower parts of the story. The history regarding Corax is the real treasure here, as until now, Corax has been a very absent figure from the Horus Heresy series. However, some plot holes regarding the extraction of Corax and his men from Istvaan V did bother me, and despite all the action centred around the Raven Guard Primarch. There is no dedicated describing of Corax’s appearance, so the entire time he’s speaking it’s hard to imagine how he looks, because of this I found his appearance more of a mental blur in my mind rather than a defined figure. A bit disappointing.

High Point: Learning about Corax’s unique and very secret special ability. I will say no more.

Low Point: The plot hole regarding Corax’s rescue from Istvaan. How did one single Raven Guard ship slip past all the Traitor Legion fleets anchored around Istvaan V, make an aggressive rescue drop and get back out alive again? I just can’t see how this is plausible. And there is no description in the audio book as to how this was achieved.


1 comment:


    cheers mate. :)