I must say I’m pretty darn proud of myself. I said I was going to read two Horus Heresy books a month so I could finish the series this year, and so far, I have done so. Granted, it’s only the end of February, so I have plenty of time to muck up this goal. But for now, I am powering on with the latest short story collection, War Without End.
Where to begin with this book. I don’t even know.
With the first third of the book, I would have said nothing was hot. I’ll get to why in a bit. But then I read Nick Kyme’s “The Phoenician,” and the bastard made me tear up. The story takes place on Istvaan V, which initially annoyed me. You know how many books ago was Istvaan V? Can we progress, please? However, the story is told from the point of view of a dying Iron Hand watching the infamous fight between Ferrus and Fulgrim. As much as I want to share exactly why the story choked me up, I don’t want to spoil it; it’s that chilling. If you don’t want to torture yourself with the entire book—and I recommend that you do NOT—the short story is available for individual purchase.
Nick Kyme kicked me in the feelings once again with “Imperfect.” I thought this was a flashback to happier times, before the talking sword, a time when Fulgrim and Ferrus Manus played regicide together as bosom buddies. It wasn’t. Congrats once again, Mr. Kyme; you got me to tear up while I was working out.
Nothing else stood out like those two stories, although a few others supplied little tidbits I enjoyed. I’m fond of the primarchs reflecting on the personalities of their brothers and how they interact with one another, and quite a few stories doled this out in spades. We learned how much Vulkan really wanted to help Konrad Curze. Then we turn to Mortarion, who appears to hate every single one of his brothers, yet yearns for the attention from his Father.
Once again, the answer is pretty much everything else within War Without End. That said, I have a message for Mr. McNeill in particular.
Sir, I love your writing. I love about 95% of your books. I can tell you really love the battle of Molech. But for the love of God, man; nobody cares how the planet got to the point it was in that book. It wasn’t important why Albard’s Knight didn’t bond with him. I honestly think the fact that Lyx orchestrated the Knight to not bond with him cheapened the whole thing. The fact he failed to bond and was damaged irreparably from it was tragic. Now that we know it was all by design, it’s simply sinister, and now far less intriguing.
And for the love of PETE, nobody cares what happened to the perpetual and her adopted family after they escaped Molech. Alivia was useless on Molech, and her story about saving her daughter on the ship is just as useless. It serves nothing and no one.
This short story collection was book-ended with these two stories about Molech, which pretty much soured everything else. If I hadn’t wiped tears and tweeted about a few stories, I might have written off this whole collection as drivel. I would have forgotten about this amazing line from Guy Haley’s “Twisted”:
Now, he despised the Davinites mainly for their weakness. They were craven, scheming, always whispering to those stronger than themselves, and on the lookout for some advantage. In Erebus they had found a kindred soul.
I literally laughed out loud when I heard that. This was the second to last story in the book, and my delight was nearly wiped clean upon hearing Alivia’s name.
I know I’ve said this before, but I had really hoped that Jen’s hatred toward the perpetuals was either overblown or just one of her “things.” We all have them, after all. I was not prepared for how useless and meaningless the perpetuals are. And yet for some reason, they’re hammered in like they’re the best ideas in Warhammer ever. They cheapen the overall storytelling. I don’t know why these authors don’t see that.
Since I doubt War Without End is the last collection of short stories in the Horus Heresy, I’m sure the perpetuals worm their way there as well. So exciting.
Thirty-three books down, 21 books to go.
Horus Hearsay is dedicated to Keri’s journey through the Horus Heresy saga. The chronicling of the Horus Heresy began over ten years ago, with currently 54 books in total, not counting The Primarchs series or the various short stories. Horus Hearsay will only cover the main novels.