Top critical review
3.0 out of 5 starsWhat I expected, though I was hoping to be surprised.
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on April 5, 2010
I'm usually very skeptical of gaming-fiction. Without fail, it is usually poorly written and makes far to many thinly veiled references to the "game" beneath the story. And where a game has developed strong back-story (often over many years), it's usually true that a full-fledged novelization rarely does justice to the fragmented and wonderfully vague image I have in my head.
And while "Horus Rising" manages to steer clear of references to the tabletop game, it definitely doesn't quite live up to what I'd half-imagined over the many years that I have followed Game's Workshop's Warhammer 40'000 universe.
Somehow, I'd hoped that the writers would have left off telling things directly from the point of view of any of the Space Marines - let alone some of the biggest names in the story like Horus and Abbadon. By giving us an intimate and unfiltered look at these characters, much of the mystique that I'd so loved about the tale of the Heresy is laid bare. And unfortunately, while Abnett is a decent writer, he doesn't quite have what it takes to lend these characters the depth and power that they've always had in my own imagination.
To me, it might have been better to tell this story in a different format. Perhaps a collection of 3rd party accounts or logs from some of the Imerial Guardsmen that were present during key engagements would have left us with all of the story without over-exposing the details.
Regardless, "Horus Rising" does what it set out to do fairly well. It tells the tale of the time shortly before the corruption and fall of Horus and the beginning of humanity's bloodiest civil war.
I'll continue to read the books with hops that their quality stays at least this good and that some of my own favourite characters (Kharne, Ahriman) will show up eventually.