View Full Version : Angels of Darkness & Descent of Angels (No spoilers...)

19-08-2008, 06:50
First, my hat is off to misters Thorpe and Scanlon. Now onto the matter at hand.

I read Descent of Angels back awhile ago and I must say that at that time it didn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Sure I thought it was decent, and definitively not "weak" as other members of this board have made it out to be - but as interesting as the first half of the book was, I had a hard time grasping the latter part. I suppose I was waiting to have the heresy and corruption of Luther handed to me in detail and the events described which led up to the destruction of Caliban. Instead I got a somewhat inconclusive ending and a lot of hints that something was off, but I was so focused on the actions of Luther that I never thought to ponder this any further.

Then, the other day I picked up Angels of Darkness. I was a bit doubtful, as I've never really thought the Dark angels' secret was that big a deal and the book seemed a bit short to be honest. But hey, I suppose they must've reprinted it for a reason and I picked up a copy.
Then as I began reading it, it all started to make sense, and not just within the context of this story. I began to understand why descent of angels had been written like it had, and the hints in it suddenly gave off a much greater rewards along with the ending when viewed in the light of the ambiguity presented in angels of darkness. It also added a whole other level of possible sinister being to the dark angels and their actions during the 13th black crusade among other things (they were involved in armageddon too weren't they?).

I guess I just wanted to applaud Gav Thorpe and Mitchell Scanlon both for handing us these great ambigious options regarding the dark angel's backstory. I think they both handled it in a superb way, and I just wanted to recommend anyone who's only read one or the other to do them both all over again.

I used to think the Dark Angels were a bit bland, but you've sure added a whole new level of mystery and intrigue to them. And most of all, rather than straightening everything out, you've left the readers with some wonderful options on how to interpret the background and good cause for discussion.

You've certainly given me an itch to do a small squad of fallen with cypher (if only they'd make a new model!)...

Anyone who's read both and has any more thoughts on this?

The Caliban Lion
04-09-2008, 23:04
I just finished reading both of them, and I think they were great.

My favorite is Descent of Angels, I think it has a very interesting story. To see how people unaware of the other inhabited worlds live their lives and how everything changes once they find out the truth. I actually thought it was pretty sad the way they changed Caliban and tore down the woods and killed all the beasts. Sure, I understand why it had to be done, but it's still a little sad to see something that interesting be exterminated.

I read a lot of negative opinions about this book before I started with it, but I wasn't dissapointed one bit. An amazing book, that's what it is. I hope there will be more from this author.

BTW: Does anyone know what kinds of creatures it was that were hidding among the population of Saroshi? Almost sounded like Horrors to me, which wouldn't be so strange since the "God" they were worshipping seemed very much like some daemon of Tzeentch to me.

Angels of Darkness was also a great read. I liked that it had some depth, and not just fighting (which is the case of many other marine stories I have read). I think that Astelan's story was the most fascinating, and I still wonder if it was true or not. Judging from the Lion's behavior in Descent of Angels, it wouldn't surprise me if it is.

A great book, but I still prefer Descent of Angels. The best thing BL has ever published.

06-09-2008, 14:30
Angels of Darkness is one of the best 40k novels. If the young Graham Greene had been a 40k enthusiast, he would have produced a book quite like it. It is more - far more - than another dollop of hardgore. Like Fulgrim and Flight of the Eisenstein, the better of the HH novels, it is first and foremost a character study. Psychological insight, distantly observed, crisply reported, is its strength. AOD deals in shades of grey, and it tells you something about human nature.

My hunch is that Gav's upcoming Malekith will play well to these traits, with an added dash of his trademark metaphysical concerns. It's a shame he will never now write a novel about the Badab War: It would have suited his concerns perfectly.

07-09-2008, 03:07
I read Angels of Darkness a few years ago. I wasn't that impressed with it then, so I wasn't too eager to read Scanlon's more recent tale about the same subject.

In all fairness, neither book is bad. However, the primary value either novel has is in providing us with a tiny glimmer of insight into the mystique of the Dark Angels history going back to before the Horus Heresy.

IMHO, that is really the only reason to read either novel. Angels of Darkness did not leave a lasting impression on me, like Double Eagle or Daemonworld.

Descent of Angels did not add much (if anything) to my understanding of the Horus Heresy or the involvement of the Dark Angels in it. Albeit, I understand the story takes place prior to the events in Horus Rising ... it really didn't leave me with much of anything other than a feeling that things were deliberately left hanging. I would understand if there is a sequel planned; otherwise ... I don't see how the novel really fits into the overall HH series, other than as an opportunity to reveal some history about the chapter. I came away understanding more from Fulgrim and Legion about each of the respective primarchs depicting in each novel and how they were to impact the coming civil war, but I still felt as if this had not been sufficiently explained in Descent of Angels.

Then again, that just may be the point. The DA chapter is all about secrets and things left unexplained, isn't it?

Overall, each novel is about on par for 40k fiction. It's just not on par with what I would expect for the Horus Heresy (re: Descent of Angels).

07-09-2008, 03:27
And there are sequels planned. It's to be a trilogy, like most other HH books are being planned as.

07-09-2008, 17:14
I thought Angels of Darkness was good (except for the ending) because it was very thematic regarding the way the Angels viewed their 'subjects'.

Descent of Angels was neat, because it really told a lot of stories. It's very incomplete, though, so I'm glad to read it's part of a larger trilogy.

07-09-2008, 21:26
There are definitely going to be more Dark Angels stories. Not sure about a trilogy, specifically, but definitely more books.

07-09-2008, 23:53
I have a soft spot in my heart for Thorpe's work, since he's actually produced some of the more enjoyable novels from the Black Library. That and perhaps the most significant addition to the 40k universe in quite some time (the 'fluff' on the Inquisition). So, erm, there we go.

Anyway, even if it wasn't for the first time that a BL author seriously challenged the status quo of the 40k universe (an alternate view to a piece of history - perish the thought!?), but he also introduced the laughable (funny laughable!) concept of "bendium."

Kudos, guy... :D