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Ar-Gimilzor
11-08-2010, 05:43
Title says it all: what's the worst novel you've had the misfortune of reading/purchasing from BL? I'd nominate Masters of Magic. I was quite shocked by this book; there's an amber magister who casts jade spells, the "shadow" spells seem to belong more in the bright or celestial lores, and there's a female amethyst wizard--which isn't in and of itself intolerable, but she turns out to be a seductress spy--who seduces the stern and indomitable Ludwig Schwartzhelm who states quite clearly he doesn't trust spellcasters, then hops into bed with her in the next scene. Oh, and the book makes it pretty clear it wasn't an enchantment or anything--he just wanted magic poon, apparently. Then we have a belligerent and tantrum-throwing Balthasar Gelt who, last I checked, was supposed to be an unnervingly calm and logical man in a golden mask. Finally, we have the head of the Amethyst College uncharacteristically obsessed with politics and gaining power, something directly contradicted by the excellent Realms of Sorcery. Overall this thing was a trainwreck--I can tolerate small creative liberties, heck I didn't even complain about the controversial bits in the Darkblade series, but this one was just a monumental disaster.

So what was your worst reading experience?

Paraelix
11-08-2010, 05:56
Who was the author of that one?

Seville
11-08-2010, 06:08
Well, it's not a Fantasy book, but, I'd say the worst Black Library book(s) I've read were the Eisenhorn books by Dan Abnett. God awful. Just horrid. I can't believe I trudged through all 800 pages.

Then again, the first Soul Drinkers book was so bad I couldn't finish it.

Son of Sanguinius
11-08-2010, 06:21
Worst Black Library novel? Battle for the Abyss, hands down.
Worst Fantasy Black Library novel? I'd have to say Defenders of Ulthuan, though I haven't read all of them.

Ar-Gimilzor
11-08-2010, 06:29
Who was the author of that one?
Chris Wraight, though I read one of his more recent short stories and his knowledge of the setting seems to have improved considerably. Still, I was rather irate that I not only spent money but time on that novel. A simple perusal of RoS would've prevented most, if not all of the issues with the book.

Nicha11
11-08-2010, 06:35
I really disliked "Legion".

darkstar
11-08-2010, 08:26
Considering that two of my favourite BL books have already been mentioned, I doubt I'll be in vogue here, but I found Guardians of the Forest to be utterly unreadable. Emo elves and orgies, really? Nothing happens throughout the entire first half of the book that I read.

One of the few books that I have ever given up on reading.

ltsobel
11-08-2010, 08:33
The Vampire Wars trilogy, i may be missing out but couldnt even finish the first one.

Ar-Gimilzor
11-08-2010, 08:54
Considering that two of my favourite BL books have already been mentioned, I doubt I'll be in vogue here, but I found Guardians of the Forest to be utterly unreadable. Emo elves and orgies, really? Nothing happens throughout the entire first half of the book that I read.

One of the few books that I have ever given up on reading.
Interesting, Guardians of the Forest is widely considered to be one of the best novels. The main character's wife and retinue get killed right at the beginning and the action pops up regularly from that point on so I'm not sure why you'd say that. It's also very true to the Wood Elf lore.


I agree that Vampire Wars was pretty dry and plodding--I'm not a big fan of Savile's writing style. Still, I wouldn't call it unreadable.

darkstar
11-08-2010, 09:52
I think my disagreement with Guardians of the Forest is McNeil's writing style. I never did properly find it that gripping. Bear in mind, though, that I haven't tried reading that book in years.

mrtn
11-08-2010, 10:06
I have a hard time forgiving Dan Abnett for giving Tilea a tropical climate in Fell Cargo.

geeksquared
11-08-2010, 10:17
Any of the Blood Angels series.

Commissar Vaughn
11-08-2010, 14:20
What, I can only pick one? ;) Mark Of Chaos.

To be honest I havnt found many Black Library books I did enjoy. Ciaphas Cain was about it. The rest of the ones Ive read were pretty dire, though Mark Of Chaos really stands out.

Then again there isnt a huge amount of Fantasy/Scifi books of any sort that dont read like a poor Fanfic of themselves.

Which is a pity becouse I really like the Idea of Fantasy/scifi stories: its just that so often the pictures I can see in my head are far better than the ones they can draw with their words....

Lars Porsenna
11-08-2010, 14:27
I tried reading Defenders of Ulthuan (being a HE fan -- my first fantasy army), and couldn't finish it. But the worst BL book I've read in a while is actually Sons of Dorn, with an unneccessary murder plot triangle, and lackluster pacing.

Damon.

madden
11-08-2010, 15:01
The blood angles ones by swallow were dire I actually liked the vampire wars and esinhorn ones the soul drinkers were bad and so were the culpernia ones the fantasy ones I dislike are ofelo trilogy I've not read many fantasy ones mainly gotrex ones so there are ones I can't judge.

Jedi152
11-08-2010, 15:14
I have a hard time forgiving Dan Abnett for giving Tilea a tropical climate in Fell Cargo.

Yes, apprently Tilea is in the Caribbean. :wtf:

Here are a list that i didn't enjoy:

Curse of the Necrarch; Just didn't really go anywhere. Characters were hard to care about etc.
Magestorm; Dull generic Storm of Chaos book.
Day of the Daemon; Gave up after 50 pages or so.
Defenders of Ulthuan; I'm just not a massive fan of elves and Ulthuan.

Not a bad story but badly written: Forged in Blood.

I loved Guardians of the Forest, my only criticism is that it reads like an army book. Too many unit types are jammed in there.

dragonet111
11-08-2010, 15:14
Any of the Blood Angels series.

I'm a Blood Angels fanboy:D and a pretty forgiving reader. As long as I have some fun reading I find a book great but the BA novels are the worst thing I have ever read from Black Library, the story is boring, the action is boring, the whole series is boring.

Next contestant is Battle for the Abyss, also a boring book.

DarthSte
11-08-2010, 15:25
Well, it's not a Fantasy book, but, I'd say the worst Black Library book(s) I've read were the Eisenhorn books by Dan Abnett. God awful. Just horrid. I can't believe I trudged through all 800 pages.


LOL. I'd have say that the Eisenhorn trilogy was the best BL book I'd read!!

I hated Fulgrim. Utterly. Haven't read a 40K book since that one. In fact, I think I've only played one game of 40K since reading that... It shocked me out of the hobby. :p:mad:

Son of Sanguinius
11-08-2010, 19:28
LOL. I'd have say that the Eisenhorn trilogy was the best BL book I'd read!!

I hated Fulgrim. Utterly. Haven't read a 40K book since that one. In fact, I think I've only played one game of 40K since reading that... It shocked me out of the hobby. :p:mad:

Fulgrim was fine until they needed a sword to corrupt a Primarch, then it got irritating. Then Fulgrim punched out an Avatar, and I got pissed. Then McNeill did an utterly hopeless job describing the fight between Fulgrim and Ferrus, and I almost walked away from the Horus Heresy series. BL and GW are lucky that grimdark is addicting.

spetswalshe
11-08-2010, 19:53
I'd nominate Masters of Magic.

From reading your summary, I had assumed this was a book from back in the day, when the lore wasn't really developed. Then I discovered that book came out in 2008, and, should I ever see a copy, never will I make the mistake of touching it with my bare skin.

My experience of actual novels is limited, but I could give you a hefty list of utterly sub-par (and that's not a very high par) short stories. Most of them seem to be 40k, though; the only Fantasy novel I've read lately was Iron Company, which I suppose is passable, it just doesn't have much of a plot. A rather dull seige, by Empire troops, against Empire troops; it feels like a generic late medieval novel given a couple of Warhammer additions at the last minute. The best part is the beginning, really.

fer
11-08-2010, 20:02
I really disliked "Legion".
finished that last night...its up there in terms of bad...

none of the Florin and Lorenzo books were particularly good..

souldrinker trilogy was pretty bad as well

ewe come to think of it I have read a lot of terrible BL books :/

Ar-Gimilzor
11-08-2010, 20:20
From reading your summary, I had assumed this was a book from back in the day, when the lore wasn't really developed. Then I discovered that book came out in 2008, and, should I ever see a copy, never will I make the mistake of touching it with my bare skin.
Well, at least I've saved one fan from the horrors of that book ;) Spread the word! That thing should be banned until it gets a re-write.

mrtn
11-08-2010, 20:38
I loved Guardians of the Forest, my only criticism is that it reads like an army book. Too many unit types are jammed in there.
That's not the only book with those kinds of problems. Grudge Bearer by Gav have the same issues, especially the battle against the night goblins reads like a fluff piece from an old White Dwarf battle report.

Lordsaradain
11-08-2010, 20:41
The Vampire Wars trilogy, i may be missing out but couldnt even finish the first one.

Agree. Read them only because I got the book as a birthday present but I hated it.
The KOnrad saga as well, it's just TOO retro.

DarthSte
11-08-2010, 20:52
The Konrad saga is old school though, it first came out long before The Black Library was formed.

bravey
11-08-2010, 20:54
Ice guard! So bad, the chaos leader was the most stereotyped bad-guy ever, plus the battles were not descriptive enough. Flesh and Iron was very good, but I hated the ending.

Proctorkorps
11-08-2010, 22:00
lol phew i was considering buying Masters of Magic, thanks!;)

Heroes of the Space Marines was kinna crappy, just a compilation of short stories, and all of them ending up as "oh im a space marine and my armor and weapons are all a billion-phillion times better than yours"

from my experience, Gav Thorp sucks at author(ing?)

Verm1s
11-08-2010, 22:41
Sticking with fantasy: A Murder in Marienburg. Right from the start I had to fight through all the clunky, tired old fantasy/RPG cliches that the author could find to throw at me. I dunno if I remember most of them, but it's coming back...

The surly, antiheroic protagonist (a watchman). The type who'll break your arms for dropping litter.
He has a painful, mysterious past. He might also be an orphan.
He has a slimy, self-serving boss.
And all his fellow watchmen are crooked thugs. He's the only man of (questionable) morals in a corrupt police force.
The first tavern he enters erupts into a pub brawl.
He kicks everyone's asses.
There is a mysterious stranger watching him from their seat in the shadowy corner. They're completely concealed by their cloak and hood.
After the brawl, the stranger approaches the protag. They pull back their hood to reveal she is the Hot Chick(tm).
She's a super-spy. She has a job for him.
She meets with the protag's boss. He acts all oily and pervy and one-dimensional. By now the story is so predictable that it comes as no surprise that she knees him in the groin and saunters from his office.

All cemented together with a thin layer of writing that'd make your average fanfiction look like Tolstoy.

I think that was as far as I got, at the end of chapter two. I threw the book against the wall and didn't look at it again 'til I sold it to some poor sap on ebay.

spetswalshe
11-08-2010, 22:41
Heroes of the Space Marines was kinna crappy, just a compilation of short stories, and all of them ending up as "oh im a space marine and my armor and weapons are all a billion-phillion times better than yours"

I totally agree. I wouldn't read a book titled 'US Armoured Divisions Take On Domestic Cats' either.


from my experience, Gav Thorp sucks at author(ing?)

I totally challenge you to a duel. You may choose weapons. However, you may not choose 'time'. Thorpe may be funny lookin' but he knows what he's doing.

Korraz
11-08-2010, 22:52
Masters of Magic...just Masters of Magic.

And Eisenhorn was great.

Proctorkorps
11-08-2010, 22:55
I totally challenge you to a duel. You may choose weapons. However, you may not choose 'time'. Thorpe may be funny lookin' but he knows what he's doing.

lol whoa i said "from my experience" the last book i read by gav was the very first Colonel Schaeffer book, which wasn't the best. and he had a first-person perspective, which was both strange and vaguely irritating

brotherhostower
11-08-2010, 23:21
Avoid Dawn of War... backflipping Terminators... *gag* I was also not entertained by Sons of Dorn (and up until that book, all Imperial Fists were actually kinda... they had their own flavor, this book just tore that apart).
Soul Drinkers was... not very good either, readable but not good. Blood Angels was, they need to make up a word for how bad, I can't even fathom one right now.

I haven't read most WFB books from BL, but the ones I've picked up have been entertaining (the Sundering books, The Vampire Wars, Genevieve, Fell Cargo, Riders of the Dead, Malus), if not masterpieces of literature. But I'm more picky about the fantasy genre and tend not to have the urge to read them all, ulike the 40k stuff... alot of which makes me want to stab myself in the eye sometimes just to make it stop.

enyoss
11-08-2010, 23:40
Sticking to the Fantasy universe, I wasn't a fan of Drachenfels when I read it. I can't imagine it has got much better with age either.

In the 40K universe, I have to admit that although Battle for the Abyss wasn't great overall I did like the description of what happens when a ship's Gellar Field fails. Apart from that, I wish I could go back in time and tell myself not to bother reading Mechanicum or Descent of Angels. It would be worth risking the universe-ending paradox.

Ar-Gimilzor
12-08-2010, 01:10
I actually kinda like it when they pack in a bunch of unit types, as long as they make an effort to integrate them and make their presence feel as natural as possible... I think GotF did a pretty good job in that regard.

shakedown47
12-08-2010, 04:48
I'll start by saying that I haven't read that many Black Library novels, but that's because my experiences have only encouraged me not to.

Most of the Black Library novels, IMO, are the literary equivalent to an '80s GI Joe episode; i.e. nothing more than a half hour long commercial (or six-hour read, as the case may be.)

To pick one, though, I'll throw in with the Defenders of Ulthuan group. The book's plot was largely driven by the High Elves armybook special characters section, and was so non-sensical as to be downright annoying. I would have put it down a hundred pages in, but it bothers me not to finish a book. Do yourself a favor and avoid it.

Draconian77
12-08-2010, 04:56
You do all realise, of course, that I now want to read all of the mentioned books just to see if they're "that bad" don't you? Curses...

Leogun_91
12-08-2010, 05:49
Sticking with fantasy: A Murder in Marienburg.
I actually liked it, the start wasn't the good part but it felt much like a game of WFRP and I even based a roleplaying game off it once to great succes.

Masters of Magic...just Masters of Magic.Yeah it did kind of suck.

Ar-Gimilzor
12-08-2010, 06:16
You do all realise, of course, that I now want to read all of the mentioned books just to see if they're "that bad" don't you? Curses...
I'll send you my copy of Masters of Magic... keep in mind it'll be in a tightly chained box with a "toxic" symbol on it :p

Halelel
12-08-2010, 06:32
Day of the Daemon, I literally hate that book. Seriously, I tore pages out in anger after I finished it. It was that bad.

The problem I have with some of the BL novels is that they don't stick to the fluff and instead take on their own liberal concepts of certain places, characters, and armies. I'd like to see GW maybe help by assigning certain writers to specific armies, specializing in a background.

Cause right now it feels equivalent to me writing a novel set in ancient Rome using a Frommer's guide

Son of Sanguinius
12-08-2010, 07:04
Day of the Daemon, I literally hate that book. Seriously, I tore pages out in anger after I finished it. It was that bad.

You couldn't have returned it to the store or something? :p


The problem I have with some of the BL novels is that they don't stick to the fluff and instead take on their own liberal concepts of certain places, characters, and armies. I'd like to see GW maybe help by assigning certain writers to specific armies, specializing in a background.

Cause right now it feels equivalent to me writing a novel set in ancient Rome using a Frommer's guide

What do you consider "fluff?" I would have put the novels in that category. If you're referring to the rulebook and army books, remember that they are just that- sets of rules that need limitations for theoretically effective gameplay. The novels are primarily explorations of the setting. The rulebooks are primarily presentations of battles within the setting to be used as inspiration for playing the game. That said, that doesn't mean the novels do a good job by any stretch. :)

Toddums
12-08-2010, 07:25
I'm not sure it was a black library novel, but it was a warhammer one for sure. Witchhunter I believe it was called. I couldn't make it through it.

Jedi152
12-08-2010, 07:50
Some books are good, they just have a few flawed premises.

The Burning Shore was a great read. Good setting and story, except for one thing: The protagonist lies his way aboard a ship bound for Lustria and somehow winds up pretending he's a great leader.

Haha, so we can expect hijinks as he tries to bluff his way through stuff and ends up with everything going his way out of sheer luck?

No. He's really good at it. Better than the expedition leaders who are military veterans. With no training. And he's a kid.


Sticking with fantasy: A Murder in Marienburg.
It was so generic, it could have easily fitted into any fantasy setting (hell, if it weren't for the cliched characters it could have been Discworld), but i enjoyed the story (aside from the classic ass kicking super sexy young love interest).


I actually kinda like it when they pack in a bunch of unit types, as long as they make an effort to integrate them and make their presence feel as natural as possible... I think GotF did a pretty good job in that regard.

I like to think the tabletop game doesn't relate to the novels so well. It just feels forced whenever multiple units from the game show up. I felt it was a failing of GotF: Literally every unit in the army book is represented exactly as they appear in the Army Book. Same as Grudge Bearer as someone said.

chilledenuff
12-08-2010, 09:02
40k? Iron Handsby Jonathan Green.. I read it, but it was a chore and I can't remember any of the plot (it was that unmemorable )
Fantasy, It's a gotrek and felix book!! Orcslayer by Nathan Long. I probably was expecting too much of it, I loved William Kings stories about the 2 characters but Nathan Long's versions didn't seem to match. I've not read another of his Gotrek & Felix books since.

DarthSte
12-08-2010, 09:54
40k? Iron Handsby Jonathan Green.. I read it, but it was a chore and I can't remember any of the plot (it was that unmemorable )
Fantasy, It's a gotrek and felix book!! Orcslayer by Nathan Long. I probably was expecting too much of it, I loved William Kings stories about the 2 characters but Nathan Long's versions didn't seem to match. I've not read another of his Gotrek & Felix books since.

I've just read the seven of Bill Kings books, in the omnibus collections, so I own but have not yet read Orcslayer and Manslayer. I will give them a go, but think I'll leave a couple of months to lose the BillKingMagicTM.
Now that Nathan Long has written 5 Gotrek novels as well as the audiobook, I'm hoping that Orcslayer may have just been him finding his feet with the characters.
One thing that concerns me, before reading them, is that in his introduction to the third omnibus he talks about taking over the characters from Bill King, how they are big shoes to fill and so on, but he seems to be talking about a different Gotrek and Felix to the ones I'd been reading about. It almost feels as if he were talking about taking the relationship between them back to before they'd gone to the wastes in Daemonslayer.

RobC
12-08-2010, 10:06
My conclusion from reading this thread: taste is subjective, and it's impossible to take a critique seriously if it reads as though someone had a keyboard–face moment.

Cap'n Facebeard
12-08-2010, 10:19
And he's a kid.

Things where kids save the day make me cringe.

Fell Cargo was one of the worst books I've ever read, let alone just from Black Library, and I read Goosebumps books as a teen. It seemed as though things should be exciting and / or amusing, but just were not. I could have been reading a wikipedia entry about fantasy pirates. Plus everyone and their dog has a pistol or rifle, which seems odd in the Warhammer world. Also, Tilea =/= Carribean.

The Vampire Wars trilogy was another one. I'm all involved with the witch hunter main character whose friend has been turned. What will happen? Oh wait, now he's dead. Now I'm supposed to suddenly swap focus to Jerek Krueger, who comes across as a drunken hobo on a horse, even though I know he'll be dead soon, too. Kind of kills the immersion, there. I didn't even read on to see him die, which is saying something considering how he evoked such an immediate hatred.

Made me glad I'd borrowed both from the library. Go crummy paperback shelves!

RobC
12-08-2010, 10:26
The Vampire Wars trilogy was another one. I'm all involved with the witch hunter main character whose friend has been turned. What will happen? Oh wait, now he's dead. Now I'm supposed to suddenly swap focus to Jerek Krueger, who comes across as a drunken hobo on a horse, even though I know he'll be dead soon, too. Kind of kills the immersion, there. I didn't even read on to see him die, which is saying something considering how he evoked such an immediate hatred.I've not read this book so I can't comment in detail, but I'm curious about the change in protagonist.

Most novels follow a very strict structure: the protagonist is identified, suspense is created, and the tension rises and falls until we reach the conclusion. Only rarely is the protagonist killed off before the end of the story.

As a way to subvert the form, I see no problem with it. But is your dislike of the book rooted in this 'cheated' feeling, or something more fundamental, such as the storytelling or general plot?

AndrewGPaul
12-08-2010, 10:57
Title says it all: what's the worst novel you've had the misfortune of reading/purchasing from BL? I'd nominate Masters of Magic. I was quite shocked by this book; there's an amber magister who casts jade spells, the "shadow" spells seem to belong more in the bright or celestial lores, and there's a female amethyst wizard--which isn't in and of itself intolerable, but she turns out to be a seductress spy--who seduces the stern and indomitable Ludwig Schwartzhelm who states quite clearly he doesn't trust spellcasters, then hops into bed with her in the next scene. Oh, and the book makes it pretty clear it wasn't an enchantment or anything--he just wanted magic poon, apparently. Then we have a belligerent and tantrum-throwing Balthasar Gelt who, last I checked, was supposed to be an unnervingly calm and logical man in a golden mask. Finally, we have the head of the Amethyst College uncharacteristically obsessed with politics and gaining power, something directly contradicted by the excellent Realms of Sorcery. Overall this thing was a trainwreck--I can tolerate small creative liberties, heck I didn't even complain about the controversial bits in the Darkblade series, but this one was just a monumental disaster.

So what was your worst reading experience?


So, was the book badly-written? I've not read it, but other than the apparent poor use of exisiting characters, I don't see anything above that's a deal-breaker.

In general, are we taking "worst" to mean badly written or just that it disagrees with some fluff details?

The third Konrad novel (Shadowbreed?) is probably the worst Warhammer novel I've read - the plot goes nowhere, Skaven pop up for no good reason and the story arc from the first two novels is summarily ditched when the author suddenly realises he's run out of room and ends the book abruptly.

Orcslayer is the weakest of the G&F novels, since Nathan Long hasn't quite got the hang of the characters. I'm not keen on the overall antagonist, either; it just doesn't have a particularly Warhammer-y feel to it.

The third Last Chancers novel was a bit aof a disappointment, really - the ending simply doesn't work with the 1st-person past-tense narrative. Still nowhere near as dreadful as Battle for the Abyss, though.

major soma
12-08-2010, 11:17
Interesting, Guardians of the Forest is widely considered to be one of the best novels. The main character's wife and retinue get killed right at the beginning and the action pops up regularly from that point on so I'm not sure why you'd say that. It's also very true to the Wood Elf lore.

That would be because the WE army book and the novel were deliberately written at the same time in a similar way to how 2001 a space oddessy was made as a movie and a book at the same time. Essentially they have to be both read an or watched to get different facets of the plot.

My fav would be Beasts in Velvet my worst probably Chaos Child which I believe is OOP.

Verm1s
12-08-2010, 12:01
Haha, so we can expect hijinks as he tries to bluff his way through stuff and ends up with everything going his way out of sheer luck?

That's part of what put me off Caiaphas Cain. I enjoyed the Inferno! short stories, but it got tired quick when it was dragged out to novel length. It also helped build up what a self-serving, unsympathetic jerk the character is, which made the parts where Sandy M. tried to inject 'depth' - by making him temporarily blaze with moral outrage - jar even more. I dunno if the Flashman novels are like that, or if they're better-written and something I'd enjoy a lot, but Sandy Mitchell discourages me from having a look.
And the retrospective foreshadowing was ridiculous. If Caiaphas Cain was a character in The Sixth Sense, you'd hear his retired-memoirs narration at the start: "If I had known that Bruce Willis was dead the whole time..."

First point is kinda the same for the Malus Darkblade novels. It was one of my favourite Warhammer Monthly strips, and I missed the end of book IV when the comic was dumped. So I was pleased to see the first novel appear with Dan Abnett's name on it; but after the first couple of chapters I realised it wasn't so much 'Dan Abnett and Mike Lee' as 'Mike Lee diluting Dan Abnett's comics to make them stretch a lot further'. Not the worst BL book I've read (making it a little off-topic), but it was one of the biggest disappointments. A Murder in Marienburg put me off BL for a couple of years until I picked this up. It almost put me off again.
But, yeah. Stretching. The first novel was loosely based on the first two parts of book I, each of which took up a handful of pages in a thin issue of WHM. It didn't translate well, IMO.
And everyone shrugs. That got under my skin in an unexpected and maddening way. You'd begin to wonder if the entire population of Naggaroth was afflicted with some kind of palsy. Everyone, shrugging, shrugging all the time. A lazy, flippant gesture that turns up in every serious - let alone life-or-death - situation. The only way it'd be worse is if the BL printed new editions with each instance of shrugging replaced with the exact phrase "Durr... me no know."

Read the book again and imagine that. Go on. I'll wait here.


My conclusion from reading this thread: taste is subjective, and it's impossible to take a critique seriously if it reads as though someone had a keyboard–face moment.

There's always one.

Artinam
12-08-2010, 12:06
Knight Errant and Knight of the Realm, entertaining as a Bretonnian player but the fluff was rather bland.. story was alright though but the description of the land itself was copy pasted from the armybook without any effort. No attempt was made to change stereotypes of Peasants and with some very small exception the world is as you read it in the codex including witty remarks.

All Peasants are filth, al nobles are more or less arrogant but noble and glorious.
The description of Grail Knights were pretty much epic... Neo from the Matrix epic.

AndrewGPaul
12-08-2010, 12:08
My fav would be Beasts in Velvet my worst probably Chaos Child which I believe is OOP.

I love Beasts in Velvet! crime noir in Altdorf, fantastic.

Chaos Child is still in print as part of the Inquisition War omnibus, as far as I'm aware.

Oguleth
12-08-2010, 12:09
40k it would be... Salamander. The characters are incredibly dull, winning by superior tactics is just bringing in the artillery and building up conflict loses out to an average forum spam thread about pie vs cake.

Fantasy... The Wine of Dreams. I read that ages and ages ago, and I still want a refund of the time I spent reading that. Mostly the writing and descriptions; I think it was the first book I ever read where I wasn't happy about the actual writing, making it seem even worse. The overall plot wasn't that bad, but it kinda drowned in it all...

Jedi152
12-08-2010, 12:23
The Wine of Dreams was awesome until the ridiculous tacked on battle at the end. I get the feeling that BL forced him to write a battle ending.

Ah, they've found the monastry where the wine is made and snuck in! Now we get to the intricate sneaky ... oh wait, no. They just run in, grab the girl, escape back to the town and get attacked by beastmen.

Chaos should be the insidious threat that haunts your dreams and tempts you from within, not big men in spiky armour.

RobC
12-08-2010, 12:26
Totally agreed with Jedi152: Wine of Dreams is a great story spoiled by a gratuitous battle scene. You could almost feel the author's dismay at having to 'sex up' the story.

Middenmordheimer
12-08-2010, 12:27
i'm reading dark storm gathering its pretty good but the over use of the term hissed is just annoying the ****** outta me.
Its like there a bunch of cats and snakes hissing at each other ahhhh!

Jedi152
12-08-2010, 12:32
That's as bad as Curse of the Necrarch. I swear the sentence "coterie of the damned" is mentioned at least once per paragraph.

@RobC: That's why i love a lot of the old chaos short stories like A Gardener in Parravon, The Light of Transfiguration and The Blessed Ones. No rubbish tacked on battle to keep teenage boys interested.

RobC
12-08-2010, 13:22
@RobC: That's why i love a lot of the old chaos short stories like A Gardener in Parravon, The Light of Transfiguration and The Blessed Ones. No rubbish tacked on battle to keep teenage boys interested.Brian Craig was writing spooky stories set in the Warhammer world, and they worked really well. I can understand BL's reasoning for focusing on high-action stories when they first launched, but I never understood why that precluded having other tones to their output, or getting authors to go against their style. Warhammer fiction works best when the horror of the setting is played to the hilt.

Magos Saphentos
12-08-2010, 13:59
In my opinion some of the worst Bl books are the Withhunter books by C.L Werner i just didn't like the style of it and i read a lot of books so this is saying something for me.

wolf99
12-08-2010, 14:05
I found Vermintide by Bruno Lee pretty staggeringly bad. Quite amateurish and badly written. Suprised therefore to discover that C.L. Werner, whose Brunner books I'd enjoyed, was actually the man responsible.

I'm fairly amazed to see someone nominating Drachenfels as the worst book. That I just don't get.

Jedi152
12-08-2010, 14:39
Yes, CL Werner wanted Vermintide released under a pseudonym because he didn't want to be known as 'the Skaven guy'.

Or could it be that he wasn't proud of the finished product? ;)

If we're including background books, Darkness Rising. I paid £1 for it in the BL sale and still can't be bothered to read it. The Storm of Chaos is staggeringly dull.

chrach
12-08-2010, 14:51
Sons of Dorn read like a 5th grader's first attempt at fiction.
The first soul drinkers novel was also awful. How incredibly dumb can Sarpedon be? He sprouts multiple legs and thinks it's a gift from the Emperor.

Tregar
12-08-2010, 16:50
I think I might have to agree with Vermintide. I was pretty surprised to find that it was set in Waldenhof, which is actually the main town of Sylvania (Bigger than Drakenhof even), and that "Bruno" had decided to make it capital of Stirland. Set around the time of the Storm of Chaos (as the vast majority of the BL WHFB books seem to be), you'd think that issues like Mannfred von Carstein reclaiming the province would have been a bigger concern than Skaven stealing ancient Dwarf Gyrocoptors, but hey what do we know?

Also was quite unconvinced by the recent Sword of Justice. Funny to read in this thread that in another book old Ludwig made the beast with two backs with your typical fantasy schlock heroine, when SoJ portrays him as if he'd never touch a woman again, ever. Oh well, not had the pleasure of reading MoM :)

Ar-Gimilzor
12-08-2010, 17:31
So, was the book badly-written? I've not read it, but other than the apparent poor use of exisiting characters, I don't see anything above that's a deal-breaker.
I'm not sure what you mean by "badly-written"; the writing style was ok and the overall plot was also functional, but the characters and their abilities were all wrong. The femme fatale should've been a Grey Wizard, if anything; the whole "cowardly witch hunter finds Ludwig in bed with witch" subplot should've never seen the light of day; the main character should've been a Bright Wizard; the Amber Wizard should've been casting, you know, Amber spells (this goes for most of the other wizards in the book as well); Ludwig's role generally seemed more suited to his rival, Kurt Helborg; and the list goes on. When you get something as basic as the nature of magic wrong in a book that's supposed to be a focus on, well, magic, then the whole thing is a write-off. I also disagree with your cavalier treatment of "poor use of existing characters"; if a book screws up the characters, how can it be readable? I remember Lindsey Priestly talking about how they select short stories to be published during their contests, and that something like an "inexperienced inquisitor" simply didn't exist and would be grounds for an outright rejection. How this particular book made it through the editing/publishing process is beyond me.

RobC
12-08-2010, 19:11
I think what Andrew is asking is: if you were reading it without prior knowledge of the setting, would you have enjoyed it?

A book can be well written without sticking to established background. Dan Abnett's output is chock-full of strictly non-canon stuff, but as he's a writer (and the Games Design team are primarily games designers), he sometimes comes up with stuff that's superior to the original. There are even instances where his creation becomes canon.

HK-47
12-08-2010, 20:04
The worst fantasy BL book I ever read has to be Palace of the Plague Lord by C. L. Werner. Not only is it badly written but there is barely anything Nurgle in it at all! I mean it's called "Palace of the Plague Lord" and it has the same cover as the venerable Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned so you think it would be filled to the brim with stuff on Nurgle, but no Nurgle followers so up until chapter fourteen, of a twenty chapter book, and the only one who talks is the antagonist and he is your stereotypical evil sorcerer that lives in a castle guarded by a dragon. Really! That's the best he could have come up with! The ending is just hilarious with a Lord of Change popping out of nowhere saying how everything that happened was all part of his master plan.

The book should be called Conan Wannabe and His Band of Two Dimensional Misfits Get Trick Into Doing Tzeentch's Dirty Work and the cover should have been Just as Planned (http://api.ning.com/files/WthpBUyi5Su4UuKYC2HBAmcFXXX6fKOFFhQ6bNwkf2heoADwRL E2L4beTvmxOeFr9d0jTuwlqtYog5QilvX7n1NboYumBEqm/Just_as_planned_tzeentch.jpg), because that's what the book is really about.

AndrewGPaul
12-08-2010, 20:11
Sigh. Ninjas. :(


I think what Andrew is asking is: if you were reading it without prior knowledge of the setting, would you have enjoyed it?
Precisely.

As to the characterisation of the wizards, I'm not understanding the problem. Yes, they may be atypical of their orders, but then, fantasy protagonists often are. :) Consider the wizard in the Felix & Gotrek series - hardly a traditional Gold wizard. Then there's the equally non-traditional Celestial wizard in Elfslayer.

What do you mean by the "Amber wizard casting Jade spells"? Was he literally written as casting a spell named in the Lore of Life (which would be jarring, I admit), or was it just that the effects as described sound more like the College of Jade than of Amber? If the latter, well, it seems reasonable that like any other spectrum, the boundaries are somewhat fuzzy. The Warhammer rulebook doesn't detail every spell they can learn, after all.

Ar-Gimilzor, you're actually selling me on this book, precisely because of the liberties it takes with the 'canon', crappy cover notwithstanding. :)

Ar-Gimilzor
12-08-2010, 21:00
I think what Andrew is asking is: if you were reading it without prior knowledge of the setting, would you have enjoyed it?
If I didn't have prior knowledge of the setting, I probably wouldn't be reading it. If I read that book first and found out later it didn't conform to the rest of the canon, I'd still be irate. It's a Warhammer novel, and that means it needs to conform to the rest of the setting. If GW starts getting lax with that, then I'll stop spending my money.


A book can be well written without sticking to established background. Dan Abnett's output is chock-full of strictly non-canon stuff, but as he's a writer (and the Games Design team are primarily games designers), he sometimes comes up with stuff that's superior to the original. There are even instances where his creation becomes canon.
There are degrees of "non-canon". When something is ridiculously off, like Tilea being tropical, or a character being completely out-of-character for no reason, then there's no excuse for it. When there's a new creation which slots into the setting without shaking things up too much, then I don't have much of an issue with that.


As to the characterisation of the wizards, I'm not understanding the problem. Yes, they may be atypical of their orders, but then, fantasy protagonists often are. :) Consider the wizard in the Felix & Gotrek series - hardly a traditional Gold wizard. Then there's the equally non-traditional Celestial wizard in Elfslayer.
No, no, no. Wizards are human and they have varying characteristics, that's fine. What isn't fine is when they are the total opposite of what they're supposed to be. I mean, what's the point of a setting if you're going to sit around breaking every rule? If you do, there needs to be a damn good explanation for it (and this book certainly gives none). Amethyst wizards are grim, serious, hermetic and non-political for the most part. They are affected by the wind they manipulate, and are one of the strictest orders. They do not have female super-spies who throw sleeping powder into people's faces and seduce generals. A less strict college may have greater leeway in how their magisters act (the Jade college even going so far as to allow marriage).


What do you mean by the "Amber wizard casting Jade spells"? Was he literally written as casting a spell named in the Lore of Life (which would be jarring, I admit), or was it just that the effects as described sound more like the College of Jade than of Amber? If the latter, well, it seems reasonable that like any other spectrum, the boundaries are somewhat fuzzy. The Warhammer rulebook doesn't detail every spell they can learn, after all.
The boundaries are clear. Jade = flora, Amber = fauna. He summons leaves and most of his spells manipulate plants. I'm not sure how much more Jade it gets, short of actually naming the spells (and none of the spells are named in this book).


Ar-Gimilzor, you're actually selling me on this book, precisely because of the liberties it takes with the 'canon', crappy cover notwithstanding. :)
Be my guest, but for the discerning fan it's a definate no-go.


The worst fantasy BL book I ever read has to be Palace of the Plague Lord by C. L. Werner. Not only is it badly written but there is barely anything Nurgle in it at all! I mean it's called "Palace of the Plague Lord" and it has the same cover as the venerable Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned so you think it would be filled to the brim with stuff on Nurgle, but no Nurgle followers so up until chapter fourteen, of a twenty chapter book, and the only one who talks is the antagonist and he is your stereotypical evil sorcerer that lives in a castle guarded by a dragon. Really! That's the best he could have come up with! The ending is just hilarious with with a Lord of Change popping out of nowhere saying how everything that happened was all part of his master plan.

The book should be called Conan Wannabe and His Band of Two Dimensional Misfits Get Trick Into Doing Tzeentch's Dirty Work and the cover should have been Just as Planned (http://api.ning.com/files/WthpBUyi5Su4UuKYC2HBAmcFXXX6fKOFFhQ6bNwkf2heoADwRL E2L4beTvmxOeFr9d0jTuwlqtYog5QilvX7n1NboYumBEqm/Just_as_planned_tzeentch.jpg), because that's what the book is really about.
:wtf: Thanks for the heads up.

AndrewGPaul
12-08-2010, 22:26
No, no, no. Wizards are human and they have varying characteristics, that's fine. What isn't fine is when they are the total opposite of what they're supposed to be. I mean, what's the point of a setting if you're going to sit around breaking every rule? If you do, there needs to be a damn good explanation for it (and this book certainly gives none). Amethyst wizards are grim, serious, hermetic and non-political for the most part.

There you go, you said it yourself. :)

Ad for the nature of the colleges, I'll need to flick through the Realms of Sorcery book; I don't have a copy of that at present.

Ar-Gimilzor
13-08-2010, 00:57
There you go, you said it yourself. :)

Ad for the nature of the colleges, I'll need to flick through the Realms of Sorcery book; I don't have a copy of that at present.
Yeah, meaning they aren't oily, scheming masterminds with femme fatale spies at their command. They don't even bother with really trying for the Patriarch position--and suddenly we're expected to believe what we get in the book?

Pick up RoS, it'll help fill in the gaps.

zerorocky
13-08-2010, 01:47
I haven't read too many, but the last half of the Vampire Trilogy was a pain to get through. Very jarring scene switches robbed the story of it's flow.

Caiphas Cain
13-08-2010, 02:49
I finished Brunner The Bounty Hunter a week or so ago, and do not recommend it. Brunner, the main character (as you might has guessed) is so increadably dull and one dimensional. He's a bounty hunter, he doesn't like company, and trys to hide how boring he really is by acting distant and mysterious. The plot line leaves a bit to be desired as well. This is how the books go - Someone approches Brunner, offers him a job. Brunner acts badass. Person that wishes to hire Brunner gets mad at his disrespect. They hire him anyway. Brunner goes to visit a mutant that knows where to find the man he is looking for to get information. Brunner goes on an "adventure" (rides for several days, which takes up three chapters with nothing interesting happening). Brunner finds the man he is looking for. Brunner kills/captures the man he is looking for. Brunner gets paid. The End.

Ar-Gimilzor
13-08-2010, 03:11
I finished Brunner The Bounty Hunter a week or so ago, and do not recommend it. Brunner, the main character (as you might has guessed) is so increadably dull and one dimensional. He's a bounty hunter, he doesn't like company, and trys to hide how boring he really is by acting distant and mysterious. The plot line leaves a bit to be desired as well. This is how the books go - Someone approches Brunner, offers him a job. Brunner acts badass. Person that wishes to hire Brunner gets mad at his disrespect. They hire him anyway. Brunner goes to visit a mutant that knows where to find the man he is looking for to get information. Brunner goes on an "adventure" (rides for several days, which takes up three chapters with nothing interesting happening). Brunner finds the man he is looking for. Brunner kills/captures the man he is looking for. Brunner gets paid. The End.
I remember reading a short story with him in it and telling myself "I'm avoiding Brunner books like the plague". Same goes for Matthias Thulmann.

shredshredxx
13-08-2010, 03:36
curse of the necrarch, impossibly ill-concieved head and shoulders above the rest. totally undeveloped characters, direct contradictions with established lore, an ending that screams "couldn't meet the deadline" with no resolution and untied loose ends, you name it.

awesome cover though.

Nicha11
13-08-2010, 04:12
Same goes for Matthias Thulmann.

I really enjoyed the Matthias books, don't discount because of an extact.

Cap'n Facebeard
13-08-2010, 07:56
I've not read this book so I can't comment in detail, but I'm curious about the change in protagonist.

Most novels follow a very strict structure: the protagonist is identified, suspense is created, and the tension rises and falls until we reach the conclusion. Only rarely is the protagonist killed off before the end of the story.

As a way to subvert the form, I see no problem with it. But is your dislike of the book rooted in this 'cheated' feeling, or something more fundamental, such as the storytelling or general plot?

The writing was about par for the BL course, I didn't find Von Carstein to be a particularly creepy villain, instead he seemed too stereotype Dracula (I know, I know, that's part of the point). But I think anyone would feel a bit cheated with that first book, as the Witch Hunter characters have cool backstory, personal involvement, get close to Vlad and his minions and one gets turned. So yeah, awesome set up for a personal vendetta to carry on through the first book, I thought.

Whoops, no, he's dead in an offhand manner. Now enjoy master tactician Jerek Krueger with awesome tactics such as "run at them there dead things" (not an actual quote, unfortunately).

RobC
13-08-2010, 09:55
If I didn't have prior knowledge of the setting, I probably wouldn't be reading it. If I read that book first and found out later it didn't conform to the rest of the canon, I'd still be irate. It's a Warhammer novel, and that means it needs to conform to the rest of the setting. If GW starts getting lax with that, then I'll stop spending my money.That wasn't my question. What I'm getting at is whether the actual story, sans background FUBAR, was any good.

Imagine a crime novel set in somewhere exotic but suitably obscure: Addis Ababa, for example. You read the book, having no prior knowledge of the town, and enjoy it immensely. Whether or not the book is true to the real place would be irrelevent to your enjoyment.

I think it's important to distinguish between the various elements that make a novel 'bad'. This is especially so when you look over the comments so far and notice that some highly regarded novels are being cited, often with no reason more detailed than 'because'.

Take Drachenfels, for instance. It's widely regarded as one of the best Warhammer novels. It's also wildly divergent from the current background. Does that make it a 'bad' novel?

Ar-Gimilzor
13-08-2010, 13:57
That wasn't my question. What I'm getting at is whether the actual story, sans background FUBAR, was any good.
It was acceptable, I suppose. I still hold that the book is damned though because it has the "Warhammer" label on it, and as someone mentioned it doesn't even have the excuse of being old-school. The author simply didn't know his background when he wrote it, pure and simple, so it breaks the very rules a higher-up in BL laid down (as I mentioned in a previous post).


Take Drachenfels, for instance. It's widely regarded as one of the best Warhammer novels. It's also wildly divergent from the current background. Does that make it a 'bad' novel?
I read this one awhile ago, how was it wildly divergent?

RobC
13-08-2010, 14:08
I read this one awhile ago, how was it wildly divergent?Let me see...




Genevieve had no bloodline, nor was she 'properly' undead.
There's a pub in Altdorf where the undead hang out.
Genevieve is accepted in Empire society, albeit to varying degrees.
There's a retirement home for the undead, somewhere in Ostermark.
There are vampire dwarfs and giants, and weirder things.
The provinces are old-school: Sudenland still exists, and it has an elector (Johann von Mecklenberg).
Drachenfels is quite clearly cut from the same cloth as Nagash (or, rather, vice versa).
Karl Franz has a son and wife.



And many other minor things that don't spring to mind at present. The first point was partly resolved with the revised BL edition, and the later changes in vampire background.

But still: Drachenfels is a great novel, regardless of the liberties Kim Newman took with the setting (he contradicted stuff that was true even in the late 80s), and the essence of the story is undeniably Warhammer.

Lord Zarkov
13-08-2010, 15:01
Although...


Genevieve had no bloodline, nor was she 'properly' undead.
In her opinion not properly undead, IMO the descriptions of her fit it well with explanations of vampires in Liber Necris and NDM.
There's a pub in Altdorf where the undead hang out.
Slightly glaring in Dracenfels, but explained slightly better in Silver Nails - it is hidden from human eyes (although that leaves the plot hole of how Oswald found it)
Genevieve is accepted in Empire society, albeit to varying degrees.
There's a retirement home for the undead, somewhere in Ostermark.
Agreed, she is accepted far more than she should be, even as a 'heronine of the Empire', and the fact that it seems to be known to humans (oddly Genevieve didn't seem to know if it existed/where it was until she went there, but Oswald knew where it was, and the nearby villagers seem aware of what it is) seems wrong, but the idea of a hidden retreat of that sort seems reasonble to my mind - over the span of their lives I can imagine that sort of novel experience might appeal to some vampires
There are vampire dwarfs and giants, and weirder things.
Certainly in the case of Baron Wietzak I read it as Vampire giant rather than Vampire Giant (and that turn of phrase is sued in other fiction). He's a Strigoi and they're supposed to be big anyway. Elder Honario maybe is meant to be an actual Dwarf, but then again he was described as wearing out of fashion human clothes (although that might have been in one of the sequals) so maybe not. It's not like the book makes a point of people confusing Dwarfs with dwarfs.
The provinces are old-school: Sudenland still exists, and it has an elector (Johann von Mecklenberg).
This is the main clash point, especially in the later books where it becomes much more obvious (and more central to the plots). Along with the King of Brettonia in Beasts in Velvet, since Louis Louencoeur's reign starts before Karl Franz's in the current timeline.
Drachenfels is quite clearly cut from the same cloth as Nagash (or, rather, vice versa).
yeah that's true "Great Enchanter" vs "Great Necromancer" and all. Castle Dranchenfels is still on the map though
Karl Franz has a son and wife.
Doesn't really contradict anything, Karl Franz almost certainly does have a wife, and probably children as well - nearly all of the other electors do (and it would pretty much be expected of him given the setting).


Responces in Bold Italic

Ar-Gimilzor
13-08-2010, 15:02
Let me see...




Genevieve had no bloodline, nor was she 'properly' undead.
There's a pub in Altdorf where the undead hang out.
Genevieve is accepted in Empire society, albeit to varying degrees.
There's a retirement home for the undead, somewhere in Ostermark.
There are vampire dwarfs and giants, and weirder things.
The provinces are old-school: Sudenland still exists, and it has an elector (Johann von Mecklenberg).
Drachenfels is quite clearly cut from the same cloth as Nagash (or, rather, vice versa).
Karl Franz has a son and wife.



And many other minor things that don't spring to mind at present. The first point was partly resolved with the revised BL edition, and the later changes in vampire background.

But still: Drachenfels is a great novel, regardless of the liberties Kim Newman took with the setting (he contradicted stuff that was true even in the late 80s), and the essence of the story is undeniably Warhammer.
To address a few of the points I remember...
I think she was a Lahmian. The pub is mentioned in WFRP if I recall, so it's official. She's "accepted" because she was acknowledged as a hero by an emperor... but she still faces alot of trouble from people who aren't as well informed as they should be. I don't recall the retirement home, but if it was secret it could probably survive. I don't remember vampire dwarfs or anything like that in the revised edition, but WFRP specifically states it isn't impossible. I'm not sure about the timelines when it comes to the Karl-Franz and Sudenland points, so you may be right there.

AndrewGPaul
13-08-2010, 15:20
To be fair, Kim Newman was told that if he wanted to deviate from the existing material in the interest of telling a good story, then GW would be open to amending the background to suit him.

Also, given the age of the novel, it's fair to say that the differences are a result of GW not staying true to the novel, rather than the other way round.

The same thing happened in 40K, with Ian Watson making up the Imperial Fists background out of whole cloth, or the portrayal of the Imperial Guard after the success of the Gaunt's Ghosts series.

Tregar
13-08-2010, 17:18
I don't know why people are complaining about Fell Cargo with Tilea being portrayed as Caribbean; the parts set in Caribbean stylee are all in the massive island chain off the coast of ESTALIA, not Tilea. These islands have no real-world equivalent so why not have them tropical, and, err, like a chain of islands?


The writing was about par for the BL course, I didn't find Von Carstein to be a particularly creepy villain, instead he seemed too stereotype Dracula (I know, I know, that's part of the point). But I think anyone would feel a bit cheated with that first book, as the Witch Hunter characters have cool backstory, personal involvement, get close to Vlad and his minions and one gets turned. So yeah, awesome set up for a personal vendetta to carry on through the first book, I thought.

This becomes even more tragic when you consider what the author had planned- the Jon Skellan would reveal, while being tortured by his captors at the end, that he also goes by the name of....... Konrad. Instead, the trilogy got neutered.

enyoss
13-08-2010, 17:49
'because'.
Take Drachenfels, for instance. It's widely regarded as one of the best Warhammer novels. It's also wildly divergent from the current background. Does that make it a 'bad' novel?

It wasn't the fact that it was wildly divergent from the background that bothered me really. Afterall, as has been said, the background was quite different back then and nowhere near as developed as it is now. My main gripe with Drachenfels was its style, the ill-placed callous and sardonic wit to make us hate the guys we're supposed to hate just irked, and I thought the main characters were too thin (in character that is). In contrast, I thought some other books around that time had better characterization and seemed less hackneyed. I seem to remember liking Storm Warriors in particular, and we know where that lies on the background divergence spectrum.

BobtheInquisitor
13-08-2010, 19:49
Considering that two of my favourite BL books have already been mentioned, I doubt I'll be in vogue here, but I found Guardians of the Forest to be utterly unreadable. Emo elves and orgies, really? Nothing happens throughout the entire first half of the book that I read.

One of the few books that I have ever given up on reading.

I had the same problem with GotF. I put it down for about a year, until I received some elf models and figured I should try to read the rest of the book. The second time, I made it far enough that the book started to improve dramatically. The elves remain total dingleberries throughout, which is the point according to The McNeill, but all the parts featuring the Bretonnian character are excellent, and the ending is quite good.

Same thing with Empire and Defenders of Ulthuan. In fact, it seems like most McNeill books take two tries to get through, but turn out to be worth it. Maybe he just needs a harsh mistress of an editor.

mrtn
13-08-2010, 23:33
I don't know why people are complaining about Fell Cargo with Tilea being portrayed as Caribbean; the parts set in Caribbean stylee are all in the massive island chain off the coast of ESTALIA, not Tilea. These islands have no real-world equivalent so why not have them tropical, and, err, like a chain of islands?That's the first divergence right there, there are no "massive" island chain off Estalia. Incidentally, the small island chain that do exist is part of Tilea, as is Tobaro on the "Estalian" mainland east of the Abasko mountains.

Their real world equivalent is the Balearic islands, which certainly don't have a tropical climate, since they're not in a part of the world where that's possible...

Proctorkorps
14-08-2010, 03:21
it's been mentioned before (not sure if it was in this thread or another) that authors have sometimes written something up that soon becomes canon. this one just didn't seem to catch i guess.

Tregar
14-08-2010, 13:30
That's the first divergence right there, there are no "massive" island chain off Estalia. Incidentally, the small island chain that do exist is part of Tilea, as is Tobaro on the "Estalian" mainland east of the Abasko mountains.

Whether they're massive or not I dunno, they seem to be about 400 miles wide and numbering a good couple of dozen, no doubt with numerous smaller islands that aren't on maps? Seems like they could take a while to navigate.


Their real world equivalent is the Balearic islands, which certainly don't have a tropical climate, since they're not in a part of the world where that's possible...

Granted I haven't been posting here long, but do you really need me to tell you that what the real world is like, and what the warhammer world is like, are two separate things? The Balaerics consist of three islands, not 20, and they don't hug the coast like the islands off the Estalian coast. Moreover, the Balaerics don't exist in a fantasy world where mountains talk and forests walk- the warhammer world is one of extremes, especially where climates are involved. In short, they're different- so don't act like the fact they're different is wrong!

mrtn
14-08-2010, 22:34
The warhammer world is closely based on ours, with a few important differences such as Ulthuan and the Chaos Wastes. By looking at the world map you know that Araby will be hot and dry and that Lustria will be tropical. This is how the world is set up. Abnett pulled that tropical island shenanigan out of his behind because it fit his story, and for no other reason.

Jedi152
15-08-2010, 09:37
I think it's safe to say that the Caribbean is the best source of pirate imagery, but in Warhammer pirates tend to be based around Sartosa and Estalia, so Abnett combined the two.

mrtn
15-08-2010, 10:21
I think it's safe to say that the Caribbean is the best source of pirate imagery, but in Warhammer pirates tend to be based around Sartosa and Estalia, so Abnett combined the two.

Sartosa, yes, certainly, that's old fluff. I can't remember any Estalian pirates though.

Tregar
15-08-2010, 12:30
Well, I would assume that pirates are any and all nationalities, much like bandits- although obviously Tileans are the most famous for their pirates. I recall in the first Florin/Lorenzo novel there were a fair few pirate vessels around the coast of Lustria. The whole description of piracy like an industry in Fell Cargo seemed a little off- just too clinical! So you have ships regularly go to Lutria to pick up treasure, then on the way back they get accosted by pirates and whoever is fastest wins.

Still have no problem with Dan Abnett transplanting the style of the Caribbean to those islands though! Basically all that it matters is that the islands have thick jungle-style terrain to them. It makes good sense that many of them contain ports- and given that they have had zero characterisation before now, why not? What I associate with the Balaerics is rockin' clubbing and drunken Albionite revellers. I doubt that this would translate to the warhammer world all the effectively ;)

Tak
15-08-2010, 13:01
My conclusion from reading this thread: taste is subjective, and it's impossible to take a critique seriously if it reads as though someone had a keyboard–face moment.

Yes, YES I couldn't agree with you more RobC. It's amazing how peoples opinions differ, for instance: over in the 40k forum someone set up a vote on what the best Horus Heresy novel was (Im aware that this is the WFB forum but bare with me) and the book that had by far the most votes was Legion but if you read some of the earlier posts in this thread some people would have you believe that it's the worst Black Library book PERIOD!

Also, Eisenhorn and Fulgrim were two of the best books that Iv'e EVER read in my life but someone from earlier stated that while Eisenhorn was very much enjoyed by them, Fulgrim was most definitely NOT.

Iv'e stopped listening to what people have to say about any particular title because one mans Cheryl Cole is another mans Maj Bishop (except maybe Sons of Dorn which was a crime against Mankind);)

Each to their own.

BobtheInquisitor
16-08-2010, 01:35
The problem with Fulgrim, which i loved, is that a good book can really become a great book when the editor does his job, too. That's a hint to the black Library.

The worst edited book in all of BL, in my opinion, is Dead Sky Black Sun. I'm sure there's a good book in there somewhere, but the edition that reached publication nearly killed the Uriel Ventris series for me, and has killed it for many fans I know. McNeil is a great writer, but he's becoming a victim of his own success. Like Stephen King, Tom Clancy and Harry Turtledove, McNeil has reached a level of success where editors fear to touch his work too much. You can feel the lack of a properly ruthless editor in almost all of his recent works, fantastic as they are, and they suffer for it. The recent Gaunt's Ghosts novels have the same problem, but in that case it's harder to tell since the author is only half-assing it, anyway.

nagash66
16-08-2010, 17:39
BA books +1 a truly bad set of novels.

Sheena Easton
16-08-2010, 22:55
Dark Apostle, Eldar Prophesy, Vampire Wars trilogy, Malekith, The rest of the TOL books, Orcslayer, everything by CS Goto, one of the Dwarf ones

BobtheInquisitor
17-08-2010, 07:54
Which Dwarf one? Grudge Bearer? That one was pretty bad, but I don't know if I'd say it's in the "worst" category.

Scelerat
17-08-2010, 12:15
Not exactly horrid, but I thought the overuse of the expression "shook him like a terrier would shake a rat*" was pretty annoying in Malus.
All the books have that EXACT sentence in the same EXACT context: a Cold One killing a human or human-sized creature. Lazy writing.



*May not be with those words in the English version. After all, I read the Spanish translation.

Verm1s
17-08-2010, 22:08
I remember reading a short story with him in it and telling myself "I'm avoiding Brunner books like the plague".

Heh! Ditto. That was another warhammerified version of an iconic character IIRC - The Man With No Name. Shame, 'cos the Fistful of Dollars trilogy ranks high on my list of movies (see avatar); but Brunner seemed to lack what made the original character and movies interesting and likeable (ruthless mercenaries as they both are), replacing it with thick-headed sullenness and belligerence.

But at the same time it's hard to convey extreme eyeball close-ups; drawn-out pistol duels; and OTT meh-hee-can accents in a novel set in a faux-HRE fantasy world.


Not exactly horrid, but I thought the overuse of the expression "shook him like a terrier would shake a rat*" was pretty annoying in Malus.
All the books have that EXACT sentence in the same EXACT context: a Cold One killing a human or human-sized creature. Lazy writing.

See, he gets it. :p Mike 'Poh' Lee 'Filla'.

Grey Hunter 88
19-08-2010, 03:28
Worst BL book I've ever read, and to be quite honest definitely a contender for the worst book I've ever read in any genre, would have to be the Soul Drinkers opener.

Words alone cannot describe how contrived, amateur an disrespectful to the source material that tome was.

It is VERY rare that I fail to read a book to its completion. Rare. This book knocked me out by the halfway mark. I simply could not get any further.

It started out promising enough... and then came the first mistake. That little, infinity weaver or something. The little gretchin like priest who worshipped the "Emperor", under the name of The Father of Secrets or something. The name really eludes me, but it was the bold print on the Tzeentch daemons entry in the codex. Translation: "HELLO I AM A WORSHIPPER OF TZEENTCH BUT NO I REALLY WORSHIP THE EMPEROR! THIN FORESHADOWING! I WILL TAKE OVER YOUR CHAPTER'S MINISTRIES, I AM AFTER ALL AN ILL-NOURISHED AND MORALLY DUBIOUS MUTANT PRIEST YOU RESCUED FROM A SPACE STATION!"

Lo and behold... corruption abounds! The plot twist was divine. I was so sideswiped that I almost DIDN'T notice the Deus Ex Tzeentchia when the main character mutates and kills his Chapter Master with his new spider legs.

Seriously, ever had to read a chapter or paragraph over twice before you can even piece together what in Taal's name just happened?

Next thing you know, Spiderman and his chapter of mutants are off fighting genestealers (absolutely destroying genestealers I should say), without a care in the world, and SOMEHOW thinking that their leader turning into a giant mutated spider (while being a psyker, no less), and ripping their chapter master to pieces, wasn't the LEAST bit suspicious. Then everyone takes their new eyeballs, anuses, legs and body hair in stride.

Seriously? Either the Soul Drinkers have the collective IQ of a wet rag, or it was just a very, VERY poor excuse to have a team of super mutants in 40k. The foreword prattles on about chronicling a chapter's descent into Chaos, their fall from grace, so to speak.

Sorry, but that sort of theme was WAY beyond what I got. Purple-armoured X-men in space was definitely NOT cool.

Jonman
20-08-2010, 17:36
The third Grey Knights book made me feel sicccckkkk, terrible....

spetswalshe
20-08-2010, 18:28
I'd normally never diss a book that I haven't yet finished - most people who've read more than five novels will have changed their mind about one halfway through - but I've got to put this down; I'm currently reading the Empire Army novel Call to Arms (presumably the title 'Call of Duty' was rejected) by Mitchel Scanlon. Despite having a ridiculously misspelled name, Scanlon wrote 40k novel 15 Hours, which I enjoyed, after a fashion. Little did I realise - they're the same book.

Honestly - very similar premise, replica themes, and name-swapped but otherwise fully transplanted characters. Even the conversations between soldiers - oh-ho-we're-going-to-good-naturedly-curse-at-each-other-and-talk-about-mundane-things-that-shock-the-rookie-viewpoint-character-but-we're-all-friends-really - appear to follow the same plan.

While it isn't something I've noticed in BL books so much, the whole repetition-of-phrases thing mentioned earlier really gets my goat; there is simply no excuse for it, and yet dozens of writers (who apparently don't re-read their work) think once they have a nice-sounding phrase it's appropriate to use it every other page. And dozens of editors completely fail to call them out on it. Worst offender I've ever encountered was some crappy pulp book called Tales from the Nightside, though if you've ever read more than one Terry Pratchett book featuring Sam Vimes, try and note down how many times he's engaged in a brawl and kicks a guy in the knee, causing it to click and the opponent to crumple (every. bloody. book). For all my years of reading those books, that's the one thing that sticks in my mind.

Lord of Divine Slaughter
20-08-2010, 18:33
Anything with the word 'slayer' in the title.

The Felix & Gotrek things have only been surpassed in boredom by the Konrad series :p

RobC
20-08-2010, 18:43
While it isn't something I've noticed in BL books so much, the whole repetition-of-phrases thing mentioned earlier really gets my goat; there is simply no excuse for it, and yet dozens of writers (who apparently don't re-read their work) think once they have a nice-sounding phrase it's appropriate to use it every other page.It doesn't work like that. Writers are often so involved with their writing that they become blind to stuff that would be obvious in different circumstances. This is why copy-editors and proofreaders exist :)

Proctorkorps
20-08-2010, 18:48
I'd normally never diss a book that I haven't yet finished - most people who've read more than five novels will have changed their mind about one halfway through - but I've got to put this down; I'm currently reading the Empire Army novel Call to Arms (presumably the title 'Call of Duty' was rejected) by Mitchel Scanlon. Despite having a ridiculously misspelled name, Scanlon wrote 40k novel 15 Hours, which I enjoyed, after a fashion. Little did I realise - they're the same book.

Honestly - very similar premise, replica themes, and name-swapped but otherwise fully transplanted characters. Even the conversations between soldiers - oh-ho-we're-going-to-good-naturedly-curse-at-each-other-and-talk-about-mundane-things-that-shock-the-rookie-viewpoint-character-but-we're-all-friends-really - appear to follow the same plan.

Huh. that's true.. i hadn't noticed that. Hell, i didnt even notice Sclalon wrote both books. maybe i should pay a bit more attention...
regardless i still enjoyed both books :p

Rieksguard was a lot better than Call to Arms, though

Jedi152
21-08-2010, 10:05
It doesn't work like that. Writers are often so involved with their writing that they become blind to stuff that would be obvious in different circumstances. This is why copy-editors and proofreaders exist :)

RobC's services are available... :D


While it isn't something I've noticed in BL books so much, the whole repetition-of-phrases thing mentioned earlier really gets my goat; there is simply no excuse for it, and yet dozens of writers (who apparently don't re-read their work) think once they have a nice-sounding phrase it's appropriate to use it every other page. And dozens of editors completely fail to call them out on it. Worst offender I've ever encountered was some crappy pulp book called Tales from the Nightside, though if you've ever read more than one Terry Pratchett book featuring Sam Vimes, try and note down how many times he's engaged in a brawl and kicks a guy in the knee, causing it to click and the opponent to crumple (every. bloody. book). For all my years of reading those books, that's the one thing that sticks in my mind.
See my earlier 'coterie of the damned' comment.

If you don't like Vimes rip-offs, don't read Murder in Marienburg... and Mairenburg is identical to Ankh Morpork too.

BigbyWolf
21-08-2010, 10:10
The Felix & Gotrek things have only been surpassed in boredom by the Konrad series :p

Heresy! Nothing surpasses G&F on the boredom scales! Even the dictionary has more plot-twists...

Jedi152
21-08-2010, 10:25
People are often baffled when i tell them i've never read a single G&F novel, considering how many BL books i own.

They simply don't appeal to me. It's just like a D&D adventure group travelling round killing stuff, and Gotrek's character got old fast. Yes, he can kill anything, we get it.

RanaldLoec
21-08-2010, 11:13
Soul drinkers dear god that was a waste of my time and my life.


Esienhorn though I've re read that trilogy book so many times its falling apart.

I like the blackhearts trilogy not the best written warhammer novel but passable as is the Florin and Lorenzo books.

What I really want is a Caiphas Cain type warhammer series, I couldn't help my self after reading the first book I went and bought the whole lot in one go, one of the funniest books I've read in a long time.

I'm finding the Legends / Sigmar books interesting as well.

Wintermute
21-08-2010, 13:53
I'm moving this thread to the new Black Library General Discussion Forum

Wintermute

Shadowheart
21-08-2010, 20:22
I haven't read that many BL books, but man, Iron Hands sucked. I don't remember why or how, but I remember with great clarity that it sucked. Bad.

Fire Warrior was lousy too, but I'm sure that was down to the brief (and likely the deadline) given to Simon Spurrier, because he also wrote Lord of Night and that was just about as good as you want a BL novel to be.

I didn't care for Pawns of Chaos much at all because Brian Craig tried to make the book look smart by treating the readers as if they were dense.

But that Iron Hands, now that really sucked.

RCgothic
21-08-2010, 20:33
Battle for the Abyss was probably the one I had most trouble getting through. The Ultramarines were completely forgetable, the only interesting characters being the Thousand Son and the World Eater!

Culgore
23-08-2010, 02:44
I shall weigh in.

I liked Eisenhorn, I think it was some of the best 40 k fiction I've read.(I haven't read that many) I did think it was more star wars themed than I cared for. All kinds of antigrav vehicles, and the such.

Now I just finished Innocence Proves Nothing... terrible. No one ever just says something. For instance.

Steve said "hello".

"Hi" replied Jim.

Now in that book it would be.

Steve said "Hello", with a hint of reservation about the presence of Jim.
"Hi" replied Jim, offering a courteous,though quiet reply despite his misgivings that Steve was there.

Effectively turning six words into... a lot. This happens pretty much any time anyone speaks in the book. It was quite silly.

thefan
23-08-2010, 02:55
Title says it all: what's the worst novel you've had the misfortune of reading/purchasing from BL? I'd nominate Masters of Magic. I was quite shocked by this book; there's an amber magister who casts jade spells, the "shadow" spells seem to belong more in the bright or celestial lores, and there's a female amethyst wizard--which isn't in and of itself intolerable, but she turns out to be a seductress spy--who seduces the stern and indomitable Ludwig Schwartzhelm who states quite clearly he doesn't trust spellcasters, then hops into bed with her in the next scene. Oh, and the book makes it pretty clear it wasn't an enchantment or anything--he just wanted magic poon, apparently. Then we have a belligerent and tantrum-throwing Balthasar Gelt who, last I checked, was supposed to be an unnervingly calm and logical man in a golden mask. Finally, we have the head of the Amethyst College uncharacteristically obsessed with politics and gaining power, something directly contradicted by the excellent Realms of Sorcery. Overall this thing was a trainwreck--I can tolerate small creative liberties, heck I didn't even complain about the controversial bits in the Darkblade series, but this one was just a monumental disaster.

So what was your worst reading experience?


Thank you very very very much for this highlight. Now I can read something else and not waste those moments to this book. To bad because I would have liked something in this realm but on target. :) Thank you Don

Plebian
23-08-2010, 08:24
Well, it's not a Fantasy book, but, I'd say the worst Black Library book(s) I've read were the Eisenhorn books by Dan Abnett. God awful. Just horrid. I can't believe I trudged through all 800 pages.

Then again, the first Soul Drinkers book was so bad I couldn't finish it.

Are you insane?

That is an honest question. Eisenhorn is fantastic.

And Eldar Prophecy was the only BL book so bad I did not finish it.

Hunger
23-08-2010, 14:53
Descent of Angels, followed closely by Battle For The Abyss were the worst ones of the Horus Heresy series for me so far. I couldn't wait to finish both of them, they were completely detached and boring, and I really couldn't give a damn if the characters lived or died as long as they did it quickly.

There are several things that I am rapidly becoming irritated by in the Horus Heresy series:

1) Lack of any tactial sense in battle. In almost every firefight, boarding action, close quarters fight the characters seem to ignore their centuries of combat experience and charge heroically (idiotically) at everything while incoming gunfire downs several of their unnamed squadmates.

2) Lack of objectives in a battle. The squad arrives at the theatre, hops into the drop pod, charges blindly out after the drop (see above), and runs around on its own fighting for a while. Very rarely will it take a moment to consider strategy, call for support, rendezvous with other squads, take an objective or anything else you might reasonably expect a squad of soldiers to do in a battle. Worst offender by far is Fulgrim, and Galaxy In Flames to a lesser extent. The best we get is normally when a starship is involved - in which case it either to the engines or the bridge, either of which the squad is guaranteed to arrive at in an unfeasibly short time after encountering just one or two enemy squads.

3) Absolute disregard for basic scientific fact - people freeze in space, explosive decompression sucks people inside out, time scales of celestial events are registered instantly no matter the distance from the event - the list goes on and on, and each new book brings with it a fresh set of "WTF?" moments. Please, for the love of god, will somebody at BL get hold of a GCSE level physics book and show it to everyone there. So many times I have read about people instantly freezing when they go out of the airlock - this does not happen, and a moment of thought about the fact that vacuum is an INSULATOR should render this fact obvious to even the smallest of minds.

4) Repetition of phrases - this was mentioned earlier, and it annoys me too. What was initially read as a clever, descriptive and colourful bit of ancillary detail on page 14 makes the reader grind his or her teeth in anger when it comes up for the seventh time on page 236. There are thousands and thousands of adjectives in the English language, and while few of us have what it takes to be a professional author, I'm sure every one of us could think of more than one way to describe the sergeant's grim outlook, or the hardness of the Space Marine's armour.

5) Dropping references too often. I'm currently reading Mechanicum, and while a gentle tip of the hat to a great scientist or two was expected in a book about a fictional scientific institution, instead the storyline appears to be...

...rapidly heading down the route of the central characters creating some hokum device to tap into the "Akashic Record", which is a real-world theoretical invention of Edgar Cayce and Ervin Laszlo, a pair of quack-science charlatans whose self-fulfulling "research" I tore apart in a critical discourse several years ago, and whose concept of a universal consciousness has its roots in that paragon of empirical knowledge, Hinduism.

Now, science and religion are inseparably entwined in the Mechanicum and its derivatives, so a storyline involving the above is fairly appropriate, but so far most of the characters that have been named have some etymological link to some aspect of the research, or to the spiritual mythology it is rooted in, and it is incredibly distracting and irritating, although I am trying my best to ignore it and enjoy the story. I have found a similar issue in one or two other BL books as well.


Overall I'm not impressed by BL, however special mention must be made to the Ravenor series, which is stand-out brilliant. Ravenor was the first BL book I read, and was utterly excellent in every way, a true representation of how the 40K universe is in my mind, and the subsequent sequels were just as great. I had such high hopes for the rest of the BL publications, and have sadly been disappointed by most of them.

Lars Porsenna
23-08-2010, 19:11
I had never heard of the Akashic Record before reading Mechanicum. I thought it was a macguffin created for the story. However, I also keep in mind that the BL 40K books are, at best, Space Opera, and at worst, Space Fantasy. I often liken 40K to something you'd read in Heavy Metal magazine. So if the books are not entirely scientifically rigorious, well neither was The Lord of the Rings (or most fantasy books I can think of).

But if one needs some sort of explanation, then 40K occurs in an alternate universe (and if the "Many Worlds" solution to M-theory is correct, then logically with an infinite number of universes the 40K setting must exist), where vacuum is not an insulator, and the Warp and psychic powers are real.

Damon.

magath
25-08-2010, 08:20
5) Dropping references too often. I'm currently reading Mechanicum, and while a gentle tip of the hat to a great scientist or two was expected in a book about a fictional scientific institution, instead the storyline appears to be...

...rapidly heading down the route of the central characters creating some hokum device to tap into the "Akashic Record", which is a real-world theoretical invention of Edgar Cayce and Ervin Laszlo, a pair of quack-science charlatans whose self-fulfulling "research" I tore apart in a critical discourse several years ago, and whose concept of a universal consciousness has its roots in that paragon of empirical knowledge, Hinduism.

Now, science and religion are inseparably entwined in the Mechanicum and its derivatives, so a storyline involving the above is fairly appropriate, but so far most of the characters that have been named have some etymological link to some aspect of the research, or to the spiritual mythology it is rooted in, and it is incredibly distracting and irritating, although I am trying my best to ignore it and enjoy the story. I have found a similar issue in one or two other BL books as well.
I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks so. On reading "A Thousand Sons" McNeill makes references to Enochian, the so called "Language of the Angels". As someone that has studied the stuff dug up at in the dead sea scrolls, incuding the book of Enoch and the book of Giants (Which, if your interested, you can find a decent translation in "The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English" published by Penguin in 1962), it becomes clear that McNeill has absolutely no idea what he's on about and has just dropped it in for the sake of sounding edgy and cool.

Ar-Gimilzor
25-08-2010, 11:09
People are often baffled when i tell them i've never read a single G&F novel, considering how many BL books i own.

They simply don't appeal to me. It's just like a D&D adventure group travelling round killing stuff, and Gotrek's character got old fast. Yes, he can kill anything, we get it.
You might want to give the first omnibus a go--I was very impressed with how King captured the WHF setting. It has the best, most human champion of Khorne I've seen to date.

cpl_hicks
25-08-2010, 18:02
everything by CS Goto

To be fair on Goto his Necromunda novel (Salvation) is quite good.

The worst BL novel has to be The Eye of Terror, its so badly written and the story is totally unbelivable

BobtheInquisitor
25-08-2010, 20:09
I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks so. On reading "A Thousand Sons" McNeill makes references to Enochian, the so called "Language of the Angels". As someone that has studied the stuff dug up at in the dead sea scrolls, incuding the book of Enoch and the book of Giants (Which, if your interested, you can find a decent translation in "The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English" published by Penguin in 1962), it becomes clear that McNeill has absolutely no idea what he's on about and has just dropped it in for the sake of sounding edgy and cool.

I think it's more of a reference to John Dee, who claimed to know the language of the Angels, and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which took an interest in his work. Considering that the kSons are a secretive group of occultists, I found the reference to be more than fitting. Then you have the Aleister Crowley connection through the Order, and things get even better.

If 20th Century mystics got their research wrong, that's hardly Graham's fault. Besides, it was a quick inside joke reference, not a dissertation.

What's next, getting mad at Ciaphas Cain for the Migo Yuggoth reference in regards to Orks? "But Orks aren't from Pluto! Graawwrrr!"

Besides, complaining that Mechanicum is full of inside jokes is like complaining that Commando is full of one-liners. Are they strictly necessary? No. Are they fun? Hell yeah.
I especially like the Knights of Cydonia reference. I guess I should hate it since MacNeill didn't do any research into what the song is about. Can you believe that guy?:rolleyes:

PS: The Akashic Record has existed as an idea long before Cayce, and makes perfect sense in the over-the-top world of Warhammer 40,000, especially in an organization that believes that your toaster has a soul. The fact that the warp already contains the Black Library, which is a similar concept, lends it credence in the setting.

Did you get so bent out of shape over Abnett's Enuncia, a concept "clearly" ripped off of the Wizard of Earthsea (or Eragon) series?

magath
26-08-2010, 08:14
If 20th Century mystics got their research wrong, that's hardly Graham's fault. Besides, it was a quick inside joke reference, not a dissertation.

But its a quick joke reference mentioned nearly 6 times mate, not a throw away comment. While I appreciate the link to the Golden Dawn and so on, it strikes me that McNeill either should have made more of the reference and actually built on it, or left it alone. Instead, he uses the entire concept as a buzz word and a throw away idea taken out of context IMO.

I'm not mad at him for doing it, as I do see the link and I think it is appropriate, it just irritates me when writers mention things they have no idea about. Same thing if a news paper wrote a 40k article about "Canadian shock troops" and "space machine sprouts", that would **** me off as well.

As for the Enuncia thing, I actually have never read the Wizard of Earthsea, is it worth looking at?

Anyway, that aside, my vote for worst BL book is probably Descent of Angels, just because its simply a vehicle for the main character to go around being hard, thats it.

Hunger
26-08-2010, 10:32
PS: The Akashic Record has existed as an idea long before Cayce, and makes perfect sense in the over-the-top world of Warhammer 40,000, especially in an organization that believes that your toaster has a soul. The fact that the warp already contains the Black Library, which is a similar concept, lends it credence in the setting.

True, Cayce and Laszlo simply brought the concept to the attention of the wider world, and is very appropriate to the Mechanicum's blurring of science/religion. What bites me is that rather than dropping a sly nod to their "work", to make enlightened readers smile in recognition and acknowledge the breadth of the author's worldly knowledge, instead McNeill metaphorically takes the giant leather-bound tome containing the "work" from the shelf of his Library Of Superficial Knowledge And Non-Contextual References and repeatedly beats the reader over the head with it until "his breath was ragged" and the reader is "a bloody, broken mess".*

(* Italicized quotes taken from multiple pages in every HH book I have read so far*)





Did you get so bent out of shape over Abnett's Enuncia, a concept "clearly" ripped off of the Wizard of Earthsea (or Eragon) series?

Nope, never heard of the Wizard Of Earthsea/Eragon. And I wouldn't say I'm "bent out of shape" about it, its just A) that it irritates me in the same way that it irritates Magath when a writer tries to be clever by referencing things that he/she does not actually understand, much like dropout philosophy students quoting Sartre to add weight to their opinion when they haven't read a single page of 'Being And Nothingness' or when people misuse the Darwin principle 'survival of the fittest', assuming '"fittest" means healthiest/fastest/strongest etc, and B)when said writer mines that reference to the point that it distracts me from the story.

duffybear1988
26-08-2010, 11:29
I found the Ciaphus Cain books barely readable, I never finished one of the soul drinkers series although I attempted maybe 2 or 3 and gave up half way through. People will hate me for this but Fulgrim was one of the worst Black Library books I have ever read!

Im currently reading the Shira Calpurinia trilogy and its rubbish sadly.

But then im a Dan Abnett fanboy - I loved the Gaunts Ghosts series (except blood pact which was bad), Double Eagle and the Eisenhorn books are pretty decent, and Ravenor made for some light entertainment.

I did read Guardians of the forest and agree that was bad, so is Warblade!

Covering Fire
26-08-2010, 11:47
C.S. Goto's Dawn of War series. Avoid it like a Plague Marine with a bad case of the Swine influenza. Seriously.:cries:

And while you're at it, avoid the Dawn of War II novel as well. The last couple of chapters were full of repetition. I think the most common sentence were along the lines of "and the Space Marines killed all the Tyranids with Hellfire shells" or "the Tyranids were cleansed with Hellfire" and variations thereof. I thought Hellfire shells were used with Heavy Bolters, but here it is used in every gun the Marines had. I think it was written by the same guy who wrote Sons of Dorn. Haven't read Sons of Dorn yet, but if it is as bad as DoW II it won't be worth the effort.

Another set of awful books were the Soul Drinkers series. I can't understand how I brought myself to read all the first three(!) books (The omnibus)...and still have my sanity intact. The thing I remember most about this series is the total lack of empathy I felt for the characters. I didn't care if they lived or died. In fact I almost wanted them to die so that the book would end. And I really never understood how the chapter fell to Chaos. It seemed all too easy somehow.

magath
26-08-2010, 12:16
C.S. Goto's Dawn of War series. Avoid it like a Plague Marine with a bad case of the Swine influenza. Seriously.:cries:
Is it one of those "so bad its good" things, like Hollyoaks, or is it just really, really bad?

Covering Fire
26-08-2010, 12:26
Is it one of those "so bad its good" things, like Hollyoaks, or is it just really, really bad?

I'd rather say its "so bad its really, REALLY bad":(

Vassakov
26-08-2010, 14:14
Is it one of those "so bad its good" things, like Hollyoaks, or is it just really, really bad?

And lo, did the Blood Ravens Terminators backflip forth from their Razorbacks as their brothers fired Multilasers into the charging Eldar hordes. Who did bray muchly.

Yes, it's that bad.

Why people are moaning about Eisenhorn, I really don't know... they are well written, superbly paced, have actual character development and an excellent overarching plot. Easily one of the best BL books available.

Grimmeth
26-08-2010, 14:23
People are often baffled when i tell them i've never read a single G&F novel, considering how many BL books i own.

They simply don't appeal to me. It's just like a D&D adventure group travelling round killing stuff, and Gotrek's character got old fast. Yes, he can kill anything, we get it.


Huzzah! I'm not the only one!

I really disliked Daemonworld - thought the pacing was out and the story didn't make much sense - but a lot of other people seem to like it - guess everyone has their own opinion!

Eisenhorn I liked muchly, only problem being the endings are a little rushed - but that's forgiveable (and apparently not Abnett's fault but the fault of BL at the time)

Hunger
26-08-2010, 15:01
I liked Daemonworld - it was refreshing to read something from the perspective of a tribal warrior on a daemon world, a nice departure from the Unstoppable Space Marines storyline that features in most 40k novels. Kudos to Ben Counter for not presenting the world as simply another planet wearing a Chaos Hat (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PlanetOfHats) - I thought the story was a great deal deeper than most BL books, and presented a unique angle on Chaos that is largely ignored in GW background.

Lars Porsenna
26-08-2010, 15:29
As for the Enuncia thing, I actually have never read the Wizard of Earthsea, is it worth looking at?


Absolutely. A great series of books, and I highly reccommend them. I bought an omnibus edition a few years ago, with the intention of giving it to my kids when they're old enough to appreciate it...

Damon.

Grapeshot
26-08-2010, 16:10
Orcslayer. I really don't understand why 'Tyranid' is in Warhammer Fantasy (I'm refering to the big bad villain).

Eisenhorn best BL novel I have ever read. Got me reading Ravenor now and it is as good.

BobtheInquisitor
26-08-2010, 17:26
Is it one of those "so bad its good" things, like Hollyoaks, or is it just really, really bad?

Dawn of War was the only time I can ever recall being too bored to finish a page-long fight scene. Seriously, how did he mess that up?

sliganian
26-08-2010, 18:13
Another set of awful books were the Soul Drinkers series. I can't understand how I brought myself to read all the first three(!) books (The omnibus)...and still have my sanity intact. The thing I remember most about this series is the total lack of empathy I felt for the characters. I didn't care if they lived or died. In fact I almost wanted them to die so that the book would end. And I really never understood how the chapter fell to Chaos. It seemed all too easy somehow.

Ah yes, "Soul Drinker". The beginning annoyed me greatly. Here's why:

I did have one story published with BL (in "INFERNO" long long ago, don't ask), and was trying to get another one done. None of that is directly relevant, except that I was trying to ensure that what I wrote I was 'good'. Now, for SciFi writers there is a thing called the "Turkey City Lexicon' and BL want us to make sure we knew about it and used it. Go Google it now, I'll wait......

*whistling*

Ok, you're back. So the TCL is basically a list Don'ts and bad cliches. One of these (iirc) is called 'Front Loading' (or something like that). Bascially, don't TELL the reader everything in big info dump. Right! Got it!

So... what do see in Soul Drinkers, right at the start? A Marine. Sitting in someplace. And, by being Godlike readers, we get to see his thoughts. So what do his thoughts tell us about him. Nothing. His thoughts instead conveniently in the space of a few minutes recount THE ENTIRE LAST 10,000 YEARS OF HISTORY FROM THE HERESY TO THE PRESENT.
:wtf:

I remember being soooooooo angry at BL for this. The Editors loved to browbeat starting authors and yet this dreck is the PUBLISHED WORK they put out, clearly and obviously violating one of the basic rules of good writing.:mad:

Sleazy
27-08-2010, 09:51
Orcslayer was rubbish. it was like G&F by the numbers. I really enjoyed Bill Kings previous books but havent touched any G&F after Orcslayer.

I'll echo the praise for Salvation though, proof Goto can write a decent tale. It was quite Hitch hikers guide in places.

wamphyri101
27-08-2010, 13:50
I have read a lot of Black Libraries’ books and I would have to say that “Battle for the Abyss” or “Sink the Bismarck” as it should have been called, would have to be the worst.

The others you can understand some of the view points or the books even have a character/moment that makes it alright, but this book/story is suck a blatant rip off of a major world war 2 incident. If the writer couldn’t think of the story then maybe he should think of a career change.

reds8n
27-08-2010, 19:22
Orcslayer was rubbish. it was like G&F by the numbers. I really enjoyed Bill Kings previous books but havent touched any G&F after Orcslayer.

YOu should do, I'll admit Orcslayer was a bit off in parts as Mr. Long found his feet, so to speak, but I felt it was at least as good as Giantslayer -- that really was "phoned in" IMO -- and the books after that in the series are better than Mr. Kings ones.

BobtheInquisitor
27-08-2010, 20:32
Absolutely. A great series of books, and I highly reccommend them. I bought an omnibus edition a few years ago, with the intention of giving it to my kids when they're old enough to appreciate it...

Damon.


You might want to be careful about book 4, Tehanu, which has some rather adult and disturbing themes.

EmperorNorton
27-08-2010, 21:43
I've read quite a few BL novels, although I wonder why, considering most of them were rather bad.
Worst of the ones I read is without a doubt "Palace of the Plague Lord".

snakezenn
27-08-2010, 22:51
The worst one for me without a doubt was the vampire wars trilogy. I mean the first book was good then the next two should been called the dwarf vengeance duo books(whatever one calls a series of two books).

Verm1s
28-08-2010, 11:48
I found the Ciaphus Cain books barely readable

MY BROTHER



I did have one story published with BL (in "INFERNO" long long ago, don't ask), and was trying to get another one done. None of that is directly relevant, except that I was trying to ensure that what I wrote I was 'good'.

I remember being soooooooo angry at BL for this. The Editors loved to browbeat starting authors and yet this dreck is the PUBLISHED WORK they put out, clearly and obviously violating one of the basic rules of good writing.:mad:

Soo... I assume they browbeat you? In general, or for the frontloading thing?

Helps cement my thoughts that the BL don't really know what they're doing: like little boys playing at being publishers. They'll stumble across a few authors who can pen a good or popular story, but it's through no fault of their own...

sliganian
28-08-2010, 13:26
MY BROTHER



Soo... I assume they browbeat you? In general, or for the frontloading thing?

Helps cement my thoughts that the BL don't really know what they're doing: like little boys playing at being publishers. They'll stumble across a few authors who can pen a good or popular story, but it's through no fault of their own...

Browbeat maybe was the wrong word. How about changable and vague directions on editorial desires?

"Ooo.. don't like that bit, change it."
"Ok, in what way?"
"Just change it."
:mad:

I had actually sold them a second story for "Inferno!". Got a message "Right, good, just needs some editorial tweaks."

Ok, got my cheque, so I am basically happy. ;)

However, months pass, story doesn't appear. So the email exchanges begin:

Me: "Hey guys, when's the story being published?"

Them (after much delay): "Oh...yeah. No, it needs work. Lots and lots of work. Don't like X, Y or Z"

Me: WTF? They ASKED for X,Y and Z. "Ok, I'll redraft it then." *type type type and a few weeks later* "Here's the redraft!"

Them:......

Me: (every few weeks for a while) "Guys? Guys?"

GW: "Inferno is being canned".

So after the short-story venue was canceled, real life got in the way and I decided trying to crank out prettied-up fan fiction for uncommunicative editors and ocean away was more effort than I was willing to make.

Svorlrik
28-08-2010, 16:38
For me personally, the two books that I couldn't finish were "Defenders of Ulthuan" and "Sons of Fenris" (the first space wolf book to not be written by Bill King)

I'm a fanboy and collector of both high elves and space wolves, and when this is the case, I usually read any material based on the armies I love, but sadly Defenders of Ulthuan didn't seem to go anywhere.

Sons of Fenris just seemed like fan-fic to me, I only read the first couple of chapters, but it felt like the authors were struggling to point out they had some 40k knowledge (i.e. at one point in the book it says something along the lines of "they must be CHAOS HAVOKS because they are chaos space marines with big big guns"

Ar-Gimilzor
28-08-2010, 21:39
I really enjoyed the Matthias books, don't discount because of an extact.
I read two or three short stories featuring him, and what bothered me was the distinct lack of character. He was about as generic a witch hunter as it gets. Maybe the novels expand upon his motivations and character traits a bit more, but I'm not going to take the risk to be honest.

Lars Porsenna
29-08-2010, 01:03
You might want to be careful about book 4, Tehanu, which has some rather adult and disturbing themes.

Luckily for me it only has A Wizard of Earthsea, Tombs of Atuan, and The Farthest SHore.

Damon.

BobtheInquisitor
29-08-2010, 07:10
Luckily for me it only has A Wizard of Earthsea, Tombs of Atuan, and The Farthest SHore.

Damon.

Those are good. The second is the weakest of the three, but they make for a great trilogy.

Oh, and never crack open Tehanu. Once read, it can never be un-read.:)

It's kind of like Asimov's Foundation Trilogy. They're great books, but if you go on to read Foundation's Edge or Foundation and Earth, they'll ruin the original series for you...FOREVER.

BlackLegion
30-08-2010, 18:28
Worst BL novel i have read so far? Hmm Sons of Dorn iwould say.

And as for CS Goto: His short storys in Let the Galaxy Burn and Legends of the Space Marines are very good. But that's the only stuff i have read from him.

DeeKay
01-09-2010, 00:14
Taste is entirely subjective, but for me the worst BL books of all time are the Deus Sanguine and Encarmine by James Swallow. I'm just glad he grew as a writer before his work on the HH series.

Having said that, I'm one of the (apparently few) people who quite liked Daemon World and the first three Soul Drinkers books.

With regards,
Dan.

Shamutanti
02-09-2010, 00:40
YOu should do, I'll admit Orcslayer was a bit off in parts as Mr. Long found his feet, so to speak, but I felt it was at least as good as Giantslayer -- that really was "phoned in" IMO -- and the books after that in the series are better than Mr. Kings ones.

I can't stand Long myself. He ruined GnF for me, as far as I'm concerned, Gotrek is dead. Dead by Mr. Long's hands.

I figured he would get better or at least be more capable writing his own books but Blackhearts is not only a dissapointment but the 'Authors words' at the start of the book make him sound like an angry-rejected-cliqued writer striking out at the world.

Oh wait.

Dire like.

reds8n
02-09-2010, 10:25
'Authors words' at the start of the book make him sound like an angry-rejected-cliqued writer striking out at the world.
.

..What do you mean by "cliqued writer " ?

Do you mean cliched ?

Hunger
02-09-2010, 15:19
...or rejected by the other writers' clique?

Abaraxas
04-09-2010, 08:51
The Blood Angels Omnibus (Dues Encarmine and Sanguinius) are easily the worst books Ive read from The Black Library.
Dumbest storyline ever-didnt enjoy.

Im not the biggest reader of them, but I did get Wolf Riders and Space Marine back in the day,which I loved.

Fantasy wise Ive only read Gotrek and Felix (love them) but in 40k Ive read the aformentioned Omnibus, and up to Legion in the HH series-must say I didnt enjoy that one at all (which doesnt necassarily make it a bad book)

Dead.Blue.Clown
04-09-2010, 11:25
MY BROTHER



Soo... I assume they browbeat you? In general, or for the frontloading thing?

Helps cement my thoughts that the BL don't really know what they're doing: like little boys playing at being publishers. They'll stumble across a few authors who can pen a good or popular story, but it's through no fault of their own...

Inferno was years ago, though. Practically a different company since those days. Different editors. Different management. Different marketing. Different authors.

Verm1s
05-09-2010, 20:55
You sure can type 'different' a lot.

I'd hazard the biggest difference is along the lines of "Like the old BL, but more so."

Dead.Blue.Clown
05-09-2010, 21:14
You sure can type 'different' a lot.

There are a lot of differences. Is... is that hard to work out?


I'd hazard the biggest difference is along the lines of "Like the old BL, but more so."

You've got your prejudices based on what you admit is guesswork, and that's cool. You're free to hazard all you like. You seemed interested in the subject - I thought you'd like to know more about it, seeing as what you were saying was actually wildly incorrect.

Apparently you didn't want to know. All good. Everything I said was true. You can zig or zag with that knowledge, however you like.

magath
06-09-2010, 16:58
I've just had the misfortune of reading "fleshworks". I feel all kinds of dirty after reading that book.

Also, am I the only one who thought the grey knights omnibus was diabolical/

Arnizipal
07-09-2010, 11:04
Can we cut down on the trolling please?
I had to do some serious cleanup in this thread... It would be a shame to have to lock it.

Arnizipal,

++ The Warseer Moderation Team ++

Hialmar
07-09-2010, 18:51
Obivously this is one of those threads where you will get nearly as many opininions as you have posters and this is all memerly a matter of personal taste, however, based on my own experiences with the BL books I would have to vote the worst book as the one I just could not bring myself to finish and that was "The Inquisition War" by Ian Watson.

The book(s) were too boring, dry and plotless in way to many places, and the characters were uninteresting and inane, and after reading the first entire book and part of the second I just gave up as it was just too painful to continue. It is especially painful to read when compared to the other books that focus on the Inquistion and Inquisitors particularly the Eisenhorn and Ravenor trilogies.

GS Goto's stuff is also usually fairly painful to read, although I will agree to a point with an earlier poster in regards to Goto's story in "Legends of the Space Marines" regarding the Mantis Warriors, as I found that one fairly entertaining and far superior to his other work.

BlackLegion
07-09-2010, 19:22
You should read CS Goto's "Small Cogs" from the "Let the Galaxy Burn" antology too.

blindingdark
08-09-2010, 21:43
Im currently reading the vampire wars trilogy. The first book was very good. I liked the fact that it killed the main character half way through the book.

I am, quite frankly, Sick to bloody death of the good guy always winning. I do realise they do in the end, but then I knew that before reading the book. The story was about vlad, not the witch hunters.

further more, It did a great job of fleshing out Isabella, especially the short story between the first and second book.

Ive only just started the second and it is a little jaring to be reading about dwarves now, but Im hoping it will pick up.

just wanted to share my opinion that I thought the first was good, but loved the fact it wasnt to happy an ending for the vengeful good guys.

andyg2006
08-09-2010, 23:19
I generally really enjoy the BL books (even though the blood angels books were awful).
However, the Soul Drinkers Omnibus was simply unbearable...it's the first book in my 30+ years of reading that I've not been able to reach the end of.
The author had a blank slate and could have done so much with it and it (or at least the 159 pages of it that I managed to put up with) turned out to be a completely unbelieveable load of rubbish.
Even the author's foreword about "here's what I wanted to explore in this book" were shot down by his own writing: it's like he came up with the concept and then someone else wrote it, but they only had very sketchy information to base it on.

Please, no one buy this book.

sliganian
09-09-2010, 15:15
I generally really enjoy the BL books (even though the blood angels books were awful).
However, the Soul Drinkers Omnibus was simply unbearable...it's the first book in my 30+ years of reading that I've not been able to reach the end of.
The author had a blank slate and could have done so much with it and it (or at least the 159 pages of it that I managed to put up with) turned out to be a completely unbelieveable load of rubbish.
Even the author's foreword about "here's what I wanted to explore in this book" were shot down by his own writing: it's like he came up with the concept and then someone else wrote it, but they only had very sketchy information to base it on.

Please, no one buy this book.

Again, the one thing I would caution before anyone throws any author under the bus for something is to realize the impact that the EDITORS have on what or does not get written.

My meagre foray into BL publishing was an educational experience.

thedigitalflip
10-09-2010, 03:15
i'm tired of most space marine novels because they all are the same, "I'm superhuman, and me and my squad will win out numbered 50-1 no problem" or everyones favorite..."OMG I've been shot 15 times but i'm a space marine and nothing will stop me from killing you!"

i understand that space marines are awesome but really? i really dislike the ultramarines omnibus, couldn't get through the first part >.<

narrativium
10-09-2010, 07:41
Again, the one thing I would caution before anyone throws any author under the bus for something is to realize the impact that the EDITORS have on what or does not get written. The full job title for most of the editors is 'commissioning editor'. It's not just the words on the page, it's whether the job gets done at all.


My meagre foray into BL publishing was an educational experience. So was mine. Every bit of feedback I received from Black Library, while dealing with my subsequent drafts, made the story better - while at the same time, taking no responsibility from me in telling the story well (whether I succeeded in that or not is in the eyes of beholders).

Tymell
10-09-2010, 08:53
Battle for the Abyss by Ben Counter gets my vote.

Just couldn't enjoy the writing style, it was too bogged down with overly-long descriptions of every minute detail. I had to force myself through half the book, then couldn't bear any more. Dismiss my opinion on it for this reason if you wish.


Why people are moaning about Eisenhorn, I really don't know... they are well written, superbly paced, have actual character development and an excellent overarching plot. Easily one of the best BL books available.

Quoted for truth.

sliganian
10-09-2010, 12:58
So was mine. Every bit of feedback I received from Black Library, while dealing with my subsequent drafts, made the story better - while at the same time, taking no responsibility from me in telling the story well (whether I succeeded in that or not is in the eyes of beholders).

Curious Q: approximately how many years ago would this have been?

Just wondering, as your experience seems a bit more positive than mine, so I am curious if it is due to players involved. :shifty:

narrativium
10-09-2010, 16:23
sliganian: late 2008/early 2009. I was a winner of the Death & Dishonour competition. Saying that, I also got some pretty good feedback for a story which wasn't accepted for Inferno! back in '99, and I've had a professional relationship with some of the BL staff since early '06.

I know Inferno!'s getting canned hit a few stories - I think one of Nathan Long's stories, which would have set up the Blackhearts stories, was intended for #46 and has only appeared in the omnibus (I can't remember if that would actually have been his first story.).

Seeing as you're a published BL author, you've got the credentials to get in touch with them if you feel like giving the current editorial team a chance, and try pitching again. Hammer & Bolter will be wanting new stories.

sliganian
10-09-2010, 16:42
sliganian: late 2008/early 2009. I was a winner of the Death & Dishonour competition. Saying that, I also got some pretty good feedback for a story which wasn't accepted for Inferno! back in '99, and I've had a professional relationship with some of the BL staff since early '06.

I know Inferno!'s getting canned hit a few stories - I think one of Nathan Long's stories, which would have set up the Blackhearts stories, was intended for #46 and has only appeared in the omnibus (I can't remember if that would actually have been his first story.).

Seeing as you're a published BL author, you've got the credentials to get in touch with them if you feel like giving the current editorial team a chance, and try pitching again. Hammer & Bolter will be wanting new stories.

Thanks for the tips. :)

My dealings were back in, oh, 2002 time frame, and I doubt my credentials are worth anything. In truth, I've largely fallen out of following BL for various reasons. probably directly related to my lack of involvement in other areas of the GW hobby. I suppose I could give it go again at some point, if I felt the story was there for the telling.

Deus Mechanicus
11-09-2010, 23:38
I had a real time getting through Fulgrim really...

It seemed like the author used the word "perfection" every other sentence. Not only did every character and their mothers mention how they strived for perfection or how something was perfect but everything in between was described as being near perfection or perfect (or if it wasn't; aspiring to be perfect)

I really cringed at the conversation between Ossian and Fulgrim when they discussed his sculpture
"How can i achive perfection"
"yes its perfect, too perfect"
"How can something be too perfect"
"Perfection needs to be flawed"
"how can something perfect be flawed"
"you can work with perfection but it lacks passion"
"what of your own work? do you not seek perfection in it?"
"The artist who tries to acchive perfection in everything achives it in nothing"

and so on and so on and so on and so....on

Was it just me this irked? Halfway through the book i cringed at every mention of perfection (i.e every second sentence)

Hadriel Caine
12-09-2010, 01:31
Ravenor was trash. the sequels were worse.

Eisenhorn is one of the best novels I've ever read (and I make it my business to read a LOT of very good literature.)

The Inquisition War trilogy cant be judged by the same standards as most of BLs current tripe as Ian Watson was writing it a long time before most of the current staffers were born so the fluff is... questionable. nice space operetta saga though IMO.

Descent of Angels is THE worst book I have ever read. SO bad I stopped reading it 20 pages before the end. I also sold my dark angels army.

CS Goto is redeemed by Salvation. top notch.

G+F is epicly dull.

Pacific
12-09-2010, 02:11
Descent of Angels is THE worst book I have ever read. SO bad I stopped reading it 20 pages before the end. I also sold my dark angels army.


I'm so sorry, but I actually had to laugh when I read that! Is it really true?

I know Battle for the Abyss seems to be really disliked, but I actually thought it has some quite strong redeeming features.

Yes, the Word Bearer's filled the role of 1980's era action flick henchmen getting gunned down in droves and their leaders could well appear as the next Bond villians, but I thought the characters were well written - the WE Skraal could have become an iconic character if he had been written in a different book, and the sage like Mhotep and the Spacewolf are also interesting characters.

But, I thought the over-arching narrative was great. Here you had characters from different Legions (from those that would eventually be both loyalist and traitor), and even before events conspire the cracks in their brotherhood, and those which would eventually lead to the Heresy, are all too obvious. Cestus, the Ultramarine, plays an impossible game of trying to balance the excesses of the legions while maintaining his own sensibilities. You see the differences in character of the different Legions, and I think in some ways it is a microcosm of the way the Great Crusade was playing out and would come to resolution.

And many have complained that there was 'no point' to this book, that it changed nothing! Well, I think that was exactly the point! The marines sacrifice everything, and ultimately lose their lives, knowing full well that no-one would ever know of it or sing their praises. So in some ways, they are true heroes.

And what other book will we ever have World Eaters fighting alongside Space Wolves in again? :)

I'm sure there are a number of people who didn't read BfTA because of the massive negative reaction on forums. I would say that is a great shame, the BL titles are such a subjective thing (perhaps even more so than other fiction, as people seem to take it personally if a particular character or legion isn't written as they would like) and if nothing else at least it is a very easy to read book.. :)

Hadriel Caine
12-09-2010, 02:17
I'm so sorry, but I actually had to laugh when I read that! Is it really true?

essentially yes. don't read it to see if i'm lying. please. it was the nail in the coffin after the new DA codex in fairness.

:)

maybe I take my plastic soldiers too seriously?

Nerje
12-09-2010, 04:45
That one, about the chick who loots dead bodies on battlefields, can't remember what it was called but it was atrociously written.

There was also one about Chaos worship that was tied into WHFRP, can't remember it's name either, but at a certain point I laughed so hard that a little bit of vomit came out of my nose. Spend a whole novel setting up a bunch of hard-ass empire warriors and in the final chapter they drink some water which makes them worship Khorne.

OHHHHHHHH YEAHHHHHHH that's how Khorne rolls!

TF?

Ar-Gimilzor
12-09-2010, 08:41
That one, about the chick who loots dead bodies on battlefields, can't remember what it was called but it was atrociously written.

There was also one about Chaos worship that was tied into WHFRP, can't remember it's name either, but at a certain point I laughed so hard that a little bit of vomit came out of my nose. Spend a whole novel setting up a bunch of hard-ass empire warriors and in the final chapter they drink some water which makes them worship Khorne.

OHHHHHHHH YEAHHHHHHH that's how Khorne rolls!

TF?
I remember that one, but it was a short story, not a novel.

Tymell
12-09-2010, 10:30
Was it just me this irked? Halfway through the book i cringed at every mention of perfection (i.e every second sentence)

Don't know if it was just you, but it wasn't me certainly :p I didn't notice it, and I loved Fulgrim for the way it showed the descent into depravity.


Ravenor was trash. the sequels were worse.

I'm re-reading those at the moment, and having a lot of fun doing so. Not on par with the Eisenhorn trilogy, not as ambitious, but still lots to enjoy.

Wyrmwood
12-09-2010, 13:15
The Inquisition War trilogy cant be judged by the same standards as most of BLs current tripe as Ian Watson was writing it a long time before most of the current staffers were born so the fluff is... questionable. nice space operetta saga though IMO.

That's nonsense, you can still 'judge' the quality of the writing and the literary techniques, all that can't really be gaged is the lore as, as you say, it's essentially from a different age. Still though, a lot of the backstory is too silly for me to take seriously and properly enjoy - the toilet, for one thing.

I find it difficult to believe that Ravenor is trash, as it's essentially a spin-off in the same format as Eisenhorn which doesn't necessarily mean that it will be on the same level, but in some ways, it's essentially the same novel (from what I know of it). Why exactly do you dislike it?

I'm just curious but, what do you class as good literature?

Matty
12-09-2010, 13:47
anyone who didn't say Sons of Dorn obviously didn't read it

Pacific
12-09-2010, 14:26
I thought it was ok, except for the fact that it was in many ways a revamp of the novel 'Space Marine', right down to the 3 recruits being from warring factions yet finding brotherhood within the chapter.

Difference was, duelling natives will never be as cool as mask wearing Necromunda gangers, the characters were not developed to the same level (the ending sequence of Space Marine, with the 'scrimshawing'(sp?) I think is perhaps one of the most emotional bits of storytelling ever involving a Space Marine. Also, the former did not feature tunneling chaos squats mounted on ambulls :)

Hadriel Caine
12-09-2010, 15:34
That's nonsense, you can still 'judge' the quality of the writing and the literary techniques...
I'm just curious but, what do you class as good literature?

Sorry should've been clearer- not read Inquisition War in a couple of years but I remember it being well written and with a compelling narrative. it struck me that a lot of the distaste surrounding them in this thread was based on current fluff inaccuracies.

Ravenor I thought was just badly written and cashing in on Eisenhorn. I struggled to care about the characters who all seemed rather 2D and shallow.

I have just finished reading Atlas Shrugged, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Heart of Darkness and Paradise Lost. If that gives you any ideas.

Pandion40
12-09-2010, 19:06
The worst novels for me were the blood angel novels, the reason I dislike them so much is because there is so much promise in them. Swallow obviously spent time studying the Blood Angels, he got so many of the little things right. Things such as the rituals and the feel of the Chapter were very good. They felt like blood angels not the generic red Marines I have seen in so many other places.

I cannot understand how an author who gets so much of the little things right can then get so many of the big things wrong. These are space marines proud and independent, with more reason than most chapters to be mistrustful. Yet in the novel they are portrayed as so naive and trusting that to compare them with children would be insulting to children. Combined with a Sanguinary Priest who is completely in thrall to such petty emotions he would never have been allowed past basic training in any space marine chapter, let alone given a position of such authority in a chapter like the Blood Angels who's minds must be as iron to resist the Black Rage.

As for the debate on Ian Watson I to disliked the Inquisitor trilogy, and it's not just because it's outdated fluff, I read it back when it was first released and really struggled to get through it. Space Marine on the other hand was outstanding, it's easily one of the best Black Library books ever. I have read it more times than I can count.

Awilla the Hun
13-09-2010, 09:21
I really cringed at the conversation between Ossian and Fulgrim when they discussed his sculpture
"How can i achive perfection"
"yes its perfect, too perfect"
"How can something be too perfect"
"Perfection needs to be flawed"
"how can something perfect be flawed"
"you can work with perfection but it lacks passion"
"what of your own work? do you not seek perfection in it?"
"The artist who tries to acchive perfection in everything achives it in nothing"

That sounds like some sort of euphemism...

Anyway, for me (and Black Library isn't exactly top rank literature), the worst would probably be the Ultramarines trilogy. Gotrek and Felix was bad (Boring Invincible Hero more than anything else), but I liked Makaisson (what self respecting Flintlocke fan couldn't?) and Thanquol. (Also, it had so many tentacles, swords, suckers, mutations and so on that I couldn't help but wonder whether the author had some sort of Freudian difficulties.) Ultramarines, though... well, the first two involved lots of heroic space marines/guardsmen/arbites/backwoods huntsmen gunning down human (alien) waves. Then came Dead Sky, Black Sun. That seemed to be what happens after the author has a bad trip on something illegal, and writes down his experiences in the most bloody, surreal, grimdark way possible. Marines bite their way out of demon brood mothers (another Freud thing there, I think), are relived of their power armour before getting saved by it pages later, and I generally forced myself to doggedly trudge through page after page of random, pointless gore.

Not all Black Library is like this. Eisenhorn is OK, Cain is OK, Gaunt is OK (although both Cain and Gaunt, in my view, are shadows of their inspirations: Flashman and Sharpe respectively), and some short stories are pretty good. But there is better stuff than this. There is better sci fi and fantasy than this (e.g. A Song of Ice and Fire, The First Law series, Mistborn, Lord of the Rings, and even nonsense like The Inheritance Cycle can more or less stand proudly alongside the worst Black Library has to offer-well, Gotrek and Felix if you remove the "quirks" like Makaisson and Grey Seer Thanquol.)

Wyrmwood
16-09-2010, 22:03
I've read Heart of Darkness and Paradise Lost. I know of Nietzsche's book and Ayn Rand's, though to a lesser degree. Both Heart and Paradise I like, especially Paradise, but I prefer the adaptation of Apocalypse, Now to the actual source material by quite a stretch. Though all of that is largely irrelevant :p I don't think it's fair to judge the Black Library to, primarily, philosophical works as none of the authors really strive to explore deeper meaning and motion in the way those books you presented do - I'd prefer it if they did, or some did.

Haunter!
17-09-2010, 04:17
Eldar Prophecy was the worst story ever.

Actually, anything written by G.S. Goto is pretty horrendous. He shouldn't be given work when he so blatantly disregards the established fluff (D-cannons firing bullets?! Really?).

mitsukai
18-09-2010, 18:24
For me it was Brunner, they had so much scope setting the majority of it in Tilea and Brettonia but yet they failed to take advantage of it and brushed over a lot of detail.

What with that and the fact that he starts off for two "Books" with short stories and then in the final book just one big story it does kind of throw you a bit and I found my interest waning very quickly

stompy
19-09-2010, 23:56
Has anyone read Death World? Hands down the worst Black Library book I have ever read. It follows a bunch of Catachans who have been called in to help some straight-laced Mordian types fight orks on a death world.

Every character in the entire book is a cliche. The catachans are all muscle bound jungle men, and the straight-laced mordian types are all, well, straight-laced mordian types. The main character is typical rookie trying to prove himself, often to the detriment of his squad, and the squad is joined by stereotype commisar, who wants to make sure the burly wildmen abide by all the rules, with expected consequences. (ok, in fairness, commisars should by definition have almost no character, but this guy is the most unimaginative character I have ever come across.)

Anyway, the point of the story is our mordian clones have been sent to fight orks on some planet. In the couple of weeks they've been fighting, it's turned from being a normal fertile planet to a deathworld (oooh, plot hook). They get help from our jungle fighting friends, and the squad the story focusses on have to head through the jungle to assassinate generic warboss, who is digging a big hole in the jungle (oooh, plot hook).

They head through the jungle, dispatching small armies of orks in hand to hand combat. (These guys put Black Library marines to shame in terms of killing stupid amounts of enemies to no losses. The average guy can happily take on a handful of orks in melee and not suffer a scratch.) The jungle gets a bit creepier. The plants evolve at crazy rates to become more deadly. Then our heroes get attack by a bunch of undead birds at night, and there's a big hoo-ha about how they're used to fighting against nature, but what just happened was unnatural (oooh, plot hook. Probably related to the hyper-evolution, and in turn to the warboss digging a big hole).

They plod on, fighting against orks and trees, then the jungle starts making humanoid bush-monsters. As our catachan friends press on, the bush-monsters start to look increasingly like catachans, in hope of catching them off-guard.

Anyway, after many chapters of cutting through foliage and ork zombies, they get to the big ork mine, and some fighting happens. No answers to the plot hooks are found in our mine, turns out the orks just felt like digging a big hole for no good reason.

At this point, there's about 4 pages left of the book, and you can't help but feel the author is leaving all the explanations for all this weirdness a bit late. Thankfully, on the second to last page, he more-or-less writes:

"*shrug* it just happened, i guess. Deathworld, innit."

And Rookie McGee survives and feels like he's proved himself. Hoorah.

So yeah, sorry to write such a long post, but the author wasted my time with reading this appaling book that I figured I'd waste all of your time :p

I'll leave you with this quote. Rookie McGee has just spent weeks fighting in a creepy jungle, killed a whole bunch of orks, been posioned, seriously beaten down by a warboss, narrowly avoided a mining collapse, and broken his wrist:

"In his current condition, even a trio of orks, if they had taken him by surprise, might have proved too much."

Black Library super-killy marines have got nothing on this 17 year old boy.

Pacific
20-09-2010, 05:30
Haha that actually sounds quite awesome, like the BL version of Commando ! :)

BobtheInquisitor
20-09-2010, 15:56
I found Death World to be pretty forgettable myself. Nothing like the abominations that are the Andy Hoare Rogue Trader books. Andy Hoare is the Karen Traviss of BL, and the Tau are his Mandalorians.

It doesn't help that he wrote books based around a rogue trader's fleet but apparently never bothered to read Battlefleet Gothic or Execution Hour. His "starship" scenes are obviously more influenced by Star Trek Voyager, right down to the love of technobabble and nonsensical numbers, rather than 40k. Of course, the absolute worst transgressions are the characters, who are annoying, incompetent and unlikeable, like a trio of Janeways/Jacen Solos.

PenalTrooper
20-09-2010, 16:32
Have to say Stompy I completely agree with you regarding Death World.
I liked the Catachans when they were first released (I was 14 at the time) and collected an army so Death World was a real disappointment for me.
I particularly dislike novels that are narrow in scope set within the 40k universe, ie the whole story takes place on one planet during one campaign in the same jungle.
One of the big things about the 40k universe is the word 'epic', everything is supposed to be over-the-top and supersized and unimaginably vast - dare I say 'baroque'. Why not then have a story about the guard where they fight on different worlds, in different campaigns, during the course of a novel?
The Catachans would have been perfect for this; fishes out of water on an industrial hive world for example, or struggling on the open steppe alongside tankers, then have them go onto a jungle deathworld where they shine.
Rocket science it aint.

magath
21-09-2010, 22:44
Eldar Prophecy was the worst story ever.

Actually, anything written by G.S. Goto is pretty horrendous. He shouldn't be given work when he so blatantly disregards the established fluff (D-cannons firing bullets?! Really?).
Having just read a couple in a kind of "they can't be THAT bad" thing, my favourite is marines with multilasers...

Does anyone remember the old novel, the wine of dreams? Horrible, horrible book. No direction and it took its sweet time getting there, a bit like a crack head staggering round an empty bus stop. Its like that one scene from family guy where Brian is describing the blair witch to a blind guy:

"Nothing's happening, nothings happening, something about a witch hunter, I don't know, I wasn't paying attention. Nothings happening, nothings happening, nothings happening. Some beastmen, nothing's happening.. The books over, Magath looks pissed"

Also, am I the only one living in dread of the day we see a horus heresy novel by Goto?

Tymell
22-09-2010, 06:54
Also, am I the only one living in dread of the day we see a horus heresy novel by Goto?

You're certainly not. That will be the novel covering how the Heresy was actually an Eldar plot to get hold of all the Imperium's children for their monstrous purposes, in which a titan will be taken down by a Remembrancer with a bent piece of pipe, the space marines will wield BFGs and phoenix guard will magically teleport in from Fantasy and charge into battle making elephant noises.

boogle
22-09-2010, 12:57
You're certainly not. That will be the novel covering how the Heresy was actually an Eldar plot to get hold of all the Imperium's children for their monstrous purposes, in which a titan will be taken down by a Remembrancer with a bent piece of pipe, the space marines will wield BFGs and phoenix guard will magically teleport in from Fantasy and charge into battle making elephant noises.

ROFL this is awesome, i really must say that i missed the braying Eldar because of the horrifying nature of multilasers on Marines, and if you think that's bad, just try the Deathwatch stuff by him and the Vindicare short story in Tales of the Dark Millenium.

However, Salvation was one of the best Necromunda stories (i wish they'd kept doing them as they were fun and different)

Ar-Gimilzor
22-09-2010, 16:36
You're certainly not. That will be the novel covering how the Heresy was actually an Eldar plot to get hold of all the Imperium's children for their monstrous purposes, in which a titan will be taken down by a Remembrancer with a bent piece of pipe, the space marines will wield BFGs and phoenix guard will magically teleport in from Fantasy and charge into battle making elephant noises.
Then, a bunch of drooling fanboys will trumpet how "awesome" said book was and a large segment of the human race will take one more step towards oblivion. A minority of fans will become winged, glowing beings of good taste and light, destined to live in a realm where MvS and others are free to write good stories and 1st/2nd edition WFRP goes on forever.

Haunter!
22-09-2010, 16:40
You're certainly not. That will be the novel covering how the Heresy was actually an Eldar plot to get hold of all the Imperium's children for their monstrous purposes, in which a titan will be taken down by a Remembrancer with a bent piece of pipe, the space marines will wield BFGs and phoenix guard will magically teleport in from Fantasy and charge into battle making elephant noises.

Nah, that plot is way too good for a Goto book.

Pacific
23-09-2010, 01:55
You're certainly not. That will be the novel covering how the Heresy was actually an Eldar plot to get hold of all the Imperium's children for their monstrous purposes, in which a titan will be taken down by a Remembrancer with a bent piece of pipe, the space marines will wield BFGs and phoenix guard will magically teleport in from Fantasy and charge into battle making elephant noises.

Hahaha, again that sounds amazing! :D I can see why he would be the go-to guy when it comes to writing new BL books.

MvS
23-09-2010, 09:19
A minority of fans will become winged, glowing beings of good taste and light, destined to live in a realm where MvS and others are free to write good stories and 1st/2nd edition WFRP goes on forever.

*gazes off into space with a dreamy expression*

*sighs*

Uncle Bomber
23-09-2010, 09:42
I found Titanicus a very frustrating read. I felt that there were to many side stories. The PDF unit that gets almost destroyed and finds a princepts, i could understand if the princepts had a further part to play in the story, but as it was he didnt. The whole thread was a distraction.
The combat between titans was fine, until the final battle and then the mechanicus titans seemed to become invincible, the end battle seemed a little rushed or maybe over edited.

I enjoyed the early battles and the progression of the major characters, for me it was an up and down book, with great highs followed by frustrating lows.
On the plus side i'm in the middle of the Ragnar Blackmane trilogy, so far so good.

Daniel36
23-09-2010, 13:12
Riders of the Dead. I don't care what people think of Abnett, that was just bad. I am an English teacher, but even so the first page alone held about 3 words I had never ever heard of before.

Don't use big words just to use big words. It doesn't always add to the story. GUHHH...

x-esiv-4c
23-09-2010, 13:36
"Nemesis" from the Horus Heresy series was a total trainwreck.

Apart from the millions of "curled lips" and using "vitae" instead of blood, it was much like watching the movie: "Julie and Julia". A beginning, middle and end with nothing resolved. The Heresey could have plodded along without this book being in the series and it would be of no consequence at all.

NightrawenII
23-09-2010, 14:49
I found Honour Guard to be a terrible book.
Ok. I can get over the Gaunt acting out of character or Corbec's&Co. little trip. But the ending? Horror the horror, I have never seen such "Deus ex Machina" pulled out of nowhere.:(

BobtheInquisitor
23-09-2010, 15:34
I found Honour Guard to be a terrible book.
Ok. I can get over the Gaunt acting out of character or Corbec's&Co. little trip. But the ending? Horror the horror, I have never seen such "Deus ex Machina" pulled out of nowhere.:(

I always enjoyed it when Abnett played up the spirituality in the setting, like in Honour Guard and Titanicus (with the Omnissiah icon). It feels like he's parodying certain works of Christian fiction, like the Left Behind series or anything by Kingsbury, or even the Narnia books. Talk about Deus ex Machinas...

RobC
23-09-2010, 16:38
Riders of the Dead. I don't care what people think of Abnett, that was just bad. I am an English teacher, but even so the first page alone held about 3 words I had never ever heard of before.

Don't use big words just to use big words. It doesn't always add to the story. GUHHH...Care to reveal which words? A quick glance at the hardback edition and all I can see is "cockade", "oblast" and "izbas", and to me none detracted from the story. He uses period and region-specific words to add greater immersion to the setting; there's nothing intrinsically wrong with this, and it's endemic with Dan's writing.

Ka Faraq Gatri
23-09-2010, 22:15
Pretty much anything by Ben Counter.

I know that sounds over-harsh (and probably is), but bear with me here.

I have a degree in literature. I spend probably 30+ hours a week reading, and I will read almost anything, of any genre. Except romance or Twilight.

The number of books that I have started and not finished in my life is 6. Three of those were written by Ben Counter. That is to say, fully half of the books that I have ever read that were so unutterably awful that I couldn't force my way to the conclusion were by this man. He is on the same list as Jeffrey Archer in this regard.

If you're wondering (you're not, but that's not going to stop me), they are:

1) Daemon World (on first release, back in...ooh, '02? '03?)
2) The second Soul Drinkers book - I finished the first and HATED it, but decided to give the second a chance anyway. Mistake.)
3) Battle for the Abyss.

A word on ...Abyss here. I tried to read it through three times. The first was on a train journey from Glasgow to London. I fell asleep twice, but figured that was because the journey started before 5am.

I tried it again over the course of that week, in the evenings in my London hotel. Failure this time I attributed to the piecemeal nature of the reading (ignoring that I also, in that week read the second Dexter novel (better than the TV show - and the TV show is damn good), one of Gyles Brandreth's "Oscar Wilde Mysteries" (highly recommended) and two large history texts).

Third attempt was back at home, in my readin' chair in the study, amply supplied with tea and ginger nuts.

Why couldn't I finish it? Not because I didn't like the characters (I didn't), or couldn't be bothered with the plot (I couldn't), but because, once again, Ben Counter had written in the same style I used to write in (when I was twelve and writing Star Trek fan fiction).

I would like to say here that I am NOT a writer. I don't have the talent. I've long since accepted that it's simply not something I'm cut out for. I'm cool with that. And, if it wouldn't be the most ******* thing I've ever said, I would say that Ben Counter needs to consider that he might be in the same boat. He writes fan fiction. BAD fan fiction.

Tymell
24-09-2010, 06:53
Except romance or Twilight.

Only just into your post and already I like you :D

EDIT: Don't quite know why this part disappeared after I posted it...


3) Battle for the Abyss.

A word on ...Abyss here. I tried to read it through three times. The first was on a train journey from Glasgow to London. I fell asleep twice, but figured that was because the journey started before 5am.

This (and the rest on it) is exactly how I felt about it. It's sat on my shelf and I've tried several times but I just can't make myself get very far into it. The writing does feel very amateur fan-fiction-y, and it's far too bogged down with description of every last detail. If I remember right the first half a dozen pages are a ship pulling out of a port.

Ka Faraq Gatri
24-09-2010, 10:20
3)If I remember right the first half a dozen pages are a ship pulling out of a port.

It's the Star Trek: The Motion(less) Picture of the Heresy series...

Tymell
24-09-2010, 10:47
Huh, part of my last reply disappeared after I posted. Restored now.

Anyway, I quite enjoyed Counter's Galaxy in Flames, but that was probably more due to the area the story covered than the actual writing.

I also hear tell that with that book he had to re-write a lot of it in a hurry: his original draft indicated that he hadn't read any of the source material he'd been sent, and had a lot of inaccuracies about the setting/universe :p

RobC
24-09-2010, 16:36
Except romance or Twilight.Why the distinction? Twilight is romance.

Tymell
24-09-2010, 20:58
Why the distinction? Twilight is romance.

Must...resist...urge....to...derail....thread!

Let's just say Twilight is romance in the same way that the Jonas Brothers is rock music.

RobC
25-09-2010, 09:11
Must...resist...urge....to...derail....thread!

Let's just say Twilight is romance in the same way that the Jonas Brothers is rock music.Sappy female lead desires hunky yet slightly bad guy with a dark secret? Cue OTT 'fantasy' element? Sounds like every paranormal romance there's ever been – the only real difference is that Twilight is aimed at teens, and marketed differently.

BobtheInquisitor
25-09-2010, 10:14
Sappy female lead desires hunky yet slightly bad guy with a dark secret? Cue OTT 'fantasy' element? Sounds like every paranormal romance there's ever been – the only real difference is that Twilight is aimed at teens, and marketed differently.

I think it's really about codependency, sexual repression, and an unhealthy fixation on the ideal. Also, Mormons.

The real reason it's not romance is because of the downer ending. How heartbreaking is it that she didn't end up with Jacob?!:cries:

Another thing to consider is that "romance" generally doesn't form between the perfectly-formed apotheoses-of-all-that-is-masculine and fetuses. Clearly it's some kind of avant-garde existential horror.

RobC
25-09-2010, 11:10
I think it's really about codependency, sexual repression, and an unhealthy fixation on the ideal.So a romance novel, then? ;)

I kid, I kid. My main upset regarding Twilight is that it's pretty much the only thing making money in the "horror" genre at the moment. No wonder there's been such a rush by writers and bookshops to cash in.

Tymell
25-09-2010, 13:59
Sappy female lead desires hunky yet slightly bad guy with a dark secret? Cue OTT 'fantasy' element? Sounds like every paranormal romance there's ever been – the only real difference is that Twilight is aimed at teens, and marketed differently.

I'll keep my response to a PM, since Twilight isn't a Black Library novel (a definite point in their favour :p).

Wyrmwood
25-09-2010, 14:30
Must...resist...urge....to...derail....thread!

Let's just say Twilight is romance in the same way that the Jonas Brothers is rock music.

Agreed.

Still, I've yet to see actual romance in a Black Library novel...

stompy
25-09-2010, 16:28
Still, I've yet to see actual romance in a Black Library novel...

Have you read the Eisenhorn trilogy? There's certainly a romantic element, albeit a small one.

Tymell
25-09-2010, 17:21
Still, I've yet to see actual romance in a Black Library novel...

I'd guess part of that is due to the frequency of marines as central characters.

As stompy says, the Eisenhorn trilogy has a minor element of that. Felix in the Gotrek novels has various ones too, though they're more often lovers than outright romances.

I'd love to see one with a (good) romance as the focus against a 40K/Fantasy backdrop.

DarthSte
27-09-2010, 12:42
The Genevieve books are clearly based on classic romances. And Felix is without a doubt a romantic character- but instead of questing for the love of a woman, he craves the respect and friendship of a fellow warrior.

Daniel36
27-09-2010, 15:29
Care to reveal which words? A quick glance at the hardback edition and all I can see is "cockade", "oblast" and "izbas", and to me none detracted from the story. He uses period and region-specific words to add greater immersion to the setting; there's nothing intrinsically wrong with this, and it's endemic with Dan's writing.

Well, I can't really remember, and I don't think I still have the book, but it just felt like he was using big words just for the heck of it. I mean, seriously... It doesn't automatically make your story more appealing or paint a more vivid picture using big words. He lost me after about 10 pages. I couldn't bear to move on.

Tae
27-09-2010, 16:11
Agreed.

Still, I've yet to see actual romance in a Black Library novel...

Guardians of the Forest has sex in it.

And, as I keep telling the Mrs., that counts as "actual romance" :p

Ar-Gimilzor
27-09-2010, 17:07
And Felix is without a doubt a romantic character- but instead of questing for the love of a woman, he craves the respect and friendship of a fellow warrior.
Actually, there's quite a bit of romance in the G&F series... Felix has two major interests in the first few books, so I'd have to disagree.

ArtificerArmour
27-09-2010, 19:38
I quite like Bean Counters work. Unfortunately abyss and soul drinkers were poor, but his grey knight series and daemonworld were great!

Pacific
28-09-2010, 16:31
Agreed.

Still, I've yet to see actual romance in a Black Library novel...

Inquisitor series, there is a brief, un-descriptive sex scene (although I realise that book pre-dates BL)

But, I think that book also has one of the only bits of 'romance' in it - ('Inquisition Wars' spoiler if you haven't yet read it - do so! :D )

When he just cannot cope with the loss of Meh'Lindi, and is trying to find the eldar webway pathway that would allow him to go back in time and prevent her loss.. I thought that was just so tragic, especially as his mind is starting to come to pieces at the same time.

Properly done, romance can make a story immensely powerful - it's a shame it's not done more often, although I appreciate the difficulty of shoehorning it into a galaxy without love or comedy :)

x-esiv-4c
28-09-2010, 16:32
Daemonworld was a nice change from the usual bolter-pr0n. However, like most I consider Abyss to be totally unreadable.

S_A_T_S
28-09-2010, 18:01
The Vampire Wars trilogy was awful. Got it as a prize in local stores short story competition and can see now why they were giving them away...

magath
28-09-2010, 18:53
I'll keep my response to a PM, since Twilight isn't a Black Library novel (a definite point in their favour :p).
To be fair, I'd sooner read a BL book by joyce meyer than Goto. :eek:

Fulgrim's Gimp
28-09-2010, 21:35
Soul Drinkers by far the worst books. Any marine that thinks spider legs and abdomen is a gift from the Emperor......

Toramino
29-09-2010, 04:25
Its not really a novel but I thought ''The Last Church'' from Tales of Heresy was an embarrassingly simple piece of trash. Its not so much the way it is written but that it reads like an argument on the internet between an angry rebellious 16 year old athiest and a megachurch attending hick, the arguments used by both had me shaking my head.

Tymell
29-09-2010, 08:28
I loved that story myself, I thought it was a great piece of dialogue, and a look into the history of the Emperor's early days.

The Dark Angels one was my least favourite of that compilation, if only because it's so rushed and ultimately pointless.

Uncle Bomber
29-09-2010, 08:43
I,m struggling with the Blood Angels trilogy. An inquisitor who orders around marines like a chapter master. Plus marines who just take it. A marine who thinks he is the Primarch reborn and no one puts a bolt in his head. I,m not that far in but i think this one may be destined for the boot sale.

BobtheInquisitor
29-09-2010, 09:01
To be fair, I'd sooner read a BL book by joyce meyer than Goto. :eek:

Just switch "Jesus" to "The Emperor" and she'd be the most prolific BL writer of all.

DarthSte
29-09-2010, 10:29
Actually, there's quite a bit of romance in the G&F series... Felix has two major interests in the first few books, so I'd have to disagree.

I wasn't denying that he had love interests, he certainly does: with the girl in Trollslayer, the girl in Skavenslayer and Ulrica in a bunch of them, probably others too. My point was more that "romance" isn't always about "love", it can and does mean a love of adventure and excitement just as much as it means relating to a love affair... :)

Ar-Gimilzor
29-09-2010, 10:48
I wasn't denying that he had love interests, he certainly does: with the girl in Trollslayer, the girl in Skavenslayer and Ulrica in a bunch of them, probably others too. My point was more that "romance" isn't always about "love", it can and does mean a love of adventure and excitement just as much as it means relating to a love affair... :)
Hmm, well generally you'd use the term "romantic" for that, and even that is sort of becoming archaic now... but anyway, I get what you're saying.

Toramino
30-09-2010, 01:10
The Dark Angels one was my least favourite of that compilation, if only because it's so rushed and ultimately pointless.

I agree, infact a lot of stories from that book were essentially mini 40k stories set in the heresy setting. The Space Wolves butchering dark eldar for 90% of a story with an ending about ''compliance'' tacked on I felt was pretty pointless too.

Xhalax
01-10-2010, 22:37
Agreed.

Still, I've yet to see actual romance in a Black Library novel...

There's a couple in Gaunt's Ghosts (Gaunt even got his leg over twice, which kinda makes him possibly the joint 1st randiest character in 40K, the other being Eisenhorn, with one confession when he was 16 and the other with the morning after the night before.....though Cain hints at quite a bit of bedroom action), including a new one in Blood Pact.

Ravenor has a couple.....one of which was in the Eisenhorn books

Eisenhorn has a forbidden one.....not to mention Eisenhorn almost got married.

Titanicus actually has a married couple and a potential relationship.

And Aaron Dembski-Bowden said he tries to put a relationship in each of his novels, though the one in Cadian Blood got cut.

See you can't open a 40K book without tripping over a romance these days.

Pacific
04-10-2010, 14:19
Its not really a novel but I thought ''The Last Church'' from Tales of Heresy was an embarrassingly simple piece of trash. Its not so much the way it is written but that it reads like an argument on the internet between an angry rebellious 16 year old athiest and a megachurch attending hick, the arguments used by both had me shaking my head.

Use missed the uproar about that story by at least a year Toramino :p


And Aaron Dembski-Bowden said he tries to put a relationship in each of his novels, though the one in Cadian Blood got cut.

This makes me sad. I bet it would have been brilliantly written too.. Still, it's not someone having their brains pasted over the ceiling or grimly clutching a boltgun so I guess it has no place in the 40k universe.

magath
04-10-2010, 22:22
Its not really a novel but I thought ''The Last Church'' from Tales of Heresy was an embarrassingly simple piece of trash. Its not so much the way it is written but that it reads like an argument on the internet between an angry rebellious 16 year old athiest and a megachurch attending hick, the arguments used by both had me shaking my head.
I'd agree with this. McNeill really slid in this book. Normally I'd consider him on par with David Gemmell and Abnett, but this really grated me. Not because I work for a church but because it was honestly like reading a concussed Billy Graham and an emo 13 year old atheist laying into each other after 20 pints of stella.

I can't fault McNeills work any other way (aside from the enochian thing in Prospero burns, mate, do your research properly...) and Heldenhammer is up there with Gemmells later stuff, but this short story just really, really grated me, it was like watching two steriotypes throw slogans at each other than watching a proper religious debate. McNeilll needs to read Dawkins, Aquinas and Karl Barth and start again

andyg2006
04-10-2010, 23:04
The Soul Drinker omnibus was a giant opportunity to really go to town on an entire chapter and really flesh it out and show us a true '3rd way' in 40K. Instead we got:
About 2 pages of "it's a really esteemed chapter" (like that matters).
Hero eats chaos-mutant, turns on chapter master, gets a mutation right in front of everyone...and no one bats an eyelid (wtf?).
The entire justification for all this nonsense? A 5 minute conversation with an enemy combatant (turning decades of personal training and centuries of chapter tradition on its head in an incredibly short space of time by saying "It's okay, because he believes in the emperor" and it's all supposed to be alright????).
Utter rubbish.

Thanatos_elNyx
05-10-2010, 10:07
The recent Sigmar Book was awful :(

Culgore
13-10-2010, 22:36
Don't know if anyone has complained about Sons of Dorn yet... wow what an incredibly boring book. So apparently Chris Roberson thought he could tell the exact same story twice in the same book and hope that no one would notice. I will write a short synopsis of the book here.

So it starts with some three way royal rumble on this Island called "TRIandria(seemed a lot like the way you would justify a three way game in 40K) then three of the combatants get taken by the Imperial Fists. However "Guy A" killed "Guy B's" Mentor, then "guy B" killed "Guy C's" dad. SO for the rest of the book guys C&B are plotting to kill those dudes who killed their dad/mentor. Really boring. Then they go to this planet and defend this mountain fortress... but Roberson talks at length about how they fortify the fortress... "and then they used wreckage to block this passageway" over and over. "Then they stabbed the guy who came through the narrow passageway" over and over. Now ol' Chris doesn't want to leave anyone in suspense about anything so there are traitors amongst the humans in the fortress (he tells you who they are as soon as the Imperial Fists meet them) and in the end when the main Chaos force shows up well he already told you what was going to happen about 200 pages ago... the end.

Xhalax
14-10-2010, 08:48
This makes me sad. I bet it would have been brilliantly written too.. Still, it's not someone having their brains pasted over the ceiling or grimly clutching a boltgun so I guess it has no place in the 40k universe.

Don't worry Pacific....he's managed in all this other books...including The First Heretic. I think Aaron Dembski-Bowden is a hopeless romantic.


Sons of Dorn yet... wow what an incredibly boring

I read the short in Heroes of the Space Marines and based on that I refuse to read Sons of Dorn.

bound for glory
14-10-2010, 15:53
i guess i'm one of the few who liked the soul drinker books:cries: i like the idea of not quite chaos marines...also liked fulgrim.
i hated legion. nemesis i really hated, too.

Jedi152
14-10-2010, 15:56
I don't know about 40k, but in fantasy it's difficult in the books to portray chaos as it should be ... some manage it (Laughter of Dark Gods, Enemy Within, Death's Legacy).

For most authors chaos are eeevil men in armour with spikes.

magath
15-10-2010, 08:14
nemesis i really hated, too.
Amen to that!!

My problem with nemesis is that the assassins behaved like a bunch of school kids. Whine, bitch and whinge all the way through the book. Cross hollyoaks, the muppets and a B-movie action film and set it in 40k, and this book is the net result.

What I specifically didn't like about it was:

After all the meticulous care of getting to the place and setting up to snipe, the vindicare doesnt bother for facial confirmation, but shoots because Luc Sedrae is wearing a cloak belonging to Horus. Ignoring the fact that Primarchs are supposed to be a lot bigger than normal marines, this seems retarded to remix.

Also, the brother and sister bit. When she went off on one, the vindicare should have calmly drawn his pistol and shot her through the face. Job done.

Also, a "dark pariah", so an assassin +1 basically? The character was rediculous. Plus, surely you can't bind a daemon to a pariah. Was I the only one who read bloody Eisenhorn? Where Cherubael can't use his powers near Bequin, same thing with Jurgen in Ciaphas Cain series. Why then would a daemon, bound to a pariah, be able to manifest psychic powers?


I really hope the First Heretic picks up the pace of the series.

ADF
15-10-2010, 22:05
I've been very fond of the Ciaphas Cain books,until I read them a second time; the humour consists only of funny non-sequiturs and comments, and all the books are basically the same story.

a) Cain stumbles into Necrons, barely escapes
b) Cain stumbles into Chaos cultists/ Genestealer Cultists, Jurgen saves the day, they barely escape

Every.Single.Time. Cultists, Necrons, Orks.

I think that this is caused by the fact that aforementioned enemies are the only ones that guard can belieably defeat more than once (or run away from in case of Necrons) without being totally slaugthered in the process, however, Jurgen as a Deus ex Machina is used way, way to often, especially as anyone vaguely familiar with the series or the setting can see it coming from miles away...

Seriously, if you have a blank running around, make not every single enemy a daemon, a mind controller or telepathically linked cultists...

Luckily, the next book seems to leave Jurgen alone, but i sense large amounts of "Due to growing up in a hive, i can outstealth Genestealers" coming.

sliganian
16-10-2010, 00:35
The other interesting thing is that I recently watched the restored Doctor Who episode "Tomb of the Cybermen" -- which basically drilled home for me that every piece of back-story on the Necrons is ripped from the Cybermen story, with a dash of C'thulu mythos and Hollywood 'Terminator' stylings thrown in.

Dyrnwyn
16-10-2010, 01:37
I'm amazed I had to go 5 pages into the thread to find a mention of CS Goto.

I've never read an entire book by him, but two of his short stories pretty much ended any interest in dragging myself through 300 pages of his drek. I found Vindicare absolutely absurd and Tears of Blood lived up to it's name as it practically made my eyes bleed.


You're certainly not. That will be the novel covering how the Heresy was actually an Eldar plot to get hold of all the Imperium's children for their monstrous purposes, in which a titan will be taken down by a Remembrancer with a bent piece of pipe, the space marines will wield BFGs and phoenix guard will magically teleport in from Fantasy and charge into battle making elephant noises.
I'm saving this. I expect it to be prophetic.

FlashGordon
17-10-2010, 12:20
best: fulgrim
worst: that first deathwatch book by cs goto. Awful. Felt like a stab in the heart. stopped reading that series immediatly.

FlashGordon
17-10-2010, 12:23
Amen to that!!

My problem with nemesis is that the assassins behaved like a bunch of school kids. Whine, bitch and whinge all the way through the book. Cross hollyoaks, the muppets and a B-movie action film and set it in 40k, and this book is the net result.

What I specifically didn't like about it was:

After all the meticulous care of getting to the place and setting up to snipe, the vindicare doesnt bother for facial confirmation, but shoots because Luc Sedrae is wearing a cloak belonging to Horus. Ignoring the fact that Primarchs are supposed to be a lot bigger than normal marines, this seems retarded to remix.

Also, the brother and sister bit. When she went off on one, the vindicare should have calmly drawn his pistol and shot her through the face. Job done.

Also, a "dark pariah", so an assassin +1 basically? The character was rediculous. Plus, surely you can't bind a daemon to a pariah. Was I the only one who read bloody Eisenhorn? Where Cherubael can't use his powers near Bequin, same thing with Jurgen in Ciaphas Cain series. Why then would a daemon, bound to a pariah, be able to manifest psychic powers?


I really hope the First Heretic picks up the pace of the series.

Actually by the same author (dan abnett) Ravenor: The person becoming a daemonhost is a pariah because the daemon was so uber

Tymell
17-10-2010, 12:31
Actually by the same author (dan abnett) Ravenor: The person becoming a daemonhost is a pariah because the daemon was so uber

No, he wasn't.

BlackLegion
18-10-2010, 12:02
"Black Pariah" is only a name. Spear isn't a black Pariah but a Black Pariah. An ill choosen name i have to say. Mirror Psyker or somesuch would be more appropiate if only to avoid the misleading term "Pariah".

Xhalax
18-10-2010, 14:57
I've been very fond of the Ciaphas Cain books,until I read them a second time; the humour consists only of funny non-sequiturs and comments, and all the books are basically the same story.

Very true, I can't argue with you there....however, I think it works in the context of the books, as they're supposed to be his memoires rather than us watching over what's going on 'in real time'....for lack of a better phrase.

I know I'd describe my comings and goings in a pretty similar fashion, even those that are super crazy.

But there's the problem of stagnation too....which I always worry about with Cain because I enjoy the books so much.

BobtheInquisitor
18-10-2010, 18:15
I think the Cain series peaked with books three and four. The fifth and sixth aren't bad, but they're definitely missing something compared to the earlier ones. They're still very entertaining for me, though, even if the series has lost some of its former glory.