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View Full Version : The Seventh Serpent by Graham McNeill - Horus Heresy Novella



Death Nikorps
12-11-2014, 17:08
http://img15.hostingpics.net/pics/7428165912.jpg (http://www.hostingpics.net/viewer.php?id=7428165912.jpg)


Pre-released at the Black Library Weekender, will be out on their website in a few weeks.

Here my review of The Seventh Serpent:


https://twitter.com/blacklibrarium/status/532594474992828416


(you can click on the US/UK flag to translate into english)




Alpharius is here.


Or not.


;)

MajorWesJanson
13-11-2014, 07:16
Kudos for the crazy camera angle on that cover.

Nineswords
15-11-2014, 10:54
Part 1 of my review here (http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/topic/299132-the-seventh-serpent-by-graham-mcneill/?p=3859320)
and Part 2 (http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/topic/299132-the-seventh-serpent-by-graham-mcneill/?p=3862077)

DarkChaplain
15-11-2014, 15:22
Part 1 of my review here (http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/topic/299132-the-seventh-serpent-by-graham-mcneill/?p=3859320)
and Part 2 (http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/topic/299132-the-seventh-serpent-by-graham-mcneill/?p=3862077)

I enjoyed those posts. While I have my problems with the depiction of the Alpha Legion, it is nice to see somebody trying to make sense of all the confusion and looking at things without growning over the use of a common Legion-trope, and disliking a story by default.
The second part actually brought me back into the "there's a lot to like about them, if handled well" mindset. It seems like Graham did a pretty good job bringing plotlines and schemes together, while opening up new possibilities.

littleRaven
16-11-2014, 15:51
Great read nineswords good review definitely bumped my interest in xx legion again;)

Anakwanar
20-11-2014, 22:22
Fantastic novella - now i really want to know what happens to the 'Sissy' crew next ;) Why do we even need Primarchs now :evilgrin:

tristessa
21-11-2014, 09:08
Part 1 of my review here (http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/topic/299132-the-seventh-serpent-by-graham-mcneill/?p=3859320)
and Part 2 (http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/topic/299132-the-seventh-serpent-by-graham-mcneill/?p=3862077)

Fantastic review! Thanks!

Makes me want to play Alpha Legion!

Nineswords
22-11-2014, 10:05
I enjoyed those posts. While I have my problems with the depiction of the Alpha Legion, it is nice to see somebody trying to make sense of all the confusion and looking at things without growning over the use of a common Legion-trope, and disliking a story by default.
The second part actually brought me back into the "there's a lot to like about them, if handled well" mindset. It seems like Graham did a pretty good job bringing plotlines and schemes together, while opening up new possibilities.

Thanks all! I think the thread went off topic and perhaps it was my (poor) review, but there was some posts in the discussion where Alpha Legion are dismissed as this sort of omnipresent always-winning legion (of course without actually reading the novella), which I think is very far from the truth. The stories we see are really evocative of what the Legion is very good at, and as you say in the hands of a good writer, it pays off. I think perhaps the second part of the review was quite satisfying to undertake because it demands your attention to try and build a timeline of the Legion's actions from different threads and make sense of it, especially in light of the civil war that is now happening within the XX, and how that's going to play out in the later stages of the Heresy.

MiyamatoMusashi
07-12-2014, 18:19
Just read this today. If you think Sharrowkyn is awesome and want to read about how awesome Sharrowkyn is and how Sharrowkyn is awesome and how awesome Sharrowkyn is and how he's like totally awesome, I highly recommend it.

502
08-12-2014, 06:53
Just read this today. If you think Sharrowkyn is awesome and want to read about how awesome Sharrowkyn is and how Sharrowkyn is awesome and how awesome Sharrowkyn is and how he's like totally awesome, I highly recommend it.

Haven't read the spoilers and was considering buying it to read about the Alpha Legion but if it has so much Sharrowkyn Mary Sue worship, I'll pass.

DarkChaplain
08-12-2014, 15:08
Haven't read the spoilers and was considering buying it to read about the Alpha Legion but if it has so much Sharrowkyn Mary Sue worship, I'll pass.

I'd recommend reading what Nineswords said about it, rather than getting turned off by an excessively one-dimensional complaint that does nothing to address the novella's overall quality or plot, just to focus on a pet-peeve.

MR.Tea
08-12-2014, 16:09
Just read this today. If you think Sharrowkyn is awesome and want to read about how awesome Sharrowkyn is and how Sharrowkyn is awesome and how awesome Sharrowkyn is and how he's like totally awesome, I highly recommend it.

Yesugei is awesome. Sevatar is awesome. Sigismund is awesome. Kharn is awesome. Lucius is awesome. Abaddon is awesome. You see the pattern.
Every legion has a non-primarch character that is capable of performing extraordinary feats. And all of them are bit snowflake-ish.
RG have to have one. And I like Sharrowkyn, even though I dont like his legion that much.

MiyamatoMusashi
08-12-2014, 16:52
I'd recommend reading what Nineswords said about it, rather than getting turned off by an excessively one-dimensional complaint that does nothing to address the novella's overall quality or plot, just to focus on a pet-peeve.

You don't feel that a novella's overall quality or plot can be diminished by one character being the smartest, bravest, most intelligent, most skilful, most invisible, always-exactly-where-he-needs-to-be, unstoppable, simply best at everything character imaginable, just because? This isn't even a primarch, either (an invisible primarch I could cope with), he's just a guy. And I, for one, feel that it detracts from the quality of the novella.

Now, I could have written a review as long as the novella to say so, but I felt that brevity was sufficient. Maybe instead of making sneering superior comments about how I said what I said, you could explain which part of what I said was wrong.

Let me put it like this. It was obvious from the moment Meduson appeared that he was going to turn out to be an Alpha Legionnaire in disguise. Why? Nothing to do with his actions or his behaviour or any part of the actual story - no, it was obvious only because Sharrowkyn said not to trust him, and Sharrowkyn (despite having no more information about Meduson than anyone else in the story) is so smart and special and insightful and etc that obviously, therefore, Meduson is not to be trusted. That kind of meta-awareness - that gives away the plot right from the beginning, because the Mary Sue character highlights to the reader exactly what's going to happen, when everyone else can't see it - absolutely does seriously detract from the quality of the novella, because it breaks verisimilitude, not to mention weakening the fourth wall; and I shouldn't need to write a 2000 word blog article for pointing it out to be considered valid criticism.

Mary Sue says something. Everyone else disagrees. Hey, look, Mary Sue was right all along, isn't Mary Sue awesome! You're telling me that raising that as a weakness in the novella isn't valid criticism? Or that it's no reflection on the quality of the novella? I strongly disagree.

Scribe of Khorne
09-12-2014, 05:46
Yesugei is awesome. Sevatar is awesome. Sigismund is awesome. Kharn is awesome. Lucius is awesome. Abaddon is awesome. You see the pattern.
Every legion has a non-primarch character that is capable of performing extraordinary feats. And all of them are bit snowflake-ish.
RG have to have one. And I like Sharrowkyn, even though I dont like his legion that much.

If Sharrowkyn was a psyker, I'd let it pass.

Nineswords
09-12-2014, 11:20
Let me put it like this. It was obvious from the moment Meduson appeared that he was going to turn out to be an Alpha Legionnaire in disguise. Why? Nothing to do with his actions or his behaviour or any part of the actual story - no, it was obvious only because Sharrowkyn said not to trust him, and Sharrowkyn (despite having no more information about Meduson than anyone else in the story) is so smart and special and insightful and etc that obviously, therefore, Meduson is not to be trusted. That kind of meta-awareness - that gives away the plot right from the beginning, because the Mary Sue character highlights to the reader exactly what's going to happen, when everyone else can't see it - absolutely does seriously detract from the quality of the novella, because it breaks verisimilitude, not to mention weakening the fourth wall; and I shouldn't need to write a 2000 word blog article for pointing it out to be considered valid criticism.

Mary Sue says something. Everyone else disagrees. Hey, look, Mary Sue was right all along, isn't Mary Sue awesome! You're telling me that raising that as a weakness in the novella isn't valid criticism? Or that it's no reflection on the quality of the novella? I strongly disagree.

You have a point. Sharrowkyn is probably the most implausible character I've come across so far in the entire series.

Nineswords
09-12-2014, 11:22
Whoops double post.

Fulgrim's Gimp
09-12-2014, 19:43
I was really hoping Sharrowkyn was an Alpha legion Manchurian candidate. Still hoping in fact.

Nazguire
09-12-2014, 22:27
I was really hoping Sharrowkyn was an Alpha legion Manchurian candidate. Still hoping in fact.

He very well could be - a Manchurian candidate waiting until he meets up with Corax or some other high ranked Raven Guard official to assassinate them.

I agree with Miyamoto. Sharrowkyn is a different type of character to Abaddon, Kharn, Lucius, Ahriman, Sigismund, etc. Those characters have real and obvious flaws. Lucius is too arrogant to see past his own nose, Ahriman is too caught up in trying to prove he knows more than the other person than is healthy, Sigismund is a zealot with all that entails, Kharn is a frothing maniac and Abaddon is (at this point) only knows one way to solve a problem or lead men; crack heads in the most direct way possible.

Sharrowkyn has none of these flaws. He's the best swordsman and thereby invalidates Lucius' sales pitch. He knows everything, and is super wise, taking away Ahriman's thing. He can turn invisible (whether literally or the next best thing). He always remains incredibly calm and rational. He is always where he needs to be at the right time, like Batman. You get the idea.

Therefore Miyamoto is right on the money. If Sharrowkyn says and/or does something, you better take notice regardless of circumstances that are happening in the novel as he has some sort of 4th wall breaking 'meta-knowledge'.

MiyamatoMusashi
10-12-2014, 07:56
Even the characters in the novella know it:

Like when they were waiting to be let through the gates into the citadel, and the Iron Hand (I forget his name) wearing Alpha Legion armour was looking around for Sharrowkyn, only to be told over vox "no point looking around, you'll never see me". So at this point, all he knows of Sharrowkyn's location is that he's somewhere in line of sight. Could have been half a kilometre away in a tower block overlooking the courtyard.

They get let through the gates, and he says to the Alpha Legionnaire something about "Sharrowkyn", and the AL says "who's Sharrowkyn?". "Oh, the guy I hope is about to shoot you", says the Iron Hand. Wait - WHAT? He literally didn't know where Sharrowkyn was, they've now moved to a different location, which is in a citadel so wherever Sharrowkyn could see before is no guarantee that he can still see the situation now. He then says something that completely blows any cover he might have had from wearing the wrong armour, on the risk that Sharrowkyn was miraculously in the right place. Wouldn't it have been hilarious if Sharrowkyn had come over the vox, saying "um, actually, dude, I'm still outside, I can't shoot anyone you're talking to right now", leaving the Iron Hand talking to a very angry Alpha Legionnaire who'd want to know why he was being threatened by a supposed battle-brother?

But no, this is Sharrowkyn, and just like the Iron Hand in the story knew that Sharrowkyn would always be in the right place at the right time, the reader knows it too - and sure enough, boom!, Sharrowkyn shoots the Alpha Legionnaire because hey, wouldn't you know it, even though no-one knew where he was, he was just where he needed to be.

When even the characters in the story know that Mary Sue will save the day, and act accordingly - taking absurd risks safe in the knowledge that it's not actually a risk at all... and the reader knows it too, and thus (from my previous spoiler) even the big twist at the end of the story isn't a twist at all because Mary Sue announced it with precise accuracy despite having no possible way of knowing it and no other character in the entire story even suspecting it for a moment... no, that's not just "my pet peeve". Yes, it is detrimental to the quality of the novella. No, there really shouldn't have been any need for several of us to chip in, combining to write thousands of words on this for it to be considered valid. But apparently there was, and brevity was insufficient, so hopefully the point has been made clearly now.

Fulgrim's Gimp
10-12-2014, 20:52
A bit off topic, but, could Sharrokyn not be setup for a major character to kill to reinforce how badass they are?

I'm thinking of Lucius eventually gaining revenge.

Also has anyone thoughts on how Sharrokyn's character could be redeemed from Mary Sueism?

MiyamatoMusashi
10-12-2014, 22:54
Also has anyone thoughts on how Sharrokyn's character could be redeemed from Mary Sueism?

For a start, he needs a weakness, failing, and/or flaw, or to be wrong about something, at least once.

Something like that. Anything.

Nazguire
10-12-2014, 23:40
A bit off topic, but, could Sharrokyn not be setup for a major character to kill to reinforce how badass they are?

I'm thinking of Lucius eventually gaining revenge.

Also has anyone thoughts on how Sharrokyn's character could be redeemed from Mary Sueism?

That's actually a good possibility, when you think of it. Sharrowkyn killed Lucius, and Lucius came back to life a la Slaanesh (thoroughly surprising Fabius Bile as well). No doubt they'll meet up again and Chaos-infused Lucius will make short work of Sharrowkyn. Didn't even think of that.

As Miyamoto says, he needs a weakness. But after one book and several novellas, the chance to just insert a fathomable weakness or flaw that wasn't there before is a bit past that believable stage.

He seems to be some type of super-duper elite Spec Ops Marine - which is what the Raven Guard are about anyway. I would have thought the obvious thing to make of him is that he is overly paranoid and untrusting of others, in a less overtly violent way that the Iron Hands are. Something like that that could be taken advantage of. But nope.

Raga88
11-12-2014, 14:22
In Angel Exterminatus I hoped that Lucius will reborn from Sharrowkyn and he will be the first soul in his armour. It was quite disappointing how it played out at the end.

Nazguire
11-12-2014, 23:22
In Angel Exterminatus I hoped that Lucius will reborn from Sharrowkyn and he will be the first soul in his armour. It was quite disappointing how it played out at the end.

Sharrowkyn didn't take any pride or joy in what he did, apparently. Not even a single moment of triumph, which is all that Lucius needs apparently from his opponent. I dunno, just screams to me more how great Sharrowkyn is.

Tymell
12-12-2014, 20:06
But after one book and several novellas

Just a minor point, but unless I've forgotten something, Sharrowkyn has only appeared in one novella (plus the aforementioned book, and the short story Kryptos), which is Seventh Serpent.