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CELS
01-11-2006, 10:27
So, did anyone read this novel by Matthew Farrer, 'Blind'? I'm eager to hear what other people thought of it, because it was very different from most novels by Black Library.

What I liked about it was the very original setting and the author's ability to come up with new concepts within the 40k setting. Although none of these new concepts were sensational in any way, there were just a lot of small new things that, as a whole, created a fresh and original setting. I also really liked the novel in terms of imagery, and found it to be quite evocative at times.

What I didn't like so much was the plot. Maybe I'm something of a mental midget, but the number of characters and loose threads just blew the circuit in my head. After reading it, I can only remember 4 or 5 character names, but I'm pretty sure there were 20+ significant characters, and they were introduced at such high speed that I simply couldn't keep up. To be honest, I didn't even read the entire novel, I just skim-read the last 30-or-so pages, because I was so lost. In other words, if you're going to read this novel, and don't have very good memory, you're going to need a bit of time and patience to get through it. Unfortunately, I lacked both.

Sai-Lauren
01-11-2006, 10:31
Better than Legacy, not as good as Crossfire.

There appeared to be a few things in just for Calpulrnia to have her justification after Legacy - ok, nice to see plot threads between books, but they could have been handled similarly to her injuries from Crossfire in Legacy - they happened, they healed, but only very recently.

As for the plot, basically a murder mystery in the 40k universe.

Voronwe[MQ]
01-11-2006, 10:39
Matthew Farrer is always good at understanding how things work and coming up with new concepts (Urban Purity Patrols, Chasteners, Dromons, Human Waste Sink, Flag Ensign, Magos Errant, Intercept Cruisers, Vitifer, myriad Adeptus Astra Telepathica ranks etc.).

As I've said before, he's the top author of BL, followed by Abnett and McNeill.

Keeping track of introduction of characters worked when I re-read pieces I was unsure about. :D Also, any one noticing that the book was yhe exact number of pages as Legacy (and supposedly also Crossfire, though I have not read it), so I think it might have something to do with the 'limitation' he (or BL) has put upon himself.

Minister
01-11-2006, 10:50
Myself I too was a bit confused by the plot, possibly just because I've never read so much as a single crime novel in my life, but I do rate his ability to create settings far above his ability to create characters. The Calpurna series seems to be more an exercise in delving into Imperial society than an attempt to create gripping stories at times.

Voronwe[MQ]
01-11-2006, 11:40
You don't need a lot of time and patience to comprehend it. You just need to re-read parts of it, or better u, the whole, lovely book.

As for the plot, I loved the way the complexity of reality intertwines and interferes believably in this book.

CELS
01-11-2006, 12:13
I prefer books that don't have to be re-read to be understood. I like books that you can read a second time and suddenly get a better understanding of underlying plots, messages, etc, but it shouldn't be hard to just follow the plot and get to know the characters.

I think Dan Abnett, for example, does a good job of familiarising the characters to the readers. In his novels, he will often introduce a relatively high number of significant characters, but he writes in a way that reminds you of who he's talking about (i.e. referring to Gaunt as the Commissar-Colonel or Larkin as the wiry sniper now and again, instead of just calling them by name. Or just spending a bit of time introducing each character, so you get a feel for who they are and how they act, and are able to recognise them more easily.)

But like Minister, this was the first 'crime novel' I've ever read, so that might have something to do with it. I assume the author had read one or two before writing Blind.

Voronwe[MQ]
01-11-2006, 12:31
Of course, and a number of books about policiary handlings of such things etc.

But Agatha Christie's crime novels ain't that hard to get into, so I still think it is about the number of pages Shira Calpurnia books seems to be restricted to that makes it hard to understand.

Minister
01-11-2006, 12:33
Quite possibly.

Cain novels are still best. :D

Voronwe[MQ]
01-11-2006, 12:41
I've got to read 'em, though I suppose it is a hell lot of humour in them?

CELS
01-11-2006, 13:07
"A hell lot of humour" would be an accurate description indeed. I found it to be a bit much, actually. Especially since the humour tended to be a bit repetitive, kind of like sit-com humor. "Alright, Cain is a coward and his assistant smells. I get it!" :p

But that's completely off-t ;)

PS: Eisenhorn novels are still best.

Voronwe[MQ]
01-11-2006, 14:08
Legacy was slightly better (meaning it is one of the best books I've ever read) than Blind, but it might be because it is the sole book with something tragic that have strung a cord inside me. When I had read the last pages of Legacy, I found myself sitting staring into the last page. 'The line of Phrax is gone; this alone is their legacy.'

Mechanicus
01-11-2006, 16:42
Matthew Farrer is always good at understanding how things work and coming up with new concepts ([...] Magos Errant, [...]).
I must get around to buying Farrer's books... Which one was the Magos Errant in? And a brief discription would help too! ;)

Thanks in advance!

Voronwe[MQ]
01-11-2006, 17:09
I must get around to buying Farrer's books... Which one was the Magos Errant in? And a brief discription would help too! ;)

Thanks in advance!

Legacy, but there is an interesting Mechanicus presence/cooperation with the Adeptus Astra Telepathica in Blind, and, if understood the hint of Mechanicus presence in Legacy, then also should you buy Crossfire, though you can wait with that one until I've got my hands on it and read it, since I can report on it then.

You will find numerous other things about the Mechanicus in Legacy, too, but I'll leave it to you to discover what. I really enjoyed seeing things from Magos Errant Dyobann's point of view, but that's another thing. There is also an example of interference between two different Adeptus' (Mechanicus and Arbites) laws in it, though it is not too important.

Magos Errant: If I understood it correctly, it is a sort of tech-priest which accompanies Rogue Traders, Naval fardistance patrols etc. and aids them with 'higher' technological repairations/constructions, archivation, scanning and surveying of different phenomenons etc. In exchange he gets a degree of authority over the resources (in this Rogue Trader case) flotilla and can request warp-voyages to certain worlds (such as forgeworlds or geologically/biologically interesting ones, xenos outposts etc.) and so on. I saw Magos Errant being mentioned on Wikipedia, but I never read it, since it was just a brief scroll-through.

I hope it helped a little, at least. ;)