It's old man Chaos here at the Chaos Corner- this week, I will be doing a new segment as a part of this website- book reviews for 40K.
I have been reading 40K books for quite some time now. My first 40K book was Execution Hour by Gordon Rennie. I did not read Storm of Iron when it originally came out either. Strangely enough, I really got into 40K lit when I began reading Sandy Mitchel's Commisar Cain books. They reminded me in a way of the Blackadder series (Cain IS Edmund Blackadder of the 41st millennium, and Jurgen is Baldrick).
At this juncture, I read 40K books off and on until I began to read the initial Horus Heresy books when they first came out. I've been regularly reading Black Library offerings ever since. The most recent book I have read is Blood Gorgons by Henry Zou. This one is a mixed bag. Let's go through the good and the bad:
Good- This was a very good interpretation of a "non-legion" Chaos Marine chapter. They are not the old traitor legions OR Red Corsairs. They have their own ideas, customs, and even their own daemonic patron. Some great ideas about their organization and how these "pirates" might function. I loved the character of Barsabas. Great lead character, and very vividly portrayed. I also enjoyed the overall plot structure. Plague Marines looking to co-opt the Gorgons was a particularly good idea, and well executed. Additionally, the Dark Eldar were handled very well too. They fit into the story well enough. Poor Sindul!
Bad- the writing was a bit sketchy at points. There were some things that I felt did not actually FIT into the 40K universe. Now, I'm all for writers having room to experiment in the 40K sandbox, but there were some wild things here... I can't get into them without ruining the plot, so I won't (I'll just mention warp travel, and isn't it convenient that there seems to be no Plague Marine battle ships around when the crucial battle comes). Also, there is a character that turns up toward the end, and I kept saying "why didn't they kill him!" when they had the chance? It wasn't just a freak accident, it felt like lazy writing.
All in all, I would give Blood Gorgons 2 1/2 out of 4 marks of Chaos. It had a great overall story idea and some of the characters were really cool (Barsabas, Sindul, Opsarus, and Muhr). However, some murky writing and plot holes keep it from achieving a higher mark.
Until next time my chaos fanatics...