Horus Heresy book review
I’m a huge fan of the Warhammer 40K universe. I’ve been playing the games since I was twelve and have read many of the novels. ( I play Chaos btw) However, I have never found any of the novels to be recommendable to non-fans. True, a few had their moments, but they weren’t great novels. That has all changed however. With the advent of the Horus Heresy series, they have truly gone out of their way. These are actually excellently written novels that weave in and out of each other like one expertly woven tapestry. A minor event in one novel will affect the events in another novel.
What struck me first was that the whole series began like a Classic Greek Drama. It started “In Medias Res,” right in the middle of the action. There is a journey to the underworld and the whole series is saturated with this almost painful sense of tradegdy, loss and pathos. Like the Classic style it uses, the search for knowledge leads to great destruction.
The first few books are about the Lunar Wolves legion, Horus’s very own legion. They are renamed the “Sons of Horus” when Horus is declared “the War Master.” The Emperor of Mankind then goes back to Earth and leaves Horus to continue the Great Crusade to reclaim the galaxy. (There’s so much back story that it’d be impossible to recount it all.) Horus and his fellow brother Primarchs feel lost without the Emperor and some are greatly hurt and feel betrayed. Some stay loyal and some turn away, each with their own reasons. That is another area where these books shine; the complexity of interlacing motivations. It’s never so simple as “evil demons corrupt noble space marines.” It’s always a personal and psychological choice. Me and my brothers have debated how guilty Horus himself was for his betrayal. He had been manipulated but in the end it was his own, personal and selfish decision. The most tragic of all the books so far was “A Thousand Sons.” This primarch turned traitor was actually one of the most loyal primarchs but found himself trapped by his own quest for forbidden knowledge. In trying to help the Emperor he ended up betraying him worse than anyone else had.
The books are wonderful, rich, detailed, full of great stories, action and characters. I highly recommend them and eagerly await the next installment.