False Gods (Horus Heresy #2)

An angry guy
I’ll pretend to choose my own way
More angry guys

If you’ve read my thoughts on the previous entry in Horus Heresy, you know it really saved the Warhammer 40k universe. It was such a good book that let other authors continue the series in a very big way.

So the second author in the series is Graham McNeill and what does he do first?

He makes Horus a really angry guy, because why not mess with the personality of someone intelligent, rational, and diplomatic? Why not make him angry and recalcitrant all the time?

The thing is when multiple authors tackle the same series, it’s hard to keep characters consistent. Also, I don’t know if they discuss this in the writers’ room or something and the best way to make his fall realistic was to make him prone to failure from the start of this book. If this book is read as a stand-alone (I don’t recommend it) then Horus’s personality makes sense. But alas, it’s part of a series and consistency suffers.

The second big inconsistency is in the middle of the book when Horus has to make a big decision. He’s receiving advice from both Erebus and his primarch brother Magnus the Red about the right thing to do. But he decides to not listen to any of them, and instead to find his own way. Only his way is precisely what one of the other guys was saying. So after he scolded them both, he still allies himself with one of them (I’m not saying which one, read it if you want to know), and things proceed as if no arguing took place.

My question is Why? Why write the scene in such a way if the only purpose is to make things inconsistent? Hopefully, future books will give us more answers or I’ll be very disappointed.

Despite these flaws which are, more or less, flaws of inconsistency due to multiple authors writing this series who probably have to respect a certain overarching plan, so despite these flaws, I enjoyed it. The philosophical interpretations fade into the background and action takes the scene. Depending on what type of person you are, this could be a negative or a positive thing, so I’ll not comment on it.

The writing style is very similar to the first book, that is, while there are a few more battle scenes in this book, they don’t overextend their welcome and the plot keeps going forward at a pace that makes you want to never stop reading. I was pleasantly surprised by this last point because I’ve read Gramah McNeill’s Ultramarines series and I’ve got to say, the prose there is sluggish and full of pseudo technical and military jargon and battles description after battle descriptions, with almost no character development. Now I’m not trying to say negative things about the author, writing a book is hard and I see now that the style was chosen on purpose. I’m sure plenty of people enjoy that type of writing, it’s just that I’m not one of them. I prefer characters over action and Graham McNeill’s style is action over characters. But in this one, I think he did a fantastic job of keeping things in balance.

Read it because:

You’re a fan of the following legions: Sons of Horus (Luna Wolves), Emperor’s Children, World Eaters.

The following Primarchs make an appearance: Horus, Fulgrim, Angron, Magnus the Red.

Key events in the Warhammer 40K History: Davin’s Moon battle, corruption of Horus Lupercal

*All artwork belongs to warhammerart.com and Games Workshop and their respective authors, unless otherwise stated.

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[…] those of us who already have read the first 2 books of the Horus Heresy trilogy (Horus Rising & False Gods). I am being overly critical but it is rightfully so. When you start a trilogy, you expect the […]

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