Galaxy in Flames (The Horus Heresy): No. 3
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Factions and personalities go to war with each other and it speaks to the impressive balancing act here that little of it feels under-done. Then as the battle rages on, and of course after the virus bombs drop we see how the city (and the rest of the planet) are reduced to little more than rubble and scorched earth. All this is really a excuse for the Warmaster aka Horus to rid himself of some Loyalist within the Legion's ranks - that being; The Emperor's Children, The World Eaters, Death Guard and Sons of Horus aka Luna Wolves. Unlike the other scenes in the previous books, the fighting on Isstvan III feels vaguely meaningful: There's actually some stakes here, and the Last Stand of the loyalists is fun to watch. The majority of the Emperor's Children and Sons of Horus are able to take shelter beneath the palace in time, but few of the World Eaters or Death Guard reach the shelter of bunkers and more are killed when Horus follows up the virus-bombs with an orbital strike that ignites all the gas in the atmosphere, burning the entire planet.
But I never struggled through it, and I am inclined to give it credit for not devolving into navel gazing. This book just needed a few more POV character telling their side of the story and this would have rivaled nearly any book in the Heresy as the best of the best. I by no means consider myself weak of stomach, but I would be lying that the genocide of Isstvan III via the virus bombs did not disturb me at all, showing (At least for me) how well-written it was. The Horus Heresy arc involves a large number of authors with differing styles and, in the third of the series and completion of the initial trilogy, we see a stark contrast with the previous two. If a refund is payable to you we will process the refund as soon as possible, and, in any case within fourteen (14) days.The big turning point (SPOILERS) is when Lucius betrays everyone because of how jealous he is of Saul (END SPOILERS).
Lucius leads the Emperor's Children half of the attack on the Precentor's Palace while the World Eaters under Captain Ehrlen become bogged down massacring fanatical citizens in a plaza to the north and the Death Guard advance through the city's defensive trenchworks. The four steal a Thunderhawk and flee, guided by Keeler to the Eisenstein where Nathaniel Garro takes them aboard. With neither truly comprehending the rashness of their decision, or the reason for acting on it, they spent almost 16 months Terran standard, jumping from system to system to reach terra. Honour and pride at being chosen to take part in the Great Crusade to bring all the lost worlds of humanity back under the Emperors fold, whilst wearing the colours of the famed Luna Wolves.A clear plot with stakes both personal (for those about to be bombed) and wider (the bombing is kicking off a galaxy wide revolt). While not a bad thing, I think that this should not have been focused on one singular Legion, but had focused on the other Legions who fought and bled during the battle.
Don't get me wrong there was a fair amount of violent action for big fans of this, but in terms of character tensions it largely felt like each character had 1 major development and that was that. Still though these books are so much better than I had expected and the scope just keeps getting bigger and bigger and story more and more entertaining. There's a scene with Lucius, Saul and a shard of broken glass and damn it's one hell of a creepy scene. There's some great stuff in here, especially in terms of action, and the way that Ben portrays Angron in battle without succumbing to what must be the overwhelming urge to overdo it is spine tingling. Horus has now been supplanted by forces beyond his understanding - the allies/Traitors who are taking arms against the Emperor begin to form.I did feel that the speed at which the loyal marines accepted that they had been betrayed was a tad easy. All I’ll say next is that the setup from this book leaves you to dive into wherever you want (pretty much) in the wider Horus Heresy series. Buried beneath the rubble of the parliament building, the last thing that Loken sees is the bombs falling towards him. The performance and production of this audiobook is stellar, though it can sometimes be difficult to track the large amounts of characters from one plot move to the next. Though the rebels are swiftly crushed, Horus's treachery is finally revealed as the planet is razed by virus bombs, and Space Marines turn on their battle-brothers in the most bitter struggle imaginable.
It was there as they entered Sol system again for the first time in decades that they were not greeted with the majesty of the Throneworld but by a juggernaut of war and fortification. Saul also stands out from the rest of his brothers as he comes off as a black sheep in comparison to the rest.While as I know many who say this is the best out of the first three books I honestly think it’s the worst.