Today, I am featuring Chris' first review for my blog - despite his protests (he doesn't have any but this one written - what a slacker... :) ). It is our wedding weekend and I told him he must contribute to my blog posts this weekend.
So, here we go - please leave him nice, appreciative comments - he is my husband now.
by Dan Abnett
"Gristle-faced and lipless, the regiments of the dead howl out their awful calumny as your footfall passes. Dun smoke fills the massive cavity of space. Oh machine! Oh divine engine! Furnace hot the welter of your combustion, buckling the rancid air of heaven's arch and fusing the mould of the ground to glass. Do you ever really sleep? In the long between-times, in the silences wasted in oily holds and scaffold frames, do you sleep then? When the enginseers reduce you to dormancy, is that sleep for you? Do you dream then, great engine?
What do you dream about?"
- Dan Abnett's Titanicus
I like Dan Abnett's work. The Eisenhorn Trilogy was great. The Ravenor Trilogy, also good. But nothing could of prepared me for this book, this masterpiece of, quite possibly, the Black Library's best author. I can describe it in a word, in fact. Just one word can describe this superb bundle of printed paper:
Now obviously this wouldn't be much of a review if it was one word, but that word carries with it everything I took away from finishing this book. I sat there, completely satisfied, no question in my mind that I had just finished the best Dan Abnett novel I have yet read. But I am getting ahead of myself... the story goes a little something like this...
The vital forge world of Orestes is under attack by chaos legions, and it looks as if nothing can stop them. But this is no ordinary Chaos horde. This is a Chaos Titan legio, the Dark Mechanicus, the heretical reflection of the noble worshippers of the Machine God. Orestes' own Titan legion, Tempestus, is in tatters, its armored divisions in flames, and its Planetary Defense Forces stretched to the limits of a war that was never meant for ordinary men. It is a dark hour indeed, as the Chaos Titans march closer and closer to Hive Principal, the planetary capital and home of the Imperial goverment.
But hope arrives in the form of Legio Invicta, a titan force returning from a war of its own. Although in need of repairs and refitting, Invicta responds to Orestes' urgent call for help, ignoring their Warmaster's summons and deploying in defense of the forge world. Spirits soar and the fighting finally turns in Orestes' favor. But this battle is just beginning, and it is far from certain if Invicta can make enough of a difference to save Orestes from certain doom. From without, Invicta and Tempestus are still outnumbered, and from within, a truth is discovered that will shake the very foundation of the Cult Mechanicus's faith. And even if they win, what will become of the planet that has felt the full fury of an Engine war that has not been seen in ten millenia? The story follows a number of different characters, from the mighty and noble Princeps Maximus Gearhart, the master of Legio Invicta, to the lowly PDF teritary reservist Cally Samsteg, who just wants to survive long enough to go home to her loving husband. And, being a Warhammer 40k novel, the action is intense, and the battles scaled to epic heights as the first novel (that I know of) that has Imperial Titans as the main focus of combat.
Titanicus does a very good job of not only giving us the full majesty of the Titan's awesome size and firepower, but of the very human crews that pilot them. And while the focus is on the Titans, Titanicus doesn't forget the little people, who have battles to fight just as tough and (often) violent as their monstrous counterparts. Details are in abundant supply, and while some of Abnett's work can feel like a grinding lesson in vocabulary, I felt more like I was walking through a living, breathing representation of a Forge world rather than struggling through it. Titanicus proves that the Mechanicus is more than just the sum of their (machine) parts, and shows us a side of them that is all too human, for better or worse.
I can't think of a single thing that could of made this book better. A few story arcs are left open (possible sequel?), but in a good way, and the plot will keep you guessing until the end, with a few surprises along the way. I finished Titanicus with a smile on my face, and I hope you will too.
Titanicus gets 5 burning enemy Chaos Reaver husks out of 5.