Far from Terra, the XVIth Legion continue in the Great Crusade as the ‘Sons of Horus’. Putting the debacle with the interex behind him, the Warmaster has become more withdrawnas he struggles to deal with the jealousy of his brother primarchs, and increasingly relies on the council of his advisors as he plans each new campaign. Noble captain Garviel Loken harbours misgivings about the clandestine ways adopted by many of his brethren, but when the Legion is sent to reconquer the moon of Davin, it is clear that Horus has a personal stake in the matter which may have clouded his judgement. With dark forces rising against them, have the primarch and his warriors been drawn into a trap?
Author: Graham McNeill
Publisher: The Black Library
Series: The Horus Heresy #2
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: 25/09/2014
My Chosen Format: Paperback
My Rating of ‘False Gods’: 4 out of 5
I feel False Gods was a good deal better than the book that came before it (Horus Rising) yet, at the same time, it had some drawbacks. Be advised that, reading on from here, there will be mild spoilers.
Firstly, False Gods has a fair bit more action and just a general feeling of pushing things forward than Horus Rising did. Horus, once a man who loved his father, The Emperor, above all others and saw himself as a shining beacon of Imperial might and righteousness, now finds himself descending down a darker path in which he feels betrayed by his father and that the only course of action open to him is to kill everyone who disagrees with him, basically.
I felt the way Horus was coaxed towards the side of chaos was a good way to go about it, I just don’t feel it was executed in a good way. If you are the most righteous of men, being showed a few things during a vision should not tarnish your outlook on life so much that you suddenly decide you need to kill everything to make things right. Plant seeds, yes, but not pretty much just sway your outright. It felt like the author started Horus gently down the hill to madness, got a little bored of the gentle pace, put his foot on the accelerator and just had at it. So yea, my main drawback is that Horus just went from good to dark almost in the blink of an eye. He also felt far too easily led, despite the fact he claimed ‘I knew what was going on all along.’
The parts of the story that featured the fracturing of the legion (Sons of Horus) were done very well. You get to experience the pain as battle brothers find themselves looking towards men they have fought alongside for decades, only to find themselves wondering if they would soon have to fight these men they ordinarily would have died for. Everything that is fracturing onto one side of the divide or the other (other than Horus) is done really well.
Certain parts were glossed over (certain swaying conversations with primarchs etc …) but, as a whole, I really enjoyed this book. I just feel that, considering it is a fifty+ book series, they could have had some of the dark machinations going on behind the scenes as we focused on other legions and other characters, rather than having an opening trilogy centred around Horus and his legion. It might have come off better, but we’ll never know. Just one man’s idle speculation.