Having made a miraculous recovery from the grevious injuries he suffered on Davin, Warmaster Horus now leads the triumphant Imperial forces against the rebel world of Isstvan III. An unprecedented alliance between the Sons of Horus, Death Guard, World Eaters and Emperor’ Children Legions seems more than capable of overwhelming the paltry mortal defences – indeed, such a display of force seems unneccesary? Putting their own concerns aside, Garviel Loken and his loyal kinsmen lead their companies to the surface only to learn the full, horrifying truth, and the legendary war known as the Horus Heresy begins with the most foul act of betrayal imaginable…
Author: Ben Counter
Publisher: The Black Library
Release Date: 20/11/2014
Series: The Horus Heresy #3
Genre: Science Fiction
My Chosen Format: Paperback
My Rating of ‘Galaxy in Flames: 5 out of 5
The main problem with the Horus Heresy up until this point has been pacing. The first book was very slow burn which, in and of itself, was no bad thing. The thing that made it bad was that the second book was not. You had Horus’ fall from grace just happen with very little coaxing. So, Horus now being entirely evil, I have decided not to let that negativity mar my review of the third book. Ben Counter benefits from Graham McNeill forcing things a little too quickly in that he can now operate with carte blanche as far Horus being the big nasty is concerned.
And he did a cracking job.
This book was so much fun to read from start to finish. It had everything moving at the right pace (for the most part … I’ll get to my pacing rage in a little bit) and I really felt I was with the loyalist characters every step of the way as far heartache and betrayal was concerned.
Ben’s character progression was good and in-keeping with how the other authors had treated Loken, Tarvitz etc … to this point. I did feel that the speed at which the loyal marines accepted that they had been betrayed was a tad easy. ‘The warmaster has betrayed us!’ was pretty much followed by a ‘Has he? best kill him then,’ type of response. Admittedly, it was a tad easier to believe given the fact that they were being slaughtered, but I expected a bit more heartache from some of them rather than instant acceptance. After all, Astartes are supposed to have that ‘though shalt not raise a hand to thy brother’ ethos pretty much fused into their genetic make-up.
I mentioned my pacing rage a tad earlier. That only really happens near the end of the book and it’s pretty much because book three of the Horus Heresy gets us to a point that the future books in the series will be racing to catch up to. It’s an annoying way of doing it and I kind of feel this might be where the Witcher TV series got its idea for the amount of stupid time jumps. I’d have preferred the novels just went along one time scale rather than the next book being set before the events of this one and eventually catching up, but that’s just a small issue as, in all fairness, the way things are done does work quite well.
My other slight gripe is the frequent use of the term Space Marines. I don’t recall it being used in the previous books (I could be wrong) but Ben uses it like it’s going out of fashion. I don’t think that phrase was entirely in fashion in the 30th millennium which is why it comes across as a tad odd when Dan and Graham used the term ‘Astartes’ instead.
My concerns regarding this book are very small in the grand scheme of things. Overall, it’s filled with really good imagery, some wonderful battle scenes and abject misery from a loyalist point of view. It’s got that big fight feel that the other two lacked but were building up towards. It also promises a far bigger fight feel is yet to come.