Galaxy In Flames – A Book Review

Galaxy in Flames


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

Purchase: Amazon, Audible


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. 

21 thoughts on “Galaxy In Flames – A Book Review

  1. I find the time-jumps in the Horus Heresy a little jarring at times too.
    You start a new story-arc within the series and have to ask ‘Where does this come in?’ Having to figure out where it relates to in regards to the Horus betrayal and Isstvan.

    The first time I read this book I was upset by the end-game events, being given hope, having it crushed over and over. It’s a good one in the series, for sure.

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts on some of the books going forwards~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I already knew which characters were about in 40k … so the big mano y mano bouts at the end I already kind of guessed that certain people would survive.

      Still, knowing what I knew, the sudden injection of pace was a welcome change to the first two.

      Yea, the time jumps are very jarring. I’m at page 160 of Flight of the Eisenstein and they’re just getting excited to drop to Istvaan III … more fool them 😂


  2. Great review man. I never even drew that conclusion about the term Space Marine, this book was written before Games Workshop went on a “We own that word now” spree. Why couldnt they just refer to the Astartes as being some form of SM? I think I said in my review that Counter did a good job in tying two other books together that were written by two very different authors. Looking forward to your next review🤘🏻


      1. on a complete opposite note, do you use the audio book thing on NG often? I have run into a wall with that and playback issues on the Shelf App… I know you warned me about it and I have contacted NG, but the responce so far has not even been coming back fom them…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I used it once or twice. I found that, on one at least, if I tried to play the audio when the phone screen wasn’t turned on, I’d only get a few mins before it paused playback.

        Think that problem stopped after a couple of titles … but I’m still very wary about using it as it’s a pretty crap service

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That might stop the publisher granting you books in the future as it’s not their fault.

        I feel bad for audio book publishers. It’s not cheap to list things on NG and they’re getting such a shitty app to have their books listened to on

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Uninstall the app and re-install? Try to reach out to NG/The publisher via twitter/email etc …

        No rush, as there’s no rule that says you have to get it done by publication. There’s also, I think, a ‘I will not be leaving feedback’ option on your reviewer dashboard

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmm I was always wondering about Horus – he had some reasons for his uprising, after all – the Emperor is not a cuddly care bear with nothing but good intentions 😉 But now I see he’s become totally evil and I wonder 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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