All is dust…. Spurned by his former brothers and his father, Magnus the Red, Ahriman is a wanderer, a sorcerer of Tzeentch whose actions condemned an entire Legion to an eternity of damnation. Once a vaunted servant of the Thousand Sons, he is now an outcast, a renegade who resides in the Eye of Terror. Ever scheming, he plots his return to power and the destruction of his enemies, an architect of fate and master of the warp.
Author: John French
Narrator: Mark Elsob
Publisher: Black Library
Genre: Science Fiction/Warhammer 40,000
Running Time: 11hrs 27mins
Release Date: 08/08/2020
My Rating of ‘Ahriman: Exile’: 2 out of 5
I was really looking forward to this one as Thousand Sons are a legion I have always had an interest in. Ahriman is a character that has always intrigued me as well in the Warhammer 40k and Horus Heresy era. Sadly, for me, this just never really got off the ground.
John French has superb descriptive talent and paints very vivid imagery. That may sound like a plus but, when used to excess, as it was in this novel, it’s somewhat of a negative. I often found myself getting a little lost as I was too busy paying attention to the descriptions only for the actual narrative to flow on past me. I felt this one was guilty of too much purple prose and it just turned me off from what was going on and, unfortunately, I never really switched back on.
Whether it was a product of the aforementioned abundance of purple prose, or just me not connecting with the story as a whole, but I found that I really didn’t care about the characters in some cases and just flat out didn’t know who they were in others. They were in the book for the long haul, but nothing about them seemed to stick and leave a lasting impression. Some of what was being told was interesting, but I was too switched off from the book to truly take it all in in any meaningful way.
The narration was, quite possibly, THE definition of overacting. Pretty much any non-Space Marine voice was so overdramatic that, at times, they were pretty much impossible to make out. The voice of the navigator was one that had me eyeing up a sharp knife and wondering just how quickly I could go through my eardrums. So, yea … a story that I was already struggling to connect with was entirely closed off to me by the over-acting of the narrator. Some of the voices might have worked better in an audio drama, where other background noises would have added to them and created a sense of realism. But they certainly didn’t work for me in this one.
As mentioned before, there were some positives that I took away from it regarding Ahriman and his past, but not enough to get this any higher than a 2 out of 5. Too much happened in the non-physical world for me to care. If it wasn’t some lengthy inner-monologue or memory, it was Ahriman wandering the halls of his ‘memory palace’. Far too little in this book of any actual substance to have me wanting to continue on with the series.