The skitarii are the soldiers of the Machine God, the tireless legions of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Holy warriors, they carry the word of the Omnissiah across the galaxy, destroying the impure machines of aliens and renegades and spearheading the Quest for Knowledge.
A discovery of ancient technology sends a skitarii legion, commanded by Alpha Primus Haldron-44 Stroika, into battle on a forge world overrun by Chaos. When a cataclysm cuts him off from his tech-priest overseers, Stroika must rally his forces and battle both corrupt machines and Chaos Space Marines if he is to achieve victory.
Author: Rob Sanders
Narrator: Toby Longworth
Publisher: Black Library
Series: Adeptus Mechanicus #1
Genre: Science-Fiction/Warhammer 40k
Audio Release Date: 27/09/2017
Running Time: 6hrs 35mins
My Rating of ‘Skitarius’: 3 out of 5
I picked Skitarius up as it was recommended to me by a friend who claimed it was better than your average outing of the Mechanicus. Having found most things related to the Mechanicus to be quite tedious, the thought that something stood out above those got me a little bit excited.
In a sense, Skitarius does, indeed, stand above other works featuring the cog boys … but not for depth of story or interesting characters (that seems to be something quite out of the question as far as Mars goes). It stands out because it keeps the reader interested with battle scenes. An unfortunate amount of them.
I almost feel like they’ve tried to boost the appeal by going balls to the walls as far as action goes and, much like your average adept dreams of cutting away their flesh and replacing it with machine parts, Black Library have cut away all thought of a deep, meaningful story and replaced it with lots of gun-fights. I genuinely had high hopes as it started with a good premise, but I lost interest to the extent I forgot what was going on at times. There’s only so many battles you can sit through before that happens. Especially when they feel like they’re there simply as filler rather than anything of true substance. Any time I tried to hold onto the meat of the story, conversations about in-depth probability calculations etc … had me tuning out and treating this as background noise for good portions.
I think, other than those in the Horus Heresy series, my hunt for an enjoyable Mechanicum novel may have to be shut down. The characters always seems to be devoid of anything that makes them interesting and possessive of utterly annoying, throwaway names that, especially when listening to an audio renders things pretty meaningless.
My overall opinion is that yes, it’s pretty good to an extent, but never really threatened to be great. I understand that, with a short novel/novella such as this, you could hardly ask for epic story lines. But a meaningful one that makes the battles feel as though they aren’t just Games Workshop battle reports can’t be too much to ask?
Toby Longworth’s narration suits the Mechanicum very well. So, if I were Black Library I’d certainly be grabbing him for future projects featuring them.