Tuesday, 24 December 2013

'The Death of Integrity' - Guy Haley (Black Library), Didn't finish the book...

Am I falling out of love with Warhammer 40K fiction? Yep, just a little bit and I think it's down to the success they are having with the 'Horus Heresy' and the knock on affect that is having on the other books they are publishing. If you have a series that is now regularly hitting the NYT bestsellers list (albeit the lower reaches) then that is the series you put all your energy into. More than that though, if you're publishing a series that will pretty much define the Warhammer 40K setting forever then your attention has to be on it to make sure it's the best that it can be. You can't really argue with that but where does that leave the other books? Left to pretty much fend for themselves if 'The Death of Integrity' was anything to go by.

After pursuing an insidious genestealer cult across the sector for years, Chapter Master Caedis of the Blood Drinkers stands ready to destroy the original source of the infection - the vast and mysterious space hulk designated Death of Integrity. However, immediately coming into conflict with both their brothers in the Novamarines Chapter and the priesthood of the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Blood Drinkers must reign in their more aggressive instincts and accept the possibility that the hulk itself may be of value to the Imperium...

Now you know that I've always had issues with the 'Space Marines Battles' series; a series that misses the target more often than not and really should have been left as battle reports in White Dwarf magazine. If you don't have a good story to really flesh it out then all you have is a series of gunshots and then a victor. Haley tries to bulk out 'Death of Integrity' with an exploration of the heraldry, honour and brotherhood between two Chapters of Space Marines. It didn't work for me though, certainly not by the time I put the book down unfinished. What I read was cumbersome and didn't feel like it was adding to any kind of plot, couple that with an enemy that drive a story rather than actually contributing to it and I decided that enough was enough. I skipped to the end, just for a quick read, and did like the big reveal (especially with what it had to say about the state of the Imperium); unfortunately though, it wasn't enough to make me want to go back and read the rest of the book.

I can't help but think that if the Black Library put as much thought into this series, as they do the Horus Heresy, then it could one worth following. As it is though, it will only be names that I can trust to deliver that will have me reading this series in the future. That’s probably more than a little unfair on Haley’s book but that’s the way I feel about the series as a whole.

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