Friday, November 26, 2010

First And Only; My Anniversary!

Well folks, as much as I swore to myself that I would not forget the one year anniversary of taking over this blog, I big fat went and forgot anyway. I blame the fact that it was Thanksgiving! Stupid national holidays getting in the way of my petty, arbitrary memories! Enough of my griping, on with the review.
This is technically part I of my review of "The Founding: A Gaunt's Ghosts Omnibus." This part will deal with the first title of the series, appropriately enough titled "First and Only."

In this tale, we follow Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt in his travails with the Tanith First and Only, or Gaunt's Ghosts, as they refer to themselves. The Tanith are Guard orphans so to speak after the destruction of their world. I am not going to go too far into the specifics of the story, since many will have already read this book, and for those who have not I do not want to ruin any of a terrific read. What I will do is launch into my trademarked Pros & Cons.

PROS
  1. Well written. Those of you who are fans of Dan Abnett already know what to expect. This was his first, and you can already see some of the hallmarks of his style.
  2. Main Characters with depth. Whether smart or stupid, conniving or upfront, grim or voluble, each character acts with a purpose, like you would expect them to. 
  3. Good ending. Again, not wanting to spoil anything for those who have not read it. Let me just say that the last chapter of "First and Only" is the best closing to a book that I have encountered recently. It is a terrific exposition of the main character and many of the events of the book, and left me with the chills for many minutes after I finished. I can't say enough about it.
CONS
  1. Too many names. Abnett throws a lot of names at you ina very small space of time. Some of them you need to remember, and some of them are redshirts that die on the page they are introduced. Abnett does not do a good job of distinguishing these, so I ended up thinking to myself 'wait, didn't he die?' and having to flip back through a few pages before I recalled who was who.
  2. Flash back sequences. Usually this bothers me a lot more. In this book, they were useful to the plot and central to the readers understanding of the character. I am still listing this in the Cons because I know there are a lot of readers out there like me, who dislike this.
Is this a book where the Pros greatly outweigh the Cons? Absolutely! If you like 40k novels, but have not read this yet, I say get on it! If you have read it, I say read it again!

Get the subject of this review from Amazon! This is a lot cheaper than I got it for. I paid cover price. Sad Panda.

3 comments:

sonsoftaurus said...

Congrats on the first anniversary! I'm sure that it won't be the only.

The Ghosts series is indeed great. Especially the earlier ones, where the Tanith are a more homogeneous force. While given the casualty rates they were getting hit with recruitment was needed, and many of the additional characters are great, as a whole the Ghosts feel very diluted as the series progresses.

I love the various Chaos forces they run up against (gee, really?), especially in the pre-Blood Pact days.

Loquacious said...

Congrats to you!

Papa JJ said...

Congratulations, it's been great keeping up with your hobby activities here and I look forward to seeing more from you in the future. I too really liked the early books in this series but just seemed to drift away from them over time. It's been so long though I'd forgotten a lot of this, thanks for the review!