Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dan Abnett's Malleus: A Book Review

Two down, one to go! Yes, I finally finished Malleus last night, which puts me two-thirds of the way to Ravenor.
Malleus takes place about a century subsequent to Xenos, and has a remarkably high number of repeat characters, considering the vintage. Inside, Eisenhorn renews his crusade against the Daemonhost Cherubael, and the Warp Creature's hidden master, Quixos.

  • Getting The Band Back Together. All of your favorite henchmen are back from the first book, except for one character who has been replaced by a descendant.
  • Tantalid Equals Tyrus. Not really, but the character Witch Finder Tantalid reminds me of Witch Hunter Tyrus from Inquisitor. I always imagined Eisenhorn and Tyrus facing off from their backgrounds in the game, so Tantalid stalking Eisenhorn makes perfect sense to my Inquisitor addled brain.
  • Cadia, Baby. Astonishingly, with how central Cadia and Cadians are to the story of Warhammer 40k, this is the first book I have read from the Black Library that includes them. Kasrkin are awesome.
  • First Person Narrative. It's still there, and I still do not prefer it.
  • Body Count. A whole mess of characters get wiped out in this tale. At one point in the book, I paused to reflect to myself "Why did I bother learning all of these people's names?"
  • Pacing. Malleus takes place over years. Seriously. Whole swathes of the book are devoted to sequences which amount to "We went here and spent a year dodging the arbites. Then when we left, we had to spend three months shaking the pursuit cruisers." Seems like whole chunks of the story are just missing. Perhaps this tale should have been split into more books?
While not as much of a home run as Xenos, Malleus still manages to be a truly noteworthy entry in Black Library history. In my top five from them at least.


Mike Howell said...

"We're getting the band back together. We're on a mission from the God Emperor."

CounterFett said...

Hahahaha. Give yourself a gold star. People get my references so infrequently, that when someone gets one, it actually surprises me.