Adeptus Mechanicus and Astra Militarum/Imperial Guard "Wiki"

Ave Omnissiah!

My blog is primarily my own personal fluff in the Warhammer 40,000 universe regarding the Draconis system such as the Knight House Yato in Draconis III, the Imperial Guard...I mean, Astra Militarum regiment trained there, the Draconian Armored Force, and the Forge World of Draconis IV with its Adeptus Mechanicus priesthood and Skitarii legions, and perhaps the Titan Legion, Legio Gojira (which will never happen because I don't have money for Forge World Titans).

Oh, and I'll throw in the Thousand Sons from time to time because they're my favorite Space Marine Legion. I refuse to believe that they are Traitors! They're just...ahem...secretly loyal to the Imperium!

Featured Post

Compilaton of 8th Edition news

I'm not Natfka and I shouldn't try to copy or learn from him because...frankly speaking, I'm inferior and I'm not even worth...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ice Guard and Dead Men Walking

Ice Guard is an interesting novel with a very likeable cast (mostly), a few nice twists and a good dispaly of character. I prefer it a lot more than Steve Lyons's other book, Dead Men Walking because of the cast and the characters. The struggles they go through, their tenacity, them going so far and surviving against all odds despite being pitted against the forces of Chaos and...gasp! Chaos Space Marines! Admittedly, Dead Men Walking had much better battle scenes - the scene where the Rough Riders of Death Korps of Krieg rode in and stomped the Necrons into the dust was awesome, and was the Grenadier scene where the Deat Korps of Krieg Grenadiers strode into the Necron tomb, armed with nothing but their hot-shot lasguns or hellguns. That was pretty awesome.

But what Ice Guard had was a more relatable and likeable cast, and despite the twists and attempt to remain "grimdark", it had a pretty good ending that left me with a nice aftertaste, unlike the grim and somber ending of Dead Men Walking. Furthermore, the only character in Dead Men Walking who was relatable and likeable was Gunthar, a mining supervisor who was saved in that Rough Rider scene I mentioned earlier and conscripted into the Death Korps. Unfortunately, he ended up being indocrtinated and brainwashed into a cold, calculating killing machine (which was kind of unbelievable, given the short time frame in which he received his training - a few months at the most, and he survived longer than freaking elite Death Korps Grenadiers!), and the ending where he determinedly walks into his suicide was just...well, it left a bad taste in my mouth. I disliked the ending, but that's just my personal preference. The Death Korps of Krieg were too emotionless and soulless, they were named after numbers, which really fits their lore and everything, but wow. It would have been better to write the novel from the point of view o the Death Korps of Krieg. While Gunthar basically turns into a typical Death Korps of Krieg conscript in the end, he just doesn't feel like a real Imperial Guardsman. Yeah, his mentality is the same, but his training, his past, it all just doesn't feel right.

The only other likeable character in Dead Men Walking is Commissar Costellin, you expect, he dies. And it says a lot when the Commissar - the Commissar! - of all people is the kindest and most rational person in the entirety of the Death Korps of Krieg. Yeah, the Death Korps of Krieg are that ruthless and cold. The Death Korps of Krieg do not even need the Commissar for the...well, you know, the usual summary execution to pass morale check and have the Stubborn rule. They are Fearless. The commissars are only there to serve as liasons between the masked, unfeeling and soulless Death Korps of Krieg and the unmasked, normal humans of other worlds. Plus the way Costellin was killed was really terrible and made me hate the Death Korps of Krieg further. Bloody hell, he was taken as a hostage and instead of helping him the soldiers of the Death Korps of Krieg shoot him along with the Necron cultists because it's more efficient this way. And despite his 30 years of service to the Death Korps of Krieg, his death is treated stoically as the quartermaster strips him of his weapons while he is dying. Yeah, you definitely will not be reading this novel to feel good or for enjoyment (unless your idea of enjoyment is to wallow in the helplessness and misery of fictional characters).

The Death Korps of Krieg are also as unfeeling, cold and ruthless as the soulless Necrons they battle. This made for great battle scenes, as I already mentioned, but I just...I just couldn't root for any of the characters. Except for Gunthar, but when he walked off to his death against an overwhelming number of Necrons in the end, I felt cheated. The Death Korps, despite their ruthlessness, tenacity, resilience and firepower, still couldn't defeat the damned Necrons in the end. Damn it! At least destroy the hated Xenos if you're going to sacrifice so many men! Yeah, the whole grimdark and pessimistic feeling was reinforced in Dead Men Walking, and as the title says, the novel made me feel dead and empty after reading it. So if that's what you're looking for in a Warhammer 40K, grim reality, somber endings and feelings of helplessess, then Dead Men Walking is definitely for you.

On the other hand, Ice Guard leaves me with a feeling of triumph and relief. Even if the valiant Valhallan Ice Warriors do not succeed in their mission (mild spoiler, but what do you expect? It's a grimdark Warhammer 40K novel, since when do the Imperium win? Unless Ciaphas Cain is involved), the majority of them do survive, and they are much more relatable and likeable than the soulless and robotic soldiers of the Death Korps of Krieg. I enjoyed the struggles, the small victories (even if it's an overall defeat because the mission failed, or a moral and psychological victory in spite of the mission's failure, depending on how you view it), the triumph of survival and the characters' strength. The relatively small cast works wonders, and despite the switching around of viewpoints at the beginning, as the novel progresses the story becomes more focused on this single squad of soldiers, each with his or her individual talent and gifts, and I like that a lot. Unlike most Warhammer 40K novels, especially the Horus Heresy series which I didn't really like, Ice Guard is very focused, which is a very big plus in my book. I don't like the multiple viewpoints where the story jumps from one viewpoint of a character to another. I prefer a single, focused storyline where I can concentrate on the actions and adventures of the characters I have come to like and relate to. No random civilian out of nowhere lamenting the wars, or being affected by it (and to be honest despite most of the authors' best efforts, their civilians are mostly badly done and just not relatable enough), no politics between high-ranking leaders as they try to out-maneuver each other to gain the one-up. Just a simple story about an elite (or ragtag, depending on how you look at it) squad trying to carry out their mission and survive against impossible odds.

Like Ciaphas Cain, this focus is the novel's strength. Of course, I do enjoy the different viewpoints of various soldiers fighting in different parts of the battlefield, like the Knights and the Titan legion in Mechanicum, both of whom fight separately in different battlefields. Huh, I can't think of any other novels like Mechanicum. The other novels focus on Space Marines and civilians, and particularly in the Horus Heresy series, the Imperial Army is almost non-existent. Sigh. So yeah, I prefer focused novels like Ciaphas Cain, Skitarius and Tech-Priest by Rob Sanders - both of which focus solely on the Adeptus Mechanicus, with Alpha Primus Haldron-44 Stroika being the protagonist of the first and Magos Omnid Torquora helming the second - and even Justicar Alaric in the Grey Knights omnibus. Knights of the Imperium was okay, but it does jump unevenly from Baron Roland to Lady Cordelia despite it being such a short book/novella. If Graham McNeill wanted to explore the viewpoints of two or more characters, he might be better served writing a better book, or so I think.

In Ice Guard, the characters are typical, predictable but somehow likeable. The indomitable Colonel Stanislav Steele strikes me as a heroic figure, and his no-nonsense and straightforward attitude really struck a chord in me, allowing me to respect him as a leader. I like the inclusion of Trooper Grayle and Trooper Barreski, the two being the tank crew of a Leman Russ Annihilator. I was sad that the Leman Russ tank didn't make it for the rest of the novel, but these two guys were fun to follow, particularly when Grayle gets his hands on a vehicle, which ranged from a Termite with a drill to a huge truck and then a lander in a spaceport. Well, you know Grayle is going to survive till the end because his team needs him to drive things, especially a space shuttle!

On a side note, why a Leman Russ Annihilator? It's got to be one of my least favorite Leman Russ tanks, unless they cut its cost into 100 or below. The damned thing only has a single twin-linked lascannon, which isn't worth its points of 150. I mean, even the Leman Russ Exterminator, which makes use of twin-linked autocannons, has 4 autocannon shots from its twin-linked Exterminator autocannons. At least give the Leman Russ Annihilator 2 twin-linked lascannon shots, not one! The Leman Russ Exterminator is only 130 points, 20 points cheaper for 3 more twin-linked shots, even if they have lower strength and not as good AP. It's supposed to be a tank-hunter, but even the Leman Russ Vanquisher does a better job at tank hunting. Just add 15 more points and you have a Leman Russ Vanquisher firing a single shot with armorbane at BS4, which is sure tot ake down tanks better than the Leman Russ Annihilator. Honestly, unless they buff the Annihilator lascannons into two twin-linked lascannon shots like the Leman Russ Exterminator or cut the price cost down to 100 points or so (maybe 120?), it is practically outshone and outdone by the Leman Russ Vanquisher. No wonder they removed it from the latest Imperial Guard codex. There are other tanks that do its job better.

Anyway, the other characters are also likeable but predictable. There's Pozhar, the mandatory reckless and young hotshot who is always itching for a battle. Yeah, in a special squad like this, you always need this cliched character. And then there's Anakora, who we all know is going to survive because 1) she's the sole female character in the team and 2) her backstory in the first few chapters just screams "survivor!" no matter the odds. Just from reading her character setting and backstory, you know she'll definitely survive, and might even predict that she will be the sole survivor a la Ellen Ripley of Alien fame. Thankfully, she is not the sole survivor and other characters like Grayle make it to the end. Yay. And then there's the resident asshole Blonsky (he executed a Sergeant in the beginning), an overzealous character who we all know is going to die for being a jerk. Of course, we can't forget about the ever-loyal and faithful sidekick, Ivon Gavotski, Steele's sergeant who served the formidable colonel all the way to the end and...much like Trooper Jurgen, survived with his boss. Yay.

The characters are likeable but stereotypical, as I said, the plot typical and straightforward. It might not be the most original or creative concept or story in the universe, but it's a highly enjoyable read packed with predictable twists and against-all-odds firefight. I was disappointed that the entire squad of Valhallan Ice Warriors weren't even able to take out a single Chaos Space Marine, and the traitor wasn't even wearing Terminator armor! Well, they did finally defeat him in the end, after a needlessly long, protracted battle that stretched on forever, with no one but the augmented commander Steele stabbing the Traitor Marine in the back with his own chainsword. Anticlimatic, but with almost 10 of them firing their lasguns at the Chaos Space Marine, you would think he would fail at least one of his armor saves. take a wound and die from the overwhelming number of las-bolts. The Chaos gods must have favored him with lucky dice rolls then, bloody hell. Funnily enough, he failed to kill any of the Imperial Guard in assault, and was eventually slaughtered himself! By a Company Command officer, too! Well, given a Chaos Space Marine has WS4, toughness of 4, 1 wound compared to the Company Command Officer's WS4, toughness of 4 but...but 3 wounds! I guess, it shouldn't be a problem. Particularly when you consider the rest of the squad providing bodies as meatshields and having Look Out, Sir!.

The twists, while predictable and I saw coming from far away, were admittedly well done, particularly with the Confessor Wollkendon. Yeah, this being Warhammer 40K, we know he's definitely not the Virtual Saint the Ecclesiarchy made him out to be, his reputation was exaggerated for sure and the real guy is just a weak, snifling, pitiful coward. But there is still one final twist at the end that I won't spoil for you, but seasoned readers can probably guess what it is.

Anyway, Ice Guard was a good read for me, I enjoyed it thoroughly and it left a good feeling after the ending, something I couldn't say for Dead Men Walking. Admittedly, I enjoyed the cool battle scenes between the Death Korp of Krieg and the Necrons, but the characters...sigh, the characters just weren't likeable, the only relatable and likeable characters met with ignominious or pointless deaths and the ending left a bad aftertaste. So I would recommend Ice Guard for a casual, fun read, and Dead Men Walking for masochistic readers who enjoy wallowing in the misery, suffering and helplessness of characters.

Right now I'm looking for Baneblade by Guy Haley, and most likely Cadian Blood, Gunheads and Redemption Corps. I'll probably get Straken and Yarrick: Pyres of Redemption eventually as these two are available in Battle Bunker. At least the first one is. I think I'll buy Honour Imperialis as it contains the stories of Cadian Blood and Redemption Corps, as well as a few awesome short stories, particularly about the Elysian Drop Troops.

No comments:

Post a Comment