Scent of a Gamer

From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.

Book review – Descent of Angels (Horus Heresy VI)

The Horus Heresy series had a good run with its first five books. Each book doesn’t necessarily start after the previous one, but it finishes later and so adds to the tale. Not so here.

Descent of Angels is not about the Dark Angels. They don’t appear until we get around three-quarters of the way into the book, and their structure and background are essentially ignored. It’s not about the Dark Angel Primarch. The book reveals little of his character.

Instead this is a book about a boy living on a forest world who wants to become a knight, go on a quest, and slay a beast. And so he does.

Have you ever been stuck in a hobby shop or comic book store where a random person has you pinned to a wall while he tells his own personal made up background to various game or story characters? Reading Descent of Angels is like that. Unimaginative, dull, revealing of nothing about the supposed setting or character, and it goes on far too long.

None of the boy’s experiences in becoming a knight of ‘the Order’ has any relevance to the Dark Angels legion. His experience of becoming an Astartes is barely mentioned compared to his earlier, irrelevant knight training.

The best Heresy novels take what we know of a chapter in Warhammer 40,000 and expand that through exploring the legion which later became the chapter. There’s none of that here.

Ultimately we can see that Descent of Angels is meant as a precursor to… something. It remains unrelated to the Heresy tale. This book should not have been included in the series. Maybe reduced to 40 pages and called a short story? Maybe.

As a reader you can skip this with confidence that you aren’t missing anything of value.

rating: 1 golden throne

7 comments on “Book review – Descent of Angels (Horus Heresy VI)

  1. templeofthutmos
    July 24, 2022

    Couldn’t agree more. It was an odd entry with several odd creative choices. Agreed that a short story would have likely sufficed to set up characters and themes for future stories.

    Liked by 2 people

    • davekay
      July 25, 2022

      Agreed – the whole thing felt like a 40-page story padded out to a novel.

      Liked by 2 people

    • backtothehammer
      July 26, 2022

      Also seconded. It was the first of the duff books in the series. It was also frustrating that the ‘sequel’ wasn’t released until however many books later.

      Liked by 2 people

      • davekay
        July 26, 2022

        Yes I remember at the time being frustrated with how slowly the series was moving

        Liked by 1 person

      • Argentbadger
        July 28, 2022

        Thirded 😉

        I probably wouldn’t have minded about it being totally inconsequential to the 40k universe if the book wasn’t also completely dull.

        Liked by 2 people

      • davekay
        July 28, 2022

        I was amazed the book spend basically no time on how the Dark Angels chapter changed (if it did!) after Caliban, and barely any on the Calibanites reacting to those who did and didn’t become Astartes.


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This entry was posted on July 24, 2022 by in Books, horus heresy, Review and tagged , , , .
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