1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Good and bad, mostly good, 6 Mar 2011
I thoroughly enjoyed this series, Abnett had a decent chance to develop the characters in the books combined into an omnibus.
I like each of the tales, xenos malleus and hereticus for different reasons.
Xenos was a good introduction, but I got the overall impression of a few too many characters. And I think in most of the tales there's a bit too much planet travelling. I compare this to gaunts ghosts novels, and I notice one big difference there's a more logical structure to how Abnett moves the characters through those novels. In these Eisenhorn it's like a freight train charging through the wild countryside, on the one hand I love the ride it's fast paced and a dizzying amount of action and numbers of characters take their places quite well, on the other I would really like it if the train stopped a bit more often.
Really enjoy Dan Abnetts work with this series, although I admit I am slightly biased because I'm very much used to reading his books.
I do have a few quibbles, mainly with the descriptions of things and adaptations of names for alcohol, a lot of very flowery and pretty description of clothing etc simply isn't necessary. Eisenhorn could be wearing vitrian trousers with a nightgown knitted by handmaidens from Catachan and I still wouldn't care very much. Nevertheless it's a nice addition I suppose. And I think if the author had more time I'm sure he would have edited out some of the needless descriptive events. Mostly underdeveloped I tell myself it's because it mostly gets sidelined for the main plot which is btw very exciting and often hard to tell where the story will go.
Another is with how eisenhorn discovers new leads to his investigations, they are far too obvious. It doesn't take brains of the century to work out that when the author puts in half a page of info on details of a certain unknown character there's a damn good chance that character will appear later on. So why bother with the pretence of the character being a mystery?
I thought the fight with the titan and the rather overwhelming end of his organisation is...well over the top and totally out of line with how the other stories work I was very surprised to find an otherwise clandestine organisation suddenly wiped out within a very short time. I always thought that part was a bit underdone and rushed.
Only issue with the main character is that he is in many respects too similar to old Gaunt. To use an analogy (me? No surely not) Eisenhorn is like Gaunt on cocaine and I think the author got a little carried away with some of the psyker powers used in fights (notice I said powers not tricks) ie the ones that mean lots of splattering enemies, because it left Eisenhorn being mostly a godlike figure to mortals, which led worryingly close to stereotypical god-mode of science fiction. Seriously a battle titan? And his enemies being equally a bit too powerful. I know it keeps the story interesting to have a powerful enemy but a battle titan?
And although the psyker powers are a central part to the story, I think the author could have made them a little less devastating and still had a really good story. Oh and a lot of the secondary characters have a habit of dieing where Eisenhorn mysteriously survives but with grievous wounding.
Now with the quibbles over I'll start on the good points. The conversations are pretty good actually and some of them quite funny/charming where they count. And thought the intro to hereticus witty.
I shouldn't understate this and I won't, a lot of the characters come up with very good lines, the dialogue is superb throughout most of dan abnetts books with the odd exception here and there.
The build-ups to the action are always interesting to read about, and I find it very easy to skip out a lot of the details to get to the action.
However in my haste I may have overdone it a bit. I'll explain, I've read this omnibus in the space of three days. I just could not put the book down, it's like a really rich chocolate cake, lots of little bits of detail and icing which is mostly pointless but it's nice to have, and a really tasty amount of characters to chew through and devour their thoughts as the rich reward.
The problem comes when I've eaten so much of this rich cake (story) that it's all gone too quickly!
So much action, did I say there's lots of action because there is, and it's mostly done well (again the odd exception here and there I won't lie). Scenes that really stick in my mind are the carnadon fight (very nice idea for a fight scene and adds lots of juice to the cake I mean story). His journey to cinchare planet was interesting too. And throughout eisenhorns slowly changing attitudes from puritanical to radical. And the rather interesting character of cherubael haunts him for most of the story (again not a fan of the titan fight). I think this is the main "philosophy" if you will that the author is trying to push, how far people should go to prevent evil things from happening and all that jazz. Fairly well done actually. (although the author does seem to have a denial thing about madness, you can be mad and write really good books for instance *looking at no one in particular*)
Aemos remains a very interesting character, as does medea and Alizabeth. Other than these there isn't much to say about the other ones unfortunately as they tend to die off a little to quickly (in this regard I do prefer the characters from gaunts ghosts where the author has time to develop the characters more)
The psyker tricks are nicely spaced out and will surprise even the devout followers of 40k universe in some regards. The auto-séances were a nice touch, and I did like the way "the will" is used to manipulate people with suitable counters to "the will".
So if you liked this book I'm certain you would enjoy Gaunts ghosts novels by the same author.
I have read the greater number of the horus heresy books (another spin off series from completely different events) I was disappointed by them in general and I think this stems from black library seeing profitable books and milking them to the hilt forcing out otherwise good stories too early, indeed my opinion of games workshop in general is very upset, sacrificing otherwise interesting ideas in exchange for making cold hard cash. Hence I had to stop buying 40k miniatures due to the prices doubling for some model packs.
Sorry I went on a tangent there. Em yes Eisenhorn trilogy is very well done, and this doesn't surprise me because Dan abnett does wonders for the stories in warhammer 40k. Again recommending gaunts ghosts.
Apologies for grammar failures which I'm sure flow throughout my review but I've just had my 11th cup of tea and I'm on a bit of a caffeine high. Although if I was really caring about the grammar I could fix it but I won't because I'm a big meany.