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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning return to form
Literally just finished Mechanicum and I am utterly blown away. In my last review of Battle for the Abyss I suggested that 'movie moments', scenes written well enough that you can instantly picture them in the glorious technicolour of your minds eye, are what make books in this genre successful - achingly cool scenes of action, or soaring emotion, or punch the air moments...
Published on 8 Dec 2008 by Brad

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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a let down.
Some books grow on you as you get pulled into the twisting plot and characters come to life, you read the book at an accelerated pace to reach the conclusion.. this book is only like that in reverse.
I read the first half with interest, willing the plot onwards, and then found myself skipping pages and wincing at scenes until I didn't really care what happened at...
Published on 11 Feb 2009 by Rhandolph


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning return to form, 8 Dec 2008
By 
Brad (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mechanicum (The Horus Heresy) (Paperback)
Literally just finished Mechanicum and I am utterly blown away. In my last review of Battle for the Abyss I suggested that 'movie moments', scenes written well enough that you can instantly picture them in the glorious technicolour of your minds eye, are what make books in this genre successful - achingly cool scenes of action, or soaring emotion, or punch the air moments of triumph. The first three books of the series were laden with these moments, Flight of the Eisenstein and Fulgrim to a lesser, but still stirring degree - hell, even BFTA had a couple of these moments, albeit too late and too little.

This entire book is a movie moment.

After the disappointment of DOA and BFTA, and the downright weirdness of Legion, Graham McNeil has conjured something epic, wonderful, tragic and glorious. This book in the adrenaline shot the series needed, and what's even more astonishing is that this is accomplished with the almost total absence of marines, apart from a cool few scenes (and a reference to one of 40k's great secrets that will have fans drooling - the '13/15' moment).

My only slight grumble is what I feel is a recurring problem with the whole series - the apparent readiness of formerly loyal subjects to switch allegiences with really not much soul-searching. In my opinion, this happens a little too easily throughout the whole series, and Mechanicum is no different in this respect. However, this is a minor blip in an entralling tale.

If you have been put off this series by some of this books very average predecessors, and can see that what the series needed more than anything is a fresh perspective, with characters with more depth than the now sadly two-dimensional marines, then this will restore your faith. McNeil manages to invest even the machines of this book with more character than BFTA's main players.

What a shame that, at the moment, we only have an anthology of short stories to look forward to, and more Dark Angel ramblings, neither of which is going to move the series along. Having said that, Mechanicum doesn't really move the series along either, but when it's this well written, you just dont care....

Fantastic stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best in the HH series, 21 Feb 2012
By 
JPS - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mechanicum (The Horus Heresy) (Paperback)
I read this book in 2009, loved it, despite NOT being a great Warhammer 40K fan, and have reread it a couple of times since. At the time, I didn't bother writting a review. I was too busy reading through the whole HH series and "catching up" with all the other Warhammer 40 K books (some of which I still have to read). I was however very surprised the other day when seeing the three latest reviews posted on Amzon for this book. So I picked it up again, and decided to review it "objectively", if such a thing is possible.

The first point is that, if you compare with other books of the HH series, this one is one of the best, most probably among the top five. I read some reviews lamenting the poor characterization of some of the chracters. Granted, HH and Warhammer 40k books are better known for their action-packed, blood and gore battle scenes, rather than their descriptions of romantic landscapes or for elaborate analyses of each character's psychology. Many books do have rather "flat" characters and weak plots, with the two going often together. However, I felt that such comments was rather unfair in this case. In particular, I very much liked Lord Commander Verticorda, The Stormlord Indias Vavalerio of Legio Tempestus and Korial Zeth, Mistress of the Magma City, to name just these three. Remiare the Assassin was also rather good.

A second point sometimes made against this book is that the Adepts of the Mechanicum may "appear too human". This may need to be qualified, since, initially, they were 100% organic and do not become 100% machine. So this is about degrees - whether some of the servants of the Mechanicum should be a bit "less human" or not, although what is exactly meant by this is not entirely clear to me. One thing however is clear: whatever their closeness to the Machine-God, all of the main Mechanicum characters seem to have human passions, if not feelings, such as lust for power and knowledge, and personal ambitions. Is this so surprising? Having said that, the character and behavior of Rho-Mu 31 may have attracted this kind of criticism: here is a Mechanicum Protector who somehow develops feelings with regards to humans and seriously "deviates" from his conditioning. Unlikely? Yes. Impossible and incredible? Probably not, although I am no expert on human-machine hybrids, of course.

Third, there are, of course, the various engagements and battles, in particular those opposing the Titan Legions. This is what makes the book so fascinating, fantastic, original and so good. The double battle at the end, with the glorious and doomed charges of the Knights of Tanaris on the one hand, and that of Legio Tempestus against Legio Mortis on the other are some of the best pieces of all HH and WArhammer 40 K books. The rest, whether the character of personae xyz is sufficiently developed or not, and credible or not, tends to take second place when the Legions start to WALK and when the faction of the Fabricator General decides to take control of the whole planet and openly support the Heresy, triggeting civil war on Mars. After all, this is the bleak and war-torn universe of Warhammer 40k.

From this perspective, and because it is a great piece of military sci-fi, it is well worth five stars...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Building great things, 26 Oct 2010
By 
S. Grant - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mechanicum (The Horus Heresy) (Paperback)
You can read this as a standalone story. However I would not recommend you skip this to rush ahead to books that more obviously progress the central Heresy storyline of the series. Not just because this is well written with some well crafted characters but because this is clearly laying the groundwork for some key future events. This is more than just the split in the mechanicum being played out. In fact the final revelation provides an interesting juxtaposition to that played out with the Alpha Legion in the novel Legion. Want to know more about the Emperor, his past, his motives? Read this & be vigilant. The Emperor protects.. doesn't he?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice read, but not as good as Fulgrim., 1 Dec 2009
This review is from: Mechanicum (The Horus Heresy) (Paperback)
Nice read, but not as good as Fulgrim. I am sure that many people will agree with this statement at least.
It does have a similar fatality flair, where you know it can only end bad, but it wasn't as well written and the characters weren't as memorable as in Fulgrim. But I was gripped and "shocked" at the horrific climax of this book, never the less. The only thing which disappointed me a little (besides the other "weaknesses") were some of the obvious contradictions to certain information given in the "Horus Heresy: Collected Visions" (by the way a must buy for every Horus Heresy reader). But then again the whole WH Horus Heresy story has already taken on mythical qualities and as everyone knows "facts" and myths don't mix to well. In other words I fear that the BL staff is currently so overworked that they don't have enough man power to check out every little detail, wether it might or might not contradict an earlier detail.
But besides those peanuts, and they are peanuts; you'll only find them if you look for them, the book is a very entertaining. Still, personally, Graham McNeill is one of the finest story tellers out there and the best part is; his skill seems to increase with every book he writes.
I'll happily look forward to more from him.

P.S.
Critically viewed, 5 stars is too much for this book but I liked it so I gave it a 5.
Now I have often "heard" that the series grinds on, seemingly, forever but honestly I don't care, it is my fervent hope that once they have "completed" the HH, with the final confrontation between Horus and Emperor, more will be written. Maybe topics, which weren't as elaborately coverd as I would have liked, might be picked up again with more depth or more Pre- Heresy stuff. Or why exactly Lorgar decided to turn on the Emperor... as one can see the story can, thank fully, continue indefinitely even after is has been completed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The red planet, 28 July 2009
By 
N. L. Fairfax (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mechanicum (The Horus Heresy) (Paperback)
I found this book to be a very interesting look at a subject that has seen a distinct lack of material (currently I think only 'Dark Adeptus' explores the Dark Mechanicum, albeit in the presetn 40k timeline). Mechanicum is a fundamental part of the Horus Heresy, and paves the way for further interest in the Titan legions, the Dark Mechanicum, and the 'Dragon of Mars'. It is interesting to see an inclusion of other aspects of the 40k universe not directly associated with the Heresy, and the segment in the Labyrinth of Night does well to underpin the history and culture of Mars. It's odd that another reviewer scored this book down for using incorrect Latin grammar. This is after all in the far future, on a different world, with very different social and cultural development, with its own language etc, so I think a little poetic license as regards correct Latin grammar could be overlooked. Overall I loved the images created; the forges, the titans, the cult Mechanicum, the battle scenes, and although, as pointed out, it does not advance the Heresy time line to a Mars-based conclusion, it's nice to see that Black Library (and GW) has thought about other viewpoints to the Heresy back-story. Hopefully another story of the continuing battle for/on Mars is in the pipeline.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great change of direction, 15 Dec 2008
By 
Mr. N. Talwar "Nik" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mechanicum (The Horus Heresy) (Paperback)
After the relatively boring 'Battle for the Abyss' this was a breath of fresh air. The description of Mars, the different factions, and the subsequent war are both detailed and interesting. The background and story development is also impressive, giving us glimpse of something other then space marines battling each other. All in all, a must read for anybody interested in this series.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mechanicum; Book 9 in the Horus Heresy series, 6 Dec 2008
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This review is from: Mechanicum (The Horus Heresy) (Paperback)
After the bitterly disappointing 'Battle for the Abyss' I had high hopes for Graham McNeil's 'Mechanicum', which deals with events on Mars leading up to the siege on Terra. And I must say those high hopes were met.

In terms of the time line, we are really no closer to the finale of this series. The events of Istvaan III have just happened, and the Abyss of the 'Battle for the Abyss' is still being constructed. This gives you a very real sense of where you are in terms of it all, but I feel like the story isn't advancing in terms of time. It is however, good to see the Heresy from different points of view.

As with all the Heresy series, there are several storylines interwoven together. In this piece more than any other, we seem to side more heavily on the side of the Imperial supporters. The cheif storyline follows Dalia, a young Terran logistician with a talent for machines. She is brought to Mars by a Mechanicum adept by the name of Zeth, because of her incredible intuition for machines and latent almost psychic ability to see how machines work. Now I don't want to give too much away but she ends up being drawn through a mystery that helped to form the Mechanicum in the ancient past. For those of you who are fans of 40k lore, you will appreciate this story line as it concerns a certain 'Dragon' of Mars....

The problem however, is that this story line has little to do with the Heresy itself, and whilst it is interesting to see this past, it really adds nothing to the Heresy storyline itself. The other story lines are concerned with the Legio Tempestus, a Titan legion, and for those old school workshop fans amongst you you'll appreciate the appearance of several knight palladin characters too. The battle scenes are well written, especially from the Titan perspectives and it's so great to see large scale battles fought with Titans. The names of various Titans and characters do become a little confusing though. If you are in possession of the Horus heresy artwork book 'Collected Visions', then the short story 'The Kaban project' also by McNeil is referenced several times and we meet characters contained within that story too.

I like the way that BL has interwoven these story lines, but I feel it is really time to start moving on in terms of time line now. It's also nice to look at a section of the Imperium not really explored much before, and the description of machines and the thought processes behind them is well executed.

All in all it is a satisfying read, light on Space Marines (which is no bad thing!), filled with intrigue, plot, well rounded characters, unexpected turns, and a real sense of what is going on in the universe as the galaxy slowly tears itself apart. Well done Black Library. More like this please!!!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a let down., 11 Feb 2009
This review is from: Mechanicum (The Horus Heresy) (Paperback)
Some books grow on you as you get pulled into the twisting plot and characters come to life, you read the book at an accelerated pace to reach the conclusion.. this book is only like that in reverse.
I read the first half with interest, willing the plot onwards, and then found myself skipping pages and wincing at scenes until I didn't really care what happened at the end.

The pantomime villains stride on sneering at there rivals (this is common in all Horus heresy books, you can usually guess whose going to become the warp crazed murderer after about 50 pages) and at the flick of a switch literally half of Mars becomes covered in spikes and skulls.

So much could have been made out of the mechanicums quest for progress and advancement and the soul searching of individuals at the promise of the research and learning of 'secret knowledge' that the Emperor has forbidden. Good, wise men may have opted to seek knowledge and found themselves opposing the Emperor out of good intentions, instead its power, revenge, destruction, ha ha ha!

The main character, Dalia, is meant to be the young adept we sympathise with but comes over abit like someone whose just arrived at university in a strange town, viewing a vast millenium old forge complex she says 'Did it take you long to build?' it might as well have been 'hmmm, I like what you've done with the curtains!' The motley crew of helpers shes straddled with are equally chummy and annoying.

..and don't get me started on the plot about the dragon. Don't ask.

If this was a DVD there would be a few scenes I'd find impressive, including some cinematic battles between Titans, but I doubt I'd ever watch the whole film more than once.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A favourite, 9 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Mechanicum (The Horus Heresy) (Paperback)
Such a great book one of my favourite Heresy books after reading this you will want to field a mechanicus army on the table top.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great even without marines, 13 May 2014
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This review is from: Mechanicum (The Horus Heresy) (Paperback)
By and large any of the Heresy series that don't feature one of the legions at its heart tend to be some of the weakest in the series, however this one actually bucks that trend by being a good read with real addition to the canon, Graham McNeill has done an awsome job of fully realising the bizarre world of Mars, with its menmachines and machine men, their strange almost primative beliefs.
Most of the book works well as part of the series and even as a stand alone book, the background to mars and its denizons is well written in great depth added fantastic texture to the Universe it lives in.
The only real disappointment is the rather weak reason given for why so many of them turned traitor, while greed and jealously work fine the actual tipping point is a bit rushed and weak, Horus will open a sealed door and grant them access to knowledge that has been forbidden. Hmmm
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Mechanicum (The Horus Heresy)
Mechanicum (The Horus Heresy) by Graham McNeill (Paperback - 1 Dec 2008)
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