Horus Heresy: Scars (Episode V) by Chris Wraight – Review [Bane of Kings]
Milo, aka “Bane of Kings” reviews Episode V in the serialised Chris Wraight’s Scars, the latest book set in the multi-authored, New York Times Bestselling Horus Heresy series. Acting as the first novel in the series to be told in this format, Scars’s individual episodes are published weekly by Black Library and are available exclusively from their website.
“A great continuation of Scars, Chris Wraight manages to move the plot along and provides an interesting storyline for readers to follow. When this book is done, I’m sure Scars will rank among one of the strongest Horus Heresy books. But for now, we have to do with these weekly instalments.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields.
Of all the Legiones Astartes, the White Scars of Jaghatai Khan remain the most enigmatic and elusive. Born of a civilisation that prizes honour, speed and fearsome loyalty, their allegiance has yet remained unclear even as the galaxy is torn apart by Horus’s treachery, and both sides have apparently counted them among their potential allies in the war to come. But when the Alpha Legion launch an unexplained and simultaneous attack against the White Scars and Space Wolves, the Khan must decide once and for all whether he will stand with the Emperor or the Warmaster… or neither.
The exciting story continues in the fifth eBook episode of an all-new novel by Chris Wraight.
Now almost halfway through Scars, we’re really starting to get into the meat of things. The plot is kicking itself into gear and everything is moving along the way it should, at a fast pace allowing for a very interesting read. I love uncovering new things that we didn’t really know before about not just the White Scars, who of course remain the principal focus of the series, and the ongoing Horus Heresy event – but also the Space Wolves and the Alpha Legion are explored as well. This Episode sees things go downhill for several of the characters involved however, as Wraight doesn’t tend to make it easy for the Wolves, who are continuing to lose against the Alpha Legion. Other angles of the unfolding plot are also explored and we follow various characters such as the Khan and Yesugei as the book continues to flesh out their characters and develop them with one instalment after the other.
The Space Wolves don’t dominate this episode though, and Wraight still manages to handle the balance between the White Scars and the legion that he’s written about so many times before. With experience, the Episode moves along at a steady pace and there wasn’t really anything that I found too jarring or out of place, no scenes that didn’t really fit the overall tone and context of the episode. Wraight has even structured the pace so that each segements fit their legion’s style of warfare – something that I haven’t really seen happen too often in multi-legion books even written by the likes of Dan Abnett and Graham McNeill. The sections focused on the White Scars as a result aren’t as action-packed or as intense as the Space Wolves, but Wraight’s pacing is handled pretty well indeed as a result of this.
Another point in Wraight’s favour is that Scars isn’t just another bolter-porn book. Action isn’t used on every page and when it is it’s pulled off very well. He uses this to flesh out the lore of the White Scars as we uncover the various differences between the Stormseers and the likes of Librarians employed by other legions – , and we get to learn more on how the V Legion view Psykers, something that isn’t really touched upon in other areas of Black Library as until now, we haven’t really had a ‘proper’ White Scars novel, with the chapter limited to guest appearances whilst others play a larger role.
And now that the Scars are in town, it seems like they’re getting the entry that they deserve. Wraight is spinning together a wonderful read, to the point where the wait for next week is becoming very painful indeed. Episode V may in fact be one of the best episodes of an already excellent tale yet, with Wraight really making himself out to be an author that you should not miss.