Horus Heresy: Scars (Episode VIII) by Chris Wraight – Review [Bane of Kings]

Scars_VIII

Milo, aka “Bane of Kings” continues the coverage of the eighth Episode in the ongoing, serialised Scars narrative by Chris Wraight, published by Black Library as part of the multi-authored, New York Times Bestselling science fiction Horus Heresy series.

“An excellent continuation of what is already a very solid novel. Chris Wraight continues to impress and keep the reader engaged as the book continues to progress.” ~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 eighth eBook episode of an all-new novel by Chris Wraight.

Well, eight episodes in and it’s good to see that Scars has remained as consistent as it has. Chris Wraight brings something fresh and awesome to the table with each new instalment and the new serialised format is, whilst perhaps not suited to this particular book, still enough to have me eagerly anticipating each week for a new release. I’m loving how Wraight has continued to develop the plotlines over the course of the book with confidence and a strong narrative style to boot. Whilst not much can be said that hasn’t been already in this review – I’m going to do my best to continue to cover each new episode of Scars until its closure.

Scars_VIIIThe Episode itself opens on a Word Bearers ship, with Yesegui and his allies searching for the Khan. Various other members, such as the Iron Hands Astartes Yesegui, and the Stormseers are all given something to do that allows to help flesh out their characters in further depth. Elsewhere, the White Scars fleet arrives at Prospero following its cleansing by the Space Wolves, and a Torghun attempts to gain a new recruit to the Lodge at a meeting in the form of Shiban after beating him in a jetbiking race.

Aside from what we know in established lore, Scars continues to be as unpredictable as ever, in fact – I’d go so far as to say that it’s easily one of the most unpredictable books in the entire series so far. and the fact that we’re still guessing as we enter the closing stages of the second act of this episode, I really can’t wait to see what comes next. Wraight also manages to keep us guessing by adding into the equasion that we know that the Scars are now not as powerful and awe-inspiring as we’ve come to believe, as members of the legion have to resort to tactics that one would associate with the enemy and not with a legion of the Imperium, proving that everything is far from black and white as it first appeared (not that there ever can be a divide between good and evil in the worlds of the far future, of course).

Another thing that I liked that helps make the book more unpredictable is Wraight’s approach to the Lodges. Far too often in the past we’ve seen them viewed with mistrust and in some cases open hostility has spawned between the non-Lodge members and the Lodge members even before the actual Heresy broke out, but in this chapter Wraight manages to convey just why so many Astartes were persuaded as well as how this approach allowed for corruption. If you’re tired of always seeing the lodges viewed in the same way by previous protagonists and want a different take on them, then you’ll find it a good read. Even if you haven’t been tired of this, then you’re in for a welcome and refreshing treat.

Chris Wraight continues to impress with each instalment that is sent our way. We don’t feel as though we’re ever retreading old ground and whilst the characters may still not be the most memorable ever, they’re certainly better than some one-dimensional figures that we’ve seen in the past from multiple Black Library authors (including a few more established than Wraight). Each instalment is fresh and fun and I really can’t wait to see how Wraight wraps up this book in the remaining four chapters that we have. He’s delivered, aside from a few minor problems with each entry so far and I have faith that he can continue to work his magic in the future. I’m already counting down the days to Episode IX (it is in fact, a mere three days away as of the time of writing), and it’s something that I’m really looking forward to.

VERDICT: 4/5

Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and watches a lot of TV. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson & Iain M. Banks, whilst his favourite TV shows are Battlestar Galactica (2003), Person Of Interest, Firefly, Game of Thrones, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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