Horus Heresy: Scars Episode IX by Chris Wraight – Review [Bane of Kings]

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Bane of Kings reviews the ninth Episode of the serialised Scars novel by Chris Wraight, published by Black Library as part of their multi-authored, New York Times Bestselling Horus Heresy series.

“Continuing the latest epic in the Horus Heresy series, Chris Wraight’s Scars moves towards its ending in what it proving out to be a very satisfying way – proving that no doubt when this book is finished, it will rank easily up there among the best of the Horus Heresy novels thus so far, which makes the book a welcoming treat for veteran Horus Heresy fans. You won’t want to miss out.” ~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 ninth eBook episode of an all-new novel by Chris Wraight.

Well, it’s quite clear that with nine out of twelve chapters out of the way, Scars is very much reaching its endgame, and whilst the problems that the book has had with each Episode are continuing to haunt us (lack of clear, rootable & distinguishable  main character and it doesn’t really suit the format), Chris Wraight has still managed to make Scars one of the most compelling, engaging and exciting Horus Heresy books yet continuing the trend of strong entries to the saga as we get well under way. Fear to Tread, Angel Exterminatus and more recently The Unremembered Empire have all been excellent reads (even if the latter two have received some rather divisive attention amongst the fanbase) and it’s only so many times I can heap praise upon this book before people who have been following these weekly reviews grow tired of it.

Scars_Horus_HeresyIf you haven’t already brought the book, then I recommend that you don’t jump on here – go back and start with Episode 1 and by all of the nine Episodes in one go. Scars is a work that’s better read as a collective whole and this Episode doesn’t really support the serialised format. However, what it does benefit from is a gripping storyline that’s reaching its final act, and one thing’s for sure, if you have been following the series so far, you won’t want to miss this. The book so far is that good, and I’ve sped through each installment as they have swiftly become more and more enthralling as the novels go on. The pace is clearly quickening and it doesn’t take much effort to work out that we’re in the book’s final act now, and one thing for sure, Scars is certainly going to go out with a bang if judging from what we’ve seen so far is any indication.

The three parts that occupy this chapter are handled pretty well. On the Word Bearers ship now commanded by loyalists, Xa’ven, Henricos, and Yesegui discover the function of a mysterious new machine that they have encountered whilst The Khagan and his allies explore the ruined Prospero – and finally, Torghun and Shiban attend a lodge meeting. The various three part acts are all building towards a conclusion here and never once did I find one not as an captivating as the other, and the only complaint that I have about the three separate storylines being that Wraight cannot unfortunately juggle the balance between them all, with Torghun and Shiban’s adventure providing an element of information but suffering from not enough space. This doesn’t really help as well when you consider that the characters still lack that much needed depth or ability to help us connect to them – they aren’t nearly as memorable as any characters from Horus Heresy novels that we’ve been presented with in the past – I’m sure long term readers know who I’m talking about, characters like Loken, Tarvitz and Argel Tal.

However, the book still remains captivating and solid. The quality hasn’t declined and it flows pretty well over the course of the eBook. All chapters have kept this reasonably high level of consistency and I’m really looking forward to see how Episode ten plays out, as Scars is proving to be a very fun and awesome read. It’s certainly worth reading if you aren’t already, and I’m looking forward to see how Wraight wraps this up in the concluding chapters. One thing’s for certain, this is going to have a very interesting ending.

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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