The End and the Death: Volume I (Volume 8) [Hardcover] Abnett, Dan [Hardcover] Abnett, Dan
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Abnett sometimes has an issue of rushed endings. It is as though he gets so excited during the writing process and expands on plots and sub plots and character asides, that he only belatedly realises he has a word count brief to hit. There are a few books of his that would have benefitted from another 10,000 words to achieve a fully satisfying ending. The walls have fallen, the gates are breached, and the defenders are slain. It is the end and the death. After seven brutal years of civil war, the Warmaster stands on the verge of victory. Horus Lupercal, once beloved son, has come to murder his father. The Emperor, a shining beacon of hope to many, an unscrupulous tyrant to others, must die. The lives of uncountable numbers have been extinguished and even primarchs, once thought immortal, have been laid low. The Emperor’s dream lies in tatters, but there remains a sliver of hope. Now, at the final hour of the final day, the Emperor rises. With him come his Angel, his Praetorian, and his Captain, all determined to enact terrible vengeance. Yet the hope is slim, for the Warmaster sees all and knows all, and the ultimate victory of Chaos is at hand.
Was book 1 too long? I don’t think so, I think Abnett pulled it off. Yes, it’s the extended director’s cut, but it’s a good director’s cut, not dross, not a slog, not some other things that could be levelled at the Horus Heresy series. The POVs of Malcador and the Primarchs are somewhat interesting (no mean feat after 60+ books), and at least we do not get any new out-of-character revelations or derailings on that front. Well it is what it is, lots of wonderful details, extremely purple prose, several extended sections where Abnett is very insistent on showing his English degree and a whole mess of strands-ov-fate bullshit, collapsing-dimensions last minute character transport and Quite Dumb acts of _subtle manipulation_.
Horus has a moment of clarity, frees himself from Chaos’ influence, and uses the power of Chaos to restore the material universe around earth The sheer density of prose in this book makes it boring and awkward to read. Lots and nothing happens because of it. It could comfortably be half as long and still make perfect sense. This did not need to be two books but at least every part of the model range was mentioned so thats good. PEACE.
So, how does it do as the first part of the finale? Well, if the second volume is anywhere near as long as this I'm sure there's still a great deal to cover, but it does feel the story is right on the edge of the precipice before the final fights. Despite clearly being only a first part, I also think it ends in a place that makes the whole experience of reading the book fulfilling while leaving everything set to be finished in volume 2. In my ideal world, the rest of the 'canon' is solved with the first book, ending with the Emperor killing Horus, and being found near death.Horus kills the Emperor permanently, realises his mistake, frees himself from Chaos’ influence, purges the immaterium, retains the power of Chaos, effectively becoming an Emperor-equivalent being. The loyal primarchs expel him from the empire, but Horus aids humanity from the shadows.