Monday, July 2, 2012

Book Review: Angel of Fire

Angel of Fire
William King


Hello folks, the Bikeninja here with a book review believe it or not.  Been awhile since I have had the time to sit and knock one of these out.  That implies that I have not had the opportunity to read a lot.  That is simply not the case.  I have read quite a bit, it is just this whole typing out a review and posting it along with all the other stuff that has kept me busy.  Angel of Fire is my latest read and a departure from what I usually get into.

The Story
Angel of Fire is the first of three books in Macharian Trilogy.  It is an account of Lord Commander Solar Macharius and his quest to bring a large sector of space back within Imperial rule.  This first book is the siege of a hive city called Irongrad.  The main characters are members of a Baneblade Tank crew. The story revolves around how they interact with the Lord Commander himself and the part they play in the siege and subsequent battles.

The thing I liked most about the story is that it is plausible in that heroic role-playing game style sense.  I guess what I mean is that it reads like a story from a cool role-playing adventure.  Circumstances bring our heroes into a situation that allows them to save Lord Solar Macharius and then accompany him on his quest to take and then retake the hive city and save it from certain doom.  High adventure at its finest.  Now if you do not like this style and Angel of Fire is very clich√© with this, then you will probably not like this book.

The Writing
I have been a William King fan since he wrote the first Space Wolves novels back in the day.  His stuff on Ragnar was great but his best work was the Gotrek and Felix novels.  Those are the only fantasy books I have ever read.

King writes this one as a documentary.  It is told by an aging Imperial Guardsmen whose unit is beset by Orks.  He is remembering these events and Angel of Fire is his first encounter with Macharius and sets the stage for the next two books.  I like it.  I like how this was written a lot.  King captures the common soldier well.  And he writes this as a common soldier caught up in events that he would rather not be in.  The sarcasm the soldiers express at times, the closeness of soldiers and friends who are on this path together is portrayed very well.

There is a lot of foreshadowing in this book.  The main character “Lemuel” is Baneblade pilot and is the one telling the story.  There are a lot of instances where he makes comments about his impressions of Macharius and how these would change later or be proven all too accurate.  From his observations you see Macharius in a different light.  This is both good and bad.  Patton was a great General but had his issues.  Macharius is no different and Lemuel is very quick to see this and point it out.  However with Macharius being such an iconic figure in 40k Lore it is disturbing that he is getting broken down by a common soldier.  All great people have their faults you just do not want Macharius to have them.

Rating
I am giving this one 4 out of 5.  It is a good book.  I like the style; I like the information and the history.  It’s just not quite a 5 in my opinion.  For all that I like about it, it just does not hit me with the Wow factor that I need for a 5.  Probably because there are no Space Wolves in it.  But that is just me.

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