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Lertimo

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  • Spear of the Emperor

  • Warhammer 40,000
  • By: Aaron Dembski-Bowden
  • Narrated by: Kelly Hotten
  • Length: 11 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 219
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 199
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 198

The scattered worlds of the Elara's Veil nebula were once protected by the oath of unity sworn by three mighty Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes. The Star Scorpions were undone by flaws in their genetic coding. The Celestial Lions were ravaged by the Inquisition for sins they did not commit. Now, after hundreds of years, only the Emperor's Spears still keep their vigil. They are barbarian watchmen against the Outer Dark, bloodied but unbroken in their long duty.   

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • one of the strongest black library novels

  • By "liquid_calm" on 18-06-19

"Oh no, it's a girl!"

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 25-06-19

Some previous reviewers have expressed concerns about the narration. Annoyingly this initially put me off this audiobook until I decided to ignore them and take the plunge and I am glad I did. I am therefore happy to confirm the following facts a) YES Kelly Hotten is a girl b) NO she does not have a silly/strange voice, she has a perfectly normal, intelligible English accent c) NO she is not completely untried, but a proper actress who has been on TV and done audiobook narration before d) the narrator and main protagonist of 'Spear of The Emperor' is a woman, therefore having a female voice artist makes er, perfect sense e) Her voicing of male characters in this book is far less incongruous than Toby Longworth or Jonathan Keeble doing funny falsettos for female characters in other W40k books.

The story itself is a space marines romp of reliably good quality as you'd expect from Aaron Dembski-Bowden. By focussing on the chapters and the main Astartes characters, the Black Library blurb (as so often) is slightly misleading. The main character is not a space marine, but one of their human slaves/assistants. This actually makes the entire plot far more interesting than some recent 'Dark Imperium' era stories written from the perspective of space marines. Let's face it, as main protagonists they're a bit dull, lacking as they do fear and doubt and similar qualities which you generally need in a main character to keep things interesting. That said, boys that just like macho giants blowing each other up in space will still find plenty here to please them and who knows? They may just enjoy it enough to forget that the person reading it to them is...a girl!

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Our Martyred Lady

  • Warhammer 40,000
  • By: Gav Thorpe
  • Narrated by: Cliff Chapman, Steve Conlin, Andrew Fettes, and others
  • Length: 5 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 90
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 85
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 84

During the turbulent Reign of Blood, a great schism in the Imperial Ecclesiarchy threatened all of Terra and promised a darkness to rival the terrors of Old Night. Fell times have come again to the Imperium, and a War of Faith appears inevitable. Standing in the way of catastrophe is Celestine, the Living Saint and one of the greatest heroes of the age. Only she can reunite the warring factions of the Ecclesiarchy and prevent a second Reign of Blood. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • absolutely incredible

  • By Jake Dootson-whelan on 20-03-19

Noise, dull noise

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-04-19

Black LIbrary have assembled a decent cast for this audio-drama, including Catherine Tate in the lead role. So I was reasonably optimistic when I downloaded this. Unfortunately, that feeling lasted about 5 minutes into the story.

What's the problem? Well several actually. FIrstly: soundtrack. There is awful, cheap-sounding keyboard music sounding almost constantly throughout this. Characters also frequently speak at once, when they are not yelling above explosions - all of which makes it pretty hard to make out the dialogue.

Secondly: Lead character, Inquisitor Greyfax is utterly, excrutiatingly dull. A zealot with an unshakeable belief in her own righteousness, she lacks any of the depth or personality which make Dan Abnett's inquisitors, Gregor Eisenhorn or Gideon Ravenor such compelling protagonists. Instead Catherine Tate has little to do except bellow at pretty much everyone.

Thirdly plot. There really isn't one, it's just cheesy keyboards, explosions and Tate yelling. I've stuck out every audio book I've ever paid for, but I simply lost the will to live halfway through this.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Crimson King

  • The Horus Heresy, Book 44
  • By: Graham McNeill
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 14 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 152
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 142
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 142

Removed from the concerns of the galaxy at large and regarding the Warmaster's unfolding Heresy with cold detachment, he has dedicated his hollow existence to the preservation of all the knowledge once held in the great libraries of Tizca, should mankind ever seek such enlightenment again. But his sons can see the change in their primarch - he is a broken soul whose mind and memories are slipping away into the tumult of the warp.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Neither one thing nor the other

  • By Lertimo on 02-04-19

Neither one thing nor the other

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-04-19

The Crimson King suffers from the same essential problem as many other mid-series entries in the Horus Heresy narrative. The series' overarching plotline relies on a few key protagonists (newcomers may wish to look away now) e.g. Horus, his rebellion against the Emperor of Mankind and the handful of other recurring characters who try to prevent it e.g. Garviel Loken, Nathaniel Garro, Iacton Qruze, Euphrete Keeler, etc. However, Horus is one of 18 primarchs, not all of whom are actually that vital to the key events of the Heresy. So the middle part of the series is maddeningly padded out with meandering stories about his brothers and their legions, despite the fact that they are utterly peripheral to the events in the earlier books or the Siege of Terra, where the series culminates. The Crimson King of the title, Magnus, is one of those characters, and to be honest this isn't one of Graham McNeill's best efforts in any case. I found it very difficult to follow what was going on most of the time, or who any of the characters actually were - but then after the first couple of chapters, I simply didn't care enough about any of them to try very hard. Contrast this with MacNeill's first entry in the Heresy series, False Gods, which is gripping from start to end, plotted like an action thriller and full of believable characters in peril. We also get the now-familiar references to 'superhuman' or 'transhuman', 'demigods' 'perfection of humanity' and other tedious cliches for describing the space marine legionaries. Like Fulgrim, Ferrus, Mortarian, Perturabo and the other 'not-very-central-to-the-plot' primarchs, Magnus himself comes across as so monumentally stupid and self-absorbed one is forced to question how he could possibly have risen to the leadership of a planet in the first place.

Narrator Jonathan Keeble does his enthusiastic best with the journeyman material he's been given, but there's only so many times you can hear a narrator raise their voice to shout about the space marines awesomeness, "as they slew their enemies with such incredible speed, blah blah blah...." before it becomes white noise or a dull headache sets in.

As it is, The Crimson King really is neither one thing nor the other - it fails to grip or entertain as a standalone novel and as a part of the Horus Heresy series, it doesn't move the overall narrative forward at all either.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Magos

  • Warhammer 40,000
  • By: Dan Abnett
  • Narrated by: Toby Longworth
  • Length: 20 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 638
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 598
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 600

Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn has spent his life stalking the darkest and most dangerous limits of the Imperium in pursuit of heresy and Chaos. But how long can a man walk that path without succumbing to the lure of the Warp? Is Eisenhorn still a champion of the Throne, or has he been seduced by the very evil that he hunts?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Intertwining, lucid and highly entertaining epic

  • By Lertimo on 08-01-19

Intertwining, lucid and highly entertaining epic

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-01-19

Dan Abnett is generally regarded as the standout author of the Warhammer 40k stable, and rightly so. His contributions to the canon are characterised by quality writing, tight plotting and three-dimensional characters. This set of stories is no exception, though I was initially wrong-footed by the description of 'The Magos' as a collection of short stories featuring Abnett's Imperial Inquisitor, Gregor Eisenhorn. This doesn't really do justice to what is in fact a complex set of intertwining stories that come together ultimately to pose a series of philosophical and moral questions.

Eisenhorn is a sci-fi hybrid of totalitarian secret police officer, Vatican exorcist and Sherlock Holmes. He's featured in several books by Abnett previously but they were standalone stories with beginning, middle and end. This sprawling set of stories spans a galaxy, several decades and is written in several voices, not only Eisenhorn's. Abnett cleverly weaves an overarching narrative that slowly draws the threads of the various stories together. Firstly as repeating characters, ideas and themes in the stories, and then ultimately bringing all the stories together as one in the eponymous 'The Magos'. It's clever, literary stuff and a thousand light years removed from the leaden prose and wooden characters often found in The Black Library's more militaristic output. Such work often feels created purely for consumption by diehard fans of the Warhammer canon. Yet I'd recommend The Magos to anyone with an interest in dystopian science fiction. The stories variously cover ground trodden previously by the likes of David Mitchell, William Gibson, HG Wells and HP Lovecraft. It certainly doesn't require the reader to have previous knowledge of Eisenhorn or the Warhammer 40k universe.

As this is an audio book it makes for something of an epic, totting in at a little over 20 hours. Toby Longworth is a veteran Abnett-narrator and it's easy to see why. His deep, doom-laden yet precise delivery is perfect for this kind of material. The only criticism one could level at his narration is that due to the huge cast of 'The Magos' his range of voices runs a bit dry after a few stories. Several characters are provided with very similar voices or accents which was confusing at times once the narratives begin to converge. This is a very minor point though. Longworth is, like Abnett, a class act and their combined contributions here differentiates 'The Magos' from the standard fare of the genre and places it on a level approaching that of modern sci-fi classic.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Last Continent

  • By: Terry Pratchett
  • Narrated by: Nigel Planer
  • Length: 9 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 885
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 713
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 714

It's hot. It's dry...very dry. There was this thing once called The Wet, which no one believes in. Practically everything that's not poisonous is venomous. But it's the best bloody place in the world, alright?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Really poor sound quality

  • By Bethany Black on 27-04-15

Appalling sound quality

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-12-18

It's not one Pratchett's best Discworld novels, but it's decent, reliable quality material as you'd expect. Sir Terry's weakest novels are better than most authors' best efforts. Nigel Planer is an equally reliable narrator. Unfortunately the audio quality is awful - I mean really dreadful. The Nigel Planer-narrated Discworld audio books generally sound a bit like they were recorded under a blanket, but this stands out as really DREADFUL. It's astonishing this was considered fit for commercial release.