Hey everyone, Tyler M. here with a review of Graham McNeill’s latest Horus Heresy novel Angel Exterminatus.
Graham McNeill is very hit or miss for me. He has his great novels like Fulgrim, Thousand Sons, Storm of Iron and Nightbringer, and he has his not so great. This, happily falls into the former. When Fulgrim first came out I was blown away and didn’t know how he could top it, then came A Thousand Sons and again I thought the same thing. Well folks, hes done it again. Angel Exterminatus blew me out of the water. The thing that amazed me the most is how well he has fleshed out the character of Perturabo, a Primarch that until this point had very little back story.
The plot of the novel revolves around Fulgrim enlisting his brother’s help in tracking down a mysterious super weapon of the Eldar called the Angel Exterminatus. The catch is that its located in the very center of the Eye of Terror. Luckily Fulgrim has enlisted the help of a mysterious stranger who claims to be able to safely guide them through the mother of all warp storms. The journey is not easy though as they are hounded by a small group of survivors from Isstvan V who are determined to stop the traitors and take revenge on the death of Ferrus Manus.
The real meat of the story though are the characters. We get to see several familiar faces from Storm of Iron and the beginning of how they ended up the twisted maniacs they become in 10,000 years. Forrix acts as the straight man for most of the story, not really changing much over the novel and being Perturabo’s reliable right hand man and the only stable member of the Trident; the Iron Warrior’s version of the Mournival. Grendel also makes a quick appearance and is more of a cameo then anything else. Kroeger has the largest arc out of the Iron Warrior marines and is his typical brutal self. He acts as our window into the upper workings of the legion. The only Emperor’s Children marine who gets much of an arc is Lucius, although Fabius and a certain surprise character also feature prominently. Overall they are more of supporting characters for the IV legion. The loyalists who are following the traitors into the Eye of Terror consist mostly of Iron Hands, one Raven Guard and one Salamander. I am pretty happy with how he depicted each legion and you get to start seeing the Iron Hand’s decent into their obsession of hating organics.
Like I said at the beginning the most impressive part of the novel is how well fleshed out Perturabo is as a believable character. McNeill gives him a real sense of being the under appreciated Primarch that he has always been described as. The brilliance that lays underneath his blunt and brutal exterior really makes you feel for him and all of his talent that was never utilized. Even though he is one of the traitor Primarchs he really is the good guy of the story. His reason for betraying the Imperium stems from guilt and honor and, at this point in the heresy anyway, he is no different from one of the loyalist Primarchs besides where his loyalties lie. Fulgrim at this point is well on his way to the full Slaanesh worshiping psycho of the 41st millennium.
Going into this book I didn’t know what to expect since it was not based on an established event of the heresy and also featured one of the least fleshed out Primarchs, but I have to say, it is now in my top 10 Horus Heresy books. My one suggestion though is make sure you have read The Crimson Fist, Reflection Crack’d and of course Fulgrim before starting this or you will not understand a lot of past events that are mentioned frequently. I tried to be as vague as I could with my descriptions of this book because the real joy of it is discovering each of the characters and their journeys for yourself.
This is also my first trade paperback version of the Heresy books so I figured I would give a quick review on the format. The large size makes it feel more hefty and the cover features french folds with the cover art reprinted on the inside in full color. If you like collecting the books I would recommend it. The cover art is also a huge improvement over where it was when the series started out and has been gradually improving with each entry.
I highly recommend this book: 5/5
~ Have you read Angel Exterminatus? What did you think of this first look into the IV legion during the heresy?