Today, I just finished Outcast Dead by Graham McNeill polishing off the latest of the Horus Heresy series.
First I have to say Graham is an outstanding writer before I go into my review of this book. Overall it was an excellent read, but it was very hard to get past the “dry” reading of the first half of the book to get to the mid part to the rewarding part of the novel. I can say this as a fact as I usually finish any typical Black Library novel in a few days up to a week. This book took me a bit longer not only due to the holidays, but due to the pacing I had to do to keep at the book for the payoff.
The first half was written with the intent to setup the storyline and establish the characters to give you perspective in the second half on how things resolve at the end of the novel. Aside from Rogal Dorn, nobody in the book has been established in anything written by anyone in the Black Library or by GW fluff writers for the gaming books. To me, there could have been a few edits to shorten the first half to give more space for the second half of the novel to resolve a few things, but I am getting ahead of myself for the next section.
The second half brings the action to the fore and starts to tie in the characters in what picks up the book tempo into what finishes the book off with some epic moments. I felt that the last chapter was a bit “forced” for Graham’s style of writing. By this, he loves to leave some strings unresolved for future books and to make you think at the end of his works, yet there were still some spots that should have had more attention to the detail that he is known for.
I can only give this book 3 out of 5 Imperial Eagles with a good conscience. This may be one of Graham McNeill’s less than polished books and by far the least enjoyable I have read. Still, I didn’t feel it was a waste of my time but the content was lacking in some spots.
As always, I can’t really go into details (good or bad) about a book as I feel it “spoils” the read and often a review gives away a bit too much to the reader. I hate going to a movie to find out the best parts I had already seen in the previews. This is my philosophy about a book review.
To a die hard reader of the Horus Heresy stuff, go on and read it. You won’t regret it and there are some rewarding parts of the book you will love. The casual reader of the Horus Heresy series could skip this book and not miss much to the “overall body” of the legends of the Imperium’s fall.