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Word Bearers: my review of The Omnibus
on May 24, 2012
Hi, I'm reviewing "Word Bearers: The Omnibus" by discussing the different elements in the three separate novels that it contains:
Like the most unforgettable of epic tales, Dark Apostle unfolds around a most curious prophecy. A prophecy that determines the fate of the Word Bearers Space Marines, the most fanatical enemy of Humanity, bent on vengeance and wholesale destruction. As the leaders of the Word Bearers unravels the secrets of their destiny, they lay waste to an Imperial world, slaughtering and enslaving millions of lives to build a tower of worship, the Gehemahnet. As the imperial army clashes with the traitor space marines in a frantic rush to stop the completion of the daemonic tower, ground battles of the most colossal scale ensues. And amongst the din of war and cries of death, a secret agenda unfolds.
Dark Apostle is without a doubt, a master-crafted tale that brings intriguing characters and captivating scenarios to life, with the promise of abundant action and interweaving story arcs.
The most consequential events spawn from the actions of a few.
Following up from the closure of the first novel, Dark Disciple focuses on a relatively small band of the Word Bearers led by their First Acolyte, as they embark on an impossible relic hunt. The Word Bearers are caught in bloody battle between three other factions:
* the Emperor's mighty and courageous imperial guard,
* a mysterious piratical race that embodies the term sadistic,
* and a most unforgiving alien foe with a hunger that compels them to consume all that stands in their path
Instead of the massive land battles depicted in the first novel, this adventure changes its style to concentrate more on squad level skirmishes - adding even more personal touch to the quest and further development to the already interesting characters built earlier on. Don't be fool by the focus on the small warband though. For the story does not loses its feel for the grand scheme of things as depictions of massive space naval combats are also included, vividly illustrating the epic scale of the struggle between the different forces vying for supremacy and survival. And at the center of it all? ...the mission of one hero as evil as he is faithful. Loathsome as he is, you'll find that you cannot resist the turning of each page as he cooly and bloodilly inches closer to his destiny.
Dark Creed builds up to the trilogy's crescendo, with a full-scale dark crusade. And it's only fitting that the most insane clash of them all is set up with the traitor marines against loyalist marines. It's chaos versus order, between the greatest armies the universe has ever witness.
Here is an teeth-gritting tale of a grand crusade of vengeance: despite the Word Bearers committing to one of the most immense force ever amassed, they are still outnumbered. And the Word Bearers place all their faith in the dark gods AND a prophesized relic now in their hands. Can fate overcome all odds?
Strange as it may seem, the Omnibus about these murderous traitors drums into me the fact that faith is everything - for without faith, we are nothing. :-D The concept of faith is heavilly emphasized in these novels.
In summary, the whole trilogy is well-planned - while you can read the individual novels separately, the whole epic is best read as presented in the Omnibus. I'm sure the author planned the stories as a trilogy, so the stories meld together seamlessly. Also, the various aspects of 40000 warfare are very well covered, from squad-level skirmishes to massive land battles to space-fleet engagements, all depicted with convincing details and strategies. My only harp is the minor inconsistencies and typo-errors scattered thinly throughout the three novels.
And oh yes, the trilogy comes to closure with the new short story "Torment", perhaps best described as a glimpse of the most frightening and depressing thing that can happen to a person.
But all in all, this Omnibus is highly recommended for all WH40K fans, and a DEFINITE MUST for fans of Chaos, but surely NOT for those with a weak gut.