Page 1 of 1

REVIEW - Sons of Dorn (Chris Roberson)

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:08 pm
by Ph4lanx

The Imperial Fists. Renown throughout Space Marine lore as the Legion who, during the Horus Heresy, spearheaded the defence of the Imperial Palace on Terra. Rogal Dorn, Primarch of the Imperial Fists, was legendary in his role to defend the Emperor’s rule from Horus, and rightly so.

The Scouts of the Imperial Fists specialise in activities behind enemy lines, unseen and unheard until they want to be. It is in this company that we join Zatori, du Queste and Taloc, who have been initiated into the Imperial Fists from rival countries of a single planet.

During their training and teaching, they are a constant mix of emotions, as each one harbours a hatred of the other due to the internal struggling between their nations on the planet they were born. Each Scout comes from a separate country, each at war with the other.

Plucked from the very battlefield where all three were involved, Captain Taelos of the 10th Company of the Imperial Fists selects all three aspirants to be tested to join the ranks of the Imperial Fists, unaware and unconcerned by the war raging physically around him at the time and also in equal measure of the internal struggles of each of the three new recruits as they stand alongside their former enemy.

Captain Taelos has his own side story in this matter however. Speaking to the Chapter Master in the book, he asks for a warrior pilgrimage to make amends for what he believes is a wrong-doing on his part in protecting his fellow brothers in battle. The Chapter Master disagrees, instead assigning the Captain to the 10th Company. Whilst at first Taelos takes this as a slight, he soon realises that the Chapter Master knows the larger picture, and ultimately looks to do his best in his role in order to be allowed his pilgrimage.

They are quickly taught that what life they had before is irrelevant. They are all now part of the Imperial Fists Space Marines, and as such, should harbour no grudge against their brother.

* * *

Multiple lead characters in a single novel can sometimes be a daunting and difficult task to pull off correctly. All too often, this leads to the characters becoming diluted over time, as the writer spends less time fleshing out the one or two main people and more time trying to make the storyline cross over enough with each character to make sure they all fit in.

Chris Roberson has overcome this with extreme grace. Causing the characters to share a common theme, even through the relatively obvious Imperial Fists link, makes the entire novel revolve not around the individual characters per se, but more on the situations that arise which they are then cast into.

What comes out the other side is a masterfully crafted story encompassing lead and supporting characters, causing the reader to feel a mix of emotions as they strain to take the side of one or more of the Scouts in question, but also feel the respite and wisdom from the people who are supporting the main characters to make them understand their role in the Imperial Fists Space Marines.

It is through this method that Chris Roberson takes the reader on a journey through the minds and thoughts of the initiates and shows in clever detail and well thought out situations, how each of the recruits deals with their new lives.

* * *

During this time, they are sent on various minor missions, each time coming back with a stronger sense of caring for their brothers, but their previous oaths to their long-passed countries back on their home planet are not easily forgotten, and they struggle constantly to hold themselves in check.

Their first major mission to the planet of Vernalis, in the hands of a Chaos incursion, leads them to feel the strongest bond yet, and possibly consider the fact that they may not get the chance to fulfil their long lost promises of vengeance.

Sons of Dorn takes the reader into a very high level of detail with regards to Space Marine recruiting and introduction, something that is rarely seen in novels of Warhammer 40,000.

The fight on Vernalis is the key turning point in the battle of each recruit. Their first major insertion allows them to put aside the vast amount of trouble they have and focus on the fact that, no matter whether they like it or not, they are all brothers now, and nothing is going to change that. Their mettle is sorely tested by the Roaring Blades Traitor Guard who have held Vernalis on a knife point for some time.

Their own faiths and thoughts of vengeance must be put aside to achieve their goals, but to do this would mean a dishonour to their previous lives. So they must decide; which is more important to them? It’s a tough question, and their survival depends on their answers.

The real twist is in the answers that are given. Chris is not scared of showing the darker thoughts of a Space Marine, even from such a vaunted chapter as the Imperial Fists. It is a refreshing take on what was becoming a very stagnant subgenre of writing, and shows that despite all of their technology and augmentation, a Space Marine is at heart (or is that hearts?), still inherently human.

Showing a keen eye for his settings and a unique take on things, it is plainly clear that the author is a talented storyteller, and has eloquence that in this day and age of science-fiction writing, is all too rare. I keenly look forward to seeing more in the series, and more in general from the talented mind of Chris Roberson.

Re: REVIEW - Sons of Dorn (Chris Roberson)

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 11:16 pm
by TimmyPOW
Just finished this book. Well worth a read. It's not the best thing on my shelf but i'm sure i'll read it again before long.

Re: REVIEW - Sons of Dorn (Chris Roberson)

PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:42 am
by mattjgilbert
Does the review match your views of the book?

Re: REVIEW - Sons of Dorn (Chris Roberson)

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 2:03 pm
by TimmyPOW
Reading it again now. And I've noticed that a draft i've been getting in my house has dampened and crumpled loads of the pages. Oh well...

Re: REVIEW - Sons of Dorn (Chris Roberson)

PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:37 am
by Basilius
The review pretty much matches what I found as well, although possibly slightly more gushing in its praise, the books is definitely above average relative to BL output. I will be buying more by the author and following the series. Depending on where he goes next, this series should easily equal McNeill's smurf love-fest, if not better it.