Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Review: Fireborn

The world of Sepulchre IV stands on the brink of destruction. From the stars the Red Rage decends, intent on murder and massacre. Into the fray are thrust the Firedrakes, peerless champions of the Salamanders. Their mission: retrieve the 'holy relic' of Sepulchre and prevent it falling to the enemy. Tsu'gan, latest recruit to the vaunted order, must learn to temper his inner anger if he is to succeed in the First Company.

Facing an indestructible foe, the Firedrakes will be tested as never before. Victory is possible against the Red Rage, but only if Tsu'gan can master his wrath and even then the sacrifice will be great ...

I just finished listening to Fireborn for the 5th time because I am too lazy to change the CD. Fireborn is an offshoot story from the Salamander books by Nick Kyme. This time we are following Tsu'gan as he takes up the mantle of a first company Terminator. The story is your standard fare with gory battles and paper thin characters that you expect. The final ending is more of a diversion and caps the story off but still feels a little stunted. Like the were pushing hard to get the story done before they ran out of audio space.

What makes this a decent buy is the production value, if you are not an audio book person. This is not an audio book it is a 1930's radio drama with all the over the top voices, sound effects and transitions that set the mood and pace of the story. From the footsteps on the cold marble floors of the Sisters bastion to the roaring sounds of battle and the grinding of the tank treads on the Rhinos it is all there and extremely well done. You get a chance to put voices to the words and get a taste of what the Salamanders are hearing over their com channels. This is a great intro for anyone new to the grim dark world of 40k. There were a few times where twist and turns when thrown at you and punctuated with just the right sound or in a couple of places silence to drive the meaning home. The sounds really bring a fairly weak story to life.

The only issue I have with it really is if you are an audio book person skip it. I love audio books and wish the Black Library would team up with Audible so some their stuff could be accessible. So what is the difference between this and most other audio books, the words. Having the sounds and voices is a bit of a crutch and hides allot of the wordplay and detail that their books are known for. Hearing the voices of the troops muffled by scratch voxcasters or echoed from speakers pulls the attention from what they are saying and really makes it secondary. There were several times where it also pulls back the impact of some of the statements and setups because the sounds hide any foreshadowing.

So what does all this leave me with as a rating. I have a split on this one. Looking at it as a radio play I give it a 4+. The story is a little predictable really predictable. The characters have very little depth and the overall outcome is to a little Disney/pop corn movie for my taste with final resolution coming too easily. As an audio book it is easier to rate with a solid 5+. The story is weak and rushed for what feels like no good reason. What makes it worse is I know Kyme is a better writer than this. It just felt like they forced him to write this one. There was nothing here that needed to be set as part of the Salamander books.

Black Library, call the guys at Audible and give use a real audio book. It is not like you don't have an audience for the material. I already own all the books from the Horus Heresy series and would gladly repurchase them as audio books if you offered them.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails