Author Ben Counter
Stand Alone or Series Stand Alone
Reading Time 20 days (August to September of 2012)
This review contains massive spoilers. You have been warned :)
This was a refreshing reading and one of the most interesting novels I read this year. This book contains no goodie character at all. Which is always good.
Golgoth - The main character. A barbarian of the Emerald Sword. With the help of Kron becomes a ferocious warrior that unites each tribe surrounding "the city/Capital" or "Charybdia Keep" to fight for him against Lady Charybdia.
Kron/Karmulon and later Argulon Veq - Helps Golgoth receiving a few gifts just enough to become a champion and led the armies against the Pleasure City of Charybida.
Tarn - Mercenary and one of few survivors of the invasion force. Quite interesting character. Even if he was tottaly evil (even more than Golgoth because Tarn fought for killing men and not for some misguided thing like revenge like Golgoth).
Lady Charybdia ruler of Torvendis for the Pleasure God Slaanesh
Ss'll Sh'Karr Daemon Prince of Khorne. Defeated long time ago and now released by Kron
Torvendis The World (why is it a character? You will understand later)
This tale is about Chaos. What it's Chaos and how does it work. In some ways this book resembles "Pawn of Chaos by Brian Craig.
The plot is not that simple making a couple of switchs that makes you want to read more and more. That's what happenend to me. This book is about Arguleon Veq, there's no doubt about it but the main character is Golgoth as we follow him in his quest to fight Lady Charybdia. Kron who is Arguleon Veq helps him discover hidden magic within or understanding the way of the world. As I said the tribes unite to attack the keep (tribes before at war with themselves) but failed miserable because the Keep has milions of legionaries and even 400 violators chaos space marines. The Tribes are 150.000 and don't have any kind of weapons besides bows, swords and the such. As the daemon prince is free again by Kron the tide of the battle begins to change and the Keep falls. Lady Charybdia is killed by Ss'll Sh'Karr. After the battle with the lust not yet sated or something else (it's a daemon and we must not understand their reasons) he begins to kill his previously allies. Such is the way of Khorne and Chaos for that matter. Golgoth and Tarn are the only survivors (as far as they Know) and the go to ancient citadel led by a message of Kron. Kron is trying to escape a coven of Word Bearers just to find that Kron is indeed Veq. Of course, being Veq he soon dispatchs all the Word Bearers even if tries to "free" them from Chaos claws. As Golgoth arrives at the keep he discovers a sword. A sword that was used by Veq to imprisoned The Last. The Last being... Torvandis. Here some sentences of the book that will give us some insight.
Torvendis, last of the eldar maiden worlds, wanted revenge as much as Arguleon Veq. Revenge against Chaos, wich was such a vast and all-consuming power that only the grandest of gestures could hurt it's gods. Only the loss of a symbol like Torvendis would be enough for them to notice.
It is a story of how a once-beautiful eldar maiden world was defeated by a Champion of Chaos, who then turned against the dark powers. It tells of how he woke the maiden world 's spirit, now insane, and let it destroy itself so the daemon world would be lost to chaos forever.
And thus end this story. Quite excelent. And Ben Counter stated that he probably won't return to this book because..."Sadly a sequel is unlikely since everyone in the entire plot is dead including the daemon world itself, so Torvendisʹs story has conclusively finished. But Daemon World lives on every time I have a daemon turn into something unfathomably horrible, every time the warp wreaks madness in realspace or the rules or reality break down. Veq lives on, too, as a lesson about what Chaos truly is and what it can do the the most stalwart soul"
So what was about this book that made him so great?
The writing style is fast paced and with lot of information about the world and each character. Even minor characters have their own story and Counter could give them life. As a daemon world there is no peace or forgiveness or even honour. That was interesting. Another thing that made me want to read more chaos novels was the war between the Dark Gods. Khorne is an enemy of the Imperium as he enemy of other major chaos god. But particular against Slaanesh. I found the characters that worship to Slaanesh quite good as we read about their pleasures and how they tried to work for their god. Even Death to them is a bless to Slaanesh. The ultimate pleasure. I found out the city created by Counter as belieable (in this set of course). There are also hints all about the book about Veq, Torvendis and their part on the story.
Memorable passages from the book
Unfortunally I only start writing them down later in the book...
"The gods are laughing at you. They own your body and soul, and what can you do? You can never live a normal life. You are filled with hate."-"Think about it, Word Bearer. What is Chaos? Chaos is a lie."
"They (Chaos) know how you will react in every situation.Nothing you do is your own."-"The power you have isn't power at all.You could run a milion klm and the gods would still own you.You could fight until everything in the galaxy was dead, and they would still find a war to chew you up."-"Is that power? No. That is addiction.Power is something you can use to win your own victories.But nothing you have ever done is your own."
"Daemons are afraid? "No mortal could ever understand what thoughts run through the mind of a daemon. But if Ss'll Sh'Karr could ever be capable of feeling fear, perhaps it was then, when the Blood God's chose was confronted with a foe that even he could not best." (The beast is called The Last)"...huge circular maw a thousand kilometers across."
"Arguleon Veq is probably the most badass/hero/anti-hero of the galaxy no? "Veq swatted away a score of bullets from the obliterator and caught three more with his free hand, throwing them back down to the floor of the bridge with a curse." - " The star-sword cut through the air as Veq met every bullet, sending a sparkling fan of deflected fire in every direction."
"Torvendis can never be fully mapped. The deserts change to forest, the glaciers to rivers of lava... Trying to chart it seems to make the landscape change even faster as if Torvendis takes exception to any attempt to unravel it's secrets with compass and map."
"Many sages and prophets had tried to divide the planet's history into neat slices of time, and all died insane."