Review: Scars, Parts III - V / Author: Chris Wraight / Publisher: Black Library / Release Date: Out Now (and every Wednesday)
Scars is a serialised novel from the Black Library. We covered the first two parts of this Horus Heresy drama a little while ago, and now that we have gotten to the approximate halfway point of the series, it’s time for another look at this tale of galactic civil war and Space Marines.
Part Three introduces the Space Wolves into the mix. Wraight is on familiar ground here, as one of his previous novels, Battle of the Fang, proved that he has a real flair for these extremely popular genetically engineered space Viking warriors, though the dialogue does sometimes make them appear to be Viking Klingons, rather than Space Wolves. The episode also sets out the political difficulties behind the ongoing conflict, and layers on the doubt as to the loyalty of the White Scars Legion, who are meant to be the stars of this series.
The next episode is pretty much more of the same; space Vikings in power armour beating up heretics on a spaceship. This is nicely spiced up with the appearance of everybody’s favourite two-faced sneaks, the Alpha Legion, and hammers home how mysterious these villains actually are. We also begin to get a real feel for the star of the show, Jaghatai Khan, the demi-god like hero, and Wraight’s fast-paced prose style gives us a strong insight into the cunning and might of a character who should be a legend.
It all sets the scene up nicely for Part Five, which focuses on the Stormseers; the mystic warriors of the White Scars who use their psychic powers for the good of the legion. It’s a welcome addition to the growing mythos that is the Horus Heresy, and slots in smoothly with the events of previous novels, explaining (at least partially) why we haven’t seen this major faction up until this point. Wraight’s characterisation is strong and the characters are interesting, if not likeable.
All of these individual chapters feel much more like a regular novel presented in parts rather than an actual serial, and at this point it’s clear that the opportunities unique to serialisation won’t be exploited within the series. The weekly requirement to stop and wait actually damages the narrative flow here; many readers will find themselves re-reading previous episodes simply to get up to speed. Overall, however, Scars continues to impress, and it is clear it will be a great addition to the Horus Heresy books when it is complete.