mandag 23. februar 2009

On Eisenhorn.

Another book that took a while to finish, about a year pretty much - using reciets as a bookmark really is handy. The book is actually an omnibus of the books called Xenos, Malleus and Hereticus - written by Dan Abnett. It is set in the Warhammer 40 000 universe, if you haven't heard about it it's a dark science-fantasy (science-fiction just isnt appropiate a term for the place, really) world, where humanity is at odds with just about everything after having conquered the stars, from themselves to demons and aliens. Being based on a wargame, most of the books written for the setting is often action packed "brainless" books, this one kinda breaks up that whole routine however.

Eisenhorn is about the inquisitor of that name, and his duties of office rooting out heresies wherever they may roam and whatever they may be. It's more of a horror/crime novel than a militaristic thing, though of course it has it's gunfights, starship battles and whatnot. And of course all the paranormal stuff you'd expect having a book with an inquisitor in a fantasy universe.

I really loved the book - even if I got stuck in the middle of book 2 at some point, and it took nearly a year to start on it again. What makes it fantastic is the mix of character development and how well the bits about travelling around in the universe is handled, places and ideas are well handled, and even though the mortality rates of Eisenhorn's friends and associates is absurdly high, you always feel you end up knowing the other characters and having an opinion on them (not to mention Eisenhorn having loads of depths for such a book), mostly thanks to how Abnett has used the first person view on everything EXTREMLY well. It also takes up a lot of themes, like "price of victory" "ends justifies the means" "death vs damnation" that is done to death 3 decades ago in the genre, and does it very well.

My only real gripe with the book was part 2 (or the book Malleus if you like), normally I am sucker for the second book in trilogies, where authors tends to start being mean to characters, twists start happening and so on. But Malleus ended up feeling like one big wait for part 3 - stuff you should have started noticing in part 2 just wasn't there, and showed up in part 3 instead. It's like the normal part 2 cliffhanger ending wasn't enough, so all that was kinda cheap for me. But oh well.

It was well written for such a book, though of course the themes and writing wasn't as arty as Heart of Darkness for example, being an entertainment book it was pretty much spot on.

Rated: 9/10

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