Monday, 12 April 2010

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Flesh and Iron - Henry Zou


There are reports of an uprising on the planet of Solo-Baston. Indigenous forces are rebelling against Imperial rule, led by the mysterious 'Dos Pares'. Amidst the conflict, the 31st Riverine Imperial Guard are dispatched to seek and destroy a vital piece of weaponry, but find themselves beset on all sides by hostile forces. And what they originally thought was simple tribal warfare soon reveals a much more sinister activity. Henry Zou's latest novel serves as a prequel to Emperor's Mercy and delivers non-stop action and mystery in the grim world of Warhammer 40,000.


Whilst trying to avoid some of the controversy surrounding the novel I decided to hang fire on the review to allow myself some time to consider the issues I had before writing the piece as sometimes impressions from the gut can be a bit wrong. Whilst the Black Library produces solid Fantasy/Sci-Fi fare at times it can be a bit samey and an author is allowed to be what feels lazy in the creation of the characters, the world and above all their names. This has sadly happened with Henry’s latest offering as we have a group of “good ol boy’s” from a bayou type world with the city of Norleans. That struck me as a tad on the easy to grab side, although at times the reader will forgive these aspects as it allows the author to get on with the story.

It’s OK but its not great is perhaps the best thing I could say, Henry’s first novel seems to have had more time to set itself up, the characters polished for parade whereas the offering within this one felt that it had been a rushed job almost as if the deadline was more important than weaving a magical offering. I’ll still keep reading Henry’s work but if you want to try him, go for the original (Emperor’s Mercy) rather than this one.

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