Audio Review 89 // Pharos by Guy Haley

Back into the full-length Horus Heresy stories with what I believe is Guy Haley's first full story. He has had a lot of excellent short stories, so I am excited to see what he does with more page space.

Title: Pharos (The Horus Heresy #34)

Author: Guy Haley

Blurb: Just as Guilliman's dream of Imperium Secundus seems finally to be realized, the Night Lords launch a complete invasion of distant Sotha. Their target? The mysterious Mount Pharos…

With the noble Emperor Sanguinius ruling from Macragge, Imperium Secundus stands as a lone beacon of hope even as the Warmaster's forces continue to ravage the rest of the galaxy. Roboute Guilliman, still Master of Ultramar, has convinced his brother that Terra has fallen and that the mysterious Mount Pharos on Sotha now holds the key to mankind's future. But the Night Lords, those cruel and pitiless sons of Konrad Curze, have been watching from the shadows and make ready to launch their long-planned attack on the Pharos itself…

Long-running plot threads tie together in a new full-length Horus Heresy novel. Roboute Guilliman's new Imperium faces its first test as the Night Lords, scattered after the events of Prince of Crows, attack in force. And, of course, Curze is still around... the scene with him and Sanguinius facing one another is a Heresy fan's dream come true.

Review

This was an enjoyable read and an incredible full-length Guy Haley story. For my personal tastes, the story starts off slow; there is a lot of build-up and scene setting, which isn't bad, but it slowed the pace down for me. I have noticed that Haley is extremely good at character building; he can create these God-like beings that, at the same time, are flawed and relatable. The bonds of brotherhood between the main characters were almost tear-jerking!

You'll be hard-pressed not to enjoy Daniotoch and Polux. Given the thankless task of operating the Pharos, their goal is to help Guilliman keep Imperium Secundus together (no small charge). They are an improbable duo as one is an Iron Warrior and the other an Imperial Fist, meaning in fluff lore, they would be bitter rivals, but it is from this that Haley builds a friendship that pokes fun at their differences. It made them seem more believable as characters and humanized them to me, the reader. Then facing off against this is everyone's favourite bad guys, the Night Lords. We finally get introduced to some additional characters outside the primary 3 or 4 we have witnessed so far. We get the Kellen Brothers, the Painted Count and Krukesh the Pale (what epic names). These characters, for once, were given some real depth, and for the first time in the series, I felt we had moved past the idea of cold-hearted sadistic and into something more kin to gangers. Of course, they were still brutal and monstrous, but we got to experience the reasoning being it and see the justification of the action from their viewpoint.

But it wasn't all Space Marine action in this book. We also got to experience the war from the Sothan Irregulars and Sergeant Mericus's viewpoint. Though fighting in a war, they stand little chance in these characters helped to ground the story and stop it just being SM on SM action. They actually deserved more page time. I enjoy the view of the average human in a Space Marine war. It helps to remind me that not everyone is a super being.

Overall an enjoyable read. It felt good to have a full-length story again to get stuck into. Unfortunately, it seems the next title is another anthology again, so I may listen to some other audio dramas before leaping into those.

What are your thoughts on this title? Also, if you have read the series, what are your views on the many short stories collected during this period?

As always, thanks for listening.


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