Friday, July 15, 2011

Booknote: The Ultramarines Omnibus : 12 Books, 12 Months, Book 7

I am falling a bit behind on the challenge. It is not necessarily that I am not reading books. I have been reading a few things out of the list; I tend to read a lot by serendipity. In the case of this book,  The Ultramarines Omnibus, I spent a long time getting through it. Not because the book was bad. Far from it. It was very good, as my review will reflect. But it did take me some time to get through with it; this was basically my bedtime reading for some months. What can I say, I can be a bit of a slow reader when it comes to big volumes, but I do enjoy them. Also, this year is turning out to be a bit of a rough one, so I am getting the feeling that my end of year reading list may be a lot smaller than previous years. In the end, we persevere and move on.

On an update note, I am going to take the liberty and switch out one book out of the original list. The book in question I am switching out is Loung Ung's First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers. For one, as I said, the year is shaping to be a bit rough. Not as rough as 2008, but I feel a need to read something a bit more upbeat. I don't think Ung's book will do much for my mood at this point. Two, I recently received a copy of Killer Stuff and Tons of Money: Seeking History and Hidden Gems in Flea-Market America.Yes, I know, the topic is not as serious, but I need something light. Plus, since I won the book in a GoodReads giveaway, I do feel a bit of an obligation to read it sooner. Adding into the list will allow me to review it for sure since I am reviewing every book I read for the challenge. I will make an update note on the original post to reflect this.

And now, on with the review for this post, which I posted previously on my GoodReads page:

The Ultramarines Omnibus (Warhammer 40,000) (Ultramarines, #1-3)The Ultramarines Omnibus (Warhammer 40,000) by Graham McNeill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finally finished this big omnibus. This volume collects the first three novels chronicling the adventures and battles of Space Marine Captain Uriel Ventris and his 4th Company of the Ultramarines. This is all out escapist military science fiction but do not let that label fool you. There is some very good writing in these novels, and at least once I found myself really sympathizing with Captain Ventris. That particular instance for me came in the novel where the inquisitor lied about the fate of a certain planet that Uriel and his Space Marines struggled to save from the tyrannid invasion. There is an excellent passage where Uriel and a Space Marines admiral meditate on idealism and pragmatism that I found excellent. So the novels do have their noble moments, so to speak. And in the good tradition of Black Library WH40K novels, these novels have plenty of action and a fast pace to keep you moving along. Of the three novels in the book, I will note that the third one takes a much darker tone. I will not spoil the ending other than to say that it does set up for the next novel in the series. I liked all the novels, but I think my personal favorite for this volume was the first novel in the series. The connecting short story where Uriel inherits command of the 4th Company is a nice piece as well, and it sets the novels nicely. This is definitely good entertainment, and I will certainly continue seeking out the rest of this series.

The only reason I did not give it the 5th star is that, while I enjoyed it, I still like the Ciaphas Cain and Eisenhorn series better. Also, while I did like the darkness in the third novel (I do like some dark tones now and then), it did not seem as strong as the previous two. Still, do not let that deter you from reading this. If you are a Warhammer 40K fan, you should be reading this. If you are not a WH40K fan, but you enjoy military science fiction, I think you will enjoy this collection as well.

Finally, the only reason it took me as long to read as it did is that I had various interruptions and a very busy schedule in this time period. However, in that time, this was my go to book for my bedtime reading.

View all my reviews

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