‘Book Club’: Horus Rising Ch. 4-5: Poker, Pretentious promotion, Death

Welcome back to Hatchet’s Summer Book Club where we are reading ‘Horus Rising’ by Dan Abnett.  You can check out the previous installment here where I introduce the book and discuss chapters 1-3.  I’m a little behind in my writing this week (there was no post on Tuesday) and I’ve only managed to read two chapters.  However my notes this week contain the exact number of words as the previous post. XP

Part One: The Deceived

FOUR: Summoned, Ezekyle by name, A winning hand

Here we go!  We are introduced to an iterator (a really smart person, Sindermann is one) named Memed who is a super genius teenager who is also horribly air sick.  All his vomit goes into plastek bags.  I guess plastek is some high tech plastic in this world?  It is the name of a company in NC that makes plastic, so…  Sadie, Memed, and some bodyguards land on ‘Terra’ except its not Terra.  This planet will now be known as 63-19.  Sadie’s role as a remembrancer (the whole reason she is on this planet) is that of a documentarist and as such blink-clicks things.  Wait, like a camera?  I’m guessing this means she has photographic memory and Abnett thought he’d be coy about it.   Maybe her camera is called Blink Click®.  But she saves things in her memory coils?  Is she a cyborg too???  Who is this woman, Cam Jansen?  Sadie was summoned to 63-19 personally by Loken who tells her some cryptic stuff and then peaces out.  While they wait, Sadie and Memed teach their body guards how to play cards.  On a high note, Keeler is mentioned!  She continues to be an awesome character making ‘picts’ (not the ethnic group) that are wildly popular.

We then follow Loken who travels through a post-apocalyptic Longwood Gardens to a place for his promotion.  Here is written the best/worst line of the book so far.  “Loken felt no fear.  He was not built to feel it, but he registered a trepidation, an anticipation that made his hearts beat.” (Abnett 77).  Let’s dissect this, shall we?    1.  The Astartes are engineered life forms so they don’t know what fear is.  This does not seem like a good thing on the battle field, but hey, what do I know.  2.  Loken feels no fear but he does feel trepidation.  trep-i-da-tion, n a feeling of fear or agitation about something that may happen.  Key phrase, a feeling of fear.  Something tells me Abnett doesn’t know what trepidation means.  3.  Uh, Loken has multiple hearts, so that’s a thing.  Let’s just add that to the list of strange features the Astartes have.  Moving on.  Loken runs into 3 of his superior officers/higher ranking robot men who are there to promote him.  There is this huge pretentious and traditional ceremony to induct Loken into a group of Elite 4 that the commander HORUS has.  HORUS isn’t there but Horus is.  This covers pretty much the rest of the chapter.  On the plus side Loken can now refer to Ezekyle, Horus, and Tarik by those names since they are no longer bound by the chain of command.  They also tell him to follow his instincts which I find amusing since all of them are engineered life forms who feel no fear.  What use are instincts to them?  Bah, anyway.  Loken gets promoted.  Good for him.

We return to Sadie, Memed and the body guards to check in on their card game.  Memed teaches them an old game that Sadie wins somehow.  The End.

FIVE: Peeter Egon Momus, Lectitio Divinitatus, Malcontent

Chapter 5 focuses entirely on Ig.  Ig is attending some sort of presentation given by Peeter Egon Momus, an architect, who must be wildly important as his full name is repeated much to often.  PEM is talking about how the conquered city will be rebuilt as a shining beacon of Truth-Light to a crowd of discontented locals and bored remembrancers.  Ig gets creeped out by a Titan and decides to leave because this is super boring.  A soldier stops him because there are insurgents and it could be dangerous.  Luckily for Ig (and us) an old lady faints and he makes his escape.

Ig explores the city, promptly getting lost and loving it.  There is rubble everywhere and a lot of graffiti expressing anger at the Imperium and lists of the dead.  Ig feels his muse return (apparently he had been missing it?) and proceeds to take notes on what he sees.  He uses pen and paper which I’m surprised still exist in this age of plastek and hololithic  junk.  We are subjected to great detail of Ig’s notebooks which sound very similar to moleskin.  He also uses fountain pens.  Do people even use those now?  In 2016?  Cause I’d like to know how fountain pens survived to the 31st millennia.  During his exploring Ig finds a tavern of sorts and attempts to be a patron.  The locals are unresponsive and sullen and Ig acts like an idiot tourist.  He does however manage to get some liquor and proceeds to get drunk out of his mind.  This will end well.  He muses over the difference between these isolated humans and the humans in the Imperium and decides that the Imperium humans are better and these locals are basically monkeys.

Ig writes some poetry, moves around, writes some more until he finds a temple.  He decides that the difference between him and the locals is that they have religion and are heathens, therefore they are stupid.  The Imperium has no religion (they’re like atheists i guess?) but some of the people want to worship the emperor.  He is essentially immortal so it makes sense that people would feel this way, but he apparently likes to remind the public that he is human, just like they are.  I’d like to know  why he is immortal then.  After he’s done disrespecting the temple, Ig runs into some soldiers who are cleaning off the graffiti.  This upsets Ig so much he reads his poetry, hates it, goes back to the tavern and drinks some more.  The soldiers end up at the tavern as well and the captain is concerned for Ig’s well being.  Ig is not grateful and rambles drunkenly about how the city was pretty great before they bombed the heck out of it and then bad mouths the Imperium.  The soldiers get so furious they kill Ig.  Seriously, that’s what happens.  When the soldier at PEM’s appearance wouldn’t let Ig leave I assumed someone would be killed by a local but no, it’s the Imperium.  This is the first major character death too.

I’m honestly a little disappointed in the story so far, it’s a slow start with a lot of pre-existing lore (I’m assuming) and the writing is just weird.  That part is at least entertaining (while simultaneously stressful) but I’m a little worried that the book will loose its novelty.

Looks like there is going to be some controversy.  I’m sure Loken will get involved.  Hopefully Keeler too.   I miss her.  Also, hopefully I can read three chapters this week as well!

This has been According to Hatchet, thanks for being here!  Tune back in next Tuesday for a review of Blurryface and then again on Saturday for the next three chapters of Horus Rising.

[Sources/Links: https://mmhatchet.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/cb332-galactica2bthe2blost2bwarrior.jpg ]

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