The Warmaster by Dan Abnett

I’ve just finished The Warmaster by Dan Abnett and wow! What a book! I loved how Abnett put this together and how it was tied into Salvations Reach (of which I’m glad I listened to immediately before embarking on The Warmaster). I’d guess there’s a lot more connections in the books that have lead up to The Warmaster, but it’s been a few years since I’ve read them. (I’m really hoping they come up on Audible because I really want to read them again, and listening is quicker for me as I can listen while at work).

The Warmaster picks up for Gaunt and his Ghosts right after their mission to Salvations Reach, but all is not right with their return.

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Such a beautiful edition.

Now, I am a huge fan of this series of books, this being the fourteenth, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating this one since I first heard about it a little while ago. There was a gap of time between Salvations Reach and The Warmaster, but it was worth the wait. Dan Abnett really turns things up to eleven in this book. He pushes characters into places that I wasn’t expecting, but that said I wasn’t really sure what to expect. With the Gaunt’s Ghosts books it feels like each book goes in somewhat of a different direction. This one is no different. A lot of the events in this book I didn’t see coming or where they were going to go.  A lot of the characters had their lives turned upside down and Abnett wasn’t scared to kill any of his characters. That is something I learnt a long time ago about Abnett with this series. He is not afraid to kill the most beloved of characters, often in brutal and unfair ways. Even in war where people die for what can be the most silly of reasons, some of the deaths in these books have been a huge kick in the gut. Even when a character doesn’t die, but they are pushed into something harsh and tough to stomach it feels the same as when a loved character dies.

That is one of Abnett’s biggest strengths I think. He can write these stories with a huge cast of characters and you either love or hate them, with the odd middle of the road character in between. You get their motivations, you get their mentalities. It all works very well.

This book really opened up a whole can of hell yeah! And it puts so much out on the table for future novels that has left me bouncing and determined to re-read the previous books again in the new year.

There are many reasons why Dan Abnett is one of my favourite writers, the Gaunt’s Ghosts series is one of them. Beautifully written, to the point where you’re almost there when the las-bolts are flying.

***Very Minor Spoilers Below image***

***(Very Minor) Spoilers***

If you’ve read these books you’ll know there have been three characters that have left over the years that had nothing to do with dying, although one did eventually die if I remember right, but the two that always sits in my mind when I’m reading these books are Brin Milo and a scout called Mkvenner (I can’t for the life of me remember his first name). Both these characters went off for different reasons. For Milo, he went with Saint Sabbat, and I’ve heard rumours that Abnett has always intended Milo and the Ghosts to get back to each other at some point. With The Warmaster, the Saint is on the same planet as Gaunt and his Ghosts. When I found this out I was waiting for them to come together, but it didn’t happen. I really hope Abnett does so in the next book, because aside from the return of Mkvenner, that is one of the moments in this series of novels that I am eagerly waiting for.

I think Dan Abnett is setting up to bring this series to a close, to a point where the Sabbat Worlds Crusade is either won or lost.

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Flash Post:Reading

Something that I need to improve on is reading. I’ve not read anywhere near as much in the past couple of years as I should have done.

I’m naturally a slow reader and someone who is easily distracted, but that shouldn’t stop me getting me head down and getting stuck in a bit better.

I’ve got some pretty awesome indie and smaller press writers in my Kindle library and I really want to get some more of their work read, but I also want to work through some of the classics and more bigger press writers. I’m tempted to read one indie/smaller press book and then one classic/bigger press book, and see how that works out. One thing I think I will do is have two or three books lined up so that when I’ve finished the one I’m reading I’m not going to spend three days decided what to read next.

I’ve also got an Audible subscription and that’s been great this last year, and will be for this coming year. 

Reading Struggles

These last few months I’ve really struggled to read fiction, and even listen to it. At first I was worried it was because I wasn’t enjoying what was reading but when I’ve been I that position before I was stil listening to the various podcasts that I do. I’m not even doing that at the moment. I’m not intending to audiobooks much either, and I’ve got a good half a dozen audiobooks in my Audible library, books I want to get stuck into but the urge just isn’t there at the moment.

This has unfortunately coincided with reading an Advanced Review Copy (ARC), thankfully the author is a good bloke and has been very understanding. I’ve finished the book now but I felt bad that it took me so one together the book read and it’s really struck home that something’s not right at the moment. Normally when I get a ARC -which isn’t often- I try and knock it out in a couple of days. 

I am wondering if it’s tied into the fact that I was struggling with Project Apollo and I was losing a of of enthusiasm for writing and maybe that overflowed into reading/listening. Especially since now that I’m enjoying writing and I’ve been getting the urge to read again.

These last few months have not been good for anything related to reading and writing. I’ve watched a lot of Netflix and played video games in that time. I’m telling myself that the break has done me a bit of good and it’s refreshed me,  and I hope it has. Writing is feeling natural and fun again and hopefully reading will follow suit.

The Bone Collector

I’ve seen the movie adaptation of Jeffery Deaver’s The Bone Collector at least a dozen times. It is probably in my top twenty favourite movies and it wasn’t until about six years ago that I found out it was based on a book. I learnt this after talking about books I was reading to someone I used to know through work. He recommended and leant me Deaver’s book The Empty Chair and I leant him Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs. I remember him saying that Deaver was very thorough in his research for his novels and as I read The Empty Chair it did feel like he had a in-depth knowledge of what he was writing about.

I enjoyed The Empty Chair and knew I’d have to get a hold of the other books in the series, but as time passed I just never got around to it. What with the everyday life stuff and trying to write and read other books I simply forgot about them until the other day. I was looking around Audible to see what I fancied spending my credits on and The Bone Collector jumped up from the deepest parts of my consciousness and instantly I knew it was the novel I wanted to download next. It was worth it.

The Bone Collector tells the story of a quadriplegic forensic criminalist (Lincoln Rhyme) who wants to die, and has been shutting the world off from him since the accident that made him a quadriplegic. Just as he’s found someone to help him die though the New York police come to him asking for assistance in solving a murder/kidnapping and after initial refusing their request he gives in and gets back to work. He requests the police officer who was first on the scene of the first murder to assist him, and from there the story unfolds.

There was obviously differences between the book and the movie but for the most part I could understand the reasons why the filmmakers made the changes, but I watched the film after I’d finished listening to the audiobook and found that I still enjoyed the movie. I understand that adaptations will almost never be 100% true to the source but as long as it has the same tone and outcome then I find that normally works well for me and The Bone Collector did.

I did look on Audible for the next book in the series but it, and the third one, are only available as abridged audiobooks and I’ve no interest in an audiobook if it’s abridged. So I popped onto Amazon and ordered the next two; The Coffin Dancer and The Empty Chair. I know I’ve read The Empty Chair before, but in the time since I’ve read it I’ve grown a lot as a reader so I’m keen to read it again. Despite a number of books on my To-Read list I think I’ll be fast tracking them and getting at least the 2nd book in the series read early on next year.

Audible Experience Update

I signed up for Audibles one credit (book) a month for £7.99 (I think thats the price, its about that anyway) a few months ago and I’m incredibly glad I did. So far I have downloaded nine audiobooks, and four of them have been from the one book  a month plan and the rest I’ve brought in addition to the monthly deal. Two of those were books that I’d wanted and saw that they were discounted and the most recent three have been from a special offer Audible were doing.

I am really happy with the service that Audible are giving here, and I wished I’d done it much sooner. I can easily listen to an audiobook a week while at work and come next year once my finances are settled even more then they are now then I may look into upgrading to the two audiobooks a month program.

My biggest problem with this now is which audiobook to listen to next, not a bad problem to have 😉

Audible Experience Update

I’m just about to go into my third month of Audible’s 1 Book Monthly Membership Plan and I wished I’d done this long ago. So far I’ve had two credits and I’ve brought two audiobooks in addition to those two credits.

I’m blessed that my day job means I can have my earphones in and listen to what I want. At the moment I’ve a little over halfway through listening to The Stand by Stephen King. This is a monster at almost 48 hours long. Now, as a slow reader it’ll take me weeks, maybe even months to read a book of this size but in audio I’ve gotten through half of it already. I’ve also managed to still listen to a few of the podcasts that I regularly listen to as well.

I can see me having a long and loving relationship with Audible 🙂

Trying Audible

I’ve been quite a fan of audiobooks for some time now. With me being a slow reader and having a day job where I can have earphones in all day I find audiobooks very convenient but obviously they’re more expensive then the paper and electronic versions so it’s rare I can justify spending that amount of money out on them. I have heard of an offer that Audible do where you pay a fix amount each month and you get a credit which lets you get an audiobook each month for that fixed price (here in the UK its £7.99) and it still gives me the option of buying more if I so wish. I’ve been putting off doing this because when I do listen to audiobooks and podcasts etc. its via my iPod, which died on tuesday. So I had to listen to the podcasts I listen to through my iPhone, and I actually found it easier to listen this way. So downloading the Audible app made sense.

I did all this all friday so I’m looking forward to giving it a test drive tomorrow. The first book I downloaded was Andromeda’s Choice by William C. Dietz. This is the follow up to Andromeda’s Fall which I always enjoyed but on a recent listen I really found that I appreciated it a lot more then I had done on previous listens. So this was a natural choice for my first download.

I’ve made use of the wish list on Audible’s site, I’ve already put about twenty titles on it ranging from Stephen King to a few authors I was unaware off but their books look good. I have also added books by Mark Tufo and Rhiannon Frater. I’ve listened to one book from each of these authors already and I’ve wanted to get more of their fiction consumed so as I started off with their work on audio it seems like a natural choice to continue that way. I will also get round to listening to the Game Of Thrones books on there but those are a little more long-term listening goals.

For now, I’m looking forward to getting stuck into Andromeda’s Choice 🙂