Saturday, March 06, 2010

Rynn's World Review

Review of Rynn’s World

Let me preface my review of Rynn’s World by saying a little bit about my background with 40K and my motivations for picking this book up.  First is the fact that I am only casually familiar with the background ‘fluff’ of the Warhammer 40,000 universe.  Second is the fact that I picked up the book as much to enhance my knowledge of Space Marines in preparation for possibly running games of Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader (and now Deathwatch) as I did for just the pleasure of reading the book.  Last is the fact that this is only the third Black Library book that I have read.

Before I get into the actual contents, I want to comment on the format of Rynn’s World.  I assume this is something of a new direction for Black Library and I like it.  The book is an oversized paperback with large font and two pages of color maps in the center.  The large font is especially easy on my aging eyes.  Its size makes the book easy to keep open and read, while still making it small enough to stow in my backpack for the train ride to and from work.

If you are like me and are unfamiliar with the history of the Crimson Fists chapter of the Space Marines, they apparently have a long association with the Warhammer 40,000 game and its fictional universe.  Crimson Fists are even pictured on the cover of the game’s very first edition.  Unfortunately, assuming the reader is intimately familiar with this history did spoil one of the book’s pivotal events for me by revealing it in the overview blurb on the book's very first page!

The book's plot is a classic battle against hopeless odds.  The shattered remnants of the Crimson Fists chapter of the Space Marines attempts to hold out against an overwhelming invasion force of Orks until help can arrive.  One group defends the planet's fortified capital city.  The other group, led by Chapter Master Kantor and feisty, independent Captain Cortez,  attempt to make their way across hundreds of miles of ork-infested terrain and link up with their comrades.

I didn’t go into Rynn’s World with the expectation that I would be reading great literature, but I was still pleasantly surprised with the overall quality of the writing and story.  This is a fairly clichéd pulpy, action story with lots of big guns and explosions, but it is a darn enjoyable and well-written one.  The author does an outstanding job of both humanizing the Space Marines and providing them with individual personalities and motivations.  I actually cared about Captain Cortez and Chapter Master Kantor.  The interplay between the two was believable and they both came across as for more than cardboard cutouts.

I enjoyed Rynn's World quite a bit.  I also feel like I learned a lot about how to portray Space Marines if I get a chance to run a 40K RPG campaign where they play a part.  If I had one complaint it would be that the final climatic battle between the Space Marines and invading Orks takes place entirely 'off camera'.  I was really anticipating the battle between Titans and Gargants and I was disappointed that it was not included.  If you are looking for a solid Space Marine action book, definitely give Rynn's World a look.

1 comment:

John said...

The 40k novels are pretty variable in quality. The Space Wolf stuff absolutely terribly written, while the Dawn of War II book had an odd stylistic quirk - the author loved paragraph-long sentences which were technically legal grammatically. Pretty much anything by Abnett is awesome (though Ravenor > Gaunt's Ghosts > Eisenhorn), and the Deathwatch and Grey Knights books were good as well.