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Book Title: Emperor's Mercy|
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Reader ratings: 3.2
The author of the book: Henry Zou
Edition: Games Workshop
Date of issue: July 28th 2009
ISBN 13: 9781844167357
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 960 KB
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The first book in The Bastion War series, and I believe one of the first that Zou has written for The Black Library, someone correct me if I'm wrong. I always try to read at least 100 pages of a book before giving up on it, and I'm glad I did in this case because it does get better. Early within those first hundred pages it is apparent that Zou is still working out his writing style and is less experienced than the veterans of The Black Library. His characters while interesting seem forced, like he just picked a template on how they should act and forced that on everything, instead of developing them. Also, at times transitions and descriptions of hectic action can become disjointed leaving the reader slightly confused as to what the locations are really like and how they connect to the larger picture.
That being said, there are some things Zou does well that make it a worthwhile read for fans of 40K that are a little more forgiving of a writer's faults. First, the story is very interesting--a big one that makes up for the problem with the character's personalities. There are some twists and turns and while they could have been less telegraphed, are still enjoyable additions to the story. The Bastion Worlds and the locations therein are also very well thought out and interesting. While suffering from the disjointed transitions mentioned before, the action of war is still described very well. The best parts of this book were hands down the straight narrative in the macro. While Zou seems to get bogged down and intimidated by the minutia of character details and dialogue, he excels at describing histories and large movements and the overarching view of the campaign.
All in all I found that the parts and writing styles I enjoyed made up for the negatives and in the end I enjoyed the book. It's not necessary to read this one before his next in The Bastion War novels, though there are some tie ins, if you want to skip it. Flesh and Iron is the second one and while some of the problems in this book are still present, they are much less noticeable. I have yet to read Blood Gorgons (Warhammer 40,000), the third book, but it is my personal opinion that if Henry Zou continues to grow and mature in his writing, as it seems he is doing, then he will become one of the better authors in The Black Library's stable.
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