Mini Book Review: Pariah
Let me just say this upfront. If you like Dan Abnett, you should buy Pariah. If you liked the Eisenhorn and Ravenor story arcs, you should definitely read this book. If you are not a fan of Mr. Abnett, or if you are new to the Black Library 40k universe, this is not the book (or review) for you.
Newcomers, please first read Eisenhorn and Ravenor. Abnett haters, I respect your right to an opinion; please don't read this...it will not change your view.
...OK, are they gone? Alright let's get this review going. [read on...]
Back in April of 2011, I arrived fairly early at the main ballroom on the second day of Adepticon. I was just browsing the vendor area when I happened to spot Dan Abnett and Nathan Long hanging out at the Black Library table with no one around them. I had a very nice conversation with both of them, but the most significant thing I learned a that time was that Abnett was working on the third story arc of his Inquisitor series. At the time, he was going to call it "Bequin", and it certainly may end up being the name of the collected omnibus.
So here we are, and the first of the three books is out. Almost any reference to it's plot will be a spoiler so I'm going to write in generalities and themes.
This work is classic "good" Abnett: loads of descriptive prose about attire and surroundings, a real command of the 40k environment, combinations of detailed minutiae and broad themes in the same paragraph, and multiple intricate plots that wind together in dizzying detail.
BUT this is definitely not a freestanding story. It's a massively long introduction to wherever Abnett decides to take this tale. SMALL SPOILER: While there are chaos space marines, Cognitae, both Inquisitorial warbands and a daemonhost, the plot seems barely inch forward from cover to cover. But this is not, in my view a bad thing. There's still plenty of dynamics, and the introductory feel of this book allows the luxury of character developtment, which is sorely lacking in the Black Library portfolio. It's valuable moreso because the Alizebeth Bequin in this book is not exactly the one in the other arcs. I don't really consider that a spoiler because it becomes evident very early on that the timeline doesn't match considering her age in this book.
So here's my advice concerning Pariah: If you are a fanboy of Abnett's writing style, get this book now. It's classic D.A. But as a guy who picked up Ravenor and Eisenhorn as omnibuses, reading Pariah was incredibly frustrating. The closer I got to the end, more more it dawned on me that it was going to end in a cliffhanger, which would have been fine if I could have just ordered the next installment on Amazon. But will it be a year from now that we find out what happens next? Two years? Arrrgh.
Final opinion: Excellent introduction to this story arc. Please hurry with the next one!