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Brothers of the Snake

It's an extremely rare occurrence that I abandon a book part way through reading, but that is just what happened when I tried Brothers of the Snake. Of all of Black Library's authors, Dan Abnett is perhaps my favourite. The quality of his prose is generally a step-above the average, but it is the quality of the stories themselves that set him apart. Most Warhammer novels have thin plots and one dimensional characters that serve only as a sort of action sequence delivery device. In contrast to this, Abnett generally manages to write relatable characters that it is possible to care about and plots that don't feel like they've been tacked on; his books are still fight sequence heavy, but they are well written and don't dominate to the same level as those of his peers.

Unfortunately, Brothers of the Snake seems to be the exception that proves the rule. Rather than one continuos narrative, it is a collection of short stories featuring the same cast of characters. The first one was actually not too bad; an at times beautifully written piece that only resorted to action scenes at the final confrontation. It was not one of his best pieces of work, but an enjoyable enough read.

Sadly, the 2nd and 3rd chapters were exactly what I hate about Black Library novels. Two prolonged action scenes with no character development or, indeed, any trace of a plot. Instead, they consisted entirely of descriptions of genetically modified super soldiers firing guns and heroically triumphing over overwhelming (or not so overwhelming odds). Lots of repetition, lots of the sci-fi equivalent of iron thews, no dramatic tension at all, and very, very boring. A few characters died but, as they had just been introduced, and we were given no reason to care about them, it had no impact whatsoever.

Much as it pains me to admit it, I gave up and decided to read something else. I've struggled through far worse books in the past, but maybe I'm losing patience as I get older?