Descent Of Angels – Mitchel Scanlon

Publish Date: October 2007
Publisher: Black Library
Pages: 416
Series: Horus Heresy Book 6
Format Read: Kindle


The planet of Caliban exists much as it has for thousands of years – the knightly orders protect the common people, fighting back the beasts that lurk in the depths of the seemingly endless forests. Young Zahariel and Nemiel aspire to join the greatest of the orders, led by the example of mighty Lion El’Jonson and his vision of a peaceful and unified world. But the coming of the Imperium brings new concerns and a new destiny for the Lion as part of the Great Crusade, and the sons of Caliban must decide if they will follow him to glory among the stars.


Continuing my buddy read with Jenn over at Eternal Bookcase we both have just finished this novel and I believe our thoughts are somewhat the same, bar a few things. Click on the link above to read her review and subscribe if you are not already a follower. I believe reading her review first will make mine a little bit more understandable as I am all over the place…

I literally just finished this novel. It has taken me the duration of our 10 day isolation to do so, taking an hour or so of per day. I honestly do not understand how this was included to be in the Horus Heresy series. Descent of Angels could have easily been a stand alone. The first part of the story had me wondering how the hell does this tie in with the other 5 books that have clearly followed on one another. Reading about people in the future that had King Arthur vibes at the start and how our main character wanted to be part of some knightly Order (read Round Table) was a bit tedious for me. Even though the Primarch Lion El’Jonson was some sort of focus, the whole book took place through the eyes of an aspiring kid that first works his ass of to become part of the Order and later to get indicted into the ranks of the Astartes?  Here the HH was completely stopped to introduce us, for those that have never heard of the Dark Angels and to focus on their history and formative years?

However out of touch this felt it was at least some form of glimpse into how things were when the people of Caliban thought  Terra was a myth and knew nothing of Primarchs and The Emperor. I cant say I ever felt invested or actually gave a shit as to what was going on. People were jealous of other’s successes pre Emperor and only gave some form of voice to it when they got inducted into the Astartes? I find it a little idiotic, but knowing a little of what is to come I understand the undertones of connivance within this story. I do not understand where the source of always keeping things in the dark or being secretive comes from, but oke, if that is what it takes to be a Dark Angel, do not count on me to root for you if you are going to keep crucial information that can Help Everyone In Battle to yourself, seriously, it’s the 41st millennium, people are literally dying for INFORMATION… Reading about certain people’s rivalry on a constant chapter to chapter, paired with how AWE inspiring THE LION was, while he did not do much for most part apart from looking menacingly for like two sentences in the shortest battle scenes ever read in a WH novel, kinda grated on me a lot.

One of the few positives of this novel I can take with me into the next book is the fact that the myth of Hercules was incorporated near the end of the book. I learned a little more of the Dark Angels’ Primarch in the minuscule glimpses one was given. “Did you know he is an excellent mimic?’ ‘The Lion? No, I didn’t know that.’ ‘He can imitate the sound of any animal on Caliban, from the hunting cry of a raptor to the mating call of a serynx. He also has a wonderful singing voice. He knows all the old songs, the folk melodies of Caliban.” Still, I cant say I am his biggest fan after this novel, even though I was eager to learn more of THE Lion…

I believe I was close to giving up around the 50% mark as I felt absolutely fuckall was happening and I was eagerly waiting for the Point to be known. Luckily it picked up some what after that and I seem to be a sucker for punishment. All ranting aside, DoA was not a bad book, I think many of my gripes might be personal and due to feeling as shitty as I am during the worldwide lockdown. I am glad I am done with this one though. I hope that I paid enough attention that will keep me clued up enough for the coming HH books.

I ended up giving DoA a 3 out of 5 on GR. Yes it is low as far as my ratings go for Warhammer novels, but this one just did not grip me at all. I could be persuaded to bump it up one star if this was left out of the HH and was better introduced as a kind of origin story to the First Legion. I can not give it 5 stars unfortunately as I found errors throughout the novel, unforgivable ones at that; ‘If you ask me,’ said Nemiel, without waiting for an answer, ‘they look like insects, impossibly large insects, I’ll admit, but inserts, all the same.’ I believe I have said more than I can say regarding this novel. It was a hard read but not a bad one albeit boring at times. Why Scanlon left juicy fight scenes for the last chapter of the book and made it end so abruptly is beyond my understanding. I can recommend this to those that are followers of the Dark Angels, while I hope that I can find a better one out there that can redeem this Chapter for me, I recommend having a lot of coffee at the ready for this one unfortunately.

I hope you are all doing well.

If you missed any of my other Horus Heresy reviews, you can read them at their new HH location: Horus Heresy


19 thoughts on “Descent Of Angels – Mitchel Scanlon

  1. I realize you can’t necessarily answer this, but do other HH books take side trips down other roads instead of focusing on the Horus Heresy?

    Trust you are surviving. We haven’t shut down yet, but have moved to a day to day schedule, ie, they let us know the night before if we’re working the next day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In the case of this novel I believe if it was done so early it might certainly happen again. I do know that some books need to be done in such a way as setting up the scene for things that will be coming later. The Dark Angels go through quite some tough things later on and I am glad I got to read of their origin now, was just not expecting that the whole Heresy part was going to be put on full stop for this book to take place… I have made peace with the fact that unanswered questions will stay that way until you get to a certain book or read it somewhere in a non HH book perhaps.

      We are getting by, Milou and I went for our first stroll out of the house yesterday in the 11 days we have been self isolating. People are all still going to the park here even though it is not advised, we just needed to get out of the flat for a bit, our neighbor has been a total asshat as always with shitty loud music playing constantly and bickering with his girlfriend and just being a shitty neighbor in general. Guy has anger management issues and either forgets to take his pills or mixes it with weed or taking it with alcohol… Story of our lives… Been difficult focusing on reading as things are… I at least just finished up my review for the next Sherlock novel, scheduled for tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hope future HH books work a little better for you than this then. At least now you’re prepared for this to happen. It would have thrown me into a stamping ranting rage 😀

        Glad to hear you got out but sad to hear about bad neighbors. One of the real hazards of urban living 😦
        With everything going on, I’m surprised you’ve been able to focus as much as you have on reading. I don’t know that I could do the same in your situation. Stay sane!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Luckily being a bit crazy is our normal… I started another WH during my DoA angels read and already got to page 130 in 3 days… A lot can be said about a person’s writing style…
        Stamping rage reviews are the best reviews some times… I could not get Salty to read this with me as he is still hiding and I fear he has to self isolate where he currently is…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It was really nice reading your review and seeing that many of our thoughts align with it!
    It’ll be interesting to see if there are any books that we don’t share opinions on.
    DoA was a difficult read to get through in many ways but I’m glad we stuck at it and pulled through. Thanks for reading with me and I look forward to reading Legion with you soon.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve not been on NetGalley for a while due to the pile of books I have to read at the moment, but I shall have a look and see if anything stands out. Thanks for the heads-up.

        Liked by 1 person

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