Monday, 23 February 2015

Review - First and Only by Dan Abnett

Welcome to my first Book Review.  I read a lot of books and as I finish each I will be writing a short review.  Sure you can go and find some long winded reviews on other websites, but that is not the goal of the Perfect Opinion because in most cases, a Perfect Opinion can be easily explained.

I understand that the series has been around for a long time now, as this book was first published in 1999 and as an avid Warhammer 40k Fiction fan this is the first book that I have read that was specifically focused upon the Imperial Guard.  In the past I have always been a Space Marine reader and have absolutely loved most of the Horus Heresy novels. Horus Rising also written by Dan Abnett was the book that introduced me to the 40k fiction verse and ever since I've been in love.

Come inside to see what I thought of the first in the Gaunts Ghosts series, Dan Abnett's First and Only.


So, diving into my first Imperial Guard experience I wasn't sure that I'd like reading about them.  A big part of what I love about 40k is huge over the top grand nature of everything, the ultimate grim-dark technology and the powerful Astartes, Titans, Psykers and Aliens, the regular man is always around but I've always considered the "numberless" humans of the galaxy to be Cannon Fodder for the 'real' fighters.

First and Only gives a great perspective to the plight of the regular Guardsman and I can tell that I'm going to enjoy reading through the entire series - I'm reading the second book, Ghostmaker currently.  I have heard from other readers that the series gets better and better as it goes along and if this first novel is one of the weakest in the series then I am excited to continue through the series!

I really enjoyed many of the characters from this first story, and apparently it is those characters that push the many Ghost's novels along and I can't wait to see what the Gaunt and his Ghost's go through next.  Reading this book has even made me want to build a few of the main Character's as miniatures (also the sign of an enjoyed book).  It wasn't something that I couldn't put down but before bed I did end up reading for a little longer than intended each night.  Therefore my perfect opinion of this First and Only is that it is:


I can usually judge how well I enjoy a book by how quickly I smash through it and I finished First and Only over the course of two weeks - which is actually a long time for me, but I have been busy lately and have only been giving myself time to read at night. So with the amount of time I've been allowing myself to read I did actually get through this one quite quickly.

Having previously read the first two Eisenhorn Novels it was nice to see the appearance of Inquisitor Heldane. The story itself is strong because it's not just the story of good vs evil or Imperium vs Chaos but rather a complex convoluted web of politics, espionage, battles and corruption - exactly what the 40k Fiction verse is all about.

As I've said previously the characters of the Ghosts are what really bring this story to life.  It is important to like or dislike those characters appropriately.  Gaunt as the main protagonist is great, and Rawne as his subordinate nemesis is a nice little plot line and I can't wait to see what happens with Gaunt's aide, Milo.

Overall, I recommend this novel, it's not one the best I've read, but it's still worth a read if you're a fan of 40k and the Imperium.  It has also turned me into a bit of an Imperial Guard fan, the plight of the average human in a galaxy of war is not an easy one and it is good to get that perspective of life in the war torn future of Warhammer 40k. I am quite certain that I will end up painting some Guard miniatures as I continue to focus and absorb more Imperial Guard specific books.