I’m having a bit of a lazy Sunday, so I’ve decided to curl up with a book and maybe write a post or two about what I’ve read. I bought Legends of the Space Marines last year for something to read on the plane and I guess that it’s a good time to read it again. The first story in the book is Hell Night by Nick Kyme and I’m honestly not sure what to make of it!
I really want to like Hell Night, it shows so much promise but in the end it falls a little bit flat. The story stars the Salamanders, a Company that I know very little about. It is set on the planet Vaporis where the Imperial Guard are failing to destroy a rebel city and the story starts with a short prologue following the beleaguered Guard as they trudge through the lethal mud. They’re cold, wet, low on supplies and something is out there…
The book has compelling protagonists and antagonists and a classic plot and 90% of the story really is good, it’s just let down by a few things. Firstly, Kyme does not seem particularly good at names and a few are quite recognisable. Most aren’t a problem; in the grim, dark future, there are countless billions, so a few odd names are fine, but unfortunately at one point Kyme breaks the suspense completely when he introduces Captain Mannheim and Lieutenant Bahnhoff. I’ve been through Mannheim Bahnhof, it’s quite a big train station. On their own the names would have been fine, well, maybe not Bahnhoff, but it really does spoil the story.
The other niggle, is that the story feels rushed, there is a lot of telling rather than showing when describing the relationships between the Astartes and the climax is rather, well, anti-climatic, which is a pity.
I think that in a different context, with other stories from the same series, Hell Night would have worked better. Alternatively the story needed to be longer, so that relationships between the characters are shown rather than explained and the suspense can be dragged out.
Kyme has written a series of novels about the Salamanders and I’m torn about whether I want to read them or not. On one hand, Hell Night shows so much potential, but on the other hand, if the niggles with this story exist in the novels, I could become frustrated very easily.