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 BL: Review of "Midnight on the Street of Knives"

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Xelkireth
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PostSubject: BL: Review of "Midnight on the Street of Knives"   Sat May 21, 2011 4:30 pm

Midnight on the Street of Knives was an interesting and quick read. Midnight is a short story written by Andy Chambers. Available for digital download only, the story is 18 pages long. One of my favorite passages was on how the runaways of Commorragh were hunted down. (Interesting to note personally, I need to fix my IX article.) Also, the detail in which Andy Chambers went into detail about the constant state of chaos that the city lived in reminded me much of the parallelisms between Commorragh and Sigil. The nostalgia of Sigil and the great similarities between the two cities made me once again marvel at the capricious nature of the Dark City.

Midnight on the Street of Knives firstly provides a portrait-esque view of Commorragh. Chambers illuminates different wards with in the Dark City provided more than a few scenic glimpses of the areas in between the better known districts. Chambers presents Commorragh in a definitive manner as if one was reading the tourism guide of Commorragh. The sense of dark horror is reinforced as the main character, Xagor transverses the streets of the Dark City and eventually gets caught up in a Hunt.

The insights in the Haemonculus’ viewpoints and standings were Grade A. Not every Haemonculus is revered as Urien Rakarth. In fact, it seems that most of them are viewed as common torturers lacking any real skill, yet those with promise have a “calling”, as if they are truly inspired or ambassadors of pain (I got to reference Kataklysm ^.^). Without wanting to provide too many spoilers, the insight on how Taloi worked was amazing. It was something I always pondered and was glad to see I was close.

Now, for the criticisms…

Chamber’s work reinforced the Dark Elf/Drow feeling of the Dark Eldar. Instead of creating something different or unique, it was if he Chambers took detailed notes from the Dark Elf Trilogy by Salvatore. While not surprised due to the parallelisms between Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40k, I was still left disappointed with the lack of creativity. Nevertheless, being a fan of dark elves, I was pleased at the same time of being disappointed.

There was a brief section in the beginning in which the following scene is set-up: A dark avenue with shops and stalls selling various knives. Incubi are patrolling the streets at the request of the district's Archon. End scene. What? Incubi as common police patrolling the street of some mad Archon? How would one of the most sought after mercenaries groups in Commorragh be in the position of lowly rent-a-cops? Maybe I’m wrong, but nothing about the Codex entry alludes to these master duelists being content patrolling an avenue.

All in all, Midnight on the Street of Knives was worth the $3 alone for further insight to on goings of Commorragh. The picture perfect descriptions of the small sections of Commorragh Xagor traveled through further increase the value. I three dollars and about thirty minutes of your time for an awesome look into Commorragh and Kabalite intrigue and Haemonculus cunning? You're damn right it is.
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Aroshamash
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PostSubject: Re: BL: Review of "Midnight on the Street of Knives"   Sun May 22, 2011 2:20 am

Where do we get this from? I haven't heard about/of it before.
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PostSubject: Re: BL: Review of "Midnight on the Street of Knives"   Sun May 22, 2011 3:39 am

@Aroshamash wrote:
Where do we get this from? I haven't heard about/of it before.
Its available as a eBook download from the Black Library website > Midnight on the Street of Knives priced at £1.50/$2.99 (Its a steal!)
The book has only been released recently, but you may wish to sign up to their news letter to keep up to date with new releases.
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Xelkireth
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PostSubject: Re: BL: Review of "Midnight on the Street of Knives"   Sun May 22, 2011 4:24 am

Ariensis wrote:
@Aroshamash wrote:
Where do we get this from? I haven't heard about/of it before.
Its available as a eBook download from the Black Library website > Midnight on the Street of Knives priced at £1.50/$2.99 (Its a steal!)
The book has only been released recently, but you may wish to sign up to their news letter to keep up to date with new releases.

I concur. And after some thought. I may give Fire Drake a shot. But if it's all fanboy style.... I'm gonna break your legs. Razz
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Haunter!
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PostSubject: Re: BL: Review of "Midnight on the Street of Knives"   Sun May 22, 2011 5:09 am

While reading it I actually had trouble discerning whether or not this was using the newer or older codex's fluff. The role of the Incubi and the Mandrakes made it seem like it was inspired by the older one. I keep thinking back to the line about the Mandrakes being so bold as to hunt during the Kabal's exercise. I remember thinking, 'Wait... Mandrakes can take passage through any shadow so what danger would they really be in anywhere?' The mention of shadow skin also made me think of the old codex.

By no means is the story bad, I enjoyed it quite a bit, I am just of the mind that it was written from the older fluff instead of the revamped stuff.
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PostSubject: Re: BL: Review of "Midnight on the Street of Knives"   Sun May 22, 2011 5:43 am

Xelkireth, thanks for taking the time, writing a review on this book. I finished it yesterday morning myself and was looking forward to viewing someone else's opinion. I must say that your review sums up the entire book very well.

The Dark City itself is described wonderfully, often I kept getting the image of Commorragh being a little like Venice (With the canals and architecture) As you mentioned and I agree, Andy kept a strong feeling of apprehension and horror going throughout the book, which is very fitting to how dangerous the place is.

I felt that too many denizens of Commorragh were attempted to be crammed into such a short story e.g., Incubi, Warriors, Trueborn, Talos, Hellions, Mandrakes, Raider, Haemonculi, but not one of them was described badly because of this (far from it, in fact their descriptions were a real treat, as you've already mentioned regarding the Haemonculi), but it is a possible explanation to why the Incubi were put in their role. (just for the sake of mentioning them) If I continue, then I'm just going to be repeating your sentiments or start giving too much away so ill wrap up, by agreeing again that the Talos description is a real treat! Without a doubt I can also whole heartily recommend the book, to anyone with an interest in the Dark City, not only does Andy bring the city to life, but the story is well written and the cliffhanger at the end left me begging for more!

P.S. A minor point; I loved discovering the name of the poison used on blades (Faerun), it will come into great use if/when I get round to writing some fiction!

@Xelkireth wrote:
I concur. And after some thought. I may give Fire Drake a shot. But if it's all fanboy style.... I'm gonna break your legs. Razz

Lol! I'm sure that both sides are represented well in the battle and I'd hope give us another insight into the Dark City, although I'm sure it will have a slight Astartes bias, as no one wants to read about their favourite army being thrashed!

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Todo13
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PostSubject: Re: BL: Review of "Midnight on the Street of Knives"   Sun May 22, 2011 8:14 am

Ariensis wrote:


@Xelkireth wrote:
I concur. And after some thought. I may give Fire Drake a shot. But if it's all fanboy style.... I'm gonna break your legs. Razz

Lol! I'm sure that both sides are represented well in the battle and I'd hope give us another insight into the Dark City, although I'm sure it will have a slight Astartes bias, as no one wants to read about their favourite army being thrashed!


Wait, who doesn't want to read about the astartes getting thrashed?
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PostSubject: Re: BL: Review of "Midnight on the Street of Knives"   Sun May 22, 2011 8:44 am

@Todo13 wrote:
Wait, who doesn't want to read about the astartes getting thrashed?

People who buy, the book because they are fans of the space marines or more specifically the Salamanders. What I meant was that I doubt that the author is going to make them get completely thrashed by the Dark Eldar because of that fact, as he won't want them to get "shown up" thus upsetting the fans.

I was a little confused as to how to answer because I wasn't sure if it was serious or sarcasm... scratch
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Xelkireth
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PostSubject: Re: BL: Review of "Midnight on the Street of Knives"   Sun May 22, 2011 5:12 pm

@Haunter! wrote:
While reading it I actually had trouble discerning whether or not this was using the newer or older codex's fluff. The role of the Incubi and the Mandrakes made it seem like it was inspired by the older one. I keep thinking back to the line about the Mandrakes being so bold as to hunt during the Kabal's exercise. I remember thinking, 'Wait... Mandrakes can take passage through any shadow so what danger would they really be in anywhere?' The mention of shadow skin also made me think of the old codex.
I don't think it was old Codex background that Midnight was based on. With the Hellions, Hunt and where in particular it was taking place, is all new codex. You gotta remember how vacant the the 3rd Edition codex was in the way off fluff. The way the mandrakes materialized out of the shadows and maintained their shadow-essence in combat is completely current edition, imo.

Ariensis wrote:
I felt that too many denizens of Commorragh were attempted to be crammed into such a short story e.g., Incubi, Warriors, Trueborn, Talos, Hellions, Mandrakes, Raider, Haemonculi, but not one of them was described badly because of this (far from it, in fact their descriptions were a real treat, as you've already mentioned regarding the Haemonculi), but it is a possible explanation to why the Incubi were put in their role. (just for the sake of mentioning them)
That makes a lot of sense. I thought it was crowded but couldn't put a finger on why. Marketing gimmicks. Gotta love it.

Ariensis wrote:
A minor point; I loved discovering the name of the poison used on blades (Faerun), it will come into great use if/when I get round to writing some fiction!
I agree! Though, the first time I read the poison name, I thought of Faerun.
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Aroshamash
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PostSubject: Re: BL: Review of "Midnight on the Street of Knives"   Sun May 22, 2011 11:34 pm

Ariensis wrote:

People who buy, the book because they are fans of the space marines or more specifically the Salamanders. What I meant was that I doubt that the author is going to make them get completely thrashed by the Dark Eldar because of that fact, as he won't want them to get "shown up" thus upsetting the fans.

I was a little confused as to how to answer because I wasn't sure if it was serious or sarcasm... scratch

And yet I'm a massive Night Lords fan, yet I love the Soul Hunter series because it doesn't play favours with the main characters, as do many, many others. A book is far, far better if it portrays the characters realistically, rather than Deus Ex Machina-ing or Mary Sue-ing them to every victory.
Yes, seeing my faction win is awesome, but it's not fun when they win with no effort on their part. The Soul Hunter series is good because they have to bleed for their victories. They win, (or even basically lose in the first book, as the case may be), but it's an earned victory (or survival).

Really, I hope every book gets the same writing style. I don't want books of Draigo, composed entirely of "And then he went here, and killed everything without taking a scratch. Then he went to this other place, and got his armour nicked, so he killed them even harder." I know BL doesn't exactly have a stellar track record, but I can dream.
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Xelkireth
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PostSubject: Re: BL: Review of "Midnight on the Street of Knives"   Sun May 22, 2011 11:40 pm

@Aroshamash wrote:
And yet I'm a massive Night Lords fan, yet I love the Soul Hunter series because it doesn't play favours with the main characters, as do many, many others. A book is far, far better if it portrays the characters realistically, rather than Deus Ex Machina-ing or Mary Sue-ing them to every victory.
Yes, seeing my faction win is awesome, but it's not fun when they win with no effort on their part. The Soul Hunter series is good because they have to bleed for their victories. They win, (or even basically lose in the first book, as the case may be), but it's an earned victory (or survival).

Really, I hope every book gets the same writing style. I don't want books of Draigo, composed entirely of "And then he went here, and killed everything without taking a scratch. Then he went to this other place, and got his armour nicked, so he killed them even harder." I know BL doesn't exactly have a stellar track record, but I can dream.
Don't confuse Aaron Dembski-Bowden's awesomeness with the rest of Black Library. Yes, there are good authors, but not nearly as good as A D-B, McNeil, Thorpe or Abnett.
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PostSubject: Re: BL: Review of "Midnight on the Street of Knives"   Tue May 24, 2011 8:25 am

Hey, I did say BL doesn't have an amazing track record. I read Battle for the Abyss, unfortunately (well, most of it. It's one of the rare books I've actually not been able to finish), so I have first-hand experience in that matter...

Having finally read Midnight though, I have to agree with the comments that it seems a little too Dark Elf-ish, rather than Dark Eldar. I don't know why, but it really just seemed I could have been reading a passage out of Malus Darkblade, for the most part. Just replace the Talos with a Hydra, and the Hellions for Harpies, and it works perfectly.
I didn't really like the description of the Talos either. He made it sound almost exactly like the previous Talos, and for some reason had it that the latest person to be killed by the Talos controls it? At least, that's the impression I got from it. Talos are supposed to be floating refineries. Yes, they have a being at the centre of it, but the latest victim doesn't control it, the latest victim has been rendered down into its component chemicles, and is currently in several different vials.
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PostSubject: Re: BL: Review of "Midnight on the Street of Knives"   Sat May 28, 2011 6:17 pm

It didn't state that the last victim controlls it, but that it has a captive inside it controlling it and has to occasionally replace it after the old one expires. It doesn't really match up the new Talos model tho, which instead of being a machine with some poor soul strapped onto it like the old one, is a heavily altered humanoid being with mechanical parts attached.

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PostSubject: Re: BL: Review of "Midnight on the Street of Knives"   Sun May 29, 2011 6:39 am

Ok, looking back over it, I misinterpreted what it said. However, it's kinda annoying that he kept the previous version of the Talos, rather than the newer (and in my opinion, better) one.
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