Shelfari Shelf

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Henry Zhou's Flesh and Iron

I just finished reading Henry Zhou's Flesh and Iron. While this book has been out for a bit, for some reason it kept sliding to the back burner. The novel has a Vietnam feel to it, being set in river deltas and jungle, and is a conflict between Imperial guard and insurgents. The plot is pretty simple, the insurgents have a super earthshaker weapon and are using it to destroy any Imperial advance onto the mainland. How to stop it? Why, send in a battalion of Imperial guard who specialize in swamp, jungle and river based fighting - the Riverine 31st. I didn't really like the first half of this book, it felt plodding and poorly paced. It also read like one of the early Gaunt's Ghost's novels, like First and Only or Ghostmaker. But, if you can make it past a lot of the predictable battle scenes the last chapter makes up for it, kind of. If you read Emperor's Mercy give this one a read, it'll be worth it by the last page. If you haven't read Emperor's Mercy, save this for the point when you get desperate and have a choice between something CS Goto and Flesh and Iron. Definitely choose Flesh and Iron. I might be overly harsh hear, but there was something about this one that was just hard to read, and it could be me. I know I usually feel entertained by 99% of the BL books, I just didn't this time.


  1. I for one can not stomach Mr. Zhou's writing style. Something just seems off with it... I started Emperor's Mercy as it appeared Dan Abnett recommended it, however I couldn't bear reading it and stopped close to 100 pages into it. Terribly disappointing. :(

  2. I agree, it's too much like wannabe Abnett in a style that doesn't work. I do think the Black Library just likes to throw stuff out there and see what sells. Maybe were stuck with Zhou, the Bastion Wars/Worlds novels seems to be another Sabbat Worlds Crusade series, but then again who knows. I don't troll on the BL forums enough to know.