Review: Perpetual by Dan Abnett

Posted by DarkChaplain at 12/05/2016
Escaping from ruined Calth, Oll Persson and his band of refugees are trapped on a dark, forgotten world. But the enemy draws near, and immortality may not be enough to survive...

Oll Persson stands apart from the rest of mankind. He is one of the old ones, one of the undying. One of the Perpetuals. Now, fleeing from the ruins of Calth with his band of fellow refugees, the vagaries of the warp have brought him through the backways of time and space to a city that rests on the edge of oblivion... and no further. The path has ended abruptly, and Oll's enemies are finally closing in. Will his immortality be enough to save him this time?
It is that time of the year again. Black Library has launched its Advent Calendar 2016, and I'll be picking and this year I'll be choosing notable entries from the list to review quickly. That means I'll probably skip over all the Age of Sigmar stuff by default, truth be told.
Day One had a Horus Heresy audio drama in store for us, and by Dan Abnett no less! Notable enough, I'd wager, so let's have a look.

The Story:
"Escaping from ruined Calth, Oll Persson and his band of refugees are trapped on a dark, forgotten world. But the enemy draws near, and immortality may not be enough to survive...
Oll Persson stands apart from the rest of mankind. He is one of the old ones, one of the undying. One of the Perpetuals. Now, fleeing from the ruins of Calth with his band of fellow refugees, the vagaries of the warp have brought him through the backways of time and space to a city that rests on the edge of oblivion... and no further. The path has ended abruptly, and Oll's enemies are finally closing in. Will his immortality be enough to save him this time?"

The Review:
I enjoyed Perpetual, especially for the actors' performances, but in the end it is a mere stepping stone for the Ollanius the Pious plotline.

It doesn't really feel significant on its own, and is more of an extension to the end of Know No Fear and Mark of Calth's Unmarked. There is some decent deception going on, and it is an appreciated status update on Oll and co, and gives some neat little nuggets of lore on the millennia leading up to the Great Crusade and Heresy era, but a lot of it felt a bit rehashed. The audio drama has to reiterate information on Oll's nature, his views on the Emperor, his habits and what not, which seems necessary seeing how long ago Unmarked was published, let alone Know No Fear, but takes up valuable time in the audio format, which I'd rather seen used to progress the plot more dynamically.

That being said, I enjoyed the actors, and felt they added a lot of character to the group of survivors. Penelope Rawlins did a neat job as Katt, and her role in what's to come is probably the most exciting part to me. Hearing John Grammaticus in a drama for the first time also felt neat, and if that's how he talks, I can dig that.

In the end though I am left wondering if this wasn't written years ago as a short story, like most of Abnett's more recent works for Black Library, and simply adapted for the BL's Advent 2016 in audio, now that the Horus Heresy series is closing in on the finale. As a written short story snippet it would probably hold up better, but I didn't feel like it used the audio format's strengths well enough.

Perpetual on Goodreads

About the Author

I'm known as DarkChaplain across the internet, and call myself a passionate gamer and book enthusiast. I have been blogging mostly about games for a couple of years, but finally found my way to reviewing a different medium: Books. Honestly, I prefer that job so far.
Follow Me on Twitter @TheDarkChaplain


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