Into the Storm review from Bell of Lost Souls

Yesterday I mentioned how I’ve got some works out there that aren’t as well known to my regular readership. Here’s a good example.

http://www.belloflostsouls.net/2014/09/review-into-storm-by-larry-correia.html

I really liked writing this book a lot, but most of my regular fans don’t know it exists. It is eBook (there’s a link down on the right) or on Audible, but no print version. I wrote it for the Warmachine game world, but I wrote it in a manner that you don’t need to be familiar with the game at all to understand it. Just think steam punk Dirty Dozen of knights armed with mad science lightning swords fighting the giant steam powered battle robots of a bunch of religious fanatics.

And the audio version, the narrator made the main character sound like Frank Sinatra, so it is totally bad ass. πŸ™‚

40 Responses

  1. I fall into the “haven’t played the game, but I’ve read the book” camp, and I do have to agree with the reviewer – you deftly avoided bogging down the story with unnecessary explanations and clarifications of the setting. (Which I feel is, as a long time gamer, a cardinal sin of such stories. I recall reading a Dark Sun novel, wherein the author spent some time describing the odd, multifaced dice the denizens if the world used for gambling… I nearly threw the book across the room in disgust at the hamfistedness of the scene.)

    • Damn you Brian. Now I have to go back and reread those just to find the scene you are talking about. It’s about time though. It’s been years.

    • I figure my readers are smart. Lightning swords go boom. Steam powered robots punch things. You’ll get the hang of it. πŸ™‚

      The most game wordly thing I get into is the different religions’ beliefs, but I did that all in character by having members of the different religions fighting as part of the story. Those scenes were actually some of my favorite parts. As for history, no need to stop for lectures. These guys have lived through the history, so it is just what it is. You don’t need to play the game to know that there was a super violent king and a coup, because the main character used to be an enforcer for him.

      For the writer, it is all about playing it smooth. πŸ™‚

      • You do a good job of it. I liked the part in the beginning of Hard Magic where Stuyvesant and Harkness meet. Both acted and spoke as they should given their situation, and context explained some of what was going on but left enough questions in my mind that I was eager to keep reading to find out the answers.

        You’d make a heck of a teacher.

  2. Just picked up the audio. It was on my wishlist, but had completely forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. I disagree with the reviewer – the word awesome was not used enough. I found the story interesting enough to seriously consider jumping from 40K over to IK. The Black Library stories are okay, but fairly predictable and ultimately very depressing. “Into The Storm” has a more lively feel to it, and I became interested enough to read other books in the IK universe (there you go again Larry, letting your excellence lead readers to other authors).

    • With the exception of Sandy Mitchell’s hilarious “Ciaphas Cain” novels – basically a transplant of Flashman to the 40K universe – I’ve pretty much given up on the Black Library’s stuff: partly for that reason, and partly because many of the BL titles seem marketed exclusively to teenage gamers already familiar with the Warhammer / W40K setting. They skimp on the world-building, which leaves non-gamers like me adrift (even despite the fact, in my case, that I dabbled in 40K while a college student).

      And yes, most of them are grimmer than George R.R. Martin with a hangover, with a side order of nihilism. (There’s a fine line between “grim” and “hopeless,” which most of the Black Library’s writers, and GRRM himself for that matter, can’t even see in their rear-view mirrors anymore.)

      Whereas with “Into the Storm” – one of the first books I ordered for my Kindle, based solely on my enjoyment of Larry’s more mainstream novels – you’re able to just dive into the story and understand what’s going on, from the moment we’re introduced to Madigan in the tavern. I think Larry did a wonderfully subtle job of establishing the setting of the Iron Kingdoms as the story unfolded, rather than simply assuming that the reader already knows all that stuff (as so many of the Black Library books do with their game universes) or resorting to clumsy, Weberesque info-dumps to bring the non-gamers up to speed. I also appreciated how he told a tale in a grimdark setting, that managed to be gritty without being GRRM nihilistic.

      • A good friend of mine highly recommends the Ciaphas Cain novels, which are from description ridiculously hilarious. What would be a good place to start for those?

      • I’d start with the two omnibus editions: “Hero of the Imperium” and “Defender of the Imperium,” which between them have the first five or six books in the series, along with some stand-alone Ciaphas Caine short stories.

        And yes, “ridiculously hilarious” is a good description of them. As I said, they’re basically “Flashman in space” (and if you haven’t read any of the Flashman novels by George Macdonald Fraser, you really ought to, like right now).

        Sandy Mitchell has a really warped sense of humor; think Joe Abercrombie with a 40K chainsword, bolter and powered armor (OK, “armour”) and you’ve got a pretty good idea of his writing style. Also, Mitchell did much the same thing with Ciaphas Cain that Larry did with Warmachine and “Into the Storm:” he wrote the stories in such a way that you don’t have to be an active 40K gamer to understand the plot and the setting. AFAIK, Mitchell hasn’t published anything outside of the Black Library; I’d love to see him apply his world-building skills to a setting of his own creation.

      • Miss Shadowdancer Duskstar / Cutelildrow,
        Following the order of publication works quite well as these books are supposed to be Cain’s real Memoirs which are only available to Inquisition’s higher ranks (think the lovechild of “suuper” secret police and the original historical organisation at its woolliest moments) and the later (published) books have callbacks and explanations and allusions to earlier books.

        However, if you are going to start reading the Cain archives, try to space out the books so that you have some books in between to dull your memory of the writing mechanics and pacing.
        Although the craft skill, coupled with the wildly different background (planets, places, cultures and their quirks) is good enough to mask the basic writing formula of these books; certain phrases announce the beginning of a certain segment of the story, much like the arrival of a no name redshirt to perform a mission in star trek, which can throw you out of the story after a while if you are binge reading the series.

  4. Dang it, Larry! Now there’s another book I have to go buy!

  5. I’m sad to say that tho book in question contains an incredibly serious flaw that has marred my enjoyment by a large margin.
    Much like the average movie tie-in games, the average tie-in book is a quick&dirty cashgrab with a prose worthy of a shy 14 year old (male) suffering sugar overdose and crafted with the skill of a blind armless painter painting a picture on a grain of rice. C.S. Goto and so on in other words.
    With average (compared to normal fiction) popcorn works claiming the spots for “Best” fiction by the virtue of there being nothing better and the rest of the field drowning under utter garbage… A BULLY called Correia steps onto the field and sweeps everything aside with his fluent writing and solid scenes and the audacity, the brazenness of knowing of his topic.
    I, the TTgame fluff enthusiast, have suffered, have been suffering for a looong long time with the barely passable soulless dreks and cashgrabs that were tie-in books. How am I! How can I! go back and be content with the inane ramblings of hacks after experiencing this… this… bundle of enjoyment and bliss.

    You have destroyed, nay demolished without leaving a trace the lies I’ve been telling myself to keep myself satisfied existing on tasteless cardboard.
    How dare you insert quality and craftsmanship into my fluff.
    How am I going to put up with the fertilizer that is the average fluff book now?
    I Hate You.

    • Ah, btw, the above post contains heavy dosaes of sarcasm. Please consider it as it was intended.

    • Is C.S. Goto (“Fluff? What’s fluff?”) still writing these days? I know GW hasn’t used him in a long time.

      • I will concede that the BL seems to have retired their various committee personas like the GoTo and switched to… well writers whose output is approaching basic popcorn quality for their focus switch to 30k (Horus Heresy Era).
        Unfortunately, even this much improvement isn’t (personal opinion ofc.) enough to cover the formulaic structure of (majority of) the BL output or their predatory pricing policies and GW’s questionable policies and basic/classic MBA mistakes.
        Between the decision to freeze the 40k timeline, going “brown and gritty” in the grimmest grimdark and milking any and every series they have going to death… bleh is all I can say.

    • *giggles!*

      You have destroyed, nay demolished without leaving a trace the lies I’ve been telling myself to keep myself satisfied existing on tasteless cardboard.
      How dare you insert quality and craftsmanship into my fluff.
      How am I going to put up with the fertilizer that is the average fluff book now?
      I Hate You.

      Oh that was beautifully done. I could almost HEAR the pouty voice!

      • Thank you very much. I’ve been translating a lot of cheap “stuff” lately (English to Turkish) and I’ve had to develop my purple prose skills to keep my sanity in the face of endless scenes of “raw, animalistic” “mating dance” scenes.

  6. I’ve got a Kobo e-reader and this is the only Larry Correia novel Kobo doesn’t carry. I could order the audio version from Chapters.ca, but I was really hoping for the book.

    • From what I can find, the Kobo should* .mobi files, so you could probably buy it from Amazon, unless for some reason the Kobo only allows you to load books that are in their store (which would be stupid).

      *though it may not if it’s an older model. Information I have is for the current baseline model, which is the Kobo Touch.

  7. Because of my commute, I’m always looking for audible titles. Lately I’ve been loving the “whispersync” campaign (buy the kindle, then upgrade to audio for a buck or three).

    Kindle edition bought, audible edition bought and currently downloading. I have no experience at all with the game, but I’ve enjoyed everything of yours I’ve read so far.

  8. Just picked it up. This is the first one of Larry’s books I’ll be reading outside of the MHI and Grimnoir series, so I’m kind’a interested in how I’ll respond to it (given that it’s not in a self-contained universe.)

  9. For some reason when I pull this page up in Chrome the links aren’t there (nor are the little book thumbnails). I see them in IE though. May be an issue with being behind our company firewall as some strange stuff happens due to that.

  10. I was actually kinda blown away by this book. I was not expecting it to be amazing, but it was. The characters, man. The characters. Sure, you write good action and stuff, but I love your characters. This was a 5/5 book for me, and as I mentioned in a previous comment, I’m stingy with 5 star reviews.

    I totally agree that things are explained well enough to understand. I hadn’t read any Warmachine stuff before this, I knew nothing of this world, and I had no trouble following along at all.

    I listened to the audio version. I hadn’t heard Ray Porter before, but I was very impressed. (I recently picked up another few books he’s done just to hear him.) He has this way of making everything sound heavy and epic. I actually wish he’d narrate more of your stuff.

    I really wish this was out in paperback so I could put a physical copy on my bookshelf.

  11. My only quib with the novel (btw, the audiobook read by Bronson Pinchot is really good) is the chapter size. Not quit as bad as John Ringo’s We Few (One Chapter). Once again, you feel like you went through hell with the Malcontents and back after you’re done with the book.

  12. Ray Porter… Larry Corriea… God dammit. My wallet’s going on a diet again.

  13. This was a good story. I’d really like to see a follow up, but taking the pov of the Menoth guys.

    • Well,you are in luck, because there is one.

      • When I’m listening to the book, I keep on picturing the actor playing the Bravo fencing instructor (Syrio Forel) from season one of Game of Thrones as Savio Montero Acost. I presume this is intentional?

      • It has been a while since I read it, but Syrio was a little guy, right? Acosta is a tall, muscular dude. Both are their world’s equivalent to Spanish though.

      • More of an mannerism and the ‘foreign’ aspect to the rest of the cast.

      • Also Forel is supposed to be Venetian equivalent. But Spanish, Venetian, they all look alike to some American barbarian.

      • In the IK setting, Ord is a strange combination of some prior cultures that sort of correspond to Spanish/Portuguese (Tordoran), but also a bit of Greek and Scottish (Thurian). Because the group was all Cygnaran (sort of English with German elements) I wanted to bring in another culture to expand the world. Hence the mercenary, Acosta. Culturally, he is Tordoran.

        And on the same token, that’s why I made him the other religion as well. Because Thamarites are usually mustache twirling evil in the back ground, but for Acosta it is more like Ayn Rand ascended to godhood and rewards selfish awesomeness. πŸ™‚

        In his description I described him as darker skinned, and in the short story Step Outside that also featured Acosta (only in his home town of Five Fingers, which is a giant, nearly lawless, pirate haven) I mentioned that his mother was Sinari (which is an IK race that would be the rough equivalent to nomadic Africans who’ve spread all over the place), and I even made sure I had him come from the right island that had a slum with a Sinari population, because I’m just that much of a fluff nerd. πŸ™‚

        I love writing that guy. Not just in this series, but any of my books, period.

      • Well, I see you’ve written short story featuring Acosta, so I’m going to have to buy those books as well. Damn you.

        I tends to re-re-read books, so i’m going to re-read Into the Storm soon enough (after my 4th read of Chronicles of Chaos and the first 3 books of Count to Eschaton).

  14. Best Iron Kingdoms fiction out there is written by Larry, IMO.

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