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Jaghatai Khan and his White Scars Legion must choose - the Emperor or Horus?

Fresh from their conquest of Chondax and the discovery of Horus’s rebellion, Jaghatai Khan’s warriors stand divided. Long considered one of the less trustworthy Legions, many of the White Scars claim to owe their loyalty exclusively to Terra, and others still to the Warmaster and his warrior lodges. But when a distress call from Leman Russ of the Space Wolves brings the wrath of the Alpha Legion to Chondax, the Khan’s hand is forced and the decision must be made – in the great war for the Imperium, will he side with the Emperor or Horus?

416 pages, Paperback

First published May 6, 2014

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About the author

Chris Wraight

199 books264 followers
Chris Wraight is a British author of fantasy and science fiction.

His first novel was published in 2008; since then, he has published books set in the Warhammer Fantasy and Stargate:Atlantis universes, and has upcoming titles in the Warhammer 40K setting.

He is based in the south-west of England.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 122 reviews
Profile Image for Sud666.
1,942 reviews158 followers
June 8, 2017
Scars is an excellent book set during the Horus Heresy. Scars follows the White Scars legion and it's Primarch Jaghatai Khan. The scars do not operate like the rest of the Legions. They tend to go their own way and operate in their unique rapid style. This unique operational skill has them operating in a far part of the Galaxy when the Horus Heresy begins.

This was enlightening in showing just how confusing and the magnitude of the Heresy and it's enormous effects upon the Imperium of Man. The Scars hear Primarch Dorn recall order to Terra and there are rumors of traitors among the Legions. To check this unheard of concept, the Scars decide to figure out what is going on. The trip takes them to Prospero and also has them dealing with the events at Istavaan IV.

The Scars are an interesting unit, with many similarities to Mongol warriors, and it was enlightening to learn more about them. The story also, as it unfolds, gives you a bird eye view into how Horus was able to use the "secret" lodges to further spread his corruption. It is also operating in an environment where the Warp Storms are disrupting communications and travel. This is also a time where the beliefs do not account for Daemons and the Ruinous Powers. The meetings between Scars and other legions (especially ones that have turned Traitor) is fascinating. In fact, within the Scars themselves-all is not well. The Lodges have managed to split the Legion down the middle.

There is a great deal of exciting fighting and events in here. Some will ring a bell for anyone familiar with the history. It is instructive to see the fault lines between the various Primarchs and how this eventually led some to question the Emperor. It is also telling how very few, save some within the Scars, seem to know about the depth of the power of the Dark Gods. But that is hard to do when one believes them to not exist. Thus when the Scars fight traitor legions they begin to realize this is more than just treason.

This is a great, if not foundational, book about the Horus Heresy. While the majority is told from the Scars perspective, in their various interactions the scope of this tragedy is made manifest. So far, of all the Warhammer 40K books-the ones set during the Horus Heresy are truly outstanding. So if you consider yourself a fan, or would like to become one, or simply love a dark, violent Sci-fi story- you will love Scars.
Profile Image for Pete.
3 reviews3 followers
January 24, 2014
Originally published in the form of weekly episodes, the twenty-eighth book in the hugely successful Horus Heresy series turns the focus on the White Scars legion of Space Marines. Until this book, the White Scars have been the forgotten legion, with less screen-time in the series than any of the other Marine forces. That oversight is redressed in Scars where they are cast front and centre.

One of the strengths of the series is how the same events can be told from several different viewpoints and yet still seem fresh each time. With Scars, Chris has exploited the rules of the universe to maximise this effect. The White Scars have been on campaign on the planet Chondax, far removed from their brother legions and cut off from interstellar communication by a warp anomaly. As the Heresy unfolds elsewhere, eventually they will have to learn the truth behind what’s happening and decide whose side they’re on.

The scope of the book is pretty big, portraying the White Scars both from within and without. This necessitates a wide variety of viewpoints, each of which is well realised and has a distinctive tone.

From outside the legion we see them mused upon by the key players on the side of the Emperor on Terra – Rogal Dorn, Malcador and Constantin Valdor – and by the beleaguered Space Wolves fleet who are calling on them for aid. A slightly-removed view is provided by the White Scar Stormseer, Yesugei, as he tries to re-establish contact with his brothers in the Scars’ fleet from their homeworld, Chogoris. His scenes early on tend to be more reflective, giving the reader a grounding in the legion’s past without indulging in too much exposition.

The internal viewpoints though are the most rewarding. The prologue introduces us to Shiban and Torghun as they are elevated into the legion’s ranks. By the time of the novel proper they have risen to become Khans of their respective warrior brotherhoods and provide a window on how the White Scars operate, and their own history shapes the dramatic tension of their story threads.

A human view is provided by Ilya Ravallion, a logistical officer assigned to the White Scars fleet, in both her attempts to understand the legion and in her discourse with the upper echelons of the legion including their Primarch, Jagatai Khan, who is the lifeblood of the novel, and whose story this really is.

The characterisation is strong throughout and for a story with a sizable cast list that’s no mean feat. Jagatai, though, really stands out and watching him deal with revelation after revelation and myriad truths is a delight. He is certainly a protagonist deserving of the reader’s sympathy.

As a first proper look at the White Scars, Scars does a great job of fleshing out the legion. Their Mongol influences are clear, but they are delivered so assuredly that it doesn’t feel forced. Clearly a lot of research has been done, and the author’s passion for the subject shines through. Chris also plays on the fact that they’ve been neglected before now by turning it into an elusiveness which is both integral to how the legion operates and affects the way they’re seen in-universe, which is a really nice touch.

Structurally the story is an interesting one, due in no small part to its initial episodic publication. In the early chapters there seems to be some redundant exposition, possibly there to serve as a recap of previous events, but in the joined-up novel format it feels unnecessary. Similarly at the end it seems that things are being wrapped up rather too quickly, which perhaps would have been done in a more measured way if not restrained by the original format.

One thing that jarred a little was that the Space Wolves narrative is only followed for the first half of the book. It’s so well done, and the characters are suitably enjoyable, that I wanted to know what happened to them afterwards. One for a future book perhaps?

However, to say these are major issues would be to do the rest of the book a disservice. The pacing is excellent and the cliff-hangers and revelations at the end of each chapter make it very hard to put down. Chris’s prose is very easy to read and just flows off the page without getting bogged down in jargon and laboured description.

His action scenes in particular are a joy. There are several scenes of ship-to-ship void war which are beautifully described, giving a cinematic sense of scale and manoeuvre. There’s an economy of language that really lets the imagination fill in the blanks.

It does occasionally fall into the realms of cliché, however. More than once do we see a decisive nick-of-time intervention, particularly in the final act, and the story is helped along by a convenient all-knowing character. Again, these are minor issues as the rest of the story is so strong, and despite an element of predictability, there are enough surprises to keep it interesting.

Scars is an absolute pleasure to read. It’s fast and engaging, and in Jagatai Khan, Chris has enhanced a character I knew very little about and made him absolutely compelling. There are many subtleties to the story too, which many readers will find rewarding. I particularly enjoyed the theme of the game Go which appears both literally in the story, and is reflected in the action. It’s an interesting parallel story to the opening trilogy of the series too, and as such is essential Horus Heresy reading.

For more of my reviews, visit www.fiftyshadesofgeek.org
Profile Image for Rob.
143 reviews
May 5, 2014
Chris Wraight doesn't have the fame or reputation of a Dan Abnett or Graham McNeill, but I think that he deserves a spot right up close to, or with them. "Battle of the Fang" is probably my favorite of the Space Marines Battle series. And in "Scars," Wraight does not disappoint. He makes the White Scars Space Marines not only interesting, but amazingly compelling. I think that, much as with the characters of the Primarchs themselves, most fans of 40k the game in particular -- and the 40k fictional universe in general -- tend to forget about the White Scars. They have no cool individual models, and little is known about their "history." Wraight has changed all of that, creating for the White Scars an extremely interesting background, culture, and psyche. This book was a pure pleasure to read.
Profile Image for Dylan Murphy.
592 reviews26 followers
March 21, 2016
By the gods!
Ever since I read The Hunt for Voldorius some years ago(before I was on Goodreads), I have loved the White Scars. And seeing the Scars at their height during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy has been a real treat. I really like the direction that Chris Wraight is taking them, the whole "grassland shaman/speed daemon" thing, as well as developing their culture so damn well. That in itself has really made me love their portrayal and has made them quickly climb to my favourite loyalist Legion. The events of Scars follows a great many plot lines for the title, as we also get to see the Space Wolves post-Prospero, and some of the Shattered Legions in their quest for vengeance.
The Space Wolves parts were well done, full of fun and violence, as is most of their reading. But they really only played a very minor part, and worked as a great parallel as how both the Space Wolves and White Scars were both savage and "barbaric", but still very different Legions.
The parts of the novel following Yesugei and the shattered legions was great fun, and I am really falling in love with his character. I definitely hope they make a model of him at some point in the future. Surprisingly, I actually really enjoyed the Shattered Legions elements in this one, as they actually DID SOMETHING other than exist. And that machine on the Word Bearers ship? Man I hope we get to see those again.
Now, the bulk of the White Scars were amazing. I really cannot stress how much I love their culture, their methods of war, and their Legion organization. The countless "Brotherhoods" added a lot to the story, though I wish we got to see more than just a few of them, as I hope they are all somewhat different like Shiban and Torghun's Brotherhoods were.
The bulk of the story showed how the White Scars were outsiders, no one knew much about them, so they were easily discounted. I mean, even the Alpha Legion didn't know much about them, and that is saying something. Their battles were great, but for once I really found that the politics were on par with the action. As the story went on, I was kept guessing on how "loyal" the Scars would turn out to be, and how much of a hold the lodges would have on them.
However the real jewels of this novel were the Primarchs. Jaghatai in particular has become such a joy for me to read about. His mysterious ways and culture are just too much fun to read about. And while I never knew much, I didn't expect him to be one of the best swordsman of the Imperium for some reason. By Slaanesh that was a treat!
Magnus' shade was also extremely well done, though I feel that an after-echo shouldn't have swayed the Khagan's views as much as they did.
Mortarion however was perfect. Man, he was scary. Like, really scary to read about. I really hope Wraight does the Death Guard story, or at least has some more opportunity to work with the Death Lord in the future!
Profile Image for Sarah Davis.
Author 1 book41 followers
February 18, 2014
A really great read, there where three stories going on at the same time. My biggest complaint was on my ebook version, you couldn't tell when it had switched characters. Half the flash backs where filled with quite lovely jokes (primarchs making fun of one another, best one was to Fulgrim. "I hear you do things to your sons..." Yup, I know what that was implying..and I laughed more then I should.)

Dorn and Malcador make cameo appearances, and Malcador delivered my all time favorite line. "You brothers-such a nest of rivalries. I warned him to make you sisters, that it would make things more civilized. He thought I was joking, I wasn't."

I am deliberating on what Fulgrim and Angron would be like...it is a very scary idea. Anyway, great book you should all read it. Defiantly the best by Chris Wright that I have ever read.
29 reviews4 followers
June 10, 2022
Sorprendentemente buena. Si no fuese por el spanglish iría ahora mismo a comprarla para tenerla en la estantería
Profile Image for Tyler Kershaw.
66 reviews1 follower
March 2, 2022
I went from not knowing anything about the White Scars to them and their primarch becoming one of my favourate loyalist factions. Good job book!
Profile Image for Veronica Anrathi.
135 reviews59 followers
November 8, 2017
Enjoyed it. Great to finally get to know Jaghatai and his boys a little better. He's my kind of guy. Very interesting insight on the Lodges operating inside a Loyal legion AND a legion that is unaware of the Isstvan massacre and the great treachery. My favorite thing to read about here was Khan interacting with other Primarchs. Only thing is I wish there were more space marines with more distinct personalities. There were some, but i would've loved a few more. Overall very satisfied.
Profile Image for Callum Shephard.
324 reviews31 followers
January 24, 2014
Those who frequent The Founding Fields will know that Bane of Kings and I covered the various ebook episodes of Scars as they were released. While the thoughts given there did cover a chapter by chapter analysis of the book and explored its best and worst elements, it feels only right to return to this one last time and give comments on the book as a whole. After all, the episodes did end up spoiling events from previous installments as it was necessary to talk about plot progression. Furthermore, every episode review ended in the same message: Wait for it to be released as a single work.

So, after all how does Scars fare as a whole? It’s extremely hit and miss at times.

The Imperium of Man has been shattered by the betrayal of the Emperor’s prodigal son, with fully half the Imperial legions siding against the Emperor. As the Sons of Horus and their allies rampage through the galaxy, destroying all in their path and the loyalist legions attempt to regroup, one has yet to choose their side. Unaware of the civil war and having been beyond any contact for months, the entire White Scars legion finishes their task in annihilating Ork remnants at Ullanor. Trusted by few and known for his closeness with Horus and Magnus the Red, many are willing to write him off Jaghatai Khan as a traitor. Many within his legion, dissatisfied with their company, seek to ensure he joins the right side…

As both a force within the series and a chapter outside the Horus Heresy, the White Scars have not seen much in the way of promotion. Despite a minor effort in recent years to give them more focus they remain one of a multitude of unfortunately overlooked chapters. As a result this was the one big chance to truly characterise them, promoting the legion to countless readers as a part of a major series. In this respect the book works extremely well. Very early on it is established that the Khan and his astartes are unlike any other legion. Even in comparison to the likes of the Alpha Legion or Space Wolves, they stand out as a very unique force in their general attitudes and approaches to warfare. We see how much of an impact their homeworld’s culture and traditions have on their outlook and great emphasis is placed upon just how important a primarch truly is to a legion.

One of the major subplots which serves as a point within the book is the clashes between the astartes recruited from Terra and those originating from Chigoris. Within one chapter see a very effective display of the major problems which can originate from recruiting from a multitude of worlds and makes the potential betrayal wholly understandable, perhaps even more so than that of the Dark Angels. You’re given an idea of just how much the spirtual beliefs of the White Scars truly have impact upon their kind and how their attitudes can not only force conflict with their brothers, but also the divide between themselves and other legions. It does a great deal to flesh out the force and give some idea of what truly makes them unique among the legions.

Beyond the legion itself we have many scenes and subplots devoted to a multitude of subjects. Ranging from the flaws and ambitions of other primarchs to the knowledge of the Warp, Khan’s Chigoris born mentality of seeing every “piece on the board as a king”, and the changing state of the galaxy, each does a great deal to build upon the series thus far. The scenes with the Space Wolves prove to be a great extension beyond Prospero Burns, especially once Leman Russ is given focus, and we see for the first time potentially what drew one particular primarch to Horus’ side. Even if you have a dislike for the White Scars, the book offers enough characters from multiple legions and such a wide focus you are bound to run into plenty to like building upon past books. It further gives variety to the characters and, even when many astartes do not directly meet, Wraight proves he knows how to better use the varied backgrounds of legions far more than what we saw in Unremembered Empire or Battle for the Abyss.

Unfortunately, as big a strength as this last point is, it’s also here that the cracks begin to appear in the tale.

The problem is that as a traditional novel Scars is fairly weak. It continually veers off into minor moments and side ideas to focus upon them rather than truly building upon the advertised plot of a potential White Scars civil war. While on the one hand each of these moments work extremely well and do a great deal to expand the universe, all too often you’re left wishing they had been left to a short story and the book actually be about the legion.

Two of the biggest offenders are Yesugi’s tale, the White Scars’ Chief Stormseer who is left to his own story but never meets with his legion or has his actions feel as if they are connected to the main plot, and the Space Wolves’ battle with the Alpha Legion. Yes, in the original canon the White Scars did see this event happen, but it becomes such a side story, is so focused upon the Space Wolves’ perspective, and takes up such much time that it would have only made the tale stronger were it dropped. Many of these subplots and scenes work fine on their own, but they fail to truly build up into a single piece and it leaves you wanting by the end. There’s simply no single cohesive plot and too many times it feels as if the book was desperately trying to cover something entirely besides the legio V.

Even ignoring the problems with too many subplots, or the very quick ending which fails to truly conclude anything, there are the characters and environment descriptions. Too many of the characters feel as if the concepts behind them are better developed than their personalities, resulting in either very simplistic or completely blank figures within the tale. This may be intentional, the book repeatedly explaining how the legion is an enigma even among allied forces, or the end result of a lack of focus upon them but it just robs so many scenes of energy. This might have been made up for by well developed descriptions of environments or great atmosphere, but far too often they are just left as anomalous space without any real detail to ground the scene in. Even when wondering through a ruined city tainted by the Warp, there simply isn’t enough put into the environments to make them truly memorable.

So, at the end of the day Scars worth getting? If you’ve enjoyed the series up to this point or want to see the White Scars of this era, yes. It’s entirely worth it and you’ll enjoy what you get. However, if you’re after a great story focused upon fully developing a single legion with well rounded characters then look for something else.
Profile Image for Jorge De Juan.
8 reviews
September 7, 2021
Cuando empiezas a leer un libro de la HH no sabes que te vas a encontrar. Puedes toparte con un libro mediocre, un libro entretenido sin más o descubrir una gran novela.
Empecé "Cicatrices" sin grandes expectativas y me he encontrado con el mejor libro de la HH desde "La batalla de Calth".
Sin duda, entre los 5 mejores libros de la HH hasta el momento de su lanzamiento (núm. 28)
Profile Image for Derek Weese.
87 reviews4 followers
April 12, 2014
I am a fairly devoted fan of Black Library books. I am a devoted fan of the Horus Heresy. So it would seem I don't have time to read anything else, well I just solve that by reading between 8 and a dozen books at a time. Anyway,

Scars by Chris Wraight harkened me back to the 'good old days' of the first half of the Heresy run. Scars followed the older tradition of giving snippets of a Legions earlier history all while bringing you up to the present time (post Isstvan by I'd say maybe a half year or a year tops). But Scars does something a little special: it highlights not just a neglected Legion (the V, the White Scars) and their Primarch (Jagathai Khan) but it also delves into the some of the psychological reasons why some of these brothers would fall and turn against their father while others would remain loyal.
To me at any rate the themes of: faith, loyalty, brotherhood and honor ran strong in this book. I absolutely loved the scene between Sanguinius, Fulgrim, Mortarion and the Khan on Ullanor. The dialogue between them really opened up a window onto just how far back the schisms between the brother Primarchs really ran (and a certain quip made by Malcador on Terra about the Emperor making them sisters instead of brothers because they'd be more civilized is absolutely priceless).
Jagathai's relationship with Magnus and his support for the Librarius provides much of the backstory as to why some saw the V Legions choice of allegiance as a toss up. Due to this, those who fell to Chaos conspired against Jagathai and his sons in order to purposefully keep them out of the loop and in the dark. (Making one wonder just how far back Horus' fall really went.) The final duel between Jagathai and one of his brothers (I'll not spoil who) is one of the highlights of the book. As is the brief civil war between the Loyalists and the Lodge members within the Legion itself. It wrapped up very nicely and paved the way for future glory for the V Legion.
My only question to ask from this book would be the point of the Alpha Legions actions in the beginning. Though I suppose that will be more fully explained in subsequent novels.
Overall this was a great book, and reminded me how much I truly love this series. Despite reading other kinds of fiction and history-I still find time for the Black Library. This book is one of the reasons why. Thank you to Chris Wraight for writing such a damn good book.
Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Matthew Hipsher.
78 reviews1 follower
July 8, 2019
I was a little weary about this book, it seemed to come out of nowhere in the story building happening in the previous HH novels, but this book did a lot to give a 3rd view of the HH and what it means to the larger universe.

The White Scars, as the book begins haven't chosen a side, and aren't too concerned with being involved at all, they only feel as though they have a limited attachment to the Imperium.

We get the very first glimpse of the Primarch of the White Scars, Jaghatai Khan, who could best be described as an amalgam of the great Khans of Mongolia and medieval Samurai. (It's a theme with the Primarchs, they each seem to represent a different Earth region). This time we get to spend with the Khan, we get to see how the HH evolved and how his absence was not serendipitous.

All in all, this was a great read, something I'll probably re-read to make sure I didn't miss any nuanced plot twists and look forward to having the Khan in a book again.
Profile Image for Kdawg91.
258 reviews14 followers
June 4, 2018
I jumped back into my Warhammer dive (yeah, yeah, I know..) and while I am a fan, it can tend to lean a bit to sameness over time, grimdark gloom and doom space shoot em ups. (Don't jump on me WH40K fans, that is a serious over simplification of the universe strictly for purposes of this review)

That being said, I have found myself loving when an author delves and gets the meat off the bone of a chapter or a group in this vast scifi playground. I have loved what Chris Wraight has done with the White Scars. He has taken a legion into a different direction than the rest, gave it an almost entirely different feel than most of its counterparts and still maintain a place among their brothers.

THAT I can get behind. Scars is a ton of fun and I will search out Mr. Wraight's work in this universe.

8 reviews
November 12, 2018
Khan and Magnus are probably my top2 favorite Primarchs, as well as Scars and Thousand Sons my favorite legions. Yesugei is another charming character after Ahriman or Argel Tal, with philosophical thoughts, principled actions and almost admirable loyalty to Khan and Imperium.
What impresses me most is the scene Malcador, Valdor and Dorn argued on Khan's possible treachery, where Malcador seems quite easy but in fact regretful about the "lie" on the existence of warp leading to Horus Heresy.
Khan and Scars play GO! This is the best reflection on their war philosophy: perspective of overall situation, see every participants as crucial elements, stay low key (mostly forgotten), always accumulate and hide power.
Profile Image for Heinz Reinhardt.
325 reviews29 followers
June 5, 2017
In the ever sprawling, possibly gone afield and even awry, Horus Heresy series there are a few titles that stand out as exemplars of not only Black Library's talented pool of authors, but tie in fiction as a whole. Horus Rising, Fulgrim, Legion, Thousand Sons, First Heretic, Prosper Burns, all of these are indicative of one of the best military/dark sci-fantasy series ever written.
Scars by Chris Wraight deserves to be among those elite titles.
Scars takes the least we'll know Legion, the White Scars, and brings them to life as never before. Wraight had to have studied dutifully Mongolian, Chinese and Korean culture to really get a grasp on the Chogorian culture that pervades the pages of this book. Set in the period following Istvaan, this is a hybrid work, both an origins story and a continuation of the main narrative. It offers a dense, but highly entertaining narrative of the V Legions culture and of the background of their Primarch, Jaghatai.
It also serves as a focal point for some themes long serving fans of the series may have forgotten, namely the warrior lodges, and how the call to choose loyalties leads to the workings of the Warp and the foundation of Chaos. There are appearances of the Space Wolves (they hate that name), the Alpha Legion, and some excellent dialogue between Dorn and Malcador on Terra.
The meat of the story, however, is the divided loyalties of the Legion, and the struggle for Jaghatai's allegiance. As a loner, self educated, introverted, and well humored, I find myself drawn the most to Jaghatai's character out of all the Primarch's, as his own personality mirrors my own quite well. This is a mark of Wraight's ability as a writer, to bring to clear life a demigod.
Overall, this is an excellent title in the sprawling Horus Heresy series, worthy of the very best of the franchise, and one of my favorite titles.
Highly recommended.
91 reviews2 followers
August 24, 2021
This is the best book of the Horus Heresy that I’ve read so far. It’s story is excellent, it’s phasing is good and it’s characters are all both interesting and so well written that they could make for non Black Library character arcs.

That being said, it does assume a lot of knowledge about the Horus Heresy and cannot be read as a stand-alone book or the first one you pick up in the Horus heresy series, which is frankly a little atypical. It’s the beginning of the white scars arc, and other story arcs have been perfectly capable of holding their own, even if they were your first Horus Heresy books. This one isn’t like that, and sort of requires you to have read the first five novels in the series as well as Prospero Burns and the The First Heretic. If you haven’t read those books a lot of the things that happen in Scars will likely not make sense, but maybe that is what allows the book to be better than many others in the series.

I’m not sure the Asian accent voice performance in the audiobook will stand the test of time. I didn’t mind it, but let’s not pretend that it won’t be an issue for some.
Profile Image for Maria Spalding.
47 reviews7 followers
July 1, 2020
FINALLY got to meet the White Scars. Really enjoyed learning about them!
Profile Image for Richard Stuart.
166 reviews14 followers
February 7, 2018
I like the White Scars. I like their sense of freedom and wisdom, their joviality. They don't take shit from nobody! : P
Profile Image for Jordan.
115 reviews2 followers
August 31, 2020
The standard caveats apply fr non-40K fans. The overarching theme is kind of meta - the Scars are generally something of a forgotten Chapter amongst fans, so here they are as well. Chris Wraight does his usual superb job of building on some of GW's less fleshed-out ideas, and takes the Scars in a much different direction than one might stereotype them as - "Mongol-hordes-in-Space-who-MUST-GO-FASTER". Not to say that these things don't pop up, but the Scars are philosophers every bit as much as their Ultramarine brethren, who pretty much want to be Greco-Roman statuary when they grow up. The Scars are also just about the only Loyalist legion who have much in the way of non-warlike pursuits (the arts in this case) that kind of keep them from having the internal tension of most Astartes - "what would they do in a world without war?" is a question you're less likely to ask of the Khan's warriors, as opposed to, say, the Space Wolves. This lends them a certain calm and centeredness often missing from other Space Marines, which is refreshing if for no other reason than its originality.

The story is a good one, with the high points being the Khan's trip to Prospero and his confrontation with Magnus, the ship-to-ship sequence against the Alpha Legion (how often do you see those smug snakes get outsmarted and outmanuevered, eh?), and the "Shattered Legions" arc as Yesugei and his brother Astartes of the Iron Hands and Salamanders race against time to bring the terrible news of Horus' treachery. That Word Bearers' cogitator/daemon-engine thing is a skin-crawler.

Recommended for fans. This will take you into a corner of the 31st millenium that has gone hitherto unexplored.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
July 20, 2018
The White Scars finally get their day in the sun, with uneven results.

The Genghis Khan-inspired V Legion has gotten very little play in the Horus Heresy up to now. Classic Mongolian hallmarks like steppe tribes, archery, and horsemanship never really translates convincingly to military sci-fi here, and Chris Wraight does not imbue the legion with a strong voice. He draws them as mainly defined by their independence, to the point that there’s a real possibility that they will flock to Horus’s banner.

This is a solid hook, and SCARS uses it to good effect when fleshing out the White Scars’ kinship with the Thousand Sons, a legion with muddy loyalties of their own. It’s a shame that SCARS personifies this conflict in a loyalist White Scar and a traitorous terran who resents his assignment to V Legion. It makes the schism feel less like an honest internal conflict than a struggle against corrupting outsiders.

This makes the many diversions to other legions like the Space Wolves and Word Bearers feel like a distraction, taking pages that could have been better spent fleshing out the White Scars. At times this reads like an epilogue to PROSPERO BURNS. It’s good times with Leman Russ and Magnus, but it still feels misplaced.

All that said, SCARS is well paced, has some great moments between primarchs and provides fun bolter porn. The lack of biker fights was surprising, but seeing the Mongolian false flight play out in void war is a treat. I’ve heard very positive things about the follow-up, PATH OF HEAVEN, and I’m interested in more time with Jaghatai and his crew.
Profile Image for Michael T Bradley.
751 reviews5 followers
June 6, 2018
I know that nearly everyone luuuuuuurves this book, it seems, and I think I can grok why. I mean, it's got a REALLY strong couple of ideas in it. Essentially the book is about how the Scars handle the Horus Heresy, and how they get some misinformation and are told that Russ is the traitor, not Horus. And it's about how different people handle it. That's a great idea!

There's also a Lunar Wolves character who, because of overcrowding in the Legions, gets assigned to the White Scars and has to become one of them. Which side will HE choose?!? That's a great idea!

But the book is bogged down with too many goddamn characters, some of whom change names pretty early on. Like, for instance, that Lunar Wolves character? I quickly lost track of him (I know, it's a peril of audio books ... if I'd had the book in front of me, they have the cast of characters at the front of the book, so YMMV here) and his damn name, and basically the ONE CHARACTER I genuinely found interested dies about 66% of the way through. This was mostly frustrating because I was like, goddammit, now I don't know who anyone (except Jaghatai Khan and Mortarion) is.

Again, a lot of really good moments & scattered bits and pieces, but it never cohesed into more than that for me. Frustrating.
Profile Image for Nick.
26 reviews
May 6, 2022
It was... Good? Not bad.

The White Scars are a somewhat interesting legion in how independent they are, but I was disappointed by the Khan himself. Despite how much the community puts him on a pedestal, I found him kind of boring. He ping-pongs, in a somewhat inscrutable way, between being proud of his distance from the rest of the Imperium and resentful of being "left out." His indecision is a recurring theme in the book, where both his legion and outsiders are anxious to know what side he'll take and what choices he'll make. But when he does make major calls, I have a hard time following the reasoning behind them.

The book also starts with a subplot exploring the cultural differences between the Terran-born and Chogorian White Scars, but it ends up undercooked.

The Space Wolves are also here, but they don't do much except sulk and get kicked around a little.

I dunno. I enjoyed the book and I like the White Scars' culture and many of its supporting characters, but I still walked away with a sort of ho-hum feeling.
30 reviews1 follower
August 30, 2019
Scars is a truly excellent entry into the ever-expanding Horus Heresy series, and fully achieves what it sets out to do: explore the V Legion's unique customs, ways-of-war and strained relationship with the wider Imperium (and, indeed, themselves...)? Check. Portray the Khan in a mysterious, but revealing light? Double check. Perfectly execute the total confusion, scrambled allegiences and desperate power-plays between Horus and Malcador during the aftermath of Isstvan V? Ab-so-lute-ly check. The Wolves and Alpha Legion are also given good showings respectively (much-needed in the latter's case...). Lastly, I greatly appreciated the broad range of balanced perspectives Chris Wraight decided to focus on. Neither Jaghatai, Yesugei, Miss Ravallion or the two minor Khans felt over- or under-represented. One of the best Horus Heresy titles out there!
Profile Image for Gali Gali.
7 reviews1 follower
September 22, 2017
Rejoice, White Scar fans! Chris Wraight delivers a phenomenal story in "Scars" here. This is an exciting read from start to finish, and a breath of fresh air for a Legion so overlooked by both the Imperium and Warhammer fans alike. To me, what really stands out here are the characters and how well-written they are. Not just Jaghatai either. The whole cast get time in the sun and have their own rich, distinctive personalities. Admittedly, there is one small gripe, which is the Space Wolf storyline. It doesn't really go anywhere, and as a result, was forgettable.

Overall, I wholeheartedly recommend this book, even if space Mongols don't sound like your thing. It's a story for anyone interested in Astartes, period. "Scars" gets a 4.8/5 from me
Profile Image for Andrew Ziegler.
282 reviews6 followers
August 8, 2014
I genuinely enjoyed this book. It was the novel the enigmatic V have needed for me, and by far the best of the fluff written about them. I have 2 complaints. First, it could have been 100 pages longer, it was summed up too quickly. Second, I loved the duel between Mortarion and The Khan, but yet again it was a battle that ended with no winner and only hurt feelings. Not knowing much about the fate of either Primarch, I was hoping for one of those tent pole type moments in the over arching story. I think the tension built up inside the Legion was nicely done and subtle in a unique way as both sides felt loyal to the Imperium. Fun book, good addition. Now, end the series!!!
Profile Image for Pavle.
69 reviews3 followers
December 14, 2019
A masterpiece - Ordu gamana Jaghatai! Hai Chogoris!
Author 47 books76 followers
June 3, 2021
A teď něco úplně jiného. V nějaké osmadvacáté knize ze série přichází na řadu legie, která zatím neměla žádnou velkou roli. Bílé jizvy. Legie v mongolském stylu, která sází na rychlost a samostatnost. Což je jí osudné, protože zatímco se galaxie otřásá bratrovražednou válkou, oni jsou mimo a o všem se dozvídají s obrovským zpožděním. Na čí stranu se přidají? Půjde Jaghatai Khan za Horusem, se kterým měl vždy přátelské vztahy? Nebo zůstane věrný Císaři?
Ale ani sama jeho legie není zcela jednotná. Podobně jako v jiných armádách, i tady se objevují prohorusovské lóže, které operují v utajení a snaží se získávat nové členy.
Mínusem je, že je to zase příběh, který jde trochu bokem, takže se děj neposouvá příliš vpřed… na druhou stran se zase dívá na celou věc z trochu jiného úhlu. Ne všechno je uhlídané, zpočátku je důraz na dva nováčky v legii, každého z jiného prostředí a každého v jiném oddíle… ale i když se tam objevují i nadále, tak hrají spíš druhé dudy (nebo na co se to ve světě Warhammeru hraje) důraz je spíš na hlavního primarchu a jeho rádce a mága. Ono je fakt, že Warhammar není zrovna svět, kde by se obyčejný člověk mohl nějak vypracovat, tam jsou kastovní rozdíly skutečně nepřekonatelné.
I když je to odbočka, přináší zajímavé střetnutí, fungují tu akce a dialogy… a autor plně využívá nejednoznačnost světa. Ale už si říkám, že bych měl doma nějakou zeď vyhradit tomu, že si na ní budu věšet a barevnými vlákny spojovat poznámky o tom, kdo je kdo a s kým se spojil, proti komu stojí a co má v plánu. Kam se mě budou hrabat spiklenečtí fanatici.
Profile Image for Edward.
84 reviews2 followers
February 4, 2022
I knew nothing about the White Scars going into this book and I'm very pleased I read it. It does a good job setting everything up, especially the dual POVs in the first chapter. The rest of the book is a solid set of plots all playing out alongside each other. Some were weaker than others. Yesugei's, for example, felt a bit tangential despite how cool a character he is. I liked the brief glimpse of the Space Wolves, but it didn't really add much more to the story. Moreover, there are so many primarchs in this book it's kinda ridiculous. The weakest part is definitely the final battle and chapter. Everything gets wrapped up in a neat bow and it felt like the author didn't bother to place the exposition dump in any one character's POV. It kinda just hangs out there like a bunch of "and this happened". ALSO the number of times a character is *about to die* and then is miraculously saved by something grinds my gears. It's Warhammer, KILL YOUR CHARACTERS. 3.5
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