First I would like to remind everyone of the spoiler tags. Please use [noparse] these tags [/noparse] to hide anything that would spoil the book for others, particularly anything revealing the delightfully twisted and unexpected ending.
Of course I have read ‘Xenology’; I even wrote a review of it that was unfortunately only just finished today due to my busy schedule these past few days (emergency room medicine rocks, by the way :w00t
, and then I came here to find a thread already started on the subject. I hope you won’t me posting my now-finished review here?
My expectations of the book were of course very high indeed, and I must say they were not disappointed. Simon Spurrier is one of my favourite Black Library authors, and being a medical student with no little experience in dissections myself I was looking forward to reading what was claimed to be ‘…an Inquisitorial guide to the study and dissection of xeno species such as the Eldar, Ork, and Tau.’
This the book proved to be, and a lot more too.
The anatomical sketches and drawings accompanying each dissection report are very impressive and of high quality in my eyes, and the reports themselves are excellently written and very professional in appearance. For that alone I would recommend the book to anyone with an interest in 40k fluff. The story itself, however, is also of the same high standard that one would expect of Mr. Spurrier, and like Da Mighty Camel it had me incapable of putting down the book before the wonderfully surprising ending had been revealed.
To be a nitpicker and mention the two minor faults I managed to find in the book, I found it a bit annoying that the Tau was not equipped with hooves; Mr. Spurrier himself made it clear in his first Black Library novel ‘Firewarrior’ that Tau have hooves, yet the dissection report states otherwise. The fact that the Tau in question was an Ethereal might have something to do with this, however; opinions on Tau feet are more than welcome.
Also, I find it a tad annoying that the photograph of what is claimed to be a Psyker’s white
blood cell is most definitely a red
blood cell. It is red, has no nucleus, and a double concave surface membrane, so it can’t possible be a white blood cell. Tchah!
Apart from this, however, the book seems flawless, and all in all I found this to be one of the best background books I’ve read from Black Library. Being a medical student might of course have something to do with my enthusiastic appreciation of the beautifully detailed autopsy reports, but I have little doubt that everyone will enjoy the accompanying story as much as I did.
I did find it somewhat curious that so many links were drawn between the Old Ones’ known creations and the Tau; until now I have always thought that Tau were a new species untouched by the Old Ones, but perhaps this new book proves me wrong. Or might someone else have something to do with their incredible and somewhat suspicious evolution…?