Saturday, July 02, 2011

Blood Gorgons - Book Review

Blood Gorgons by Henry Zou
The Blood Gorgons Chaos Space Marines are called to one of their recruiting worlds as the populace is struck down by a plague of mutation. Sargaulis one of few survivors of the first expeditionary force, and is determined to uncover the mysteries on Haute Bassiq. Facing a hostile environment, shadowy xenos enemies and treachery from within his own forces, Sargaul must dig deep into his hatred and determination to leave the planet alive.

Author Henry Zou expands the Bastion Wars Series once again with a rather intriguing foray in to the world of the Traitor Marine. Not the legions this time but one of the few chapters to fall from grace, The Blood Gorgons. The Gorgons are at the forefront of the new trend within Black Library fiction that is starting to show that even the Traitor Marines have a deep and fierce loyalty to their Chapter or Legion. This is emphasised more in this novel due to the binding plot device of shared organs that Zou uses to link the brothers via a “blood-bond”. This creates not only an urgent need to reach, to fight beside, and (if needed) to rescue his bond-brother but also almost supernatural skills where marines can kill using the view from their brothers eyes. This as a whole makes the bond with the chapter more important to those bonded brothers. There are however a few unbonded members and this is where the trouble starts. This helps things move very rapidly and readers can safely indulge their blood lust almost from the start. From the beginning, up until the very end, this story is non-stop action with numerous battles and duels and more than makes up for some of the slower paces Black Library novels of late.

There are so many characters in this story, almost too many but most play minor roles though it is worth keeping track of them throughout. Yet each character that plays a lengthy role has been given a creative background, a rounded background and most importantly and interesting background. Even the background of the Chapter itself is detailed and well thought out, something often lacking from the history of the more minor chapters out there. This helped me wrap my mind around the traitor/loyal mind-set of a Chaos Space Marine and made them seem, despite all their mutations etc, all the more believable as “people”.

There was throughout the book a very interesting use of the characters and locations that not only helped tie the story together but helped set out what I can only hope is a growing story line within the 40k universe whereby the Bastion Stars take a bigger role. Ok, so the story may have jumped a bit both from character to character but also from place to place but this certainly helped with tying it all together. The unique culture and the way it was portrayed showed that the writing of Mr Zou is improving and there may be a new Dan Abnett in the wings. So for me this book with all its amazing imagry (think sea shell or conch shell styling’s) and the action makes a solid four and a half stars.

Available from:
Blood Gorgons by Henry Zou Softback, 416 pages • ISBN 9781849700061

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