Saturday, July 02, 2011

Blood Reaver - Book Review

Blood Reaver by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
Driven on by their hatred of the False Emperor, the Night Lords stalk the shadows of the galaxy, eternally seeking revenge for the death of their primarch. Their dark quest leads them to a fractious alliance with the Red Corsairs, united only by a common enemy. Together with this piratical band of renegades, they bring their ways of destruction to the fortress-monastery of the Marines Errant.
Blood Reaver is the latest offering (quite literally as ADB seems to work well when it comes to the Dark Powers) for Aaron Dembski-Bowden seems to write their exploits at a level that must be sponsored by those same dark powers. I must say that despite being a loyalist through and through that I really enjoyed Soul Hunter and how it put a new spin on the Fall and the wars of chaos from the view of the Night Lords. I really liked how it took the aspects of the much talked about but often undealt with aspects of relative time (warp time) and absolute/galactic time (time in the real universe – though even that term is subjective given which side of the chaos line you fall) and how this will wear even a company of Space Marines, even Chaos ones, down to the bone. In short they find they are running out of everything and it’s up to the former Apothecary Talos to pull the Exalted's Warband out of its nosedive and restore it to the 'glory' days of its status as 10th company.

Despite being Space Marines and therefore usually cardboard cut-outs I found the characters were self-interested and thus interesting. So I really liked Soul Hunter, the way that the author made the Astartes seem both like relatable characters from their own perspective, and monsters from the perspective of their slaves and/or victims.

Blood Reaver is more of the same, However, it conspicuously lacks several things, and does several worse. One thing I have noted as have several other reviewers is how it lacks explanation for how the character Cyrion's telepathy seems to have disappeared – though I expect this is explained in the audio book (which still hasn’t arrived at mine yet). This explanation wouldn't have improved the story, but for a story that relies so heavily on continuity and characters being established in the previous novel, leaving it out is frustrating and doesn’t help those that don’t have the audio book.

What I really like is that Soul Hunter doesn’t rely on pre-established knowledge and were both wonderful excursions into relatable characters, which is so rare in Warhammer 40,000. Blood Reaver faces the problems that the middle of any trilogy faces, that you're expected to know what's going on and it doesn't go anywhere interesting. Even when the Covenant of Blood, the cursed ship, goes down with the Exalted one board the warband has already jumped ship to an identical one, albeit it with more lighting and a few different bits of decoration (oh and a problem with a bad smell!).

Personally though despite being a sequel and suffering everything that entails I think the book is a definite good read and a must have, I mean more relatable marines and chaos ones at that! What is the Black Library trying to do? Get me to start a Chaos force as well? I love the books and the characters and despite everything and that First Claw are the kind of dogs you should never turn your back on, I think I’m beginning to like them. So once again a solid novel from ADB and one that rates a solid four and a half again! What is it with me liking Chaos books again? I think I may have to turn myself in to the inquisition at this rate!!!

Available from:
Blood Reavers by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
Softback, 416 pages • ISBN 9781849700382


Crispy said...

Small correction: Aaron Dembski-Bowden,not Adam.

Millest said...

cant believe i missed that one, dont know what i was thinking, all sorted now cheers

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