BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The second Installment in the Warhammer 40K Night Lords series finds the 8th Legion struggling for a new ship and a new lease on life.
PROS: Well-written; engrossing plot; character development; chaos perspective.
CONS: Perhaps a little light on the thrill of suspense.
BOTTOM LINE: Warhammer 40K at its best. This novel pops with all the savory sexiness that is Chaos in the 41st millennium.
We find ourselves in the Black Library Cafe, located just a block or two from the Eye of Terror, advertised only through word of mouth…
As a connoisseur of Warhammer 40K cuisine, I have sampled previous offerings by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, and for the most part enjoyed them. Cadian Blood was simple and entertaining, but not great. A zombie-filled Won Ton soup, if you will. Soul Hunter was a spicy appetizer, perhaps a little too foreign to my palate due to its Chaos bent, yet it whetted my appetite for more. With Blood Reaver, the author has served up a winner of a Warhammer 40K novel with an engaging and original read.
Dembski-Bowden shapes the story and the numerous characters with equal aplomb and style that rivals anything that my W40K favorite Dan Abnett has published over the past few years. About halfway through the novel, I suddenly realized that not much in the way of blood-curdling, throat-ripping destruction had taken place, and yet I was totally satisfied with that. I was enjoying the book immensely, and it only got better as the action intensified. I found Blood Reaver to be a fine blend of the history of the 8th Legion (aka The Night Lords), varied and thoughtful character perspective, political and social intrigue, and the usual violent heroics that round out any Astartes feast. The writing itself is stylishly good.
My expectations are now very high for the follow-on book in the Night Lords series. For those who like Military Sci-Fi and have not given Warhammer 40K a try, this is a fine place to start.