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Friday, August 5, 2011

Book Review: Blood Reaver

Welcome back to our latest edition of Chaos Corner. We've got ourselves a brief review of Blood Reaver by Aaron Dembski-Bowden. So, without further ado, here we go...


I have come to the conclusion that ADB is the best writer at Black Library right now. His prose is crisp and clear, moving at a brisk pace. In quite a few BL offerings, the writing is ponderous, or the stories start with promise but end with a whimper. Neither of these have ever happened in an ADB book. All of his stories are lightning fast reads, and the climaxes are always excellent. I loved both Soul Hunter and Cadian Blood, while First Heretic (good, but flawed) is really the "first book" in the Horus Heresy series. At any rate, I look forward to any book that he's involved with (his short story in Age of Darkness is excellent), but the question is, did he do it again with Blood Reaver?

The Good: Absolutely! ADB did it again. Blood Reaver is a great Night Lords book. He has a real flair for writing for this legion. Brooding, vengeful, treacherous- ADB paints the Night Lords just as they should be. However, these traits aren't broad stroked- each Night Lord has their own personality, their own views, their own tics. And their ship, Covenant of Blood, is a character unto itself. Indeed, ADB does great characterization. Talos is totally kick ass, but so is Uzas (I can't wait to see if Khorne 'takes' him). I also love the Exalted/Vandred dynamic- great psychology there. Of course, you can't forget about Septimus and Octavia. Their "relationship" really evolves here, and its fun (and I love Hound). Then, there's the Red Corsairs. Without giving too much away, the Night Lords reluctantly team up with Huron Blackheart (written with a bit of humor and to great effect by ADB) to raid the fortress monestary of the Marines Errant. Now, you may know how the Seige of Vilmus ends, but ADB makes it dramatic and exciting. The best part of the book is that it sin't "war porn", that some BL books are- there is a siege, but really, the story is a crime story- a heist within a heist, if you will. That makes for some reading as you see Talos' scheme come together- with intriging results. Finally, the book sets up the final book in the First Claw trilogy very well... Talos is in command now- can he live up to his own twisted sense of honor? Or will he fall short, like Vandred and even Konrad Curze did? Can't wait to find out!

The Bad: Not much here, really. Just that you really have to remember Soul Hunter very well- you don't get brought up to speed at all. I read Soul Hunter over a year ago- a scorecard might have helped. The other issue is the character Variel- "The Flayer". Now, I get why he helps save Talos' life- but why does he do the rest (I won't spoil it here). It's not spelled out to me too clearly- not the worst thing in the world, but it annoyed me...

So there you have it. The second of the First Claw trilogy is terrific, as I expected. I can't wait for part III, Void Stalker. I give this 4 out of 4 Marks of Chaos. Until next time, in midnight clad...


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