The first of the new Night Lords series has started with a bang and ended in flames. The book revolves around the First Claw, first squad, of the 10th Night Lords company led by Talos, a Night Lord with prophetic dreams like his Primarch as they invade the Forge World Crythe alongside the Black Legion, as well as several other renegade chapters and legions that are only mentioned.
One thing that is very different from other Chaos Space Marine novels is that only one short paragraph in this novel is dedicated to loyalist marines, who die very quickly. It focuses on the Night Lords for the majority and with some sections dedicated to the slaves that serve them.
A horde of new Night Lords are introduced from the prophetic Talos, the aging Cyrion, and the ancient War-Sage Malcharion. Some old characters are referenced, with the famed Talonmaster Zso Sahaal making an indirect cameo, and a mention of Acerbus the Axemaster. And the legendary Despoiler, Abaddon himself makes an appearance midway, along with some surprise visitors whose identities I wont spoil, despite how incredibly epic they are. The book also adds a kickass new battlecry, or catchphrase, for the legion. "In midnight clad"
Without giving away too much. The story starts with the Night Lords taking a short stop en route to the Crythe system where Warmaster Abaddon is working towards the next Black Crusade and fighting the Mechanicus. They arrive and find that not all is as it seems as the downfall of the Night Lords is being orchestrated behind the scenes. Old enemies and supposed allies both threaten the VIII Legion and they must set aside their differences to survive. The ending is great and sets the scene for the next book as an even older enemy of the Night Lords is returning through the void.
The pace of the story is well set with the fight scenes being brutal and quick without losing any of the action that we love. The writing style itself is very good and I thought using bold font for Malcharion's text was helpful and very fitting for the ancient War-sage. While its not entirely necessary I would recommend reading Lord of the Night before reading Soul Hunter as one of the later chapters makes a large reference to Lord of the Night and requires the knowledge of the book to understand it fully.
In conclusion this book was amazing. Its become my new favourite for introducing likeable traitor astartes and for giving an under appreciated legion the series they've deserved for a long time.
Favourite Points: I had several favourite points within the book. The showdown between Malcharion the War-Sage and Raguel the Sufferer was amazing, especially given the history between those two. I hope Malcharion is ok and will be back.
Another was the surprise visitor's, mentioned above, attempt to corrupt Talos by promising him power. I was also surprised by the conduct of one of these visitors, he was not at all like I thought he would be. There was a point I mixed him up with another one of the visitors due to his attitude towards Talos.
Another was the Atramentar, I believe a Nostraman word for Elite Guard, Vraal's battle with Xarl, Cyrion and Mercutian in the awakening chamber. They did very well but Vraal's end was very nice, I was surprised he didn't scream when he turned around, though he probably didn't even have time to scream.
The final, not really the final but the last one I will note here, is the Void-Born. I thought she was quite an interesting character as she showed what life is really like down in the bowels of the Covenant of Blood
, the Night Lord Strike Cruiser. Her fate was quite sad though but its good to know that the Blood Angel that killed her was hacked to death, and she was avenged
Low Points: The book had very few low points but I did identify at least one, two but the second is just a slight wish. The first is the contemptuous ease in which the Eldar were crushed in the novel. They barely even fired a shot off.
The second is the other Traitor marines. Some mentioned to be there are the Iron Warriors, Violaters, The Purge, The Reavers of Quintus and yet none of these Astartes appear even in passing. Would have been nice to see a Night Lord view on these legions.
So in conclusion I would recommend this book wholeheartedly. I give Soul Hunter
. I look forward to ADB's next work, which judging by the end will probably be called Void Stalker, and very very ironic since while I was reading it a bit ago I wondered what the next book could be called and Void Stalker was one of the names I came up with
, along with Darkness Prophet and Midnight Herald.