Blood Reaver by Aaron Dembski-Bowden - Advanced Review [Lord of the Night] - Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-11, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
Chaos God of Old Night
 
Lord of the Night's Avatar
Lord of the Night's Flag is: United Kingdom
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: The Eternal Night
Posts: 5,028
Reputation: 48
Default Blood Reaver by Aaron Dembski-Bowden - Advanced Review [Lord of the Night]

Lord of the Night reviews the thrilling second novel in the Night Lords series by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Blood Reaver.



"Dire straits! With old enemies as allies and new allies they must betray, the 10th Company face their darkest hour thus far. Just surviving may no longer be enough.. now they must win."

(Note: This is an advanced review of Blood Reaver. It is scheduled for release in May 2011.)

The Night Lords are back and better than ever, though their situation is far worse. ADB has only further improved the Night Lords with traditions age old and elements new and fierce. ADB is a king with the Astartes, particularly the Chaos Astartes, he has given them depth and made them not only likeable, but sympathetic. Its very easy to root for the Sons of the sunless world, (awesome title), even over the heroes of the Imperium that they tear down with bolter and blade and claw. And of course the human element is never neglected, I didn't think it was possible but ADB has actually written a not only convincing, but rather interesting, love story into the darkest depths of 40k.

The 10th Company is facing the abyss. With barely any supplies remaining, the Covenant of Blood just waiting for one more component failure, and Claws killing each other in the pitch black halls, the Night Lords are given an interesting opportunity. Allied with the Red Corsairs, both sides having little love for each other, they are given a chance to wage war their way. But the true fight still awaits the Night Lords, to retake what was stolen from them, and to salvage their dying legion they must look to the future, rather than wallow in the past. But whom can they trust and whom can they call enemy, in this battle when foes may be allies and brothers are enemies.

This is a hell of a novel, already cutting its way into my favorites. I was very surprised by several events in the novel, namely what First Claw is shown when they arrive at Hell's Iris, what Talos learns at the novel's end and by the void warrior's ultimate revenge. ADB may not focus on the battle but that only makes the novel better, focusing on the Eighth Legion and what is driving them forward, and tearing them apart, as they sail the stars in their never ending war, just trying to survive. And one mystery is resolved in this novel, the fate of Secondus, the slave whose death Talos refuses to speak of.

The characters that ADB made us love in Soul Hunter return in Blood Reaver, even better than before. We take a look at what drives the other members of First Claw, chiefly Uzas whom we see to be a far deeper character than anybody, including myself, suspected. Xarl, Mercutian and Cyrion all return, and we of course get more humor from the most latter, including another "So... how are you?" moment, it was quite a good laugh. We gain more of Talos's world view, and see what seems to be the defining belief of the Night Lords legion from the others, in direct contrast to Talos's beliefs. And as the prophet of the Eighth Legion grows we see his past, which was surprisingly warm, and only makes a scene in Soul Hunter all the more tragic, I do hope we'll see a continuance of that scene in the future. And with new characters added to the mix like the half-crazed Lucoryphus, who has some really great moments, particularly his scene near the end of the novel, and the Apothecary Variel the Flayer, who is quite frankly sheer detached coolness, and the most badass Apothecary in Black Library.

The human element of the story is always present. Septimus and Octavia return and we see how their positions fare now that things are growing darker for the legion. Octavia struggles with her new charge, the Covenant of Blood, that rebels against her at every chance, while the life of a heretic is beginning to affect Septimus as he commits acts that while ensuring the legion's future, make him finally doubt the life he has been cast into. ADB has created a very interesting and unique story in 40k with these two characters, and the ending of the novel only makes it more interesting as we see what might be coming. And of course the scene somewhere in the later middle when Septimus, Octavia, Nonus and Hound are confronted by a legionnaire is surprising, and very impressive for them. I will watch their story with great interest.

One particular character that drew my eye is the Tyrant himself, Huron Blackheart. ADB has given us an interesting take on the Red Corsairs's lord and master, a wretch of a creature constantly in pain from wounds suffered centuries ago, and barely kept together by extensive machinery. Yet his tactical genius is unharmed and he reminded me of a younger Abaddon, but more aware of the troops under his command, the courtesies he must pay and the prizes he seeks. One day the Blackheart may rival the Despoiler, that will be something to see, and if they should ever ally to each other.. the Imperium would bleed.

The action is very well done, the Night Lords finally get to wage war their own way and it shows in the terror inducing, fast paced and lightning stealth that the Night Lords favor, but the carnage isn't left behind as they get plenty of chances to vent their rage and bloodlust on the enemy, and we get to see some of the methods the legion uses to inspire fear in the enemy, some of which are quite inventive. And the Bleeding Eyes are a joy to read as they scurry across walls and ceilings in their unique method of combat, it was like the Alien if it were armored in adamantium and ceramite.

The pacing of the novel is very good. ADB doesn't slow down as he keeps giving us hits and quotes worthy of a lexicon entry. The story proceeds on and on and never slows down, I only put this book down to take a break from reading so that I could process what I had read. We get to see more and more POV's in the story and they blend very well together, only adding to the story and quality of the novel.

The ending is ominous to say the very least, the future is always in flux and we know that prophets can be wrong, but they can also be right... the third novel is going to be a bloody affair, wrought with treachery and heresy. But the coming novel Void Stalker will definitely be a not-to-miss book, I'm already envisioning it .

I give Blood Reaver a grand total score of 10/10. The story is grand, the old characters are still complex and likable despite being renegades, the new characters are interesting and cool and in some cases quite funny, the surprises are shocking and game-changing, the battles are epic and one in particular stuck out in my mind as historic, and the ending is tense and only makes you want to read the next novel even more. And yet despite taking place in the shadow of the Fall of Vilamus, the battle that rages within the Eighth Legion is far more gripping and exciting.

Should you buy this book? The answer is yes. This is a must-read for all Black Library fans, hell the Night Lords trilogy is a series that I would recommend even to those who aren't fans of BL, they are a very great read.

Next for me is the Heresy Anthology Age of Darkness, its gonna be a good read.



https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...red-souls.html - The Kabal of Shattered Souls Project Log
http://www.talkwargaming.com/search/...Book%20Reviews - Check out Talk Wargaming for reviews by Lord of the Night.
Lord of the Night is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-11, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
Chaos God of Old Night
 
Lord of the Night's Avatar
Lord of the Night's Flag is: United Kingdom
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: The Eternal Night
Posts: 5,028
Reputation: 48
Default

For other opinions on Blood Reaver, feel free to browse these other reviews, though their scores are the same as mine.

http://www.graemesfantasybookreview....den-black.html
http://blagmasterg.wordpress.com/201...reaver-review/

Lord of the Night



https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...red-souls.html - The Kabal of Shattered Souls Project Log
http://www.talkwargaming.com/search/...Book%20Reviews - Check out Talk Wargaming for reviews by Lord of the Night.
Lord of the Night is offline  
post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-11, 03:25 PM
Senior Member
 
Bane_of_Kings's Avatar
Bane_of_Kings's Flag is: England
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Serenity.
Posts: 4,778
Reputation: 3
Default

Nice Review, LotN . I have mine on a draft on TFF, waiting for CP to post it up before I put it on here though.
Bane_of_Kings is offline  
 
post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-11, 04:42 PM
Senior Member
 
Malus Darkblade's Avatar
Malus Darkblade's Flag is: Kuwait
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,332
Reputation: 8
Default

Your paypal account, list it please :D

Why is it coming out in May when it's been done for a long time urgh.
Malus Darkblade is offline  
post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-11, 04:55 PM
Grand Lord Munchkin
 
gen.ahab's Avatar
gen.ahab's Flag is: USA
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Ivins, Utah, USA
Posts: 7,044
Reputation: 17
Default

10/10. Hard to take that seriously, but it was a good review. +2 brownie points.

The Website kept telling me that my profile was only 80% complete without creating a signature. Ain't no website going to tell me I was a lazy shit, no sir.
gen.ahab is offline  
post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-11, 05:03 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 171
Reputation: 1
Default

Nice review. I'd give it an 8.5, or maximum 9/10 though.

But I wonder, isn't Huron Blackheart a bit TOO powerful in the book ? The way he was shown to wield a Thunder Hammer was with almost Primarch-like strength. In that case, Abaddon & Kharn may be very very powerful indeed...

Anyways, excellent book by ADB.
Lord Mephiston is offline  
post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-11, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
Chaos God of Old Night
 
Lord of the Night's Avatar
Lord of the Night's Flag is: United Kingdom
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: The Eternal Night
Posts: 5,028
Reputation: 48
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by gen.ahab View Post
10/10. Hard to take that seriously, but it was a good review. +2 brownie points.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Mephiston View Post
Nice review. I'd give it an 8.5, or maximum 9/10 though.

But I wonder, isn't Huron Blackheart a bit TOO powerful in the book ? The way he was shown to wield a Thunder Hammer was with almost Primarch-like strength. In that case, Abaddon & Kharn may be very very powerful indeed...

Anyways, excellent book by ADB.
I'm confident in my score for the novel, and I'm not alone in that either, other reviews have given Blood Reaver the same score, or a score that means the same like 5/5 or 5 stars.

As for Blackheart I don't think so, I mean Abaddon's blade can rend reality and Kharn is completely immune to psychic powers. Blackheart needs something going for him to compete with that, his insane strength. That he was able to smash an Imperial Space Marine's head with that hammer like a crochet mallet shows how tough he is.



https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...red-souls.html - The Kabal of Shattered Souls Project Log
http://www.talkwargaming.com/search/...Book%20Reviews - Check out Talk Wargaming for reviews by Lord of the Night.
Lord of the Night is offline  
post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-11, 05:52 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 171
Reputation: 1
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord of the Night View Post
I'm confident in my score for the novel, and I'm not alone in that either, other reviews have given Blood Reaver the same score, or a score that means the same like 5/5 or 5 stars.

As for Blackheart I don't think so, I mean Abaddon's blade can rend reality and Kharn is completely immune to psychic powers. Blackheart needs something going for him to compete with that, his insane strength. That he was able to smash an Imperial Space Marine's head with that hammer like a crochet mallet shows how tough he is.
I think his bionic bodyparts must be contributing to his strength. Graham McNeil also portrayed him as very big & abnormally strong in his short story Skull Harvest.

Looking forward to reading Gildar Rift. It's about Silver Skulls vs. Red Corsairs.

Anyways I think that Void Stalker might be the last of ADB's NL series, looking at Talos' prediction at the end. But if more NL books are to follow, then I hope ADB can continue Sahaal's story.

Edit : Who else finds Variel to be like an Astartes version of Haemonculus ? I get the feeling that ADB based his character on them...

Last edited by Lord Mephiston; 04-14-11 at 05:59 PM.
Lord Mephiston is offline  
post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-11, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
Chaos God of Old Night
 
Lord of the Night's Avatar
Lord of the Night's Flag is: United Kingdom
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: The Eternal Night
Posts: 5,028
Reputation: 48
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Mephiston View Post
I think his bionic bodyparts must be contributing to his strength. Graham McNeil also portrayed him as very big & abnormally strong in his short story Skull Harvest.

Looking forward to reading Gildar Rift. It's about Silver Skulls vs. Red Corsairs.

Anyways I think that Void Stalker might be the last of ADB's NL series, looking at Talos' prediction at the end. But if more NL books are to follow, then I hope ADB can continue Sahaal's story.

Edit : Who else finds Variel to be like an Astartes version of Haemonculus ? I get the feeling that ADB based his character on them...
Well they are definitely a factor, Blackheart is one of the physically strongest Chaos Space Marines.

Void Stalker is the last of this trilogy to be sure but there may be a second trilogy. If there is a new trilogy ADB has said, this was a while ago, that it would be about what 10th Company do during the 13th Black Crusade. While we would all love to see him again Zso Sahaal's story is done, he isn't coming back, at least not from ADB.

Variel is my new favorite character of the series, he's awesome! He fights like.. an Apothecary, using his knowledge of the homo sapiens and homo astartes bodies to kill quickly. The first fight he has against two Red Corsairs, now that was cool, he actually pistol whipped one of them, and delivered a witty quip before killing him.

Lord of the Night



https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...red-souls.html - The Kabal of Shattered Souls Project Log
http://www.talkwargaming.com/search/...Book%20Reviews - Check out Talk Wargaming for reviews by Lord of the Night.
Lord of the Night is offline  
post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-11, 06:10 PM
Grand Lord Munchkin
 
gen.ahab's Avatar
gen.ahab's Flag is: USA
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Ivins, Utah, USA
Posts: 7,044
Reputation: 17
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord of the Night View Post
I'm confident in my score for the novel
I am sure you are. However, I am not. 10/10's do not exist in my opinion. But I am sure it is very good.

The Website kept telling me that my profile was only 80% complete without creating a signature. Ain't no website going to tell me I was a lazy shit, no sir.
gen.ahab is offline  
Reply

  Lower Navigation
Go Back   Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums > Fiction, Art and Roleplay Game Discussion > Black Library Book Reviews

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome