Reviews: Night Lords

Blood Reaver: Good Book Even on its Own

I have not read Soul Hunter yet, so I'm still in the dark on several of the plot points of the overall Night Lords series. However, if that book is anything like Blood Reaver, I can't wait to start it.

Blood Reaver isn't just a great Warhammer 40000 book, it's a great book in general. Aaron Dembski-Bowden has one of the best vocabularies I've seen in a genre author, and he never feels repetitive or hackneyed. Everything is described in just the right amount of detail and at just the right tone; even a single paragraph at any moment can really set the attitude.

The characters are really good. ADB manages to make the Night Lords both monstrous and likeable at the same time. The main character, Talos, is cruel, vicious, pragmatic, and yet strangely, he's also naive, jaded, and rather sad. Uzas is a pathological and insane murderer, yet his lack of control and his desperate attempts to keep lucid are understandable. One of the newest main characters is a vile, sadistic, and twisted doctor, yet his loyalty to a certain character is touching. Even the human characters are well supported; both Octavia and Septimus feel like organic parts of the story, just as important as First Claw in their own way. And this isn't just restricted to original characters; the titular Blood Reaver, Huron Blackheart, is portrayed realistically in comparison to how he appears in other media. He is affable and charismatic, yet has an underlying menace. He seems feeble, yet is dangerous.

One really great thing about the writing is that everything is explained. ADB is either a genius, or he must have one hell of an editor (Or both), because I never felt lost reading through Blood Reaver with no supplemental material. It might be the second book in the series, but it's great on its own merits.

If there's any real issue with Blood Reaver, it's the plot structure. The adventures are extremely exciting to go through, but at the end it feels as if nothing was obtained for the Tenth Company as a whole. I also didn't really like the final obstacle being a character introduced near the end of the story.

But Blood Reaver isn't great because of its plot, it's great because of its fantastic execution. I'd say this is the best Warhammer 40000 book I've read, and I can't wait for more.