Brotherhood of the Storm by Chris Wraight – Review [Lord of the Night]
Lord of the Night reviews the thrilling Brotherhood of the Storm, a limited edition White Scars Horus Heresy novella by Chris Wraight.
“Wraight takes on unexplored territory and succeeds beyond the wildest expectations. A story that must not be missed by any Sons of the Khan.” – The Founding Fields
It has been a month since I got a chance to review anything, and when I finished Brotherhood of the Storm I simply could not pass up the chance to write a review about it. It demanded one, and I wisely complied. This story is both a thrilling tale of speed and blood, and a character study into the Legion that is perhaps even more mysterious than the Alpha Legion.
The White Scars are an unknown. They were unknown on Chogoris before the Crusade found them and elevated them, they are unknown to their brother Legions who look at them with curiosity and confusion, and above all the Khan who is an unknown to even his own Legion. Rarely can anyone find the Khan, for he is never still, always moving to the centre wherever it may be. On Chondax as the White Scars purge the remnants of the greatest Ork empire to ever live one warrior desires one thing above all else, above all glories and all battles. To find the centre, for where the centre is found the Khan will also be found.
The story that Brotherhood of the Storm tells serves two purposes. First it tells the story of three characters, one in the distant past, one in the near past and one in the present. And all three stories move ahead into the future, whatever it may hold for the White Scars. The second is as a portrait of a Legion and their Primarch, to unravel the mystery behind the V Legion for the readers and to show them just exactly who these warriors are. And on both accounts it succeeds brilliantly, telling an entertaining story with some fantastically written scenes and revealing more about the White Scars than any other piece of fiction has done.
Now the characters i’ve mentioned are the key protagonists. Only a few others are present and play their roles but this story is about Shigan Khan, Ilya Ravallion and Targutai Yesugei. Each of these characters is well written and shows a different face of the Legion, Shigan Khan shows the warriors and his own Minghan Kasurga and reveals much about the signature attitude of the Legion and the alternative viewpoints that can be found, Ilya Ravallion is the outsider whom is meeting the Legion for the first time, and how she sees the actions of the White Scars and the interesting parallels that can be found, and Targutai Yesugei shows the distant past of the Legion and the roots that they came from, and provides a very very interesting scene that will definitely provoke much more interest in the Stormseers. Jaghatai Khan is not neglected and while he does not receive a POV, we see a lot of him through the other’s eyes and we even hear an interesting opinion from a rather surprising source.
The action is gripping right from the start. Wraight takes the combat we know that the White Scars, and we, love and shows it at it’s finest. Jetbikes, the fast-paced attack, strafing runs, the mentality of an enclosing circle and that of the hunter who never stops running. The Jetbikes were particularly enjoyable as we see them used on both vehicular and infantry targets, and just why they are so devastating. The Imperium lost something special when they lost the Jetbikes. But other detatchments of the Legion are also present and show that not every White Scar fights in the same way, and displays the merits and weaknesses of both tactical doctrines.
The pacing is fast in the Shiban Khan chapters, fitting it’s protagonist perfectly, while Ilya’s and Targutai’s are somewhat more measured. Each tells a different story and the pace reflects that, the high-speed pursuit of the Orks in Shiban’s chapters is matched by an equally fast pace whereas Ilya’s bureacratic style and Targutai’s memories require more careful elaboration and thus are slowed down a bit. But all three reveal just as much as the other two about the White Scars, just from different eyes and opinions.
Now for my favourite quote, I found it on the first few pages. The Legion’s epigram at least according to one character, and nothing sums up the White Scars better in my opinion,
“Laugh when you are killing.”
The ending is rather illuminating, and shows how future events will take their toll upon the White Scars. And it was surprisingly philosophical and poetic, the ideas presented are fascinating ones and quite stirring as well. I found myself agreeing with what was said about choices, fate and the hunt and chase, all providing very interesting theories and ideas behind both the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy, and once again revealing a great deal about the inner nature of the White Scars.
For an enjoyable story, some fascinating ideas and philosophies about the Crusade and the Heresy, and for doing what other pieces failed to do and get me interested in the White Scars I give Brotherhood of the Storm a score of 8.7/10. This is a story that you can be proud you’ve read, it’s engaging and fascinating and quite resounding. And the decision to make it available for a whole week is one that I wholeheartedly supported and still do, this is a novella that as many people as possible should own and I, and 5764 others according to the front page, can be proud to know that we own what is likely the best depiction of the White Scars in Black Library.
That’s it for now. No recommendation to by the novella since you can’t anymore, but have no fear as it will be reprinted in the future. My next review, hopefully not too far away, will be Ravenwing by Gav Thorpe. So until next time,
AVE DOMINUS NOX!