Warrior Brood by C.S Goto – Review [Lord of the Night]
Lord of the Night reviews the novel Warrior Brood by C.S Goto.
“A novel with an interesting premise that unfortunately is let down by fast-and-loose lore and a mostly unmemorable cast.” – The Founding Fields
Warrior Brood was a novel that was quite a mixed bag for me. On the one hand it had the Deathwatch in their own environment, secret missions and the kind of missions that only an elite kill-team can actually accomplish. But on the other hand you have a wider cast that is unmemorable and somewhat cliche, and the fast and loose lore that C.S Goto brings in his novels that often has you furrowing your brow as you wonder “What the hell was that.”
A standoff is taking place. The planet Herodian IV has fallen to the Tyranids, it’s defenders from the Mantis Warriors chapter have fallen and the Inquisition has demanded it’s destruction, after a brief period of time. That time is all that Captain Quiron Octavius and his Deathwatch team have to make planetfall and recover something from the planet’s surface, but with Inquisitors warring with each other in orbit, a short-tempered and green Inquisitor leading their team, Space Marines at their back that nobody wants to trust, and the Tyranids swarming across the planet and bent on devouring them all, the Deathwatch will have to put aside their myriad differences of Chapter and work together to ensure that they are not doomed along with Herodian IV.
Now the story is tight, more so than the sequel which i’ll get into in my next review, and if looked at alone the plot is actually decent. The Deathwatch are doing what they do best, missions against suicidal odds and the Inquisitor war that takes place is a very interesting look into how cutthroat the Inquisition can be. The story itself is not let down by the lore issues, though it does seem somewhat jumpy at times and of course short, the story is enjoyable if you like Space Marines in odds that even they don’t like. But the shortness of the story means that it can feel rushed and that some things have been glossed over that probably should have been explored more.
The characters are the first issue with the book. The Deathwatch team is really under characterised, only Quiron Octavius has any real personality, while the few named others are just carichatures of their Chapters. The Mantis Warriors were the best characters in the story, their desire for redemption and the mistrust that they receive despite how loyal they are and how fiercely they fight made them interesting to read about. The Inquisition felt like cliches, a short-tempered Inquisitor who thinks she knows best, an Inquisitor who feels the ends justify the means and is monstrously arrogant, and an Inquisitor who thinks they can do the job without being cruel, nothing new or interesting there.
The action is somewhat underwhelming for a book set on a planet overrun by Tyranids. Too few opposition is encountered and the only fights that impressed me were the Hive Tyrant, and even then not for the action of the scene but the plot even that occured there, and the Harridan scene which was one of the novel’s best parts but again for a character scene rather than the quality of the fight. A lack of action does not mean a bad book far from it, but the action in this novel is too few and underwhelming considering the scale of what is going on, there should have been a few more fights with the Tyranids and the fights that did occur should have had more Tyranids present.
The pacing is somewhat rushed. It seems like the Deathwatch reach their goal too quickly and easily, and the jumping between the stories is rather off-putting. But it’s the lore that really suffers, C.S Goto plays it a bit fast and loose and while admittedly the lore of 40k is fluid, the core rules are not and a few of them are stretched here and you will probably find yourself raising an eyebrow as you digest the absurdity of what you’ve just read.
My favourite quote, has to be this rather common quote in 40k but used very nicely in a scene that made me smile,
“Suffer not the alien to live.”
The ending feels rather abrupt, one element of that I admit did reinforce a particular truth about the 40k universe, but other then that it felt like everything that had happened had been pointless except to kill Mantis Warriors and to see a Radical Inquisitor in action. I think perhaps the novel could have benefited from being longer and written more tightly with more attention paid to the lore.
For a decent enough story that may be let down by other elements but is still mostly enjoyable I give Warrior Brood a score of 4.0/10. Now I would not recommend that this novel be anyone’s first entry into 40k, or even that everybody will enjoy it. But it’s a decent enough story and one that you can pass some time by reading, though I really doubt this will make anybody’s favourite book list.
My next review will be for Goto’s Warrior Coven, the sequel to Warrior Brood. Until next time,
AVE DOMINUS NOX!