Blood Reaver by Aaron-Dembski Bowden – Advanced Review [Bane of Kings]
Bane of Kings reviews the second novel in the Night Lords trilogy, written by Aaron Dembski Bowden and published by Black Library
“The Night Lords return in another fantastic novel.” ~The Founding Fields
Right, here’s the second instalment in the popular Night Lords series written by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, author of Soul Hunter, and The First Heretic, and I must say that having read them both, I thoroughly enjoyed them, along with all of ADB’s other works that I’ve read (or listened to). And, although some part of me believed that this wouldn’t be as good as Soul Hunter, all doubts were crushed within the first couple of chapters.
The basic plot of Blood Reaver revolves around The Night Lords, still lead by the Exalted, forging an alliance with the Red Corsairs, lead by the Tyrant of Badab himself, Huron Blackheart, who is the ‘Blood Reaver’ that the book is referring to, to attempt to bring destruction to the fortress monastery of the Marines-Errant chapter.
The old cast from Soul Hunter are all back in this novel, as Aaron-Dembski Bowden continues to explore the tension between the First Claw. Well, when I say between, I mean everybody and Uzas, the member of the Night Lords who has begun to worship the Blood God, Khorne, and is currently the only member of the First Claw who is not aligned to any specific chaos god.
Blood Reaver has a fast-paced, bloodthirsty and carnage-ridden plot that will no doubt keep the book planted firmly in your hands, adding another great instalment to the Night Lords series, one that will only leave you wanting for more.
Now, for those of you who have read The Core, the short story in the Fear the Alien anthology, also by Aaron-Dembski Bowden and again, focusing on the Night Lords, you’ll no doubt know that that is set after Blood Reaver. You’ll probably find The Core a lot less confusing now if you re-read that after you’ve read Blood Reaver, as I find it tightens up all the loose ends, including exploring the character Lucoryphus of the Bleeding Eyes a bit more, and showing how he was introduced.
Lucoryphus has quickly risen to one of my favourite Night Lords, the raptor being one of the two ‘new’ main astartes introduced in this novel. The other we meet a
Moving on from the characters, in this novel, the author once again uses flashbacks in this novel, and when he includes them, he uses them to explore the past of the First Claw, featuring on a wide variety of flashbacks that give us a glimpse of the Siege of Terra, and what life was like on Nostramo before it was blown into pieces by Konrad Cruze, the Primarch of the VIII Legion, otherwise known as the Night Lords.long with the Red Corsair Variel the Flayer and they add to the range of a wonderful cast that Aaron-Dembski Bowden has created.
You also learn a bit more about pre-astartes Talos, and what his aspiration was to be when he was younger.
The flashbacks in my opinion are used to a great effect, and don’t bog the story down like Prospero Burns, and keep the reader as eager to find out more about the 10th’s past as they want to find out about the 10th’s future.
In Conclusion, Blood Reaver is a must for all of you who enjoyed any piece of Night Lords work by Aaron-Dembski Bowden that you’ve read. However, I recommend reading Soul Hunter first, if you haven’t already. It’s also a must if you haven’t read Soul Hunter yet.
Did I also mention that when had the choice between Blood Reaver and Age of Darkness, the latest instalment in the Horus Heresy series; I chose to read Blood Reaver first? Well, I didn’t. Just let me say this, you will enjoy Blood Reaver.
I did, a lot.
More Night Lords: Shadow Knight (Short Story), Soul Hunter, Throne of Lies (Audio Drama), Blood Reaver, The Core (Short Story)