Warrior Coven by C.S Goto – Review [Lord of the Night]

It must be said that this cover is awful. The marine looks alright but the Eldar and her weapon look like unpolished, undetailed and blocky computer renders.

Lord of the Night reviews the second Deathwatch novel, Warrior Coven by C.S Goto.

“Sadly this novel falls far short of the mark due to wooden characters, wildly inaccurate and unbelievable lore changes, and a plot that seemed to go nowhere.” – The Founding Fields

Warrior Coven was a let down for me. Some scenes in it are enjoyable I admit, one or two still stick with me, but the rest of the novel is a let down due to the things I stated above. Warrior Brood told an acceptable story with some likeable characters and minimal lore changes, however Warrior Coven does none of these things.

The Deathwatch have been called to war. Summoned by an ancient debt to the Eldar they swear to recover those of their Craftworld Ulthwe that have been abducted by the Twisted Kin in exchange for information on the Ruinous Powers that only the Eldar can supply. Trust is non-existant between the two sides, but pragmatism demands action. But all is not as it seems as the Eldar and Deathwatch ally to battle a truly deadly foe, and with the secret motives of the Inquisition driving one member of the team, the rest face their darkest hour as they battle for their very survival, and the survival of their souls.

Now the plot is the first problem. A debt to aliens?? The Imperium barely tolerates aliens existing, I can understand Rogue Traders and Inquisitors making deals with the Eldar or the lesser alien races but not to the extent that is shown in this novel. And of course as the Dark Eldar get involved things only get more absurd, with the raiders colonizing a planet and making deals with the minions of She Who Thirsts, and the Eldar making deals with the Dark Eldar for slaves. Plus the plot never felt like it went anywhere, the intelligence promised never materialized in any way that the reader can see, and it felt like the whole point of the story was to get the Deathwatch to the coliseum for a gladiator fight. And the scribe sideplot just seemed pointless, and the Grey Knights cameo only lasted for a few pages and was completely unnecessary as any other Imperial force could have been used in their place.

The characters are the next problem. Aside from Quiron Octavius and his Deathwatch who are written nicely enough, the Mantis Warrior Kruidan was my personal favourite of the novel, the rest of the cast is just ludicrous. The Eldar are shifty and sell out their own kind to each other, they speak in jilted accents and those accents are actually put onto the paper which is just off-putting, and the only two main Eldar characters are wooden and do not feel like real Eldar, and the Dark Eldar are making deals with Slaaneshi Daemons and colonizing planets?? And the motives of the Inquisition just seem to be brushed over for the entire novel and then revealed in two sentences at the end, and the characters just feel inconsistent in their motives and goals.

It must be said that this cover is awful. The marine looks alright but the Eldar and her weapon look like unpolished, undetailed and blocky computer renders.

The action is the most tolerable part of the novel, specifically the gladiator scene that actually had some very good moments. Goto doesn’t write the scenes any better than most but the premise of the fight was very enjoyable and I liked the tension that went with the audience, and the final battles of two characters in particular were interesting though one felt very very abrupt and I was actually shocked by that character’s death but not in a good way. Other then that there isn’t any real action in the entire novel aside from one or two characters killing another in a quick burst of violence.

The novel’s pacing feels somewhat uneven. The stories jump between each other and it feels quite jarring to be reading about a Space Marine killing Eldar one second and a librarian invesgating a suspicious xenos lore collection the next. But the lore of the novel is the true let down, it’s all over the place and at times it was cringe-inducing. I understand of course that the lore can be fluid, but the core rules are rigid and some of them were violated in this novel. Craftworld Ulthwe felt no more secure than a paper fort, the Dark Eldar making deals with the things that eat their very souls, the Deathwatch aiding the Eldar openly and a Grey Knight making a joke in his head. It just felt too odd to really get into the novel’s lore.

My favourite quote, I suppose it’s this one,

“It seems that the keepers of the Coven of Isha are not so very different from the Eldar themselves.”

The ending is abrupt as hell. It feels like one second I was reading a high-speed chase and the next second I was reading a meeting between Inquisitors and a Deathwatch marine, which is exactly what happened. The novel’s ending felt rushed and so many plot strands were left unanswered or forgotten about completely, and many characters were just not seen again at the end. A more complete ending was definitely required for this novel, one that ended all the character stories and answered all of the questions posed in the novel. But that will never happen now.

For it’s rather disjointed story, flat characters and it’s one redeeming action sequence I give Warrior Coven a score of 2.5/10. This is not a novel I would recommend to anyone except the most die-hard 40k fans like me, and then only for the sole purpose of having read it to learn what happened to some of the characters from Warrior Brood. And I would definitely suggest that any new to 40k and Black Library stay the hell away from this novel until you’ve read enough novels to understand that Warrior Coven and Warrior Brood do not represent the lore of 40k well.

That’s it for this review. Not sure what will be next but i’m tempted to re-review some of my older reviews and give them more appropriate scores. Until next time,


Lord of the Night

Lord of the Night is one of TFF’s original reviewers. He’s done quite a few for TFF and that number keeps expanding. You’ll enjoy his diverse mix of book reviews. Always a treat.