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Eroldren reviews Soul Hunter by Aaron Dembski-Bowden that kicks off the Night Lords Trilogy.
“The midnight terrors lying inside are meant to be known.” – The Founding Fields
Years have come and gone since Aaron Dembski-Bowden made his long-lasting impression among Black Library’s readership with his debut novel Cadian Blood and latter projects Soul Hunter and The First Heretic. Yet for the most part I’ve always enjoy picking up Soul Hunter every now and again over the rest of ADB’s work to see First Claw and the rest of the crew once more going about with their fantastical troubles.
Fear these Space Marines
Betrayed, cast from the Emperor’s light and hunted as heretics, they are the rebels of the 41st Millennium. Garbed in symbols of death, the Night Lords are remorseless hunters and killers. They will never repent for the blasphemies that saw them banished. They prey upon the dying Imperium, bringing death from the darkness between worlds.
And terror is their most powerful weapon
Night Lords were my first 40K foray into the world of Chaos Space Marines that started off with Simon Spurrier’s Lord of the Night. Except after reading and caught up with Zso Sahaal’s character (and Mita Ashyn likewise) I wanted more out of the VIII Legion rather than go pursue other available books dealing with different Traitor Legions straightaway who only two been so far explored: Iron Warriors and Word Bearers. Latter on the web had gone abuzz with Aaron Dembski-Bowden when he tackled the Night Lords so I thought I give Soul Hunter a gander base on the hubbub online. I was already out looking for something fresh and hot off the press from Black Library and Chaos-related series that which I could possibly invest myself into full on.
I can’t say I’ve ever regretted my purchase. It was quite the immersive book.
Set aboard the Covenant of Blood, vessel of the diminishing 10th Company and The Exalted the first few chapters sets up a striking impression. Page by page as the world, plot, dialogue, the characters, blood and violence, and the background material beings to flesh itself further makes all together an exciting story I don’t like ever to put down long. Some sections such as the action sequences and overall pacing do drag a little bit, nothing what would lingers long enough to hinder my Soul Hunter experience.
They’re not your standard warmongering bunch who entirely thrives on invoking sheer terror, striking from the skies in the cover of night or annihilating worlds. No, no, no. Well maybe take that back, they do uphold that status quo here in retrospect and leave behind chaos but 10th Company and First Claw are a group that challenges that old Chaos Space Marine generalization. Resources are dwindling whether it be their numbers, slave workforce or hardware 10th Company is in the middle of a troublesome situation. And that’s puts them into a dangerous state and us in wonder what fate will ever befell them. The wide array of a character cast ADV presents us here each offer different viewpoints on how one view the Long War, the Legions, the Imperium, themselves, slaves etc. From Night Lords such as Talos, the leader of First Claw and cursed Legion prophet, Xarl or Cyrion, or outsider perspectives of the slave duo – Septimus and Octavia – everybody maintains their own unique POVs and voices that grounds them down to our level of being empathetic readers. Even thought the Warhammer 40K univese is a grimdark place, following coldhearted monsters keeps Black Library and all the rest refreshing.
If you’re on the lookout to find a gateway WH40K book or perhaps one centered around Chaos Space Marines, I’ll say you ought to give Soul Hunter a shot. Even if you’re wary of the internet acclaim or perhaps even myself, it might become something of an unexpected gem to add to your book collection regardless.
Overall Verdict: 9/10