Wednesday, 9 May 2012

'Void Stalker' - Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Void Stalker was the fix for my latest addiction, fiction by Aaron Dembski-Bowden. After I finished reading The Emperor's Gift I was on a real high, and I really did not want to come down again. I just legged it to the cave where I keep all my books to look for another book by Aaron Dembski-Bowden. Luckily, Void Stalker found me. The book was calling out to me through the Warp, surrounded by a faint glow. Thank you Black Library for providing me with a review copy of Void Stalker.

I don't normally start reading a series with any other book than the first, but I made an exception for Void Stalker. Void Stalker concludes the Night Lords trilogy, but it turned out OK jumping in at the last book. Anyway, The Night Lords is one the nine traitor legions and was created in the first founding. While in service for the Emperor they brought order to human worlds by fear, death and suffering, which is pretty much what they do nowadays as well.

Talos, prophet of the Night Lords and leader of the first claw, is still plagued by his visions of the future and the comas induced by the visions. The book starts with one of these visions, and Talos awakening to find himself surrounded by his men and unable to recall much from his dream. On his orders they have travelled through the warp to their old world. When they find signs of life on the supposedly barren planet it's almost an insult to what happened such a long time ago, when the legions loyal to the emperor destroyed their world. Any human alive on the planet will shortly wish for a quick death.

The Night Lords are natural hunters, thriving on fear and suffering. What they are less used to is being hunted, but the tables will turn.

Honestly, I sometimes struggle when reading about chaos marines. They are often too evil, and it's hard to see a reason to much they do. Aaron Dembski-Bowden makes it a lot easier to connect with the Night Lords. They are relatively untouched by chaos, they still have some honour left, and don't even kill everything around them when feeling a bit blue. I wouldn't go so far as saying I sympathised with them, but I could at least see reason behind their actions. The Night Lords have lost their purpose, and this is how they found it again.

I don't have much to add, regarding Aaron Dembski-Bowden's writing, to what I said in my review of The Emperor's Gift except the man is bloody brilliant. He delivers so well when it comes to action, suspense and atmosphere, but also adds a lot of depth to his characters, which is not always the case with space marines. I'm off to rummage through my book piles for more of his books, and so should you dear reader.

Void Stalker weighs in at 416 pages and is published by The Black Library.


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