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9 May 2012

Void Stalker by Aaron Dembski-Bowden


The hunters have become the hunted. The Night Lords flee to the dark fringes of the Imperium to escape their relentless pursuers – the eldar of Craftworld Ulthwé. Their flight takes them to the carrion world of Tsagualsa, where their primarch died and their Legion was broken. There, history will repeat itself as a deadly assassin stalks the shadows, and the Night Lords are drawn into a battle they are destined to lose.

Hopefully if you’re reading this review you should have at least read Soul Hunter and Blood Reaver. If not, why haven’t you picked up a copy yet? There’s a lot of reviews of Void Stalker out there on the internet already so I will instead focus on the parts that I enjoyed the most.

Void Stalker brings an epic end to what has been a fantastic set of trilogy from Black Library. I don't think there are many authors who can write complex and engaging characters quite like Aaron Dembski-Bowden. The Night Lords 10th Company contains some of the vilest and most sadistic bastards alive but somehow Dembski-Bowden still manages to humanise them into characters that you care about.

Just look at the First Claw. Each of them is a cold blooded killer that revels in the fear of those they kill but at the same time they each have a character flaw that readers can connect with. In this book, the Night Lords do some awful things to the citizens of Tsagualsa to draw attention to themselves but I find myself forgiving these traitor marines even after the monstrosity they caused.

While I’m on the subject of cold blooded killers that you can sympathise with, I’m sure anyone who reads this book will see Uzas in a new light. In this ultimate book Uzas finally snaps out of his bloodthirst to reveal what truly happened that night with the Void Born’s father. Dembski-Bowden really knows how to tug your heartstrings even with the most despicable criminal.

Talos remains one of my favourite characters in the 40k universe. He is still the reluctant leader of his warband in this book but has stepped up nicely to fill the void left by the Exalted. You think you understand Talos but he suddenly does something so shocking that makes you reevaluate his character. I like it that there's still something new to discover about Talos even after finishing the previous two books.

Septimus and Octavia's relationship also takes a step up to the next level. I know Black Library frowns upon romances but this love between Septimus and Octavia shows that there is still hope for mankind no matter how dire a situation is. Who knows, maybe Black Library will relax now and let ADB do his Eldar love story.

Besides the amazing character build up, this novel contains plenty of thrilling battle scenes. Xarl engages in one of the longest and bloodiest duels and proves once again why he is the best fighter in First Claw. There’s also the brutal battle between the 10th Company and Void Stalker, the eponymous character of the book.

I can keep praising ADB in this review but everyone by now knows how great a writer he is already. To sum it up the Night Lords trilogy have given me new insights into the traitor legions and remind me that they are not all Chaos worshipping maniacs. This trilogy will always be one of my favourite series from Black Library.

Night Lords: Soul Hunter and Blood Reaver

Challenges read for:

2012 Ebook Challenge - Book 16

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