Posts Tagged ‘Aaron Dembski-Bowden’

blprocessed-ragnar20cover  In all aspects of this story, Ragnar Blackmane by Aaron Dembski-Bowden reads like a tribute tale in honor of past Ragnar works, and that is a very good thing. This is somewhat of a saga within a saga and it took awhile for the past to meet up with the present and I wasn’t entirely sure that it was eventually going to connect as smoothly as it did.

Ragnar starts out waist deep in a hopeless battle on Cadia; he makes a promise to hold back the endless tide of invaders until sunset. While preparing for a final wave of assailants, he is speaking his fallen brother’s names out-loud in honor of their memories as per his ritual, when he is posed with the question of: Who is the one battle-brother Ragnar would most wish by his side at this hour? His answer is “Razortongue”

The flash back to Ragnar and Razortongue’s time together is how I am reminded of past Ragnar books, tales of a young Ragnar committing rash mistakes and having to fight tooth and claw to make amends for his errors.

I only have one quarrel with this book: the serializing change from the first few Lords of the Space Marines limited editions to this Space Marine Legends series title, the switch to this identical format but with a different series name makes absolutely no sense to me.

My review doesn’t do the book justice, however, as the glorious cover and limited edition format is well worth the cover price for any collector and the story is beautifully written. It was enough to dig me out of my grave and write a minor tribute to one of the great Black Library authors, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, and pay tribute to his fine work.

The words “Review” and “Void Stalker” are like drips of poisonous venom that breach the sanctuary of Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s hollowed out gothic hovel in which only the screams of tortured acolytes dedicated to Corpse-God of Mankind can be heard. The very fingers which type this text tremble at the mere impending notion of what heretical design Aaron could possibly implement in their demise, something akin to a chain-sword severing their hands into bloody, bone-chipped wrists.

The most startling change within this awe-inspiring final piece in the Night Lord Trilogy came to me with such shock, that I had to verify it was my favorite group of Night Lords being led by the noble Talos who committed such atrocities. Then, it dawned on me, perhaps I glossed over it or simply didn’t want to acknowledge the fact that these Demi-god warriors are truly pawns of Chaos. I felt cheated. In my heart I wanted Talos to return his Chapter to its former glory and take up the mantle left by the death of their former crazed Primarch.  Such is the foolish hopes and dreams of a simple fan; these dreams were smashed violently against the wall repeatedly, splitting flesh, breaking bone, and ripping asunder every last slim glimmer of delusional hope that this could be so. I blame these misguided fancies to the fact that Aaron Dembski-Bowden so craftily left the brutalization of the innocent inhabitants to the Night Lord’s former home world till the third book. It finally took hold that these Space Marines are truly one with the Chaos that rules them and they greatly enjoy it. Yet, still I find myself rooting for each and every one of them.

The ambience within this novel is so dark, gritty, and filled with a depth of Chaos that one can taste the Night Lord’s taint, feel their hatred, and see their skin-flayed cloaks billowing out as they come for you in the darkest night; only the soft scuttling of crushed skulls dragged across the  ground give away their presence. Every inch of writing within these pages lashes out with an unparalleled brilliance and foresight, summing up one of the greatest Warhammer trilogies thus far published by The Black Library.

The actions scenes left the reader in a jaw-dropping, drool inducing coma. Lending my friend the book to finish the trilogy, he preceded to text me about how “insanely freaking awesome” every battle was and then show his entire family the epic fight between Xarl and the loyalist marine champion. Apparently he is trying to lobby for a small motion-picture movie for Void Stalker and include this breathtaking duel as the cinematic trailer. I for one would love to see this.

Qualms with this masterpiece are few – a disagreement between Talos and Septimus leads to an altercation that seems extreme. Yes, Septimus went against Talos’s wishes but after all his servant has done for him, could this not be overlooked?

I hate giving away spoilers, but it is so hard not to and when the Eldar come to play, all that can be said is…. wow. The inevitable conclusion keeps the proverbial engines churning and perhaps my slim glimmer of hope for more Night Lords isn’t so distant after all.

I give this fantastic read 5 out of 5 Liams.

I have recently been gifted with a copy of The Hammer and The Blade, By Paul S. Kemp, from Angry Robot Publishing. Barring any life altering, time defying, scarecrow alien invasions, I should have a review up in a weeks time.

I also lent a great friend of mine the first in the Night Lord Trilogy, Soul Hunter, and for some unknown reason he was kind enough to buy me the ending book Void Stalker. Perhaps a review of that mid-May.