Tag Archive | "black library"

teampreston

Fear The Alien Anthology Review

Posted on October 11, 2010 by

The Imperium of Man has many enemies among the stars, but none are reviled so much as the alien. Dangerous races seek to destroy humanity wherever they turn –the brutish orks, the ravening hordes of the tyranid, the unrelenting necrons and the mysterious forces of the tau and the eldar. Across the universe, humanity and their defenders, the Space Marines, seek to eradicate these xenos threats. Yet all they can hope for is another day of survival – for to stand against the alien is to enter an unending war… Featuring stories by Dan Abnett, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Nick Kyme, Juliet McKenna, C.L. Werner and many more, Fear the Alien is an unmissable collection for fans of Warhammer 40,000 and military science fiction.

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Flames

Enforcer (Warhammer) Novel Review

Posted on September 27, 2010 by

Enforcer is not a typical 40k book. There are no space marines, aliens, battlefields — the standard fare for the darkness of the 41st millennium. Enforcer is also not a stand-alone novel, but an omnibus edition capturing all three novels of the Shira Calpurnia trilogy into one volume. The three novels are Crossfire, Legacy, and Blind. I somehow missed these when they were initially printed. I had heard quite a bit of positive discussion concerning them, so when I picked up my copy I dug right in.

The focus of these books is on Shira Calpurnia a senior member of the Adeptus Arbites. The Arbites are responsible for enforcing the laws of the Imperium across the galaxy. The best comparison to the arbites outside of 40k would be Judge Dredd. Depending on the situation, an arbite could be judge, jury, and executioner. Intimidation and brute force are the means by which they get the job done.

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Flames

Redemption Corps Review

Posted on September 17, 2010 by


The Redemption Corps is a regiment of ultra tough storm-troopers. Led by the legendary Captain Mortensen, the Redemption Corps and its Navy support divisions drift across the Kaligari Cradle from one warzone to another on brutal missions. When the revered major comes to the attention of the deadly sorority of the Battle Sisters, he not only has to contend with an ork invasion, but these fearsome warrioress-fanatics too. Now, the regiment must fight for its survival whilst being trapped between the xenos and the dark fury of the Imperium.

I read through this one rather quickly. It sucked me in and I couldn’t put it down. It also helped that I was trapped in the passenger seat on a family road trip as my wife drove us out to the middle of nowhere. Anyway, Storm Troopers are the focus of this book and bear some explanation. The Storm Troops of Warhammer 40k are nothing like those white armored buffoons from the original Star Wars Trilogy.

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teampreston

Sword of Justice Fiction Review

Posted on September 1, 2010 by

Sword of Justice is the opener for the Warhammer Heroes series of novels featuring the Emperor’s Champion Ludwig Schwarzhelm. The novel starts out with a bang and really never lets up. Short of spoiling the novel I’ll say that like many stories set in the Warhammer universe, the opening scene revolves around a battle. This is handled in a very deft manner showcasing some pretty ordinary, grunt-level characters that grow in to something more as well as some characters that we know little about, but grow to really admire as the story goes on.

One thing I have to point out is the superb manner in which the author describes the characters, the scenes and how the characters are …human. One thing that I feel sets a good novel apart from a great one is having characters that are fallible, that make mistakes; especially when we see them coming and even when we don’t. I loathe Mary Sue characters, Golden Child characters, “the Chosen One” who really is a superhero in all but the cape…usually. Putting it mildly, the characters in this novel are all flawed in one way or another.

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teampreston

Deathwatch (Warhammer RPG) Review

Posted on August 25, 2010 by

This is it, what many of us have been waiting for since the 1980’s: an RPG where we get to play Space Marines! A few years ago when we received word of the development of Dark Heresy, the geek world exploded with excitement. Having a Warhammer 40,000 RPG was something I think we all wanted. An official one, not just something we cobbled together in Mutants and Masterminds, but something officially sanctioned by the hallowed halls of Games Workshop. Dark Heresy was a dream come true.

One thing I appreciated with Dark Heresy, is that it kept the core mechanics of the existing Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (basically a percentage-based system with talents and careers, and an advancement scheme for leveling). This has remained true all the way through the Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay series.

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Flames

Bloodborn Review

Posted on August 4, 2010 by

Ulrika Magdova, reluctant vampire, is struggling to control her thirst for blood. For the protection of herself and others, a coven of vampires has given Ulrika sanctuary, so she can safely adapt to a life of darkness. But before she learns to control her strange new powers, that sanctuary is endangered.

In the city of Nuln something is preying upon this ancient race, and threatening to expose their existence to the nation. A witchhunt has begun and people are calling for the destruction of the vampires. With nowhere to hide, Ulrika and her mentor, the Countess Gabriella, must hunt down this mysterious killer before they become its next victims.

Let me start by saying that vampires have never really been my thing. Other than loving Gary Oldman as Dracula and staring at Kate Beckinsale I haven’t been attracted to them the way many people are. I have always thought of vampires as being great villains when done right, but more often than not, they are done all wrong in the worst kind of way. Yeah that’s right Twilight; I am looking at you….

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Flames

Brunner The Bounty Hunter: Omnibus edition Review

Posted on July 28, 2010 by

His name is Brunner. Goblins, vampires, fugitives, and even dragons – they’re all fair game for this lethal killer’s blade. Across the length and breadth of the grim Warhammer Old World, Brunner plies his trade, applying his skills and intelligence to track down and slaughter sinister fiends. But he also faces challenges from within his own dubious profession as a rival bounty hunter stakes a claim to his bounty. Enter the dark and dangerous world of a ruthless bounty hunter.

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teampreston

Nemesis Fiction Review

Posted on July 20, 2010 by

After the horrors of Istvaan V, Horus declares outright war against the Imperium. In the shadows of the Emperor’s Palace, powerful figures convene. Their plan is to send a team of assassins to execute the arch-traitor Horus and end the war for the galaxy of mankind before it has even begun. But what they cannot know is that another assassin is abroad already, with his sights firmly set on killing the Emperor.

The Officio Assassinorum: we’ve been waiting on something like this for decades, and James Swallow delivers it. As expected it involves scheming at the top levels of the Imperium in order to end this civil war as quickly and painlessly as possible – anything to save The Emperor and his Imperium.

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teampreston

Path of the Warrior Review

Posted on July 9, 2010 by

The ancient eldar are a mysterious race, each devoting their life to a chosen path which will guide their actions and decide their fate. Korlandril abandons peace for the Path of the Warrior. He becomes a Striking Scorpion, a deadly fighter skilled in the art of close-quarter combat. But the further Korlandril travels down this path, the closer he gets to losing his identity and becoming an avatar of war.

Path of the Warrior is the first of a new trilogy focusing on the race of Eldar. This is interesting in one respect as the Black Library for ages chose to avoid such novels, wanting to keep the alien races…alien. We’re all human, and the xenos races of the 40k universe should remain so.

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teampreston

Malekith (The Sundering) Review

Posted on June 18, 2010 by

Usually I review advance copies from BL, but this one I went and bought because I missed it previously and enjoyed The Shadow King, part 2 of The Sundering.
The subject of this novel poses an interesting problem – a challenge for the author as well as the reader, I found. For those unfamiliar with Warhammer lore, Malekith is a very dark character. Son of the Uber High Elf king Aenarion – who was at once great and terrible due to his drawing of the Sword of Khaine – Malekith is destined to become THE ultimate villain for the race of elves for millennia to come (along with his twisted mother Morathi). Knowing this the author has to tell a tale we will read. To do that, we have to somewhat sympathize with the main character; this is a tall order.

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teampreston

The Chapter’s Due Review

Posted on June 2, 2010 by


War is unending in the life of a Space Marine. After defeating Tau forces, Captain Uriel Ventris of the Ultramarines has returned to the Chapter’s homeworld of Macragge, but there is little respite. The Ultramarines are thrust back into battle, and this time the enemy is the Chapter’s greatest nemesis. The traitorous Iron Warriors, led by renegade Warsmith Honsou, have gathered together a massive and brutal warband. Their target is the realm of Ultramar. Their objective is total annihilation. It is a final showdown between legendary Space Marines, and Uriel Ventris must take on the might of Honsou if he is to save his Chapter’s homeworld.

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teampreston

Helsreach Review

Posted on May 20, 2010 by


When the world of Armageddon is attacked by orks, the Black Templars Space Marine Chapter are amongst those sent to liberate it. Chaplain Grimaldus and a band of Black Templars are charged with the defence of Hive Helsreach from the xenos invaders in one of the many battlezones. But as the orks numbers grow and the Space Marines dwindle, Grimaldus faces a desperate last stand in an Imperial temple. Determined to sell their lives dearly, will the Black Templars hold on long enough to be reinforced, or will their sacrifice ultimately be in vain.

While I am familiar on a basic level with the Black Templars I don’t know all the details of the major characters, so walking in to this novel I’m almost a BT newbie.

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teampreston

Call to Arms (Warhammer) Review

Posted on May 14, 2010 by

Dieter Lanz is a young recruit to the 3rd Hochland Swordsmen, otherwise known as ‘the Scarlets’. His regiment is called into battle when an orc army starts to rampage across the countryside, and when the Scarlets are defeated, Hochland is threatened with collapse. As a desperation measure, legendary general Ludwig Von Grahl is brought out of retirement – he is the last hope to stem the vicious green tide.

It wasn’t until I watched Star Wars, Episode One, The Phantom Menace when it dawned on me what bothered me about this novel.

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teampreston

Soul Hunter Book Review

Posted on April 13, 2010 by

Previously I mentioned that I generally don’t care for Chaos Space Marine novels (see my Dark Creed review). I think it’s because I have a difficult time seeing how I’ll be able to relate to the characters. How can I root for the bad guys? Dark Creed proved me wrong on that, and since Soul Hunter came in my monthly care package from BL, I was willing to give it a shot. This is the first Aaron Dembski-Bowden book for me as well, so I was anxious to get a taste of what he brings to the table. I wasn’t let down.

Let me say that the author does an excellent job in sucking you in to the whole vibe of, well…darkness. The Night Lords are like the Batman Chapter of Traitor Marines. Darkness and fear. That’s their shtick. They really have it down pat. From the very prologue I was hooked.

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teampreston

Shadow King Fiction Review

Posted on January 5, 2010 by

A few months back Gav wrote a post in his blog regarding cutting out “faffy” words. A lot of writers use a lot of excess language to get a point across where Gav tends to cut to the meat of the story and carves his way through the pages at a fevered clip.

The Shadow King is another great example of this. To be honest I was hesitant about whether Thorpe could pull that off. I mean…over 500 pages. That seems pretty wordy to me. So I sat down and set about consuming and digesting this thick tome (larger than anything he’s written to date I believe page-wise. Don’t quote me but I *think* that is accurate.)

As per usual Gav gets right to it. The stage is set and things start going to hell…fast. This is the second book of The Sundering, following Malekith.

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teampreston

Courage and Honour Fiction Review

Posted on July 1, 2009 by

Courage and Honour is the fifth book in the hugely successful Ultramarines series featuring the Courageous Captain Uriel Ventris and his Veteran Sergeant Pasanius.

This book is in many ways like coming full circle in the series. Uriel Ventris’ first mission as captain was to put down a rebellion on the Imperial world, Pavonis and this novel has the 4th company returning to the same troubled planet.

Following shortly after the events of The Killing Ground, we are shown flashback scenes of the testing of Ventris and Pasanius. Testing them both for purity: Mind and Body. After all, these two Astartes have been alone and fighting their way back from the Eye of Terror, a mission which should have most likely claimed his life (and possibly his soul).

Review by Jeff Preston

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teampreston

Horus Heresy: Mechanicum Review

Posted on May 22, 2009 by

This is Book Nine of the Black Library Horus Heresy series, the second novel of the series by Graham McNeill.

Thus far I have read the entire series. The series is overall exceptional; easily the best work but out by Black Library to date. There have been a few small “bumps” along the road. I point to Descent of Angels as the low point of the series as far as catching and holding my attention as well as staying true to the feel of the other books.

My favorites of the series so far are Flight of the Eisenstein by James Swallow and Legion by Dan Abnett. My reasons? The former is a standalone that neatly dove-tails in to the previous novels: the latter is a standalone that really challenged my own personal bias (I’ve always loathed the Alpha Legion).

Review by Jeff Preston

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