Friday, November 08, 2019

Booknote: Blood Ravens: The Dawn of War Omnibus

C.S. Goto, Blood Ravens: the Dawn of War Omnibus. Nottingham (UK): Black Library, 2010.  ISBN: 9781844165353

Genre: science fiction
Subgenre: military science fiction, Warhammer 40,000, novels based/from video/computer games
Format: paperback omnibus edition
Source: I own this. Bought at Half Price some years ago. My notes say it was bought (likely) at location in Indianapolis during a road trip. 

I believe by now that I have read this book three times. I keep meaning to write a review for it, and then life keeps happening. I read it in 2011, and then again. I started reading this again, the third time, shortly after the shameful clusterfuck that passed for the 2016 elections in the United States. Between that and all the bad shit going on in current events, I needed some serious escapism for comfort. Though I do have a few other Warhammer 40,000 books waiting to be read, I grabbed this one because I needed something familiar. On looking at my reading records, I see that I read it last in 2011, and I liked it back then. I still liked it now, though I will say the last novel in the omnibus can be a bit slow, but overall, I do like the book and the Blood Ravens and their librarians. So, here goes my review reconstructed from some older notes which includes some reading impressions as I was reading this.

It took me a while, but this book was certainly worth reading. For me, it was very appealing to see librarians that kick ass, and this book certainly highlights the Space Marine librarian characters well, including the good and the darker sides. In fact, part of why I find it appealing is that the Blood Ravens have an unusually high number of librarians in their ranks (for good or ill, this is their chapter trait). That the Blood Ravens Space Marines are scholars themselves is also appealing. The books feature a good amount of action and intrigue, but if you like reading more about the lore of the Space Marines, you get a good amount of description and exposition as well. For the librarian in me, the descriptions of the Blood Ravens' librarium, the legends of the Eldar Black Library, and the Blood Ravens' pursuit of truth and knowledge (yes, those two are different) were things that drew me to this omnibus. However, you do not have to be a librarian to appreciate these novels. If you like good military scifi, you will probably enjoy these. If you already like WH 40K novels, these will be good for you. Though the books are based on a computer game, I do not feel it is necessary to have played the game; I have not played the game, and I certainly enjoyed these books. Overall a very good and entertaining read. 

Some reading impressions (I am thankful I kept these as notes elsewhere to help me remember now): 

  • "I finished the Prologue. Very interesting opening that seems to set up the first novel. And I just found my new cool character: the Space Marines have librarians (I knew, but this novel gives them more prominence). If I was in WH40K, and I could not be an Inquisitor, a Space Marines Librarian would be my next choice. Good start to this book."
  • "Mantra of the Blood Ravens: "Knowledge is Power. . . Guard it well." (a quote that in some ways, is very unlike our profession now, but I will not digress further). Their librarian appears like he might be an interesting character." By the way, the quote has become a favorite of mine over time, and I have used it as my signature line a few times. 
  • "Finished the Isador short piece, which does give more insight into Isador after events in first novel. Onto the second novel, where it seems there is more than just an Eldar incursion in Rahe's Paradise, a planet with a very small Blood Ravens outpost. Very interesting so far. Also, good look at the making of a Space Marine as well as a bit more about the eldar."
  • "Finished the second novel in the collection. This one had quite a bit of depth as the mystery on Rahe's Paradise is revealed. The ending did leave me wanting more; it was that engaging. Moving along."
  • "Pace picked up a bit on the third novel of the set. Gabriel returning now after the events from previous novel. Things should get interesting. And I am still pulling for Ckrius."
  • "Get to see Ckrius being turned into a Blood Raven, and given one last choice to serve. This chapter is very interesting in terms of seeing how a Space Marine is made."
  • "Capt. Angelos almost faces a mutiny. The plot is thickening now as Angelos and his 3rd Company head out, yet again, to try to thwart the Necrons, and all on the word of an Eldar seer."
  • "Getting to the final stretch. Though this novel has been a bit slower than the other two, the passage on the Harlequins was interesting. Moving along."
Overall, this is a volume I really like, and for me at least, it is one of those comfort reads I pick up once in a while. Not perfect, but good overall. 

4 out of 5 stars.         

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