Title: Night Lords: The Omnibus
Author: Aaron Dembski-Bowden
Genre: Military Sci-fi (Warhammer 40K)
Pages: 943
Rating: 3 of 5

In the dark, violent Warhammer 40,000 universe, stories about loyalist Space Marines tend to be monotonously alike. They are all ridiculously over-powered and fanatically single-minded in doing the Emperor’s will. The forces of Chaos are more disturbing/evil but can offer a lot more variety as protagonists, so I decided to check out this trilogy featuring a company of Chaos Space Marines (aka the bad guys).

The Night Lords are sadistic, atrocity-committing cowards almost as likely to turn on each other as they are to wreak their vengeance on the Empire. They are not so corrupted by Chaos that they are unthinking monsters, but they have become little more than scattered bands of raiders and pirates. The narration mostly follows the “prophet” Talos and his human slaves, Septimus and Octavia as Talos tries to bring some sort of unity and meaning back to the scattered VIII Legion.

As with any Warhammer 40K book, these are purely escapist stories filled with violence and gore (given the nature of our protagonists, the gore is ratcheted up a few notches), and the writing is only so-so (certain stock descriptions/phrases get overused, one seemingly important story thread just vanishes without resolution, etc.). Basically, it’s about what you would expect from a series based on a tabletop game.

It was interesting reading from the “bad guys'” perspective and seeing their reasons for doing what they do. At least they’re honest about being evil…I personally find the Emperor and other “good guys” to be almost as reprehensible in most stories. It was pretty much what I expected it to be, it was a good read for what it was, and I’ve had my fill of dark uber-violent sci-fi for a while.

2 thoughts on “Death to the false emperor!

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