Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Path of the Renegade review

I’m sure that at least some of you are familiar with the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
We have dipped into it before in this blog with our review of the game Space Marine. And of course, those of you who have attended Hi-Ex! Will no doubt have looked into our enormously popular games room, if not actually taken part in a game or two yourself.
It is a universe that is a lot of fun, but one that can be daunting to the outsider.
One of the best ways into this world, and in fact one you can enjoy without having to be into the games, is the Black Library.
This is a publishing house that is a spin-off of Games Workshop, and publishes an enormous amount of Warhammer based novels.
Path of the Renegade is the first in a series focusing on a race called the Dark Eldar. In 40k, the Eldar are the elves, and the Dark Eldar are, as the name suggests, their evil (or rather, eviler) counterparts.
All these races have a brilliantly rich and vibrant backstory for the writers to draw upon, and Andy Chambers, the author of this particular book, does so with obvious glee.
The Dark Eldar themselves are delicious fun.
Chambers has a bit of an uphill struggle from the beginning with the very nature of the race. Because they are all Bad, then we logically cannot have a hero, a Good Guy for the reader to root for. And while this is true to an extent, it also makes for a very interesting read as we sit back and enjoy a group of characters who are all Evil trying to out-scheme and out-manoeuvre each other for political power.
While all this is going on, there is also a ‘proper’ plot going on, and one that left me nicely wrong footed at the end. Because this is the first book in a series, I as a reader had figured out the pace the major plot elements were going to unfold in my head, so when these things happen when you do not expect them, it makes for a pleasant surprise.
As I mentioned, this is the first in a series, and while I am a bit annoyed the second book is a year away, I will certainly be looking out for it when it is published.

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