Cadian Blood: Book Review
I have to admit, I haven't read much of the Black Library's Guard Fiction outside of the Ghosts novels. When a bar is set as high as Dan Abnett has set writing for the Imperial Guard in the 40K Universe, how can you keep from being hesistant? Maybe even jaded, i.e. too much of a good thing, nothing compares even remotely...
Cadian Blood by Aaron Dembski-Bowden is, without a doubt, a "fanboy" book. If you're unfamiliar with the 40K setting the import of some of the situations -- namely the 13th Black Crusade -- won't mean as much. But that being said, there are no other negatives to report on this phenomenal story! It's an action movie in a book with just enough horror laced through to cement the gothic horror that is the 41st millenium.
The Cadians are fleshed out brilliantly -- with their genetic heritage of violet or blue eyes, with a distinct dialect, and with great characters you don't want to see blown away -- staying true to their bad ass character without making them into super heroes, and that includes the Kasrkins. They're shown to be the special forces kick-ass element that they are, without being cheesy or trying to sell product for the tabletop.
The way Space Marines are handled is exactly how they should be written; you'll have to read the book to fully get what I mean by that, but all the appropriate awe, mystique, fear and inspiration their presence provides is conveyed with zero cheese. And The treatment of Chaos, especially Nurgle's brand, is done with enough detail to disgust and inspire model making but not enough to be over the top. There isn't the full on horror elements you'd find reading a Guant's Ghost novel, but when a Primary Target identifies itself in the form of a Death Guard Marine wading through the cultists and undead around it, the excitement, terror and exhilaration of the Cadians is palpable. Great novel.