Honourbound by Rachel Harrison – A Book Review



Uncompromising and fierce, Commissar Severina Raine has always served the Imperium with the utmost distinction. Attached to the 11th Antari Rifles, she instills order and courage in the face of utter horror. The Chaos cult, the Sighted, have swept throughout the Bale Stars and a shadow has fallen across its benighted worlds. A great campaign led by the vaunted hero Lord-General Militant Alar Serek is underway to free the system from tyranny and enslavement but the price of victory must be paid in blood. But what secrets do the Sighted harbour, secrets that might cast a light onto Raine’s own troubled past? Only by embracing her duty and staying true to her belief in the Imperium and the commissar’s creed can she hope to survive this crucible, but even then will that be enough?

Author: Rachel Harrison

Publisher: Black Library

Kindle Release Date: 23/02/2019

Paperback Release Date: 05/09/2019

Page Count: 496

My Chosen Format: Kindle

My Rating of ‘Honourbound’: 4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon UKAmazon US



I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

I’ll start off by saying that you need to pay attention as there is a lot going on in this book. On the face of it you’d think ‘dark science-fiction because it’s Warhammer 40,000’. What you get is dark science-fiction with and undercurrent of military mystery/thriller style plot.

Just based on the writing, it was one I expected to hate. It is written in present tense and that really grated on me to start with. So much so that I nearly broke my own ‘thou shalt not DNF’ rule. What I didn’t expect was for the writing style to become so familiar that I barely noticed it at all and it did not inhibit my enjoyment of the book.

And enjoy it I did. As I said, there is so much going on in this novel and so many interesting characters that each has plotlines of their own going on in the background. My main gripe regarding characters would be that, considering it is a series named after Severina Raine, the commissar herself doesn’t feel like she takes up much of the spotlight. In fact, if I had gone into this reading it without any idea of series title, I’d have assumed the main character focuses would be Wyck, Lydia Zane or Arden Fel. Those three had the more interesting plot arcs and depth of character and seemed to eat up more of the words than Raine; who’s only real page time was normally spent remembering her fallen family members. Just feel as though more could be done with her character.

My main non-character gripe would be that it just didn’t feel like a Warhammer 40,000 novel. None of the main tropes/jargon are ever mentioned in more than a passing word, if at all. So you barely ever hear the word ‘Chaos’ or ‘Warp and, I’m venturing a guess into my memory here, but I don’t think the words Imperial Guard or Astra Militarum are used. If they are, it’s so infrequent that it doesn’t commit to memory. To be quite honest; if you were to remove every mention of the God Emperor of Mankind and give the book to someone that hates Warhammer, they would enjoy it. As it just feels like a general science fiction novel that has ever so gently dipped its toe into the Warhammer 40,000 pond.

My main complaints aside, I really enjoyed this when I got stuck into it, which is why I scored it so highly. I even found myself spending more time reading than I normally do just to get through it. The run up to the ending was pretty intense and handled well. I’ll certainly look towards future books in the series with interest, but would hope that they have a more 40,000 feel to them than this offering.

4 thoughts on “Honourbound by Rachel Harrison – A Book Review

    1. I think I remember you saying you didn’t want to run the risk of possible spoilers as I got to this one before you did. I miss lots of reviews. I blame wordpress. I swear it doesn’t always show me everything in the newsfeed

      Liked by 1 person

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