The Blood Angels Chapter of Space Marines is under threat. Having obliterated all human life in the Red Scar region of space, the largest tendril of Hivefleet Leviathan ever seen in the Imperium has converged and is making relentlessly for Baal.
To face this awesome foe, Commander Dante has called upon the Successor Chapters of the ancient Ninth Legion. The Sons of Sanguinius gather in numbers not seen since the dark days of the Horus Heresy. Thirty thousand Space Marines stand ready to thwart the Great Devourer, save the homeworld of their primarch, and prevent the consumption of billions in the Ultima Segmentum beyond.
But the tyranid swarm numbers in the trillions, and they are not the only danger to the chapter’s future. As the galaxy slides toward a terrifying new era, events far away threaten to unleash a greater evil. A further enemy must also be overcome, that of the Black Rage that lurks in the souls of all Sanguinius’ bloodline.
Author: Guy Haley
Narrator: Gareth Armstorng
Running Time: 13 hrs 49 mins
Publisher: The Black Library
My Rating for ‘The Devastation of Baal’: 3 out of 5
I liked this book, I just didn’t think it was overly fantastic. My main drawbacks were that I felt it was quite ponderous for the most part. Very much a slow burn that, if I’m being brutally honest. didn’t feel like it was needed for the most part.
A good part of the novel is inter-chapter politics between the Blood Angels and their successor chapters. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of page time Dante’s ‘I don’t deserve this honour, honestly’ moments get even when everyone practically begs him to shut up just accept he is the best man for the job.
Urgh, rant out of the way. Back to the review.
There are non-Space Marine characters and they are pretty well and you feel like you have a genuine human connection with them. Where his character work is good, it’s the pacing a flow that lets the book down. As I mentioned, it was a pretty slow burn and, a good portion of it felt unimportant. The flow was also thrown off when, after getting used to the main narrative, we are thrust into the POV of an alien and, for me, it didn’t feel like it worked brilliantly. Felt a little jarring.
The last 20% is the strongest and, unless you’re pretty up to date on your knowledge of the universe, the biggest pay off won’t feel like a pay off to you. So, if you aren’t clued up on the lore, my advice would be do not read this until you are.
The fight scenes (even though there felt like there was a distinct lack of them) were really well done.
The narration was pretty solid throughout. Something that really helped during the less dynamic parts.