January 20, 2016

Book Review: Beast Arises 2 - Predator Prey

Predator Prey is the 2nd book in the new Beast Arises series from the Black Library.  The author for this one Rob Sanders is not one I'm familiar with so I had no idea what style it would adopt but in the end I was pleasantly surprised.

In Book 1 you were presented with two story arcs told from the perspective of the Imperial Fists fighting a Xenos race called the Chromes who then experience the first Orc incursion, and that of the High Lords of Terra and the political response to that Orc attack.  The first book while a good read felt rushed, like it was setting up the series rather than telling a story, and while the characters were good you never really got a good feeling for who they were.


Book 2 was a definite improvement.  This time there are 4 story arcs and we find out that the Orc incursion is A LOT worse than Book 1 let you believe.  The 4 story's tell of the impact of Orc attacks on 4 worlds - an Imperial Fists homeworld, a human planet of the Imperium, a Mechanicum Forgeworld and of course on politics on Terra.  This time the characters are fleshed out more, become far more real and you get a good sense for their motivations and what drives them.  More importantly you get invested in their success/failure unlike Book 1 where the lack of depth prevented you from doing so.

Also unlike Book 1 this novel stands on its own in that it doesn't read like a set up for the rest of the series although it does that very well.  Each of the 4 story arcs give you a good sense of the impact of the Orc Waagh on different groups within the Imperium, although the Terra based story arc is the weakest of the four.  The scale of the Orc incursion is clearly set out but enough details are left out to leave you wanting more and at the end there is still a strong sense of mystery over the Orcs, their origins, leader, goals and especially their technology.  There is also a nice twist at the end and a couple of nods toward the HH novels.

As with Book 1 though this one was very short only 240 pages and I managed to finish it in just a few hours.  It did however hold my attention a lot more than Book 1 did which probably helped me get through it.  While it is a quick read it didn't, unlike Book 1, feel incomplete or rushed and as stated would work well as a stand alone novel,

The book also ends with a excerpt from Book 3 written by Gav Thorpe (King of all things Dwarven in WHFB) and that excerpt was VERY GOOD.  Consequently, I've already added the next 4 books in the series to my Wish List and will be pre-ordering them as soon as they become available.

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