Home > 40 K & Horus Heresy, Book Review > Book Review- “Predator, Prey” by Rob Sanders

Book Review- “Predator, Prey” by Rob Sanders

predator_preyWith “I Am Slaughter” writer Dan Abnett, one of the Black Library’s best authors kicked off their newest event series “The Beast Arises” with a bang. It was a fun and thrilling read, populated with fascinating characters, and imaginative worlds. Best of all it gave us a glance of something we’ve never really seen in Warhammer 40,000; the Imperium of Man in a state of relative peace. So I was excited to tackle the next chapter in the year long event story line, the novel “Predator, Prey” by Rob Sanders, a writer whose work I had not read before.

Let’s get my one real problem with the book out of the way first. I’m not really a fan of the Orks as villains. They’re entertaining as obstacles and side missions, but to me they’re kind of forces of nature like the Tyranids. Sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they’re truly terrifying like how they were when Abnett wrote them in “I Am Slaughter” and other times they’re just sort of faceless obstacles like how they were portrayed here. Don’t get me wrong. The action scenes still crackled and were full of tension and intrigue, but with wave after wave of unrelenting ork slaughter some scenes felt like a disaster movie rather than a battle with a monstrous force of foes.

So in future novels I’m hoping to see more personalities within the Orks. I also want to see what united them and armed them with their fearsome and awesome attack moons. I sense something there and it could be Sanders wasn’t allowed to reveal that yet since he was charged more with setting the table in this second entry to “The Beast Arises.”

What Sanders does succeed at in “Predator, Prey” is creating some memorable places andRsanders populating them with interesting characters. For me, the most fascinating place was Undine an aquatic hive world where giant cities floated on chemical seas. On that world we follow the fight for survival of Lux Allegra, a member of the Planet’s defense force and her allies. Lux is a pretty likable character and her planet is a really interesting one; especially when Sanders takes us to one of the fringe cites that have developed on the water world. The action on Undine was fast and furious. So despite my complaint about faceless orks the scenes there still work. I loved the scope and scale of everything.

The other new batch of characters Sanders introduces are the Fist Examplars, a Second Founding (think spin off) Space Marine chapter that originated from the Imperial Fists. In “I Am Slaughter” Abnett really captured the culture of the Imperial Fists and it was one of my favorite things about the book. Here the Examplars, especially their sort of leader Maximus Thane, are interesting characters and there’s some fun action scenes with them, but there’s not as much about what makes them distinctive. They didn’t resonate with me as much as the few scenes Sanders included with their more fanatical brethren in the Black Templars, another spin off chapter of the Imperial Fists.

Sanders also gets to have some fun with returning characters like Drakan Vangorich, the Grandmaster of the Offfico Assassanorum, and his chief enforcer Beast Krule. These scenes are a lot of fun. Sanders has a knack for action, but the political machination scenes were also highly enjoyable.. It was also interesting to see the underlying tension in the political arrangement between the Imperium of Man and the Machine Cult of the Adeptus Mechanicus. There’s a few chapters that give you some clever insight into just how delicate the arrangement between the two cosmic empires are and illustrate how self motivated each can be. I say that too as someone who doesn’t really find the Adeptus Mechanicus all that interesting.

So despite the one slight problem I had “Predator, Prey” was still a pretty great entry in “The Beast Arises” series. I’m excited to see what comes next especially with the really cool reveal that Sanders gives readers in the book’s final chapter.

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