Betrayer or: how I learned to stop worrying and love the nails – a review
I promise to make this review as spoiler-friendly as I possibly can. What did I think of Betrayer? Well, frankly I loved it.
It manages to avoid the pitfalls that many of the more recent HH books have fallen in to. There are no silly and superfluous bits, no real nods to anything- just because the author thinks they’re cool. This book brings to life the World Eaters in a manner never realised before- it makes them human. Where many of the legions during the Heresy are seen as falling to the corruption of Chaos the World Eaters struggle with a cancer from within- the nails. Angron is portrayed as a broken god; a sick and pitiable thing, even amongst his own legion. The World Eaters are painted as monsters, lost to the lust of battle but above all they are portrayed as brothers. Their camaraderie suffuses the entire novel and supplants the impression of them as mindless killers.
I am a huge fan of Spartacus: Blood and Sand and you have probably figured that out if you have read my fluff piece here. The way Demski-Bowden manages to balance the gladiator concept without making the World Eaters a laughable attempt at: gladiators IN SPAAAAACEEEE really impressed me. There is one section of the book that exemplifies all of the things that the World Eaters could have been- see if you can spot it. In fact, this concept of ‘what could have been’ really hits home. We are left with two distinct impressions of the World Eaters. Are they the bloodiest and most brutal of legions, traitors and turncloaks – or as Demski-Bowden presents them – a brotherhood of the damned, destined to be driven to madness by their father’s own rage? One thing is for certain, they are not a 2D legion running around with little but ‘BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD’ to say for themselves…
The book contains actual WTF moments alongside moments that bring a manly tear to the eye. Watching Angron as he ascends the mountain where his rebellion died- where he was snatched away by the Emperor is actually moving.
I don’t want to ruin this book for you as I really, truly believe it is one of the best in the series. Alongside Know no Fear, Legion and the first four books it truly immortalises some of the most epic moments of the Horus Heresy. My favourite parts of the book included the relationship between Argel Tal and Kharn, the Warhound contemptor just being generally awesome and the badass-chick space captain shooting a marine captain for dereliction of duty…
OK- that might have been a little spoiler.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I have- leave your thoughts in the comments section below.