Thursday, September 6, 2018

Book report: Ravenor series

I finally sat down and crushed the Ravenor trilogy; Ravenor, Ravenor Returned and Ravenor Rouge by Dan Abnett. I am a big fan of his 40K Inquisitional stories and have been hooked on them since the original Eisenhorn books (by the gods those came out so long ago…..).

How was this trilogy?
Pretty damn good actually.

The series starts out with our protagonist Inquisitor Gideon Ravenor ( who is a super physic guy confined to a floating stasis pod/chair due to being completely paralyzed and mostly almost but not really but kind of sort of alive but almost coma level dead-ish).  His little band of Imperial agents is investigating the drug known as “flects.” These are little pieces of glass that give their users a bit of psychic ecstasy, but at what cost? Well these “flects” are of course tainted with chaos warp energy and it eventually causes all sorts of chaos warp shenanigans. Ravenor and his crew investigate to find/solve the problem and then guess what? It evolves into something more than just a broken mirror drug trade.
The second book we have Ravenor and his little band of heroes undercover and off the official Inquisition books. They are now “Special Condition” which means deep cover and no help from anyone outside their circle. Not only are they investigating the fallout from the “flect” trade, but also a huge bit of planetary government corruption, news of some warp entity that may or may not be being “birthed” into the world and the always prevalent and popular 40K cult shtick to futz with. Then tie this in with the return of a once dead antagonist to stir the pot further. Of course since this is the second novel in the trilogy it has a very Empire Strikes Back ending where the good guys are left reeling and the bad guys have the upper hand. You know like every good second act story about heroes and villains has.
Finally, in the third story Ravenor and his crew have gone fully off the proverbial reservation. They have partially destroyed an Imperial city and the majority of a planetary government all in the name of Imperial safety. During their de –brief it is discovered that the once dead Ravenor antagonist is still alive. Gideon and crew decide to give chase. However, in doing so have become “rouge” Inquisitorial agents and that is bad. Rouge Inquisitors are usually hunted down and killed. Now they are on the hunt and run. There is also the ever present threat of this warp entity that may or may not have been stopped in the previous story. Throw in some time travel….because……I’m not sure why? Then the inevitable show down occurs between pro- and antagonist (that has been slowly building for three novels) mixed with the arrival of a Lovecraftian nightmare to spice the ending up a bit.
This is typical Dan Abnett story telling. It is a slow burn story, but with some really fun twists and turns.
The characters both good and bad are fun even if they fall it clichés at times.
The action scenes are just so much fun have a very cinematic feel.
The multiple story arcs all collide nicely by the end of the trilogy and all pay off quite nicely.
I might dislike procedurals, but throw it in a 40K Inquisitor setting and I find them very entertaining!
It moves along well with very few slowdowns.
This is typical Dan Abnett writing. There is a lot of world building and description that always isn’t necessary to the main plot and can feel like filler at times.
The characters and plot fall into some typical clichés at times, but this is not uncommon in sci-fi/fantasy serialized tales.
Time travel.

Ummm….those are really the only, and really minor, quibbles I have with this series.

Dan Abnett is still my favorite 40K storyteller, especially when it comes to Inquisition stuff. He paints that world to be as dystopian as it is, but still manages to sprinkle in light and hope to it as well. It was a fantastic read and has me wanting to travel back to the Eisenhorn novels to see where this all began. If you are a 40K universe fan and have not dove into these novels do yourself a favor and do. They are just fantastic stories with some amazing moments, characters and worlds.

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