The TLDR of this book review is that I went in hoping for one thing, got it in spades, and also got huge helpings of plenty more, and I enjoyed this book immensely.
So after eating the massive whale-of-a-book that was Moby Dick, I decided I needed to digest something light and fun to counter-balance such a heavy meal. I went looking for blood, guts, and glory, and I knew one could hardly go wrong with a Warhammer 40k book. For the uninitiated, Warhammer 40k is a universe in the far flung future where humanity knows only war. It's a soft, military scifi setting and death, destruction, and terror. Grimdark at it's best. The Horus Heresy series, which follows the story of where everything in the universe really went to hell, came highly recommended, so I sat down expecting a superficial read of a book-version of a shallow Hollywood summer action movie, only an R-rated one.
I was not prepared.
There was war, just so that's clear. Plenty of hacking, slashing, shooting, but in additional to all that, there was political intrigue, deep world-building, a huge cast of dynamic characters, and a subtle level of mystery and foreboding. The prose, too, matched my needs to a tee, with colorful and vibrant sentences that painted a picture, as harrowing as that picture might be. I could hardly believe my luck as I willingly dove into this story day after day, even cutting into my TV and video game time as I found myself more interested in following this story than doing anything else. It was a pleasant surprise, and I'm so glad to find all the high recommendations were not just correct, but perhaps even an understatement because this was honestly a fantastic book.
I'm already jumping into #2, and though it's written by a different author, I'm very hopeful.