Review: The Hunt for Vulkan by David Annandale

Posted by DarkChaplain at 6/17/2016
The Imperium is on the verge of destruction. It needs a miracle to reunite the feuding High Lords and lead the armies of mankind to victory. It needs a primarch.

Tearing itself apart from within, the Imperium is still virtually powerless to resist the ork advance. When the Adeptus Mechanicus reveal they have discovered the orks' point of origin, the Adeptus Astartes start to gather their forces for a massive assault on their enemy's home world. But what the Imperial forces need is a figurehead, a hero from legend to lead them - a primarch. Meanwhile, on the planet Caldera, a mighty armoured warrior fights tirelessly against the orks - is he the saviour the Imperium seeks?
Time for a review of part seven in the The Beast Arises series. This one is a bit of a shift in tone, more action than intrigue, but does a fine job entertaining nonetheless.

The Story:
"The Imperium is on the verge of destruction. It needs a miracle to reunite the feuding High Lords and lead the armies of mankind to victory. It needs a primarch.

Tearing itself apart from within, the Imperium is still virtually powerless to resist the ork advance. When the Adeptus Mechanicus reveal they have discovered the orks' point of origin, the Adeptus Astartes start to gather their forces for a massive assault on their enemy's home world. But what the Imperial forces need is a figurehead, a hero from legend to lead them - a primarch. Meanwhile, on the planet Caldera, a mighty armoured warrior fights tirelessly against the orks - is he the saviour the Imperium seeks?"

The Review
The Hunt for Vulkan has to be the most direct and contained book in the series so far. In fact, I was surprised to find that I was already half through the novel at some point, with not much complicated happening. It is focused on one thing: Finding Vulkan, and it did so well.

The downside to the Primarch focus is, obviously, that we get to see little of Terra or the wider Imperium once the hunt is on. While there are some very cool moments involving Koorland and the High Lords in the first few chapters, parallel to the Fists Exemplar's trip to the red planet, kicked off in the previous installment, the bulk of the story is set on Caldera, where Vulkan is rumored to reside nowadays.

Some people may notice that Caldera isn't new to Black Library fiction. While I haven't seen it brought up on fan forums before, this is the world Vulkan named himself in Nick Kyme's Promethean Sun for the Horus Heresy series. It wasn't an arbitrary choice to place Vulkan there, but one that makes a degree of sense in context of what came before. Though I am a little disappointed that David didn't take the opportunity to indulge in some dino-warfare, only mentioning shortly. Either way, bonus points for linking Vulkan back to the Great Crusade here.

This was Annandale's first Primarch outing. While he has written for the Horus Heresy already, he didn't get to tackle the super-superhumans there. After reading this book, I'm confident that he will do well once he gets the chance to do it again. Vulkan comes across as a force of nature, and in a way it felt like he was actively drawing strength from Caldera itself. We know that Vulkan is, physically, the strongest of the Primarchs, but held back a lot. Here, he is an unleashed Hulk, crushing Orks left and right, including their war machines. It is over the top action that set him clearly apart from any Space Marine, but is not without precedence if we look at the HH.
Direct ties to the HH series are kept to a minimum, though, and a lot about Vulkan himself is left open and mysterious. The small tidbits we get are neat, but nothing that will blow your mind with revelations for the Heresy.

The Hunt for Vulkan is the first book in the series that I'd really say the Imperium is striking back against the orks in. For the first time, they are not just reacting to a threat but forcing the orks on the defensive. A lot of that is down to Vulkan's battle prowess, but also to the newfound unity under Koorland's leadership. Unlike before, the everybody for themselves mentality got replaced by everyon for the Imperium. Where before we had some characters and groups act with the Imperium in mind, or even offering sacrifices, they were always somewhat contained to their respective situations. Now they are acting for a greater purpose, and the result is an important victory for the Last Wall and the wider Imperium.

Fans have long criticised that the other, non-Imperial Fists Chapters were missing from the stage. We have been told that various big Chapters were engaged in their own parts of the galaxy, but now we have a call to Terra that promises Blood Angels, Space Wolves, Dark Angels and Ultramarines for future installments. We only get a glimpse of their reactions here, but they are promising and in-character.

Yet still, at the end of the book I was surprised it was already over. It didn't have as much going on for it as previous novels with their various plotlines all over. There were various angles to it, of course, but mostly confined to the action on and around Caldera. The Hunt for Vulkan is the heaviest book on action so far, and rightfully so, but I was still disappointed by the lack of complexity in the wider sense.
It could have been more, but then, it didn't need to be. This was Vulkan's show to run, and as such, it succeeded.

The Hunt for Vulkan on Goodreads

About the Author

I'm known as DarkChaplain across the internet, and call myself a passionate gamer and book enthusiast. I have been blogging mostly about games for a couple of years, but finally found my way to reviewing a different medium: Books. Honestly, I prefer that job so far.
Follow Me on Twitter @TheDarkChaplain


The Reading Lamp

0 comments:

Leave a Reply

DarkChaplain's bookshelf: read

The Dragon Engine
Tomb Raider II #7
Star Wars #22
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Adaptation #3
Deathwatch: The Last Guardian
The Harrowing
Whacky
The Awakening
Blackshield
Poe Dameron #5


DarkChaplain's favorite books »