Review: The Grey Raven by Gav Thorpe

Posted by DarkChaplain at 12/08/2016
Balsar Kurthuri of the Raven Guard has always followed his primarch's orders. When the Edict of Nikaea forbade psykers within the Legions, he returned to the line squads without a second thought. When the Warmaster's treachery became known, he gave freely of his powers. Now, as the war appears to be entering its final, grim stages, at Lord Corax's command he must return to Terra to face judgement for the apparent crime of unswerving loyalty…
Skipping ahead in Black Library's Advent Calendar series, day 7 has a sequel to Corax for us. It wraps up one of the storylines left dangling by Weregeld and gives a little status update on the state of the Sol system.

The Story:
" Balsar Kurthuri of the Raven Guard has always followed his primarch's orders. When the Edict of Nikaea forbade psykers within the Legions, he returned to the line squads without a second thought. When the Warmaster's treachery became known, he gave freely of his powers. Now, as the war appears to be entering its final, grim stages, at Lord Corax's command he must return to Terra to face judgement for the apparent crime of unswerving loyalty…"

The Review:
Arriving at Terra alongside Captain Noriz and his Imperial Fists, and Arcatus Vindix Centurio of the Custodian Guard, ex-Librarian Balsar Kurthuri is confronted with a big problem: The Custodes turn on him and attempt to take him out. With emergency protocols in place, there is nothing left for Kurthuri other than to attempt escape, eluding his pursuers while restraining himself. He gave an oath to ban himself from using his psychic powers again, which proves tricky.

I quite liked the story. It is an action-heavy chase, and while as a reader of the series the results and twists were utterly obvious (which they should be after the many Malcador-related stories we've had by now), which isn't helped by the title either, I enjoyed the ride. Points can be made for potential losses not being worth risking, but the way it was executed worked for me. The stress of the situation bubbled to the surface neatly and there was some much appreciated time with Noriz, who I liked quite a bit in Deliverance Lost and Corax.

The story also hammered home the gulf between Astartes and Custodes, with Arcatus being a badass. Sure, we just got that with The Master of Mankind anyway, but here the Custodes are on the attack, not the back foot. There was also some neat little bonding between the lone Raven Guard and Noriz and co, due to their years together under Corax.

The big negative for me here was that it was damn predictable. The moment Arcatus turned on Balsar, I knew where it was headed. I knew where Balsar Kurthuri would end up, and what the intentions were. There were still some surprises, of course, but if you've read The Silent War, book 37 in the series, you might consider the short story as transparent as me.

The Grey Raven 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


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