Review: Carcharodons: The Reaping Time by Robbie MacNiven

Posted by DarkChaplain at 1/05/2017
The human Imperium is vast indeed, and not all worlds are happy with the terms that grant them the Emperor’s protection. When the Carcharadons land on the mining planet of Zartak, instead of being welcomed, they are treated with suspicion and hostility by its population of miners. What dark secrets does this planet hide, and how far will its inhabitants go to protect them, even if it means pitting themselves against such powerful adversaries as the Adeptus Astartes? With both sides pursuing their own agenda, bloody conflict can be the only outcome.
I know December is over, and with it Black Library's Advent Calendar, but since I was getting a bit overwhelmed towards the second half of December, I figured it is still worth continuing reviews of the new short stories regardless. Happy to finally get this one out of the way in particular!

The Story:
"The human Imperium is vast indeed, and not all worlds are happy with the terms that grant them the Emperor’s protection. When the Carcharadons land on the mining planet of Zartak, instead of being welcomed, they are treated with suspicion and hostility by its population of miners. What dark secrets does this planet hide, and how far will its inhabitants go to protect them, even if it means pitting themselves against such powerful adversaries as the Adeptus Astartes? With both sides pursuing their own agenda, bloody conflict can be the only outcome."

The Review:
Carcharodons: The Reaping Time serves as a bit of a lead-in to Robbie MacNiven's full-length novel Carcharodons: Red Tithe, which I am excited to dig into soon. This taster, at the very least, is promising in its mystery and violence.
The "Space Sharks" have long been a topic I felt needed more attention in Warhammer 40,000. They are butchers by any other name, their origins hidden and it often felt surprising to me to see them on the Loyalist side at all. Their biggest appearance to date must have been during the Badab War books by Forge World, which I believe to have sold out years ago.

So seeing Robbie MacNiven get the chance to tackle the mysterious Chapter of Space Marines had me excited for sure. Best of all, this short story nails the relentless hunter theme nicely. Once these Space Marines smell blood, there is no turning back, and all that is left in their wake are corpses.
Thematically, MacNiven also married them with Maori influences, down to the characters' names. Various things from gear to organization bear aquatic influences, such as the 'Coral Shields', or the various teeth charms the marines of First Squad are wearing. Chainblades are standard issue here, of course, and this short story is easily one of the more brutal ones to come out of this holiday season!
Chief protagonist of the story is Librarian Te Kahurangi, whose psychic powers follow the shark-theme as well. Called the Pale Nomad, he seems more level-headed than his Company Master Akia, who epitomizes the relentless beast in them all. While Te Kahurangi easily gets the best coverage here, the rest of the squad has me intrigued too, especially when their gene-seed origins are put into question. Already hotly-debated in fan-circles, Robbie's take will give fans a lot more fuel for their speculation.

Most importantly, however, MacNiven manages to build up a satisfying story in miniature that presents this Chapter in a natural way, highlighting the unique traits and opening more mysteries to be solved, while also moulding them in his image. It turned out to be a fast-paced read full of action that laid the groundwork for future works on the Chapter without compromising on its stand-alone potential.
If you're unsure about the novel yet, then this short story should hold your answer.

Carcharodons: The Reaping Time 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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