Top critical review
Yes, Curze is metal. But the book is terrible
Reviewed in the United States on December 30, 2019
First off, though I am a fanboi of the WH40k and WH30k fiction, I'm also an adult with a respect for the Queen's English.
My opinion only, but the Night Lords have been presented well in books such as Lord of the Night as well as ADB's terrific trilogy (Soul Hunter, Blood Reaver, and Void Stalker). Enough has been presented in these books to give the Night Lords a real depth and I see them as almost sympathetic villains in an insane galaxy. Of course their Primarch, Konrad Curze, has been fleshed out in past books as being a tortured, desolate soul who seems torn between the notions of inflicting terror as the means to achieving Justice, or the infliction of terror as its own end. Before reading this book, I was hopeful that Curze, portrayed center stage, would provide more details that would extend the conflicts, hypocrisies and pathos that were hinted at in past books and imagined by others.
This book did not do that. It didn't even come close to the mark. A number of vignettes are presented, linked to Curze's last hours of seeking meaning before he teaches his ultimate "lesson" to the Imperium: Death is nothing compare to vindication. While even that credo always stood weakly in my mind (as well as the fact that Emps was already a corpse-god by the time this lesson was taught), nothing of that was furthered in this book beyond a boorish, amateurish portrayal of Konrad Curze as a self-pitying, sadistic and hallucinating cannibal with serious daddy issues.
Rubbish. And even if that portrayal DID fit Konrad Curze in the WH universe, Guy Haley's use of language hammers you over the head with this emo, gothy, sado-masochistic rubbish with no room for subtlety or nuance. Curze's home world of Nostramo - a world of poet-murderers - is done a disservice by the sheer inelegance and non-compelling language used by Haley. There are moments of potential - particularly in those scenes involving Sevatar - where Nostramo's ultimate fate is due to the complicity of its society in general. But those are few and far between - instead, we're given a largely forgettable book that strives to make The Night Haunter out to be this pitable, insane curr that just needed to put itself out of its own misery. Maybe, again, that has some truth to how fans saw Curze - but dangit, this had so much more potential than what it turned out to be.
Uninspired, mundane and forgettable. What a terrible fate for the Night Lord's primarch. What a waste of 15 bucks and hrs of my time.