Top positive review
w40k advances at last!
Reviewed in the United States on June 25, 2021
(spoiler free) Kudos to Guy Haley and the GW team for advancing W40k at last!
I'll preface this by saying the roots of grimdark are clear. When W40k was developed in the 80's, the central concept of warfare was stagnation, ala Viet Nam, WWI, or the Cold War. Thus, nothing changed substantially in the "Long War". There were no "good guys"; nihilism is core to the setting.
Stagnation is unfortunately ... boring. Starting with 8th edition and the Gathering Storm series, GW made the choice to retain grimdark elements while allowing heroes and villains, and an actual dynamic story where progress is possible.
This pays off substantially in GodBlight. Guy Haley takes the Dark Imperium series, as well as tie-ins from the Psychic Awakening, The Great Work novel, and the Dawn of Fire series, and delivers with a great pay off.
Overall plot progress at last! We find out what happened between the Emperor and Guilliman, etc. The Psychic Awakening has a purpose.
Non space marine characters are interesting and compelling, especially demons and humans.
There are multiple, interesting discourses on the nature of godhood. Is godhood due to innate properties, or does it require attribution from others? How much is perception? How important is faith? These questions are handled in an intelligent way that advances the story.
Space Marine characters, despite valiant effort, are generally boring
Guilliman is portrayed as a master strategist, but his plans are incredibly simple and easily thwarted
Request greater change amongst the primarchs. We've got 20 - some are expendable.