Review by: The Audiobook ReviewNightbringer - The Chronicles of Uriel Ventris, written by Graham McNeill, was my first experience in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, and I have got to say, I enjoyed the heck out of it. I knew of it as a tabletop game that used miniatures and involved space marines, but that was the extent of what I knew.
As it turned out, it's been around for decades and not only has a massive fan base but a massive catalogue of tie-ins, such as the books set in the universe. Before diving into this, I gave myself a brief overview of the extended Warhammer universe, so I had some passing knowledge of some of the races I was likely to meet.
While much of the book plays out like an action movie, there's also a lot of political machinations playing out. These worked well together and helped expand my understanding of the greater setting and history behind the story. As an admitted newbie to the Warhammer world, there was enough here that it didn't leave me feeling like I had no idea what was going on.
Uriel Ventris, newly promoted captain in the Ultramarines, is tasked to protect a government representative being sent to investigate the governors of the planet Pavonis. Planetside, Pavonis is descending rapidly towards civil war, as different controlling factions try to get the political upper hand by any means necessary.
Meanwhile, an ancient evil older than time is being woken from its endless slumber. The three storylines seem mostly distinct at first but slowly draw together as the players and motivations become clear. There are some truly horrifyingly twisted characters; the Surgeon and his flesh sculptures is the standout.
The battle scenes in the book were skillfully choreographed, giving you the sense of being right in the thick of battle alongside Uriel and his Ultramarines.
Narration by Bruce Mackinnon was excellent. His voice had clarity, gravitas and energy, and upped the pace when needed to keep the action flowing.
To sum up - for me, this was an exciting first look at the world of Warhammer 40,000 that didn't require hours of actual gameplay or immersion in the world to understand. Anyone could pick this up and not feel lost to what was happening.
I was given this audiobook as part of a commercial agreement to provide proofing services to the publisher. I have voluntarily left this review. I have not let this arrangement affect nor influence my opinions of this audiobook and have left an honest review.