I recently read Predator Prey, book two of The Beast Arises series and wrote a review of it for Goodreads. For anybody who’s interested, I thought I’d pop the review here.
I started reading this before Christmas but for a reason I still can’t quite put my finger on, just couldn’t get into it and I ended up drifting away from the book. It’s rare when this happens to me, I never like to leave a book unfinished and it wasn’t a conscious decision this time, I put it down about ninety pages in and ended up not picking it up again for the better part of two months. As a result of this, when I committed to reading it all the way through, I decided to start again.
It picks up up not long after the catastrophic ending to the first book, with the Imperium in bother from a seemingly unstoppable Ork Waagh and after the introductory chapter a new addition to the character roster of the series makes her appearance.
Lux Allegra, a commander in the planetary defence force of the largely marine hive world of Undine is in charge of a unit attempting to lead the rulers and assorted rich folk to safety and she is in the thick of the action right from the start.
This sets up just how difficult even an individual Ork and by extension an Ork Waagh is to stop. It does this by having the invaders dropping from he skies in ships, that in most cases plunge into the oceans, meaning the Orks have to swim and wade to their targets. The Orks make it to shore in their thousands and with even a single Ork being many time the physical match of an average human, you can probably imagine what this means for the defenders of the hive cities of Undine.
After a very well written game of cat and mouse between Allegra and a truly massive Ork, she manages to get herself and her charges to the relative safety of a submarine. This is just the beginning for her though, as she ends up in charge of a make or break mission to halt the invasion of her world.
Allegra is only one of the characters though and it’s not long before we’re reintroduced to Vangorich, head of the Officio Assassinorum and an assortment of other returning and new characters.
The book mainly moves between Allegra, Vangorich, a Black Templars Space Marine fleet and The Fists Exemplar Space Marines desperately trying to defend their homeworld. Whereas the first book largely focused on the actions of the Imperial Fists, book two is much more of an ensemble affair.
Despite my false start when I first tried to read it, it’s actually a very good book, with both the action and the political machinations on Terra being particularly well written and I have to admit I particularly enjoyed the struggle of the Fists Exemplar; probably because I’m a sucker for fights against impossible odds.
My main issue with it and the reason I’ve only given it four stars, instead of five, is its length. Two hundred and forty nine pages is not a massive amount for the price of a hardback book and it makes me wonder if the page count has been skimped on to pad out the series with an extra book or two.
This single criticism aside, it is a very good book and well worth a read, as it covers a period of Warhammer 40,000 history not very well explored and it’s always good to have a bit more meat on the bones of the background of a universe.