Click here for all of my Warhammer 40000 reviews


Publisher: Black Library

Genre: Grimdark SF

Pages: 325

Publication Date: 2020

Verdict: 4/5


Ere we go ladz! Da orks is coming to Hephaestos, and no humies, no matter how shiny and tek-priesty they may be can stop dem! Except dere’s a whole lot of titans down on Hephaestos, and ain’t nobody going down wivout a fight . . !

What I like about Warhammer 40,000 is the overwhelming tragedy of it all. It doesn’t matter how much light you try and bring, one day everything will fall into darkness. You might win a battle or two, but you’re going to lose the war. The T’au enslave countless species under the illusion of the Greater Good. The Imperium stagnates and grinds both enemies and its own citizens too pulp under the tank tracks of wear. The Chaos Gods devour reality itself and laugh from afar. And then you’ve got the orks. Racing brightly coloured vehicles, giggling in their mockney accents, and generally having a good time as the world explodes around (and occasionally within) them. Contrasted against the looming tragedy of humanity’s decline, the orks have always struck me as a bit… silly.

Don’t get me wrong. Silliness has a place. I’m a big fan of shows like Killjoys and Vagrant Queen, and they’re as silly as you get. But it’s never been what I want from Warhammer. The orks just felt out of place. Two recent books started to change my opinion on that. Oddly enough, both were primarily about necrons. The Infinite and the Divine and Ruin both put the orks in direct contrast to the necorns, and that made me think. Maybe that silliness is a good thing. The grim, dark future is a horrible place, and when you’re confronted by endless horror, you have three options. You can try and fight it, as the (with arguable success) the Imperium does. You can give up and wallow in misery with necrons. Or you can cut loose and revel in the madness. After all, if you’re going to die in pain, why not make that short life as enjoyable as you can? And that’s where the orks come in.

Mike Brooks is a very good writer. Most of his work that I’ve read has been fairly serious, but Brutal Kunnin shows what he can do with a bit of humour. And it turns out that what he can do with a bit of humour is write the funniest Warhammer book ever. \this book is genuinely laugh-out-loud funny, and that is such a are thing I can’t remember when I last found one. The comedy works not only because the orks are inherently ridiculous, but because the orks are having as much fun as the reader. They have short, violent lives, after all. Who can begrudge them a bit of entertainment? Not me. While all comedy writing is hard, I have to give Brooks special praise for writing orkish dialogue in a way that is readable. A lot of the time, accents are difficult to parse, but the orks’s lingo is as straightforward as everything else about them. I wouldn’t want this in every book, or even every Warhammer 40,000 book. But it absolutely works, and the world is a better place for having this book in it.

Way back in the early days, Warhammer was much more openly comedic. I mean, one of the most famous orks of all time was named after Margaret Thatcher, and if that’s not satire, i don’t now what is. Over time, the storyetlling has started to take itself a bit more seriously, and I think that is a very good thing. It’s certainly resulted in more stories that I enjoy reading. But sometimes it’s good to revisit the past. And for all it’s inventiveness and originality, Brutal Kunnin might just be, in a very circular way, the most traditional Warhammer 40,000 book in a long, long while.


Read this book, and you’ll come away with a grin on your face. And if that’s not true, I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe you is just a borin’ humie.

11 responses to “BOOK REVIEW: Brutal Kunnin, by Mike Brooks”

  1. Warhammer 40,000 Is Every Genre, And That Is Why It Works – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] Brutal Kunnin, by Mike Brooks – This darkly hilarious novel shows just what an Ork can achieve if he puts his mind to it. Spoiler alert: It’s a whole lot of mayhem […]


  2. BOOK REVIEW: Reign, by Nate Crowley – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] you enjoy this book? If so, you may also like:Brutal Kunnin, by Mike BrooksSevered, by Nate CrowleyThe Infinite and the Divine, by Robert […]


  3. BOOK REVIEW: Crisis of Faith, by Phil Kelly – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] you enjoy this book? If so, you might also enjoy:Brutal Kunnin, by Mike BrooksRogue Trader, by Andy HoareThe Infinite and the Divine, by Robert […]


  4. BOOK REVIEW: Empire of Lies, by Phil Kelly – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] you enjoy this book? If so, you might also like:Brutal Kunnin, by Mike BrooksCrisis of Faith, by Phil KellyThe Book of Martyrs, by Phil Kelly, Danie Ware, and Alec […]


  5. BOOK REVIEW: Ghazghkull Thraka: Prophet of the Waaagh!, by Nate Crowley – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] you enjoy this book? If so, you might also enjoy:Saga of the Beast, by David Annandale (Audio)Brutal Kunnin, by Mike BrooksThe Twice-Dead King: Ruin, by Nate […]


  6. BOOK REVIEW: Huron Blackheart: Master of the Maelstrom, by Mike Brooks – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] you enjoyed this book, you might also like:Brutal Kunnin, by Mike BrooksAhriman: The Omnibus, by John FrenchAvenging Son, by Guy […]


  7. BOOK REVIEW: Catachan Devil, by Justin Woolley – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] you enjoyed this book, you might also like:Brutal Kunnin, by Mike BrooksSteel Tread, by Andy ClarkBaneblade, by Guy […]


  8. BOOK REVIEW: Defender of the Imperium, by Sandy Mitchell – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] you enjoyed this book, you might also like:Yarrick: The Omnibus, by David AnnandaleBrutal Kunnin, by Mike BrooksHonourbound, by Rachel […]


  9. BOOK REVIEW: Da Gobbo’s Demise, by Denny Flowers – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] Black Library books about the OrksDa Gobbo’s Revenge, by Mike BrooksBrutal Kunnin, by Mike BrooksGhazghkull Thraka: Prophet of the Waaagh!, by Nate […]


  10. AT BOUNDARY’S EDGE ESSENTIALS: Warhammer 40,000 – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] Brutal Kunninby Mike BrooksWhy it’s Essential: Brutal Kunnin is proof that Warhammer can, on occasion, stay true to its roots. This is grimdark as the parody it originally portrayed itself as. While not taking itself too seriously, it’s a powerful reminder that just because a world is a little messed up, that doesn’t mean someone isn’t enjoying themselves. It is also one of the books that spearheaded a recent resurgence in non-Imperial protagonists. For that alone it is worthy of praise. […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: