I’ve been reading Black Library books for a long time. Starting about ten years ago, I devoured every Warhammer Fantasy book I could find, and many still have pride of place on my shelves. When I swung hard into science fiction, I turned to Warhammer 40,000, and carried on that tradition. I’ve been reading these books since before I had a blog with which to talk about them. And even when I was blogging and reading concurrently, there were some that I didn’t talk about at the time. So here is the remedy for that oversight. This is every Warhammer 40,000 book I’ve read without reviewing.
On Wings of Blood, by various authors
This anthology covers all things aeronautical, and features a host of action-packed stories. There’s not a whole lot of variety in them, but if you want explosions and digfights, this is one you should check out.
Underhive, by various authors
This was my first taste of Necromunda, and was enough to keep me largely away from the setting for a long time. Not because the stories were bad, but because I found (and still find) that some of the zanier elements of the setting were not to my liking.
The Great Devourer, by various authors
In my search for tyrannid fiction, this was the only book to come up. With one novel and a host of shorts, it drove home how difficult it is to capture the non-human perspective, which the stories in question largely handled by having the xenos as antagonists rather than viewpoint characters.
Servants of the Machine-God, by various authors
I remember very little about this book, other than that it was about the Mechanicus, with possibly a Titan or two story in there too.
Shield of the Emperor, by various authors
Featuring the absolutely brilliant Fifteen Hours and two other novels, this is a great place to go if you want some Imperial Guard action. Straightforward military stories, but good ones.
Hammer of the Emperor, by various authors
Perhaps the lesser of the two Imperial Guard omnibuses, this one has good stories rather than great ones. Having read these two back-to-back, I was fatigued with that kind of storytelling at the time.
The Ravenor Omnibus, by Dan Abnett
Yes, I read Ravenor before Eisenhorn. I’m that guy. Maybe it was that lack of context, or maybe it was the constant headhopping, but I didn’t enjoy the trilogy anywhere near as much as I did Abnett’s other Inquisitor novels.
Titanicus, by Dan Abnett
For me, this is Abnett’s weakest novel. Part of the Sabbat War series, it lacks the strong characters of Gaunt’s Ghosts, and the Titan-focused violence gets repetitive. I suppose even the greats are entitled to the occasional dud.
The Founding, by Dan Abnett
I’ve actually read this one twice. First many, many years ago, when it marked the start and end of my first foray into Warhammer. Then again in 2018, when it marked my second foray, which remains ongoing. Disjointed as the stories may be, it’s still a high point of the Gaunt’s Ghosts series.
The Saint, by Dan Abnett
Another strong entry in the Gaunt’s Ghosts narrative, this is where the main plot arcs fall into place, and it’s all the stronger for it. This is also the point where Black Library omnibuses started to become physically intimidating.
The Lost, by Dan Abnett
Here is where the cracks started to show in Gaunt’s Ghosts. There are a couple of dull books in this collection. Though once again we can’t discount franchise fatigue from long readthroughs.
The Victory: Part One, by Dan Abnett
Reading all these omnibuses over the space of a few months, the details start blurring together. By this stage in the series, you’re either in or you’re out. I was in.
The Warmaster, by Dan Abnett
The point where I finally caught up with the series, this one was much more manageable than the chunkier preceding books. A lot of it is setup for Anarch, but it’s still as strong as Abnett usually is.
Yarrick: The Omnibus, by David Annandale
This is one of the rare books that I actively plan to reread, perhaps even this year. At the time, I was underwhelmed, but I have since turned around in my opinions on David Annandale, and want to investigate further.
The House of Chains and Night, by David Annandale
The Warhammer Horror books were largely a miss for me. Some were quite good, but many were weaker. This is one of the weaker entries, though the gothic elements do work nicely in the grim dark future.
Cult of the Spiral Dawn, by Peter Fehervari
Another casualty of my hunt for the tyrannids, my first exposure to Fehervari was a confusing one. Which is, I now know, the norm. Aside from one stowaway’s story, I never really got into this one.
Resurrection, by John French
An Inquisition story that isn’t about an Inquisitor getting corrupted? Brilliant. French’s writing is a lot denser than other Black Library writers, but that often makes it more rewarding.
Incarnation, by John French
This might have been my first Warhammer 40,000 Hardback. I’m not sure. I found it much harder to get into than the first book in the series, to the extent that I’m on the fence about picking up whatever French writes next.
Baneblade, by Guy Haley
A solid piece of tank-based action. I remember really enjoying this one, for all that it was a standard tale of heroism and guts. Definitely one for the heavy armour enthusiasts among you.
Shadowstorm, by Guy Haley
Another one that I don’t remember much about. Definitely more tanks. Probably more heroism.
Blackstone Fortress, by Darius Hinks
A tie-in to the game of the same name, this was my first exposure to Rogue trader fiction, and really sold me on Blackstone Fortress as a setting.
Rogue Trader: The Omnibus, by Andy Hoare
An omnibus of some rather old books, these ones are very much of an earlier period of Warhammer fiction. I found the collection enjoyable but ultimately unremarkable. One of those books important for what it inspired than for what it does for itself.
Sepultrum, by Nick Kyme
Zombies in the grim, dark future. It’s a sure-fire hit. It hits all the beats you’d expect of a zombie apocalypse, but does so without outstaying its welcome. One of the better Horror novels in the range.
Forges of Mars, by Graham McNeill
Another thick book, this time dealing with the Mechanicus. Reading it before I knew much of the lore, I was utterly lost in the sea of jargon, but if I have the time, this is another I might revisit.
Hero of the Imperium, by Sandy Mitchell
A rare book that I read before I was truly immersed in the 41st millennium, this one confused me with its more broadly comedic sensibilities. I enjoy the stories, but the tone was not what I expected at the time.
Shadowbreaker, by Stephen Parker
My first literary exposure to Space Marines was enough to turn me off them for years. The story and writing are fine, but I found the characters to be basic superhumans with little to interest me.
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