Book Review: The Reverie by Peter Fehervari

Book Synopsis

Exalting war and art in harmony, the warrior-artisans of the Angels Resplendent have forged a radiant haven amidst a blighted galaxy. But an ancient sin stains their honour – a wound in their world that will never heal. Ignorant souls would call it a forest, but those who watch over it know better.

Nothing natural grows in the Reverie’s snow-swept glades or wanders amongst the unnatural things that do, save for the intruders who trespass on its pain. Some seek revelation or redemption, others dream of winning a place amongst the Resplendent, but all come because they must.

Three travellers are drawn into the conspiracy that wards the wound – a knight haunted by his lost humanity, an aging poet who refuses to go gently into the night, and a scholar who yearns to redeem mankind. All must face their shadows in the Reverie, but only one shall gaze upon its heart, where a deeper darkness beats.

The Reverie is the second novel by Peter Fehervari I’ve read and one of the more popular Warhammer Horror releases since its inception – and it certainly lives up to hype! Having recently read, and absolutely loved, Requiem Infernal, I have noticed that a pervasive sense of eeriness and general creepiness is a key feature of Fehevari’s writing. So, if that stuff is your cup of tea, then I reckon this book will be for you!

This all contributes to a strong sense of atmosphere being the standout features of this book for me. Something is very wrong on this planet and Fehervari’s writing captures this wonderfully throughout, creating a bewitching and sinister environment for our characters. Even the most seemingly innocuous occurrences here feel like they’re filled with a hidden sense of menace that haunts the story you from the beginning. For our characters, this translates to a general sense of unease throughout, though they’re never able to quite put their finger on what is wrong until it is too late.

For me, the beginning of this novel is an example where Fehervari does atmosphere at its best. The prologue is like some form of dark and twisted version of a Brother’s Grimm fairy-tale about an orphan boy and a monster, and it was just brilliant. I was hooked into the story straight away, and impressed with how the 40k and futuristic elements slipped into the story alongside this.

After the prologue, we begin to meet our central characters. Each has a strong and unique voice and outlook on the world that gives us a variety of perspectives on the darkness that sits at the core of their world. I enjoyed each of the characters here and I can’t pick an absolute favourite, with the competition being particularly fierce between would be between the sanity and methodical thinking of the Apothecary Borges; the jaded views of the artist Marisol, and the hopeful ambitions of Tarsem. However, with the last of those characters, is where my only real complaint about this novel sits. We spend a fair chunk of time with Tarsem in the first third or so of the book, but it feels like his story line drops to the very back of the queue after this – and I wanted more Tarsem! I feel like he was the first character we got to build a connection with, and then he was whisked away!

Through this plethora of characters, we meet and see the Space Marines of the Angels Resplendent from a variety of perspectives. The world-building and way the more insidious practices of Chaos are intertwined here is superb. This is a Chapter of Space Marines have been thoroughly corrupted – but they don’t know it yet. Having rejected some of the more totalitarian and oppressive practices of the Imperium, they should be a beacon of hope for humanity in this dark future, but the daemons and dark gods that are very real in Warhammer have found a way to turn even these champions of a brighter for the future of humanity against them.

Overall, this is a fantastic story that draws you in with its atmospheric writing, complex characters and interweaving plot lines. Plus, if you have read any of his other Dark Coil works, then you will enjoy picking out the little Easter Eggs and references littered throughout the book. I for one will be eagerly keeping my eyes peeled when I pick up more of his work in future!

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