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(Severina Raine)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  343 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Uncompromising and fierce, Commissar Severina Raine has always served the Imperium with the utmost distinction. Attached to the Eleventh Antari Rifles, she instills order and courage in the face of utter horror. The Chaos cult, the Sighted, have swept throughout the Bale Stars and a shadow has fallen across its benighted worlds. A great campaign led by the vaunted hero Lor ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Games Workshop (first published February 23rd 2019)
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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 ·  343 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
A generic and boring base story (imperial guard fighting chaos with traitors in the ranks) executed brilliantly. The characters, the background stories, the regiment, the's amazing, especially in a debut novel.
Very good and recommended if you are tired of the same old bolterporn BL books.
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 40k
The Dramatis Personae at the beginning had me worried. 'Oh no, it's one of those books' I thought. But I was proven wrong. While Severina has her boots strapped a bit too tight to be interesting through much of her own story, the supporting cast and side plots were interesting enough to keep me going until all the threads started to come together. By then, we get one of the most harrowing battle sequences ever, with stakes appropriately high. By this late point Severina has come out of her shell ...more
Gary Laporte
May 10, 2020 rated it did not like it
Reviewing this book is not easy for me. I deeply disliked it. However, I'm not saying it's a bad book, just that it's the opposite of what I'm looking for in the 40k universe.

First, the good things: I did not have any stylistical issue with the book and it is obvious that there was a lot of research in the lore of the 40k universe to draw us in it. The plot was easy to follow and the action scenes were well done and entertaining.

An important thing to keep in mind is that the 40k universe can be
Oct 15, 2019 rated it liked it
My video review:

It was no ADB.
C. S.
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
DNF @ 5% for me-not-you reasons. I came into this book not knowing anything about the world the novel is a tie-in for, and although the writing is strong and gave me a good idea of what was going on right off the bat, it's just not a world I'm interested in spending any time in right now. Give me fluff or give me... self-help nonfiction, I guess. ...more
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
****1/2: among the finest Black Library novels I’ve read. Rachel Harrison spins an engrossing, complex web of endearing characters and puts them through an absolute blender of harrowing action and inter-personal strife. Multiple sub-plots are expertly handled and culminate in a moving, powerful story that I just could not put down. My only criticism was in one of the final reveals being a little too easily tipped off. But otherwise, wow, sets a new standard for 40K fiction. I didn’t read any of ...more
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am really hoping they make Raine a major character and give her a decent run as a series. The characters are well developed and everything works to make this one of the better recent Black Library novels outside the HH.
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
Full review can be read over here: https://wordaholicanonymous.wordpress... ...more
Michael Dodd
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rachel Harrison’s debut Black Library novel, this follows on from several excellent short stories and features Commissar Severina Raine serving with the 11th Antari Rifles as part of the decades-long Bale Stars Crusade. As Raine and the Antari grind their way to hard-fought victories over the chaos cult known as the Sighted, the stress of constant attritional warfare starts to show – even on the resolute Commissar. With the Sighted changing tactics and darkness forming within the Crusade, Raine ...more
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, warhammer
The following review was originally published in the online newspaper The Orkney News in May 2020. Link here.

Warhammer 40,000: Honourbound by Rachel Harrison

‘Loyalty before the threat of death.’ – Old Antari saying

Welcome once again to my small corner of this world. I’m glad for the company as today I discuss a favourite character of mine. I’ve spoken on many occasions – as long time readers will know! – of Warhammer (be it Horus Heresy, Age Of Sigmar or
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Another one from the Black Library 2020 Humble Bundle.

I understand the miniature painting company is trying to put at least one face on each type of unit they're selling. In this case we get a Commissar Severina Raine who hears and feels like an NKVD or Gestapo officer, looks like a Soviet militia officer with that ridiculously oversized hat. She also has the same emotional depth and range as her inspirational predecessors, which is to say none. Making th
Swords & Spectres
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

I’ll start off by saying that you need to pay attention as there is a lot going on in this book. On the face of it you’d think ‘dark science-fiction because it’s Warhammer 40,000’. What you get is dark science-fiction with and undercurrent of military mystery/thriller style plot.

Just based on the writing, it was one I expected to hate. It is written in present tense and that really grated on me to start with. So much so tha
James Green
Aug 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Commissar Severina Raine is attached to the 11th Antari Rifles a regiment recruited from a semi-feral world fighting in the Bale Stars Crusade. Their enemy is the Sighted a chaos cult that has corrupted a swathe of Imperial worlds. But the war has changed and Raine want's to know why the Sighted seem to be more professional. Who's helping them and why?

Raine is not the Commissar to be a 40K star. Commissar Yarrick saved Armageddon, Colonel-Commissar Gaunt leads his Ghosts while Cain is alongside
Skywatcher Adept
Jun 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
There are many Commissars in the 40k universe. Some of them are heinous, malevolent and despicable, some charismatic, inspiring or just downright hilarious. Commissar Raine is simply charmless. 
Moreover the folklore Harrison created for the Guardsmen from Antar is bland and unoriginal, compared with the other cultural backgrounds of Imperial Regiments we already know. This combined with the dullest memory flashbacks I have ever read in a 40k novel results with a boring read, prolonged by tiresom
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: warhammer
Quirky but thoroughly enjoyable book. The constant present tense was odd, but quickly adjusted to. More jarring and in some ways damning was the heavy telling as opposed to showing when it came to the characters' thoughts.

The premise of the story is really simple, as another reviewer notes. It's basically about rooting out traitors in the rank, but the execution of said simplicity is where this book really shines: There are interesting characters, fluid action, and enough propelling intrigue and
Samantha Barthe
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it

One of my favorite Warhammer 40K books, initially I was afraid this was going to be drenched in overtly feminist themes but thankfully it wasn’t and because of that fact it aided in the credibility of the writing . This book is definitely one to read if you are just entering the Warhammer 40k universe because it does handle more “human” themes, the military structure and equipment is more relatable, as well as the enemy (cultists). Severina Raine is an amazing main character, she was both relata
Feb 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: dystopian, sci-fi
Considering I was not expecting to like this at all, I am really happy with this book.

Severina Raine is a BADASS.

This was my first foray into Warhammer 40k fiction and I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not a reader of sci-fi in any way. I do find 40k lore fascinating, so that probably helped.

I have no idea if what I read was general sci-fi fodder or if it was really something unique, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The characters were enjoyable and less annoying than I expected, the scenery was t
Johnny Graham
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book from NetGalley and Black Library for review.

Most 40k books you hit the action running,

Rachel Harrison has you hitting the action stumbling, scrambling, half-blind and smelling of a heady mix of singed las-fire and burning promethium that's not near enough to take the brutal edge off the shock of war, as you are thrust abruptly into the decades-long Bale Stars Crusade against The Sighted.

There's a story being told that's reminiscent of Dan Abnett's beloved Gaunts Ghost ser
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting ensemble story that while juggling multiple characters and making a few lag behind, still boasts strong drive and interaction.

I will admit, I was a bit worried Mrs. Raine was going to be a generic girl boss without much character other than that she is tough as nails but I was an idiot because the reality is a well realized, strong character with flaws drive and humanity that shows the strength that can only come from realizing and accepting one's vulnerability. This extends to m
John Burnett
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
My first novel in the grim darkness of the far future and it was better than I expected. Rachel Harrison did an excellent job of making memorable characters and progressing the plot at an interesting pace. That's what makes this novel a cut above the rest. The author focuses on the nuances of the character's horrifying lives and makes you burn through the pages to see how they cope psychologically. Compelling to say the least. Although the bad-ass heroine Severina Raine is the selling point, the ...more
Nov 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: warhammer-40k
I enjoyed it well enough. It comes dangerously close to being derivative of "Gaunt's Ghosts". Commissar Severina Raine isn't in command of the Antari Rifles, but it's easy to forget there is a commanding officer and that she is the political enforcer. The Antari are also another Celtic-influenced regiment, so the "Gaunt's Ghost" flavor comes in that way too.

Raine is very much not Gaunt, though, and the individual Antari won't remind the reader of the Ghosts. They are conflicted and complex, with
Russell Tassicker
Feb 18, 2020 rated it liked it
I really hoped this would be great but it didn't quite hit the mark for me. The core characters are all interesting, if tropey, but the plot and the antagonists are both rather threadbare. Stylistically the trick of punctuating a paragraph with a short impactful sentence was distractingly frequent. I also would've liked the characters to be more ruthless with each other, and the author to be more ruthless with the characters.

On the whole I enjoyed it and I'd like to read more about these charact
At somewhere between 20 and 30% I was ready to give up on this. Present tense isn't my favorite, and everyone seemed very two dimensional. The tense slowly grew on me, the characters developed a bit, and, though Raine still seems almost lacking any emotion beyond determination (though I realise to some extent you have to be outwardly emotionless to be a commissar), by 60 - 70% I was in love with it. The fighting is good, but so is the intrigue, dialogue, and inner thoughts.

(view spoiler)
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When I first got this book, I thought that it was another 40K book but as the plot reveals itself, I felt that this book was actual a well written book as it unveils more about Severina Raine's past and decisions and the other characters and there a amazing plot twist and I will not tell you where, so you could find it yourself. This book mainly tells us about the 11th Antri Rifles led by Raine and how they find out who is the manticore which is the leader of the traitors and charged the mantico ...more
Jun 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Pretty good book.
It suffers from the fact that it is somewhat similar in setting to Dan Abnett's
Gaunt's Ghosts series.

It has potential to grow into a decent series.
But there is definitely room for improvement.

The good:
-The main character. Severina Rain is not a mindless fanatic but at the same time she still is a Comissar.
-The suspense. It's a nice enough plot and you actually want to know what or who is to blame.

The bad:
-Just another 40k story. There is nothing new or fresh about this story. Gr
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely fantastic read about the life of Astra Militarum and the machinations that go on behind the scenes. The plot is fast and the action is bloody and understated. I enjoyed the look into the personal lives and feelings of these characters and how limited they are in being able to express themselves in the face of crushing duty. I am definitely eager to keep reading more about the adventures of Severina Raine and the 11th Antari Rifles.
Simon Aebli
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have long looked forward to getting to read Harrison's debut novel, and wasn't diappointed. While the base story is nothing particularly original, Harrison skillfully combines a present tense writing style with a cast of sculpted out characters and an original lore for the Antari. The one thing I would have liked to see more of is Raine's emotional conflict, which often pales in comparison to her no-nonsense demeanour as a Commissar. ...more
James Edwards
Aug 06, 2020 rated it liked it
A human centred story in the grim darkness that is, as is often the case, a much more interesting read than those based on space marines or the like. The characters are just better filled out I find!

The battle scenes are well told and progress the narrative which is refreshing and the plot, whilst not too different from many warhammer books, is solid and really nicely told.

Not as enjoyable as Ciaphus Cain or Eisenhorn but great for when you’ve finished those.
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up today as part of the Black Library Celebration and read it all in a few hours because I couldnt put it down. There was a lot of hype around this book. it didnt just meet it it surpassed it in my opinion. Severina is a fantastic lead, kickass and a proper formidable commissar. A must read for any WH40K fan. More please!
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Took a just a bit longer than usual to finish this. I have to say it was due to varied personal distractions rather than the quality of this novel. Start to finish was just fantastic 40k Imperial Guard action. And the endings were sublime. Most definitely my favorite commissar has been replaced by Severina Raine.
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Rachel Harrison writes Warhammer 40k stories for Black Library. She also publishes under the name Ray Harrison.

Librarian note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.


Other books in the series

Severina Raine (6 books)
  • Execution (Severina Raine)
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