The Book of Blood is an anthology/compilation of a black & white comic, a novella and four short stories, all themed around the Blood Angels Space Marines chapter.
I had the book forgotten in a shelve, because after reading the comic I wasn't specially enjoying the Space Hulk novella. As I ended up reading it alone, I recently decided to finish the book.
The results are that the comic is the best piece, then the short stories vary. This is my first reading about the Blood Angels specific lore, "vampirism" and the black rage, so while is interesting to see the differences from Dark Angels and Ultramarines (of whom I've read a few books) on most stories it feels like too exagerated, as if the bloodlust or the rage was terrible, while I had an image of some crazed marines but the rest more normal.
Not bad but I'm not impressed either... and as I said, the best part is the comic.
When I saw Warhammer 40,000 Astra Militarum's Taurox vehicle I thought it was a custom mix half-buggy half-tank thought from scratch...
But it looks it's based on the MRAP concept (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle):
Of course it has tank tracks instead of wheels, and MARPs are not just one specific design but a grouping of similar armoured anti-explosive vehicles (at the Wikipedia link there are a dozen more photos), but the similarities are abundant.
I wrote my thoughts after a few WH Visions numbers a while ago. It wasn't too good but as we are nearing a year of issues and there are some rumors of no more numbers after 2014 (due to the failure it has been), here's how it has become even less valuable from my point of view.
First, is a mostly a showcase of "trending miniatures". Example: If you don't like Dark Eldar, you're going to get minimum 1/3 of the magazine dedicated to them. Although there are always different topic sections, throwing away sometimes half of the pages because "is not your army" is not very appealing. And as there is no lore text, you're probably not going to start an army only by looking at the paint jobs. The tactic of bombarding once an again during a month with all the new minis doesn't works on me at least.
All official articles have too many minis. Games Workshop seems to want us to only play at Apocalypse scale, because now you see dozens of vehicles and usually no less than 30 miniatures per photo (excepting close ups and the like). Battles have gone insane, like with the Dark Eldar bomber... it is somewhat cool, but really showing 3 of them plus other flyers as a detachment? Or around 30 wracks, when a box is only 5 models? Or probably around 100 tyranids each time they appear?
It is also a tactic so that we see the need of having bigger and bigger armies "like WD guys have", but I kind of miss the old, less packed photographs, so many models distract me and I don't give as much attention to the details as I did in the past, when I could stare at each photo for minutes appreciating everything.
The best painted miniatures are no longer the White Dwarf or Heavy Metal team ones. I didn't like at first the Parade Ground section too much, always displaying winners and honour mentions instead of "also non winners", but now they are usually the best painted ones. Probably due to having to paint so many minis for so many photos, quality is uneven, and, despite doing too much mud watering/painting, Forge World photographs are also quite cool. White Dwarf ones have cool illumination and backgrounds but... They are no longer the coolest guys in town, it looks like "mass pro painting" instead of "awesome painting" (still years ahead of my painting skills, of course).
Same happens with conversions... The only conversions you see are Kit Bash articles and Parade Ground ones. GW has like forbidden showing converted minis, so no imagination, no creativity, only different color schemes. And half of the Kit Bash articles are too basic or uninteresting.
Blanchitsu is unclear of authorship. John Blanche is a great illustrator, a cool miniatures creator, but come on, I don't even remember the last time the minis showcased at his section were from him. Most minis are from other people, and while they are really really cool there's only a small text fragment saying the name of the real author. I don't like the misleading look of the section, as if all were from him.
The "how many nurgle chaos lord conversions in this issue?" joke is too much already. The same mini appears at every single issue, in all sorts of cool, normal and crappy conversions and/or paint jobs. It gets really tiring to see it once and again. While is a good mini (I have one in fact) it really annoys so much lack of variety.
So, counting with the not precisely cheap price, the too narrow content variety of each issue and the complaints I've put... I'd recommend at the very minimum to peek an isue before buying it.
Let's see if WH Visions survives this winter.
A Hunt in the dark is a short story about the ascension of Sammael to grand master of the Ravenwing, and how the previous master, Gideon, died. Sammael will be put into interrogation in the depths of The Rock... and things will happen.
It is truly a quick read, interesting but... alone feels too small to be worth 3€. Better to wait for a compilation.
Chapter Masters Sammael, Belial and Saphoon appear again, but the main characters from the first book are now elevated one to the Deathwing and the other to the Ravenwing Black Knights.
Without spoiling the book itself, this time the story focuses and further details about captured Fallen, the famous Chaplain-interrogator Asmodai and his extreme devotion, and making thought decisions due to keeping the chapter's secrets.
I enjoyed the lore and plot, but readers should be warned of two small points:
1) This time the story doesn't closes, at a certain point "some things happen" and you're left with how they unfold for the last book. It is a good cliffhanger that leaves you eager for the end, but I wanted more :P
2) This book focuses a lot more on character dialogs, scenarios, event descriptions and the like, leaving battles almost for a secondary role. There is action, and its bloody and detailed, but I welcome the abundance of dialogs and character thoughts.
Being biased, I can't but recommend the book for Dark Angels collectors.
Now to wait for the final entry.