John over at the BBB sent me a copy of Heaven's Devils a few weeks (months?) ago, and after reading through it (and seeing him review it), I thought I'd share my own thoughts. It doesn't hurt that I'm also struggling with an RP post and some Priest musings. I've shipped the book off to my Battle Buddy in Iraq, and I'll update this with his thoughts once he gets through it. Of course this means I don't have the book in front of me to reference for the review, but that's why we have the internet.
A one sentence review
It's worth reading, but it's not Warhammer 40k.
What it is
Heaven's Devils is a great military sci-fi book. It fits into the Starcraft universe nicely, and I can certainly picture the characters in my mind. Of course it helps that Blizzard has provided us with an image for Tychus and Raynor already in some of their video footage, but I think the book can certainly stand on its own. The Starcraft universe is certainly large enough (and actually much larger than I thought) to support a book without having to add in a ton of history and backstory.
A smooth plotline, and a clear direction, lends to a fairly simple read. It was a lot like Arthas or any of the other Blizzard IP books - fairly clear to read, without being over the top.
Unfortunately, this was my main problem with the book.
What it isn't
It isn't gritty, dark, or even remotely leaning in those directions. Without giving the book away, let's just say that there are some moments where our merry band of heroes find themselves in trouble. At no time do you expect someone to die, and even the climatic battle was predictable. I never felt like I was there, and I certainly never had to put the book down because it was getting intense.
Granted, I'm holding this book to the standards that I've come to expect from 40k novels. I'm sure that part of this is due to the fact that I'm busy catching up on the Horus Heresy series, and alternating between praying for SW:TOR and the 40k MMO. Space Marines and Starcraft Marines just look alike in my book (the armor is great), and don't tell me there isn't a correlation between the Zerg/Tyranids and the Protoss/Eldar. Of course there's no chainswords, but you can't have everything.
In the end
The book was a good read, and helps set the stage for SC:2 by giving me a little teaser into Jim Raynor's life before we meet him in the original Starcraft game. It sticks to the "Rated T for Teen" type of setting we see with Blizzard's games, where I was hoping for more of an "M for Mature" - or maybe higher. More details, less fluff - and don't go light on the combat scenes either.