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Blood for the Blood God (Warhammer) Mass Market Paperback – October 28, 2008
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About the Author
C. L. Werner has written a number of pulp-style horror stories for assorted small press publications, including Inferno! magazine. Currently living in the American south-west, he continues to write stories of mayhem and madness set in the Warhammer World.
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A) the setting/world and the vibrancy of it
B) the characters and how much we can empathize with them
C) the plot
D) the overall quality of the writing and what the book teaches us.
A) The setting of the world is Warhammer, a world of dark fantasy where danger lurks around every corner. Games Workshop, the creator of this, has done a good job with this world and environment. It is definitely not the Dungeons and Dragons world, or another fantasy setting where things are relatively peaceful.
This is set in the northern wastes of the world, which are dominated by Chaos and their gods. The steppes like environment is reasonably well-described by Werner. Overall I thought it was ok but the landscape could be better described.
B) This is an area where the author could have done better. There are some interesting characters but they are not sketched out well enough. It is hard to feel their motivations, personal characteristics, etc. This applies to antagonists and protagonists. It is very difficult to take a stance on any of the sides.
C) The plot does not build up to any type of satisfying climax. The ending is confusing and without a proper resolution. I was not overly pleased with it. I was almost like the author reached the page limit he was supposed to write and had to quickly wrap up the book.
D) Overall probably 3/5 is a fair rating for this book. I think that this book is more enjoyed by those who are familiar with and like the world of Warhammer. I would encourage you to read other books in this setting. The world is an amazing dark, gothic, fantasy world. Unfortunately I have been disappointed by the plot and characters in most of the books in this setting. Hopefully some authors will come along who are able to take better advantage of the environment. I thought that the same author did a better job with the Witchhunter series, also set in the world of Warhammer.
This time out, C.L. Werner takes us far away from the Chaos borders with the Empire and turns the focus far, far north into the deep reaches of the Chaos Wastes where they border the region known as the Shadowlands. In this locality live eight tribes of warriors that become the focus of this book, each with their own distinct culture and way of life.
A thousand years earlier, a great khan had risen up and united these eight tribes under one banner, laying the foundations for his dream of an empire. But the Blood God Khorne had felt that this khan had strayed from loyalty to him and had begun to care too much about his own glory, so he sent his champion, an undefeatable and deadly warrior known as the Skulltaker, to test the khan and mete out punishment on him. It was only with his own dying blow that the khan was finally able to defeat the Skulltaker, but thereby also shattered the khan's legendary sword.
Now, a thousand years later, those events have faded into distant legend and the late khan's once great empire has turned to dust, the eight tribes now at constant war with each other. But suddenly, to everyone's surprise and alarm, the Skulltaker reappears, this time seeking to harvest the skulls of the heads of each of the eight tribes. Can the tribes overcome centuries of hatred and mistrust to defeat this unstoppable killing machine?
C.L. Werner does a great job of creating distinct and interesting cultures for each of the tribes. But my reason for giving this book only 4 stars is that I felt that, like a lot of Warhammer novels, it was a bit weak at times in the characterization department.
While the main character, Dorgo of the attack mammoth-riding Tsavag tribe, and his father Hutga Khagan are fleshed out well enough, unfortunately the other characters just seem to be sketched out in thumbnail. I kept hoping for a deeper glimpse into the psychology of some of the book's main villains, but in the end they remained one-dimensional. Most of them were nothing more than fodder for the Skulltaker's sword.
In particular, I was very disappointed that a certain female main character's psyche was never explored, as I felt that she was an especially interesting character with much potential for complexity, who was just completely wasted by being given a very cursory and formulaic end.
Overall, I finished this book feeling disappointed that more was not done with some of the very interesting characters that Werner created. The focus seemed to be mainly on action and battle sequences (which Werner does do very well). While what he did write was okay, with a little deeper probing of the minds of characters besides Dorgo and Hutga Khagan, I feel that this book could have been a classic. -- Perhaps it should have been a series of books to allow more room for proper character development?
I would say that the present version is merely adequate instead of great.