gotrek and felix
So, Iv finished book two of Gotrek and Felix by William King and I was surprised. If you remember way back when I read Trollslayer I was surprised at the use of short stories to make up a full novel and assumed it would switch to a more typical style for Skavenslayer, yet I was wrong. It still used short stories, which initially was an annoyance as I prefer a flowing storyline, but as things progressed there was a much stronger link between the stories than I had found in the first one.
Down on their luck and poor (not for the first or last times) Gotrek and Felix are in Nuln and take a job in the sewers where they encounter the Skaven, as well as a future nemesis Grey Seer Thanquol and his rat ogre Boneripper. Naturally they spoil the plans of the Skaven before leaving the sewers to work as security in a bar.
What follows is a series of short stories linked into an overall Skaven invasion of Nuln, each having a specific plan or focus of the Skaven which the two heroes get tangled up in. I liked the approach, as Iv said it was a surprise and initially an annoyance, but in the end it worked. The only issue I had was that each story felt as though it were introducing a different clan of the Skaven (which in fairness was the point) and the inevitable failure of the plan gave it children’s cartoon feel to the seriousness of events. Whilst the overall focus on various aspects of Skaven society was interesting and the political maneuvring was representative of real life, it felt at times too isolated.
The ending of the book sets Gotrek and Felix back on the road hunting the Dwarfs doom. Given that the title is Daemonslayer then it should be good.
So, as you may be aware I’ve been unable to avoid starting series’ of books whilst leaving others unfinished. It’s now at a point where I want to get them finished in order to move on to even more books.
These are the next in line of the series of books Iv got in my pile at the moment.
Master of Sanctity by Gav Thorpe. Dark Angels. One do my favourite chapters of space marines, partly because they’re clearly not as ‘good’ as they’d suggest but also because of the secrecy in which they operate as nobody knows anything until they reach trusted levels and a closely monitored revealing of the truth is allowed to them. It’s a real reminder of working for games workshop. I read the first book of the trilogy Ravenwing about 18 months ago and whilst the story has largely gone from my memory I do remember the focus being on a new member of the Dark Angels vanguard force dealing with the revelations his new position has revealed to him, whilst having to hunt down chaos marine forces and fighting Orks. I also remember a cool vision of bikes racing around a space station as the mysterious dark angel Cypher evades capture or lays a trail depending on point of view.
Men from the Boys by Tony Parsons. If you read my previous posts on Tony Parsons books you’ll know that whilst i empathised slightly with being a new dad I was outraged by the characters attitudes and bitterness. The second book was worse than the first and honestly I have low expectations of the third. I do however have a curiosity as time has moved on faster than my life has so there may be some insights for me to prepare for.
Nagash the Unbroken by Mike Lee. Warhammer fantasy books about the undead invariably follow the same plot- undead army devastates all before them before the leader is destroyed or incapacitated and everything crumbles. The first in the Nagash trilogy wasn’t much different yet I know Nagash becomes more powerful than at any point previously. Again it’s curiosity that means I’ll be reading this one soon.
The Doom of Dragonback by Gav Thorpe. Another origin of the Warhammer world, this one isn’t strictly speaking part of a series (aside from the large time of legends books) but it ties in very closely with the war of vengeance books of which Iv read two and am waiting for the third and final one later this year. These books establish the reasons for the hatred between the dwarves and elves and so are an important background to the major races of the Warhammer world.
Gotrek and Felix book 2 by William King. I’m actually halfway through this one so I suppose I should really list book 3, but as the pair have a big hand in the end times I feel it’s one of those series I need to get through sooner rather than later.
Lord of ruin by Dan abnett and Mike Lee. A Malus Darkblade book- the last of the series. Except it’s not, the end times has added a sixth (and potentially final) darkblade book, so I’m going to need to get to this one in order to read that one. So far alls gone Malus’ way- not at all as planned but he’s recovering what he needs to and has killed off a good number of his enemies at the same time, so this one will be interesting as a conclusion (even if it’s no longer the conclusion.
The Devils Graveyard by Anonymous. The anonymous books so far have been really enjoyable- the first was theBook with No Name followed by The Eye of the Moon. Known as the Bourbon Kid series there are now four books and I have the third to read. The books aren’t linked beyond a few crossover characters and locations but they’re really enjoyable.
Manhattan in Reverse by Peter F Hamilton. This is the short story anthology I got from the in laws at Christmas, you’ll have seen previously Iv been working through it and have been enjoying them. I think because he’s keeping it simple by using the current world and changing minor things before exploring what that would do to society rather than attempting to create a whole new world.
Tales of the Old World by various authors. A fairly old anthology of Warhammer fantasy stories from a variety of settings. Being a large collection from a variety of authors the stories vary in content and quality but there have been some good reads in there so far. It’s interesting to read them because they’re from a time before there was any concerted effort to link stories and establish a timeline so it becomes something of a free for all with regards the themes and settings.
The Fall of Altdorf by Chris Wraight. The End Times books were a series I was resisting but I finally gave in and read the first one after seeing a few spoilers as well as knowing that the new edition of Warhammer fantasy this summer will require me to know what’s been going on if I’m to have any hope of continuing to read the books, let alone collect a new army. The first book The Return of Nagash was intense ade major characters started dying and major events in the future were alluded to, such as the fall of the imperial city of Altdorf, so the name of this book suggests we’ll be seeing some of this events first hand.
Hammer and bolter volume 2 by various authors. Similar to the Tales of the Old Times anthology this gives a selection of stories from both the Warhammer World and the Warhammer 40,000 universe, but from a slightly more recent selection meaning the stories aren’t so loose and are (mostly) written within a framework.
So I’m interested in your opinion, what should I read next?
Because of course Iv got these to get through too
So, I put aside the various series of books I’m currently reading through (Gotrek and felix, malus darkblade, the original Nagash trilogy) as well as the huge pile of other books I want to get through to finally read my first Warhammer end times book- the return of Nagash by josh Reynolds.
And wow, what a way to mash game of thrones with the warhammer world- people die- many many people die. And not only people of coursea characters die.
I will do my best to avoid spoilers but I can’t promise anything
The beginning was brilliant, no world of peace with a book or two to set up the full prologue (I’m looking at you horus heresy). Some bodies looking over the world and seeing death, war and destruction in pretty much every corner of the warhammer world. Some of this is implied or set in the future but many of the events are current setting you into the middle of the story.
The story then moves onto Mannfred Von Carstein and Arkhan the Black meeting up and planning to bring Nagash back from the dead/undead/not dead, whilst they are both haunted by a ‘ghost’ from their past- Vlad and Nagash respectively.
Alongside this is a secondary focus on the High Elves, Dwarves and Humans (with a little of the Wood Elves) and their response to the forces of the Undead doing evil things.
It’s hard to review without spoilers, but it was really good to see an undead themed book that didn’t end with the leader being killed and therefore the army crumbling- though many people died/redied. It was also nice to see Nagash missing from the early parts of the book. The real success of the book was expanding upon Mannfred and Arkhan- as well as the vampires on the whole- and giving them a little more personality than just being evil masters of armies of skeletons. Seeing them with weaknesses and doubts that were covered up with arrogance was a nice aside to the politics and scheming of every vampire that appears in the book.
I’m now of course left with a new dilemma- move onto the second End Times book or carry on with a different series.
So, Yes I have indeed started yet another series of books instead of at least finishing one of the ones Iv been reading recently, but felt Gotrek and Felix was at least familiar ground so would act as a bit of a break from the new stuff.
I was sure I’d read the Gotrek and Felix books- probably not in the right order, but I’d read them, yet now I think about it I’m fairly sure I haven’t, I can’t remember any of the stories aside from a few short stories. I’m fairly familiar with the characters and stories yet am now convinced Iv not read them previously. Never mind, Iv started now.
Trollslayer is one I assumed would be a straightforward fantasy plot- stroll through a cave find a troll and kill it. Well I was wrong. Well no, I was right, that’s part of it, but actually only a very small part.
The books made up not of a story but of several short stories that loosely follow each other and deal with the initial adventures and bonding of the Dwarf Slayer Gotrek and the human poet outcast Felix Jaeger. It starts out simply enough, Gotreks temper and desire for death (worthy of course) gets Felix dragged into scenarios involving the forces of Chaos and other undesirable powers. However later on there is a focus more on the development of Felix as person, or at least his attempt to maintain his humanity. This is an element rarely covered in fantasy writing, when the exposures to otherworldly forces, death and destruction and the taking of another’s life change you. Felix becomes more grim and dour, yet his personality helps him to maintain and develop an inner strength. His companionship with the dwarf also builds him as a person as they bond.
The manner in which Gotrek is maintained as a slightly aloof and mysterious character allows for a great mystery (and often despair) to Felix, and in the two stories in which Gotrek is incapacitated or missing Felix has the opportunity to kill many individuals to save himself (that was a weird sentence). Typically the dwarf never notices as he’s normally surrounded by corpses when the two are reunited, but I’m sure there’s a high level of respect for Felix in the dwarf (there’s certainly a loyalty that goes well beyond the oath they swore to each other).
I’m now moving onto the second book so it’ll be interesting to see where exactly the story leads when written as a single story and not just a short story alongside others. Skavenslayer certainly hints at rat men dying so I’d guess it’ll see the introduction of Thanquol.