So, after reading spoilers in the Khaine book of the End Times I put aside my lost interest in Malus Darkblade and read the final book in his series Deathblade by C. L. Werner. It’s important to note that the series ended after Lord of Ruin and this was another bolted on as a part of the Emd Times series (personal opinion).
It’s hard to review this because I don’t know for sure if I enjoyed it or not.
Potential spoilers ahead
The stories a few years after Lord of Ruin (quite a few), at that point Malus had finally rid himself of the daemon t’zarkan but was left without a soul and in the middle of nowhere.
Fast forward to the start of this book and he’s the Drachau of Hag Graef and General of the largest empire in Naggaroth. He also has his soul back and the daemons back inside him.
A little googling suggests he finally found the daemon and regained his soul but a chaos power put T’zarkan back, he’s also made no new friends having gone to war with several other Drachau’s in the meantime.
Malus is sucked into Malekiths plan to abandon Naggor and retake Ulthuan but due to a failed assassination attempt is placed in the suicidal vanguard assault. What follows is some moments of genius from Malus as well as some failures, more killing of characters and Malekith becoming more and more surrounded by enemies.
I had some issues with the book. Firstly it seemed Malus’ actions in the defence of Ghrond are completely ignored and suggest he wouldn’t go near- this was a huge event in Malus’ life as he went from an outlaw to one of the most powerful Elves in Naggoroth. Also, his use of the Warpsword seems to go completely ignored by Malekith, who is supposed to be the true bearer of the blade- this is also ignored by the leader of the Dark Eld Executioners who professes to be an avatar of Khaine. Finally, the daemon T’zarkan seems to have gone from being a Slaaneshi daemon to a Khorne- not an impossible shift but unnecessary.
As an end to the series it was a little anticlimactic, though it did give an insight into events from Khaine from an alternate point of view, covering a few more deaths and interactions that are alluded to in that book.
So, that’s that. Iv finished the Lord of ruin a malus darkblade story by Dan abnett and Mike Lee. Ive finished the malus darkblade series of novels.
It’s hard to know what to say, there wasn’t much within the book that didn’t fit the already established stories in each of the books- Malus is exhausted, comes up against insurmountable odds, gets injured a lot, sometimes severely, prevails before coming up against even greater odds, finds the location of one of the ancient relics he’s required to find to free his soul from the daemon of Slaanesh T’Zarkan.
By this point Malus has pretty much turned into tue daemons puppet with his body not being his own. Caught by servants of the Witch King Malekith he is sent North to oversee the defence of the black tower of Ghrond from an invading force of Chaos led by his sister Nagaira, meanwhile all the leaders of dark elf lands that he has upset conspire against him.
The book was good, the action well written (malus facing off against a bloodthirster perhaps pushed the limit a little) and the story never felt rushed, in fact I suspect the story was a lot longer than previous books in order to ft everything in.
The series overall, whilst a little predicable- five relics five books- was an interesting insight into the Dark Elves society and the treachery that every Druchii is capable of, as well as highlighting how fast power can change hands dependent on usefulness to Malekith. The trudging sometimes was a little frustrating, too much of the same plot was recycled so you knew where things were going before Malus got greviously wounded yet kept going.
There has now been released a final darkblade book set in the End Times. I own it but I have other books I’d prefer to read through first.
so, today I have a headache, I can’t decide if it’s a hangover or just a headache from the oven like room we’re staying in. I suspect it’s a hangover further exacerbated by being in an oven like room, as well as oversleep from nor being disturbed during the night by kids at home, or drunks in the hotel. That and the 9% beer from last night.
The sleep was far more peaceful (not being the weekend I suspect the hen parties have gone home), though I woke at six and couldn’t sleep, getting through another chapter of my book- it’s starting to drag a little now.
Rox is currently showering in a weird cripple shower in advance of trying again with harvester for breakfast.
Weird cripple shower that apparently floods the entire bathroom
So today harvester was able to provide breakfast (presumably the bank holiday Monday was a minor issue), we were greeted by a gormless miserable waitress who seated us and let us stuff ourselves
At this point rox went dress shopping and I popped to a few of my favourite shops for a browse. Now, of course browsing is one thing, not spending money completely another so I ended up picking up some bits
From cardiff games workshop, the final end times book.
Having just finished the second, the chance to get them all in hard back was too good to resist- even if they’ll be on ebay once I’m through them.
From firestorm games, the batman miniatures rulebook and Alfred model
I haven’t played the game yet, but the models look cool and it’s gaining momentum in my local gaming club.
And finally from rules of play, a ship missing from my x wing collection
I had gone in just to browse the games we’d played Last night and price them up, but couldn’t resist picking up a ship that I know will soon be out of stock for six months.
Back in the hotel now and I’m back onto the book whilst rox snores off her morning exertions. I soon got bored of reading whilst she snored so headed down to the bar for a quick drink before waking her.
Three pints later (oops) I wake her and we get ready to go for dinner. We had some vouchers after a disappointed meal at bella Italia, and we’re able to use them at cafe rouge- the location for one of our very first dates.
So a bottle of wine ordered we get to eating, starting with a sharing platter and taster bowl of snails. I’d had them before, but only from lidl so it was nice to try them ‘properly.’
Next up was sea bass with tomatoes and sugarsnaps. Unfortunately a mini crisis in the phone from my mum meant I forgot to get the picture at the start of the meal
Finally desert, I wasn’t keen on sugar so went for the cheese plate, which is something I’m definitely going to do more often
From here we had planned to go to crazy golf, but misjudged the opening (by about a week) so instead headed into a former regular haunt of mine- the live lounge.
Boy was I in for a shock, having been here numerous times it was strange to the the average age of patrons being about 35-40 with some people far in advance of that. Still it was nice to sit and listen to some live music whilst being entertained by the oddballs and old people trying to interact with women half (or more) their age.
Back in the hotel and I feel a little drunk- probably a mix of beer, white and red wine, lager and cocktails not mixing pleasantly for me.
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, rather than carry on with a series I was some way into, or read something stand alone I started another new series. The time of legends novel Nagash the Sorceror by Mike Lee.
I was torn on what to read next, I’d just finished book for of the Malus Darkblade series and was torn between the fifth and final book or the first of the new End Times series the return of Nagash. In the went i essentially merged the two potentials, Nagash the Sorceror deals with the rise of Nagash and happens to be written by Mike Lee who cowrote the Malus Darkblade books with Dan Abnett. incidentally if anyone can tell me how exactly you cowrite a book please let me know, more specifically how Mike Lee and Dan Abnett cowrote Malus Darkblade
So I got started, not sure what to expect. I’m getting more and more into the Warhammer background, but this is set well before the ‘current’ times, essentially before the Empire and such. One thing Iv found with larger scale Warhammer books is that they rarely get the balance between large battles and the necessary politics, background and setting quite right, but Mike Lee managed this really well by running two timelines, allowing one story to deal with the politics and motivations of Nagash and his allies/enemies whilst the other some time on delved deep into a war torn land and focused primarily on the battles that and military elements of the story,
It was also really interesting to see so many known characters as individuals such as Arkhan the Black were detailed and an overview of Settra was given (although as a dead king who hasn’t been brought back I’m curious to see where he is going to appear). Also the three Dark Elves from the War of Vengeance series had a significant role in the books (not altogether surprising as they head South in the vengeance books, but still pleasant) and appearance from Skaven, Beastmen and Lizardmen (all three at least in an earlier form) as slave armies, showing the spread of life that is potentially going to grow over the next few thousand years.
Undead stories in the Warhammer world have normally followed a similar plot- dead rise up, killing all before them and growing larger by absorbing the dead. As it seems they can’t be defeated somebody gets to the leader, kills him and the army crumble. Because of this I was waiting for it to happen and it did lead to a fairly predictable ending, although at the same time it was dealt with in a different way, (plus Nagash didn’t die) and was far more open ended than any defeat.
I’m now in a mega dilemma
Do I read the next one, or the Final Malus Darkblade book or do I start on the End Times series to avoid mega spoilers as the Warhammer World is devastated?
so, book four of the series and the fourth relic is being hunted for, this time in the city of executioners.
again it was a good story if a little repetitive in terms of it’s plot, Malus has been in the open for a few months, gets where he needs to be, lies and kills to get information, finds what he needs, is shocked, gets grievously hurt, heals, fights beyond pain, gets hurt, changes plan, uses the daemons power, kills some more, gets his relic.
still, there was a little more going on in this one, with the politics of the dark eldar again playing a part as the executioners fight amongst themselves for their own purposes whilst also against Malus’ brother Urial.
there was a point towards the end of the book in which Malus acknowledges that time is short, so I suspect the final book will lead to him finding the relic fairly early at which point he’ll be betrayed by the daemon T’zarkan and spend the rest of the time dealing with that whilst suffering a massive mortal injury that will eventually go away
So, I have finished the third malus darkblade book- reaper of souls by dan abnett and mike lee.
Whilst I had enjoyed the previous books I had growing concerns that every book would follow a simple plot- malus takes a beating a lot and finds the artifact he needs in the last few chapters. The beatings were mental in the first book, but as I said previously the second book toned down the damage whilst also finding useful plot points to explain them away. This book was better. For a start Malus spent most of his time in full armour, allowing him to take a beating without bleeding out constantly. Also there is time given for recuperation after serious injuries. He also spends the second half of the book in incredible pain and damaged but with no choice to go on.
As for my plot concerns this one surprised me as (no real spoiler) he acquired the artifact really quickly, before a shocking few chapters which changed the whole direction of the story, the series and Malus’ life, as well as robbing him of the three artefacts he’d already claimed.
The time is running out too for him to find all five artefacts, with only a few months left to do so he’s going to be hard pressed, especially given that events towards the end of the book have essentially robbed him of so many of his resources (and naturally added to his list of enemies).
The next book is on order so I’ll be getting to it soon. I’m excited as Malus is heading for the City of Executioners- where handily enough a whole host of his enemies are waiting.
So, after a host of short stories I read the second Malus darkblade book. I enjoyed the first one, but felt it overdid the injuries suffered by malus without getting hurt, and it was a worry that there were four more books for him to get injured through.
Well I’m pleased to say the injuries were toned down. The fighting was as intense and he did take beatings from time to time- he was even skinned at one point, but some magical trickery healed that one. Additionally the daemon possessing him is taking much more control over his body, giving him slightly more resilience to pain. This story was probably better than the first, I enjoyed the use of a fleet hunting out a mystery island before some intense battles against some nurgle warriors and a nasty nurgle daemon.
It also threw Malus into contact with his brothers and sisters, relying on them whilst scheming against them.
The best thing about the book is that it covers at least four months of the the twelve months Malus has to find all five of the artefacts meaning he’s now in a race against time to recover the remaining ones.
I’ll be onto the third book soon, but first some more short stories
So, I haven’t don’t a book post in a while, I didn’t get round to one after reading and had moved on before I caught up, so here’s an update on the books Iv been reading
I may have covered this one already, I can’t remember, but it’s a collection of short stories from black library and warhammer 40k of planets being destroyed by war. As with many of the older compilations of stories that black library have churned out it’s a bit hit and miss, but it covers a good range of subjects from imperial armies being sacrificed in a retreat to the life of a planet moving through the eye of terror and suffering for it.
My highlight of the book was mercy run by steve parker because it acts essentially as a prologue for gunheads which was one of my favourite imperial guard books
yarrick imperial creed by david Annandale
A year ago there was a short story released about commissar yarrick which was to lead into the end times Armageddon battle, this is in the same series but set in yarricks distant past when he was a junior commissar. The story actually was really enjoyable, with good twists and a constant stream of battle. My only real issue was that it could have been the start of a new commissars story, the use of yarrick himself was somewhere between pointless and a way to guarantee people would buy it. But there was a nice touch as yarrick got a vision of future injuries he would suffer at the hands of a certain ork war boss
commissar by andy hoare
Fresh from my enjoyment of the yarrick book I moved straight onto a new commissar (which is what I had felt would have been a good idea with the yarrick book anyway) and I ended up a bit deflated. The stories good, the plot works nicely and the focus on a small infiltration team as opposed to a full army was a nice change of pace, however the commissar in question seemed to be in far more of a command role than a commissar. Now, I have no issue with this, the commissar is a leader, but I would have wanted more focus on the morale boosting (and skull blasting executions) than just another pretty intelligent imperial commander
tales of the old world part 1 tales of honour and heroism
After so much 40k I needed a change of pace, so read some warhammer fantasy short stories. I picked up the short story book and read the first section. Lots of bretonnians and empire heroes fighting an ‘honourable’ war against foes that aren’t honourable. Yeah, it doesn’t work all that well. I stopped after this section of the book a little bored of the predictable plotlines- honourable knight, fooled by dishonourable foe, works it out, wins, has a new approach to being honourable.
salvations reach by dan abnett
I love gaunts ghosts. Everyone loves gaunts ghosts. Iv yet to meet anyone that has read them and not enjoyed them. They would also admit the series has it’s ups and downs and that the constant reinforcement of a wiped out force at the start of every book gets a little dull. It’s realistic of course, that’s how the imperial guard work. But at the same time the characters we’re used to linger on against insurmountable odds over and again. But still the series is fantastic. This one however felt as though it has gone on a little too long. I believe it’s almost over, with one more planned book next year, but still, by this point the main characters are ageing, and it’s getting a bit too much for them to survive. It’s also a little bit too heavy on the introduction of new characters that later die, like red shirts gone made. However, it was an enjoyable read, the space marines inclusion worried me, but it was kept subtle and small so the human element remained the focus. It was also nice for dan abnett to use an iron snake (a chapter he wrote back when black library was in it’s infancy). This one was enough to make me excited for warmaster to finish the series at least
the blood price and the daemons curse by dan abnett and mike lee
Back to fantasy with malus darkblade, I read the blood price, essentially a prologue first, which was entertaining as a short read but didn’t establish any differences between dark elves and humans, but it did introduce characters that were key to the first real book the daemons curse. This was better, whilst it still didn’t highlight any real differences between humans and dark elves it did at least highlight the political differences, with a focus on a constant internal war between powerful factions. It then led to a long adventure through the chaos wastes before malus was cursed by a daemon and took on a beastman army. Again, the differences between beastmen, humans and dark elves were solely physical, with no difference really created. Additionally I was a little disappointed that malus seemed to take a constant beating, with his body being close to death on numerous occasions before recovering enough for another key challenge which he’d win whilst coming close to death. Maybe dark elves have incredible healing powers, but it felt a little overdone.
The problem I guess is the use of a small force up against the occupants of the chaos wastes (an effectively infinite force), you end up in constant danger but have to survive, without being unbeatable, and so your main character gets hurt constantly but somehow doesn’t die.
Overall the book was enjoyable, but I hope for more when I get onto the next one.
My next read will likely not be a black library novel, though gotrek and felix and ravenor are also appealing to me at the moment