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Scourge of Fate Review


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I had high hopes for Robbie MacNiven's first full length novel for Age of Sigmar, after the greatness that is the Carcharodon series in the 40k universe.  He did not let me down, and I think you will share that opinion after you read the book.

Although at first glance the premise of the novel seems similar to the Call of Archaon anthology, the two aren't really the same at all.  For starters, Scourge of Fate has the advantage of being written by one person. Next, it is just better.

After I finished I tried to think of the last time I read a fantasy novel with a true Antipaladin character.  I can't think of it off the top of my head, and certainly it felt refreshing while reading.  Vanik is a great character from beginning to end.  It is interesting because he isn't conflicted at all, and the resolution of the novel turns on his unwavering pursuit of his goal- to join the Varanguard.  He is almost a pulp-ish hero where he doesn't change, and wins out through sheer force of will and refusal to stop.

The Varanguard itself is excellently fleshed out as an organization, and their HQ the Varanspire is one of my favorite Chaos locations revealed in a long while.  The Varanspire had an authentic Slaves to Darkness/Realm of Chaos vibe to it, unapologetically Lawful Evil structures imposed on  backdrop of insanity.  I like every single Varanguard character in the novel, with a special notice to Vanik's boss, Karex.  She is a badass no doubt.

The best part of the novel is how the Chaos followers are handled.  They are real people, who have made logical (under the circumstances) choices, and follow that internal logic consistently.  Robbie doesn't try to make them sympathetic, they just are what they are.  I think some BL authors fall into a trap of describing the horrific behavior of Chaos followers, and then forcing some 'nice' character trait onto them in an attempt (sometimes successful) to make them deep.  But that is artificial at the end of the day. These characters looked around, saw the state of the Realms, and chose to follow who they think will win.  Some of them have honor, some don't, but none of it feels forced.

Get this book now. Hopefully we see more of Robbie in the Realms! 

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