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Showing results for tags 'warhammer horror'.
"W'soran woke slowly, reluctantly. Eyelids as thin as parchment peeled back from dull orbs — one a grisly yellow, the other milky white and blind — even as thin, desiccated lips retreated from the thicket of needle fangs that occupied his mouth. The twin leathery slashes that were his nostrils flared, taking in the air instinctively. He smelled the effluvium of age, the cold, harsh stink of rock and the faintest odour of long-ago spilled blood." Here we go, people. As an avid (okay, obsessed) fan of all things Necrarch, this book promised to be the mother lode, exploring the background and lore of our bloodline as seen through the eyes of the father of the Necrarchs himself, W'soran the Wicked: W'soran, one of the first vampires and former pupil of the Great Necromancer Nagash, seeks to unravel the secrets of life and death. But his hunt for power is interrupted by a civil war in Mourkain, the mountain nation ruled by his former ally, Ushoran. Now W'soran must battle old friends and new enemies as he weaves a complex web of treachery and deceit in order to anoint himself the Master of Death... What did I think? How couldn't I love a story that brought both W'soran and perhaps the second-most-infamous Necrarch Melkhior together? As I've already mentioned in earlier reviews, what really captures my imagination and inspires me in Black Library's books isn't the (often generous) fighting or even the grimdark fantasy but the characters and their relationships. W'soran wouldn't be half as interesting without his scheming pupil, and Melkhior might seem motiveless if not for his father-in-death, ordering him about like the lackey he is. "Melkhior jerked back, surprised, his flat, black eyes gleaming in the sudden blaze of light and his monstrous features writhing in consternation. Melkhior looked akin to nothing so much as one of the great bats of the deep dark, squeezed and twisted into a mockery of human shape." Ticking away at the back of the reader's mind is the knowledge we have as gamers and fans of the established background of how this unvoiced conflict plays out. Josh knows this, and his solution is both satisfying and fiendishly in-character — I was cackling when I realised what had happened. Of course, the book also explores W'soran's relationship with his peers and (dare I say) equals in the form of Neferata and Ushoran. The book does a great job of painting that picture, helping the reader to understand, if not justify, W'soran's actions and motives and build up a relationship of their own with him. "Even now, after everything that had happened he still felt it, burning in his gut like a slow poison. The need, not for blood or to feel the life of squirming prey ebb from twitching meat, but for — what? — respect, perhaps? Acknowledgement, certainly; the admission of his superiority by those who dared to call themselves his peers." The story continues on from Neferata and the exploits of Ushoran in Mourkain, so if you enjoyed that one, you'll want to give this a read. My favourite thing about the book? There's a moment, deep beneath the mountains, when Melkhior introduces W'soran to something he has found buried in the dark. I won't quote it as it will spoil that moment for you but the reverence and awe that W'soran experiences, standing in its presence, is quite moving and does justice to a creature so often flaunted in fantasy novels without due respect for its sheer size or majesty. Look out for it. Haven't read it yet? Order a copy, turn down the lights, and dive in... Related read: Am Reading: Neferata: The Blood of Nagash Am Reading: The Rise of Nagash Tales #1: The Withering
I love reading. I love horror. I love Warhammer. You can imagine my face when I 'calmly unwrapped' a present on Christmas morning and found this beauty staring back at me. Black Library's new Warhammer Horror line caught my eye from the very first newsletter, but Maledictions was my first chance to check it out up close. (You should see the size of my TBR pile — now that's horror.) More than anything else, I was intrigued to find out how BL was positioning these stories, in terms of distinguishing them from the hundreds of other, often horrifying, tales set across their various universes. Horror comes in so many flavours already — which of those were BL identifying with, and were they frightening? Interestingly, they went right ahead and called this out in the first sentence of the blurb: Horror is no stranger to the dark worlds of Warhammer. Its very fabric is infested with the arcane, the abnormal and the downright terrifying. From the cold vastness of the 41st millennium to the creeping evil at large in the Mortal Realms, this anthology of short stories explores the sinister side of Warhammer in a way like never before. Psychological torment, visceral horrors, harrowing accounts of the supernatural and the nightmares buried within, this collection brings together a grim host of tales to chill the very blood... With everything from 'psychological torment' and 'visceral horrors' to the 'supernatural' mentioned, I was fully expecting a Quality Street approach the styles and flavours of horror contained within. (Shotgun the purple hazelnut.) Boxing Day was the perfect opportunity to stick the kettle on and sink my teeth into the book. (Anything but more turkey...) What did I think? I wasn't disappointed. The collection opened with a strong entry in 'Nepenthe' by Cassandra Khaw, and my eyes lit up when I read the words 'space hulk' beside one another — a real Ghost of Christmas Past, reminding me of what must have been one of my first impressions of Warhammer as a small child (a time when I saw Genestealers as nothing more than purple space aliens — ignorance is bliss!) True to its word, horror comes in all kinds of varieties, with the distinguishing take (for me) being the emphasis on the character and emotion of more relatable protagonists over the God-level special characters and epic battles we often see in BL's traditional lines. We're looking out at the world through the eyes of widows in small fishing towns and sewer guards lost in the dark, even a young dryad, witnessing the horror of battle for the first time. There are twists aplenty, serving to bring the reader back to the true horrors being explored across the stories, and an attention to the darker side of realms, races, and settings that are perhaps overshadowed by Chaos and Death in the mainstream narrative. "I smashed the collection in a couple of days. Between Christmas dinners, bottles of rum, and an excruciating game of family Monopoly, that says everything it needs to about how much I enjoyed Maledictions." My favourite story? The one that's really stuck in my head is 'A Darksome Place' by BL legend Josh Reynolds. I won't spoil it for you but it ticked a lot of boxes for me — the atmosphere, the mystery, the revelation (which wasn't over-explained, preserving much of the strangeness and wonder while giving just enough away to produce that 'aha!' moment), and some beautifully descriptive writing meant this one planted some firm roots in my mind. If you have any questions about the book or you want to compare good ol' fashioned notes, drop me a message! Haven't read it yet? Order a copy, turn down the lights, and dive in...