Tag Archives: Black Library

Woehammer Facebook Group

Did you know that Woehammer have a Facebook group? Why not head over there and post some pictures of your miniatures, we’ll include them in monthly hobby summary alongside our own.

Book Review – Gitslayer

By Darius Hinks

The Bad Moon is rising and Gotrek Gurnisson once again finds himself in the middle of the action, fighting his greatest enemies and trying to find his doom – although in the Age of Sigmar – his doom finding is a little more limited and currently is based around him wanting to remove the Fyreslayer rune from his chest.

The latest in a (very) long series of books!

Darius Hinks has once again been given the job of adding to the saga of Gotrek and his new companion – Maleneth Witchblade (an Aelf). If you read my review of Dominion, you will know that I like his writing, and this novel is no exception. This being a Warhammer Age of Sigmar novel I’m not pretending that it is a classic to rival some fantasy epics from yesteryear but it is a good fun yarn, with plenty of combat, some character development for Gotrek, Duardin and (more importantly than all that…) Gitz!

It won’t surprise regular readers to hear that I love the Gitz (Goblins) since I started Warhammer Fantasy Battle back in the late <cough> 1980s. Since then the little goblins (or Grobbi to Gotrek) have seen new developments, have conquered the World’s End Mountains, made Scrappa-spill and started to control the Bad Moon… all while worshiping Mork (or possibly Gork). And it is great to have them here.

The Gotrek books often spend a large number of pages building character and giving background to the ‘Big Bad’ of the book and Gitslayer is, fortunately, no exception. Unlike Dominion where the Kruleboyz were only seen from the viewpoint of the humans and Stormcast, or Gloomspite where the Gitz got limited ‘screen time’, Gitslayer puts them front and centre.

There are descriptions of mushrooms, magic, bottles, potions, squigs and, of course, the Bad Moon itself; all coming together to threaten the Kharadron Overlords who have promised to help Gotrek remove the rune from his chest. These descriptions are fabulous and I won’t spoil any of the fun of reading them for the first time, but if you like Gitz this is a great book and succeeds where Gloomspite failed.

The main character remains Gotrek, but we know how it is going to end, as he searches for his Doom, or Felix, or both. We know he’ll upset some locals, get drunk and then save the day… but still we read for the journey. And Gitslayer delivers on this journey.

Love it!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

— Declan

Book Review – The Lost and the Damned

Book 2 The Siege of Terra by Guy Hayley

Guy Hayley returns to the Horus Heresy in the second book from the Siege of Terra. This is the follow on series from Black Library and was made as a great ‘drop in’ point for those who lost track of the Horus Heresy series. I previously reviewed book 1, which can be found here.

From the book:

With the solar defences overcome through the devastating strength of the Traitor armada and the power of the warp, Horus launches his assault on the Throneworld in earnest. After withstanding a ferocious barrage of ordnance, an immense ground war commences outside the Palace with every inch gained paid for in the lives of billions.

On the thirteenth day of Secundus, the bombardment of Terra began… With the solar defences overcome through the devastating strength of the Traitor armada and the power of the warp, Horus launches his assault on the Throneworld in earnest. After withstanding a ferocious barrage of ordnance, an immense ground war commences outside the Palace with every inch gained paid for in the lives of billions. The front lines are beyond horrific and the very air is reduced to poison and blood. Bodies are thrown into the meatgrinder but the outer redoubts cannot possibly hold for long, even with the loyal primarchs to reinforce them. For Horus has his own generals to call upon… Between the plague weapons of Mortarion and the fury of Angron, the defenders face a losing battle. 

The Lost and the Damned includes the three Primarchs defending Terra from Horus and the attacks from Mortarion and Angron. Guy Hayley continues to tie together the threads of the battle, and as this book is based on Terra it is much easier to follow than Book 1 (which concentrated on the battle for the Sol system).

Sanguinius also makes his first appearance at the Siege, ignoring his brother Dorn’s instructions to stay behind the Wall, and going out to take the fight to the Heretics. His presence rallies the defenders and brings them hope that victory may be achieved… his appearance is great from a personal point of view, as I collect Blood Angels!

And similarly to much of the Horus Heresy series there are stories of ordinary defenders either from Astra Militarum regiments or from local PDFs.

A really good second book in the series – and definitely leaving me wanting to read the rest!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan

Book Review – Beast Arises Books 2-4

Predator, Prey by Rob Sanders; The Emperor Expects by Gav Thorpe; The Last Wall by David Annandale

As mentioned in my previous book review on I Am Slaughter by Dan Abnett, The Beast Arises series is now available in compilation E-books. The first of these – Beast Arises Volume 1 – contains the first four books. If you missed that review it can be found here…

There are some spoilers for later in the series included below… you have been warned!!

If you’re keen to hear my opinion on books 2 – 4 just read on:

Predator, Prey by Rob Sanders

This is a great fun, quick to read addition to the story. The Orks are starting to threaten the security and survivability of the Imperium and the Lords of Terra are starting to believe that this may be a threat they need to engage. It’s unashamedly pulp-fiction but it’s fun pulp!

The Emperor Expects by Gav Thorpe

The Beast Ork invasion is ongoing and threatening the Imperium whilst the High Lords of Terra are being taken over by the Navy… who really need to be killing Orks.

More characters are being introduced, and some expansion on the power, prestige, and inertia of the High Lords of Terra continues to add interesting twists to the story. This is still very much about the Imperium though, and whilst the Orks are the greatest threat since the Horus Heresy, there is little included about them.

A great, fast paced addition to the Beast / Ork Invasion series.

The Last Wall by David Annandale

An Ork moon sits over Terra and the Space Marines designated to guard Holy Terra are destroyed… what’s worse, the Black Templars and other successor chapters of the Imperial Fists are too far away to make it back in time.

The High Lords call on volunteers and the Astra Militarum (Imperial Guard) to assault the Ork Attack Moon. With the help of the Imperial Navy, and their transport vessels can they make it through and destroy the Moon?

The fourth in the series – another short novella lengths story – they continue to be interesting stories from the 31st Millenium, but do lack for any overarching peril in the story telling. Whilst people and ships can die, we know that the Imperium eventually overcomes the threat.

Some interesting ideas, and fun set pieces – the first four books are an fun light read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

— Declan

Book Review – I Am Slaughter

Beast Arises – Book 1

With Orktober well and truly upon us, it’s time for an Ork special of our irregular ‘Book Review’ series. One series has screamed ORK(!) in the last years and that is ‘Beast Arises’.

This is a multi-author series over 12 books released in quick succession in 2015 & 2016. It is similar to the Horus Heresy books and set in the 32nd millennium 1,000 years after the events portrayed during the Heresy series. However, the Beast Arises is different in that it is a new story (or nearly new, I don’t know enough about Imperial Fists), which means that the authors can tell their own story… however as the Imperium does reach the 41st Millenium, they can’t rip it apart or destroy it.

Within these limitations, the first book is written by Dan Abnett, who launches many of the series and is (I assume) one of the top selling authors within the Black Library group of regulars.

‘I Am Slaughter’ is the usual top draw sci-fi pulp fiction from Abnett. The Imperial Fists are responding to an invasion of ‘Chromes’. But, as they lose Space Marines, and the fleet is damaged by gravity distortions it begins to be clear that the Chromes aren’t the real problem.

Of course, as this is Orktober, the lurking horror may be obvious to a reader 6 years and 12 books later, but the introduction of them, and the attack of the Imperial Fists includes some great fight scenes, heroism, and some cameos from the Mechanicum of Mars.

It’s a great set-up novel and well worth picking up to see if you would like the series. It’s available from your local book shop, Black Library or Amazon.

As the series was published several years ago, you can also pick up the first four books in one compilation. If you’re interested in the Orks or Imperial Fists, it’s worth grabbing.

All four books in a great value compilation

A series with promise, featuring an Xenos fan favourite .

Rating: 4 out of 5.

— Declan

Book Review – The Solar war

by John French

Review by Declan Waters

The Solar War is the beginning of the end in the epic Horus Heresy series from Black Library.

With the Horus Heresy reaching 54 books, countless short stories and novellas I admit to finding it difficult to keep up-to-date with the storyline – and I read a lot, and have known the story since I was 11! As such, it was a great decision to ‘restart’ the series numbering to allow readers to get back on track with the ‘Siege of Terra’ series.

Horus’ fleet has arrived at Sol and must get to the Emperor’s palace on Terra – fortified by Dorn – but first he must fight through the remaining loyal fleet of the Emperor.

The book returns to some of the characters from the start of the series – Mersadie & Logan – and is was fun to read their story of the start of the invasion.

The book includes mass space battles, many (many) deaths as the loyalists attempt to slow down Horus’ treachery.

I did struggle at times with the number and names of the ships many introduced to be destroyed and I did sometimes have to re-read a passage to work out if a destroyed ship was loyalist or traitor. Although they have restarted the numbering, it is difficult to see how anyone who is new to the lore could understand what is happening in the story. Definitely a book for those already invested in the Heresy – although fine if you’ve not read all the previous books.

The pace feels significantly quicker than the rest of the series, so don’t expect another 50 books for the Siege of Terra, but I’m looking forward to the next in the series.

A promising start to the Siege…

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The book is available from Black Library direct, your friendly local book store, or audible (audiobook)

Book Review – Gloomspite

by Andy Clark

Review by Declan Waters

I really wanted to love this book. In theory it has everything that appeals to me. Fantasy, set in the new Age of Sigmar world, staring the Goblins (Grots) who were my first army and still grace the wargaming table for me. Unfortunately, it fell down and I think it’s to do with the marketing and editor and not the author – which is even more of a shame.

The book follows a group of mercenaries – Swords of Sigmar – who warn the militia of Draconium about an impending disaster. Unfortunately they don’t know what the disaster is, except it will come from below.

The Swords and the characters in Draconium and well written, interesting characters – with an equal mix of women & men (the characters genders are not relevant to the story, but after so many male fantasy books, this is welcome relief – well done Andy Clark) – and a fun story. 4* for the author.

However, the book’s title in ‘Gloomspite’ and this was released at the same time as the army book. All other races get a book from Black Library with their army as the heroes (or anti-heroes); the Gloomspite (Grots) get a story where humans are the heroes and they are the peril. I know that they are ‘destruction’ but that is no reason to not get a story expanding the reader’s knowledge of the Gitz. I realise it is difficult to write from the point of view of destruction armies, but with the vast world available in Age of Sigmar, it must surely be easier than other fantasy settings. 2* for marketing & editing.

Okay, but not really about Gitz!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The book is available from Black Library direct, your friendly local book store, or audible (audiobook)

Book Review – Dominion

by Darius Hinks

Review by Declan Waters

Straight off, I want to say this – if you’re just after a story from the Warhammer Age of Sigmar this is a fine book, well written with an interesting underlying story.

However, I picked it up because it was the companion book to the recent release of Age of Sigmar 3, which is the first edition to have Destruction (one of the Age of Sigmar factions) as well as the Stormcast. As such, I’m looking forward to more expansion of the history and background of the Destruction races – especially the new Kruleboyz released in the boxed set…

… Unfortunately this book didn’t achieve this. There was the (now reasonably common) Black Library usage of a human as the main character to make them more relatable – in this case a brother and sister whose father had been killed by Orruks (Orcs) before they escaped to Excelsis (a very large city in Ghur – the Realm of Beasts). If you’re not into Warhammer I’ve made this sound a bit confusing, but you can honestly read this book with no knowledge of the background.

The Realm of Ghur becomes one of the things that the siblings must overcome and they encounter monsters not released by Games Workshop (Kraken), and some that have (Kraken Eater Gargant), on their Crusade. If this is familiar to those who have read the Age of Sigmar rule book, it’s because Crusades are a new way to play the game… all good so far.

But… the story revolves around the brother (Niksar), with his sister being relegated to a supporting role. This is unfortunate given the need for Warhammer to appeal to more women readers and gamers, and missed a perfect opportunity in a big release book.

And then my biggest complaint – there is a little background on the Stormcast from the box, but the Kruleboyz (Orruks) only make an appearance late and are hidden behind their mist, only appearing to attack and then be attacked by the Stormcast. There was little development for them and – as they are a new race – I expected a lot more. It’s about time Black Library released some books from the perspective of the ‘bad guys’ which we know they can do, but which is sadly lacking for the new army – and indeed all the Destruction forces.

Disappointing

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The book is available from Black Library direct, your friendly local book store, or audible (audiobook)