Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Empire In Chaos : The WAR Tie-In Novel

This isn't your typical book review.

Mostly a) because I've not reviewed a book before, b) because we're looking at how it represents the game and c) because I'm rubbish at this.

Classes represented.
No mention : Bright Wizard, Rune Priest, White Lion, Zealot (see Magus for possible confusion), most of the Dark Elf race.
Passing mentions : Hammerers, Archmage (possible), Sword Masters (possible)
Decent mentions : Shaman, Black Orc, Chosen, Maurauder, Magus (sans disc), Disciple of Khaine (maybe), Engineers, Squig Herders.
Repeated mentions : Ironbreaker, Warrior Priest, Shadow Warrior, Witch Huner aaaaand Knight of the Blazing Sun.

That's right folks, the KoBS and Hammerers make it into the book. Granted the Hammerer gets only a descriptive sentence whereas the KoBS is actually a main character.

Secondly, the book itself.

As pictures and previous entries here and on the Book of Grudges will show, there are certain authors more popular than others in the Black Library. There is His Most Benificent Danness. Graham McNeill (he wrote about Necrons, so I love him. Oh there may have been Space Marines involved) is way up there. Sandy Mitchell seems to get alot of attention. Then the books of William King (and continued by Nathan Long for Fantasy and Lee Lightner(?) for Space Wolves) are really popular.

Anthony Reynolds is ... not one of those guys. His only other Warhammer credit is another Computer Game/Novel tie-in, Warhammer : Mark of Chaos.

That's not to say that the book is bad. It's just ... constrained shall we say by the material. It works very well as a scene setter for the opening stages of the war we will fight virtually, but even then it doesn't quite match what we've seen in WAR. Destruction and Order mingle amongst themselves around warcamps. Here we had one main Dwarf and one main Elf. The Elf can't talk to anyone and the Dwarf is like all good Dawi, a grumpy bastard.

Personally I enjoyed the book but found it suffering from being too familiar with the game. There are literary equivalents of the in game mechanics (Shadow Warrior stances, Ironbreaker Grudges, Witch Hunter accusations etc) and for a player of the game first and reader of the book second, I found it mildly distracting and annoying.
If nothing else, having to try pin the heroic feats of the main characters not on martial skill but on the game mechanic you will experience means that the battle scenes suffer a little.

Still it's not a bad book and is worth a read if you fancy picking it up. I personally think game tie-in novels can be better. A good example would be the Halo novels.

Also, man. Knights of the Blazing Sun suck.

Now Reading : Cain's Last Stand (signed copy wheeee)
Next up : EVE The Empyrean Age


Anonymous said...

As far as game tie in books this one ain't bad. I really liked it.
Just to see some of the things in the game come to life. Even if it was order scum! :)

Now if they had a Chaos Chosen Tie in book. I'll buy eight copies of it. LOL!

Copperbird said...

Nice review! Now you have to review all the others too :)

Ardua said...

Define "others"?

The Halo books? Or the Black Library? :P

Quick note on the Halo Books, The Flood is rubbish.