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HeadTaker by David Guymer (a Review)

PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 3:33 pm
by RuneGuard
Here's a review I wrote for those interested hope you enjoy. For those worried, there is no major plot spoilers contained.

If there is one race that I love above all others in warhammer it’s the skaven, for they are a race that is dark, evil, funny and always very interesting to read about due to the fact they plot more often than any politician to be found among the human race. That’s what brings me to them time and time again, they always have a story to tell that will have twists and turns due to the whim of such short lived ambitious voracious creatures. Goblins, elves, dwarfs all these fantasy based races can be found in different fantasy books anywhere however, the skaven race can only be found within the pages of warhammer, for there is no other place for them, because without the endless war of warhammer, the skaven race would win due to the fact there are so bloody many of them. I will get this out of the way quick, David’s depiction of the skaven is spot on, in fact his version is so similar to that of CL Werner’s I could barely register the difference lets not forget that CL Werner has been writing skaven for a long time now where as David has only written a few shorts and now one novel based on the children of the horned rat and he nails it.

Warlord Queek head taker has been presented in warhammer skaven army books for a while now, also he has appeared though briefly in CL Werner’s Thanquols series, however here he has a full novel dedicated to his character and boy what a character he is. David shows many sides to Queek whether that’s the crazy unhinged side or the ferocious blood crazed frenzy side or the scariest side of all the side where he is completely clear headed though this happens rarely and more often than not it tends to happen when he is engaged in a duel. Speaking of fighting there is a lot of violence and combat in this book (to be expected of course, skaven an all) and here David shows a true talent for showing clear and easy to follow fights, whether it’s one vs. one or army vs. army David does a great job of championing both sides.

It should be noted however that this book is not purely about Queek, in fact he is only in it about half of the time for David opted to write a good deal of the story based on the dwarfs. With this being a skaven based novel there is no shortage of backstabbing, plotting, betrayals and running away and David has done a fantastic job, so well that when he writes about the dwarfs the pacing takes a hit somewhat. I found that I was not too engaged enough in their story lines and that the pace would be jarring every time mid chapter the perspective would change to the dwarfs in fact they got in the way too much some time, because all I wanted to read about were the skaven plotlines and characters. Speaking of characters my favourite character was not in fact Queek (though he was great) in fact it was another skaven that I really enjoyed reading about named appropriately Sharpwit an aging skaven that has seen it all he was such a complex and dangerous skaven I was really happy with how this character turned out in fact a whole other story could be written about him.

It should be noted that David does tell a great complex story based on the skaven empire, in fact I imagine its quite difficult to keep them in order when writing about them for they switch allegiances so often that it can be confusing for the writer to maintain a coherent plot, however David choreographs them beautifully this does go to show that he is definitely blessed by the horned rat or he has some of Thanquols blind luck, either way I found it hugely gratifying when I saw all the plot threads come together so coherently. I would dearly love for David to write more books based on the skaven whether that’s Lord Skrolk or Ikit Claw I believe he could do either of them as much justice as he’s done for Queek.

4/5 – This score may surprise you however, the dwarf plot lines cant be ignored for they really did get in the way of the rightful rulers of the under empire, in fact if it weren’t for them this would have been easily a perfect score. Overall a great addition to the Skaven Empire for BL has found yet another underling to give high praise to the horned rat.

Cheers