Milo (BOK)'s Reviews > Valkia the Bloody

Valkia the Bloody by Sarah Cawkwell
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's review
Apr 18, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: warhammer-fantasy, black-library, 2012-releases-read, notable-2012-releases
Read in September, 2012

“Fast moving, bloody and a delight to read – Sarah Cawkwell proves that she is no one-hit-wonder and delivers a stunning look into one of the darkest characters that this series has given us to date.” ~The Founding Fields

What I love about the Warhammer Heroes series is that it continues to produce a high-quality collection of novels despite the wide subject matter (the chronicles of a hero/villain of the Warhammer Fantasy Universe), and the fact that it’s got a large number of authors working on this project. I mean, we’ve had Chris Wraight, Darius Hinks, CL Werner and now Sarah Cawkwell is added to that rooster as well, with Ben Counter set to be the next one with his upcoming Van Hortsmann. Unlike the similar Space Marine Battles Series of the Warhammer 40,000 Universe, the response to the Warhammer Heroes series have been largely positive, whilst the SMB series has had mixed feedback, having produced sometimes the best Warhammer 40k novels, whilst sometimes offering some of the worst that I’ve read. At least I can say that’s not the same with Warhammer Heroes, as Sarah Cawkwell offers an interesting perspective into Valkia the Bloody, warrior-woman and champion of Khorne.

Warrior-maiden and consort of the blood god Khorne, the name Valkia the Bloody is feared among all the tribes of the north – friend and foe alike. From her earliest days as a shield bearer for her father King Merroc, she has known nothing but unending warfare and the brutal politics of the tribal leaders, and soon reaches out to seize power for herself. Though her feral beauty might attract unlikely suitors and her enemies may plot against her in secret, Valkia holds the patronage of the Ruinous Powers, and Khorne will not allow his chosen queen to fall.

I’m likely to be a little biased towards my favouritisim of the Warhammer Heroes series because CL Werner’s Wulfrik was the first Warhammer Fantasy novel that I read. I know, I was late in starting, but Warhammer Fantasy has, since I’ve started reading the novels, always maintained a higher quality of novels than the Warhammer 40k one and I’m yet to come across a novel set in this universe that I don’t like (that I can recall, anyway). However, I believe that Valkia the Bloody is a strong novel that I couldn’t put down. Valkia is a unique anti-hero, more of a villain, and proves that not all characters in a universe based of a table top wargame have to be male. Another reason that I prefer the Warhammer Heroes series over Space Marine Battles is that I, with about 99% of the characters on offer, haven’t heard of them before reading the novel, whilst my knowledge of Warhammer 40k lore is extensive, rendering the Space Marine Battles series predictable, whilst the Warhammer Heroes books continue to boast some levels of tension. As was the case with Valkia the Bloody.

A common theme with Warhammer Heroes novels is that they’re like “superhero origin” tales of the Warhammer Fantasy Universe. They’ll chart the rise of the hero, rather than picking up once the hero is well-renowned and already famous. Valkia the Bloody didn’t disappoint in this, and those who have heard of Valkia before will hopefully find something to enjoy in this novel. It’s not often you find yourself reading about a strong female character in a universe dominated by men, but Sarah Cawkwell has nailed this perfectly.

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