April 10, 2011 by dracs
SPOILER ALERT: if you have not already read Vampire Slayer by William King you may not want to read this article as I mention how she gets *spoiler* by the *spoiler* who then gets *spoiler* with a *spoiler*
If you read my previous review on the first Gotrek and Felix omnibus you might already know that I am a big fan of mismatched duo, my favourites being Skaven Slayer (got to love any book which has a skaven leader die in an unfortunate accident involving a loaded crossbow and an exploding donkey) and Vampire Slayer. So I naturally jumped at the chance to read the first in the spin off series Ulrika the Vampire. Fans of the series might remember this fiery daughter of Kislev and in Bloodborn it definitely appears Nathan Long has done this character justice.
Bloodborn takes place two weeks after the events of Vampire Slayer and revolves around the newly undead figure of Boyarina Ulrika as she attempts to come to terms with her new supernatural existence. However, in the city of Nuln someone has started to kill Lahmians and leaving their bodies for the Witch Hunters to find and so Ulrika and her mistress must set out to find the killer before all the women of the city forever fall under suspicion. But in one of the most heavily populated city’s in the Empire which beast is to be feared the most? That which stalks them outside, or that which dwells within?
In Bloodborn, Nathan Long has created a story that really grabs your attention by the throat. Filled with political intrigue, espionage, social paranoia and ghouls, this book is thoroughly gripping from start to climactic finish. It also contains some fantastic characters, from the politically suave Countess to the tortured devotion of the Witch Hunter protagonist.
Another area in which it impressed me is the way in which Nathan Long has woven the story into the events of Gotrek and Felix. The events of the Gotrek and Felix series which lead up to Bloodborn are constantly referenced to, with the Skaven invasion of Nuln and the fires and plagues caused by it being a real and central part to the events, and of course Vampire Slayer is constantly referenced to.
However, while this referencing adds a fantastic layer of depth to the story it is also the source of one of my few complaints, namely that she Ulrika seems to think about Felix a bit too much. While it is mentioned how she split with him for the Wizard Max Schreiber, she still seems to obsess over Felix a bit. Maybe this is just me a bit over zealous for the originals, but it was just something that grated for me.
Another manner in which the story seems to suffer is that Ulrika’s fiery individuality seems to have been buried somewhat. A lot of the charm of the story stems from her personality clashing with the Lahmian way of subtle, political control. However her intense loyalty to her mistress seems to me to be far to servile at times.
Having said this the book is still a thoroughly entertaining read and can also be seen to be an interesting commentary upon social paranoia. The images of burning and looting by the populace of Nuln leaves one thinking who the real monster in the story is. I would thoroughly recommend this book to any fan of the series, or even anyone entirely new to Warhammer Fantasy. I would especially recommend it to anyone looking to get rid of the after taste of Twilight from their minds. This is what vampires should be!
Interested? You can read an extract of Bloodborn here.
+ Gripping Story
+ Take that Twighlight
- Too much yearning after Felix
- Ulrika is too subservient