Book Review: Valkia the Bloody
It is the nature of my blogging – for some reason – that from time to time I will a) cease blogging out of nowhere and b) return to blogging only to discover that my site has been hacked/destroyed/deleted/infected/all of the above. Since the last post I published, I have restored my website, from various degrees of destruction, over half a dozen times. Funnily enough, that didn’t exactly motivate me to return to posting.
Anyway, having just a few days ago restored my website from having been entirely deleted from the server (somehow), I took a look and realized I had posts I’d been working on before I stopped posting. I might have considered finishing it, but that would require me re-reading at least part of the book… and frankly… no.
Still, below you’ll find what I did manage to get done on my review of Valkia the Bloody.
Warhammer and Warhammer 40k novels are not fine art. For me, their entertainment value comes through exploration of the game settings’ lore and preferably the escapism found in an fun story. I read these novels as a break from more thoughtful fiction or serious non-fiction. I’ve rarely found it a chore to get through a Black Library novel, but Valkia the Bloody was painful. Like many of the Black Library authors, Sarah Cawkwell seems addicted to adjectives and adverbs – understandable to an extent when trying to describe a world so alien to the reader. Less understandable are the choices she makes in selecting her descriptors. One of my “favorite” examples of which is,
The hungry, avaricious branches caught in his clothes and hair, lacerating the skin of his face.
This actually comes toward the end of an entire paragraph describing how painful and difficult the (boring) character in question is finding it to run away from battle through a wooded area. Apparently it’s not just difficult and boring, but the branches of this woods are also obsessed with obtaining gold and money? What the fuck? I understand anthropomorphism and polysyndeton as much as any fiction reader, but seriously. The branches had an overwhelming lust for gold? Even as metaphor, it’s a ridiculous choice when there are so many better possibilities. Or, were I her editor, I’d have left the word out entirely. She’d already spent dozens of words describing his flight, a quick trim might have been every bit as effective.