Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Book Review - "Nagash the Sorcerer" by Mike Lee.

Books! To review! This time around we have a Black Library release from 2009 from the "Time of Legends" series. Next up will be a review of the first book of  the Sigmar trilogy "Heldenhammer" by Graham McNeil.

"Nagash the Sorcerer" by Mike Lee

"Nagash the Sorcerer" is the first in the Time of Legends: Nagash trilogy. The story begins in  the ancient empire of Nehekhara just moments before a series of extraordinary events leads to the death of Nagash's father (the current king) and mother. It isn't long before the cunning youth Nagash begins to form a plan to seize control of his father's kingdom from his brother - beginning a series of events that will change "the blessed land" and the face of the Old World forever.

The tale unfolds through the eyes of several characters and jumps back in forth through time in a way that can be unsettling and confusing to the reader. The initial origin of Nagash is continually interrupted by a "present day" setting where Nagash (known as the Usurper) has begun a war against the people of the Nehekharan empire in advance of his siege of the holy city Mahrak. This strange narration becomes less prevalent later in the book when the focus is placed more squarely on the "current events" as Nagash's army rampages across the desert sands. 

In addition to the narrative jumping about the pacing of the story tends to advance in fits and spurts - often spending pages describing mundane events and dialogue or focusing on the less interesting battles being waged in the name of Nagash's blood campaign. Time spent detailing the pantheon of gods (which is incredibly similar to Egyptian mythology) is interesting but seems to be a large departure from more "established" Warhammer lore. Perhaps this new focus is what future tales of the Tomb Kings and Nagash will build upon in the future?

The most enjoyable parts of this book for me were the more in-depth looks at Nagash's past - his magical training, the beginning of vampirism in the Old World, the construction of the Black Pyramid, and other similar major events from Warhammer "history". These moments make reading through the incredibly repetitive descriptions of armor (apparently everything was "hammered" for the warriors of the blessed land) more bearable and lend a much needed excitement to this workman-like tale.

While it is at times confusing, repetitive, or just downright boring there are some great moments scattered throughout the book for those who are interested in the history of the Old World. Nagash is a great villain and I look forward to seeing how he grows into his truly "evil" nature in the next two books of the series. If you like Warhammer lore, vampires, twisted sorcery, or undead things you will find a thing or two to like in this book. 

Verdict: 7.5 out of 10. Without the interesting lore/back story I think this book would be more like a 5.


Kuffeh said...

Nice review dude. I remember what you mean about the skipping about, it can be a bit confusing from time to time.

I have recently finished reading the second one in the series. I enjoyed this one more. It skipped about, but was nearly done as a chapter per character (the main, and I believe only two being Nagash and Neferata).

I have added this to the review page on the Trading Post. I hope you don't mind. :)

Randroid said...

I don't mind! I have a few other book reviews on the site ... not sure if you read any of those.