Empire in Chaos

Empire in Chaos by Anthony Reynolds is a Warhammer novel written specifically to go along with Warhammer Online. It follows the trip of a motley band of adventurers from point A to point B where they encounter a battle. If that sounds dull, well, you’re right.

While there’s some fun early on in the book as you figure out what class each character is supposed to be, overall there’s just not much plot here. Annaliese Jaegar (a shameless surname ripoff from Felix Jaegar of the Gotrek & Felix stories) is a peasant girl who becomes a Warrior Priest, so at least she grows and changes over the course of the book, but the rest of the gang — Udo Grunwald the Witch Hunter, Thorrick the Ironbreaker, Eldanair the Shadow Warrior and Karl the Knight of the Blazing Sun — are caricatures of their classes who for the most part arrive at the end of the book unchanged from when they entered.

There are a *lot* of battle scenes and writing these is Reynold’s single strong point, but after a while you just start skimming “mighty axe blow opens him to the waist…blah blah blah…bits of brain spatter across her face…blah blah blah…screams of dying men and horses…yeah ok when does the *story* start again??”

But as for the rest of the writing, it is *abysmal*. I imagine what happened (since Reynolds seems to have written some other novels that have decent Amazon ratings) is that this was a super rush job that no editor ever looked at. The point of view drifts aimlessly from character to character to third party back to another character until you can only guess at whose internal voice you’re hearing at any given time. There are just bad passages all over the place; the kind of bad that makes you stop and read the line aloud to someone else so you can both marvel at its spectacle. Y’know, Angrily he said, “You must follow me now!”, with anger in his voice. That’s not an actual quote; I should’ve jotted some of them down.

I could (and did) go on and on, but to prevent another huge wall of text I’m just going to hit delete and say: this is a bad book. It’s badly written, badly edited, has a bland story and a bad ending. The most horrifying thing about it is that the epilogue seems to set up a follow-on volume.

Oh, and the whole thing is written from the point of view of Order. If you play Destruction you won’t see much about your side other than them being a big old bag of evil.

6 thoughts on “Empire in Chaos

  1. Oh yuck. I looked for some WAR-themed books the other day (I snuck off the the bookshop alone and (mwahaha) unsupervised!), but after that I’m sort of glad I didn’t find any. Sounds like I need to take some care with what I pick.

    Oddly enough, that sounds a lot like what my review of Heroes would sound like, if I dared do one. (Which I won’t. I don’t like it, lots of people do — to each their own.)

  2. Damn, I picked this up just the past weekend after passing on it for some time. Ah well maybe I’ll not find it so bad. *fingers crossed*

    When I originally heard there was to be a Warhammer book/series released in conjunction with the Online game I was expected some grand scale background on the conflict as a whole… something that covered the campaigning and politicking of the races in this Age of Reckoning. As soon as I heard it was to be more the tale of a young Warrior Priest I kind of lost interest. Then I noticed you were reading it so during my weekly book browsing checked the Warhammer section again and decided what the heck.
    Of course it didn’t get immediate attention as I also happened to get Heldenhammer : the Legend of Sigmar and dove straight into that. It’s the first in a series of books to cover various key figures/legends of the Warhammer history. I’m not far into it yet but it’s started well.

    Otherwise in Warhammer novels I would second the recommendation on Gotrek and Felix. They definitely get you in the mood to play.

  3. Sorry Crag, I shoulda posted a warning earlier. 🙁

    Maybe you’ll like it more than I did. I get my nose out of joint pretty easily about “technical” issues in writing.

    I just started the second Gotrek & Felix Omnibus and was immediately drawn right into that. Good stuff so far!

  4. *hehe* nah… I was bound to get it eventually and already expected it to be pretty ordinary. Heldenhammer is making up for it at the moment.

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