Giantslayer is the last Gotrek & Felix book written by William King before he handed off the series to Nathan Long. Reports are that Long really stumbles with our mighty duo of Gotrek the Dwarf Slayer and Felix the Warrior-Scholar, but sadly I found that King did some stumbling of his own.
After the wonderful Omnibus Volume. 2 I was really excited to dive into Giantslayer and find out who the Giant is and how the duo will slay it. And as with all series books, the first few chapters felt like a ‘warm up’ to the real action. So I dutifully slogged through them, and after a few nights of reading I started to wonder when the action was going to heat up. And then I noticed I was two-thirds of the way through the book!
This one just never comes together as a Gotrek & Felix book; I suspect this was a story King wanted to tell and he just wedged the pair into it. They don’t even feel like main characters, and via a Deus Ex Machina device they’re not even in the Empire anymore. All their companions get left behind very early on and they’re just kind of adrift in a new (to them) world.
It’s true that as the title suggests, they’ll have to slay a giant, but that’s a side plot and the giant isn’t the main Foozle of the book. Gotrek (who, let’s face it, is a fairly ‘thin’ character at the best of times) is a total cardboard cut-out here, and I think his axe gets more attention than he does. He grumbles now and then (in a very predictable fashion) but otherwise is just swept along. Felix is handled a bit better and has some sub-plot ‘stubs’ but they’re never fleshed out and never come to anything.
The focus of the book is Teclis, a high-elf they meet early on in their adventures (giving Gotrek his single schtick throughout the book, grumbling about how much he hates and mistrusts elves). I’m a Warhammer novice so I don’t know for sure, but I suspect Teclis is a ‘known hero’ in the Warhammer universe. If I already knew about and liked Teclis, this novel might have been more interesting to me, but I signed on for Gotrek & Felix being mighty warriors, not to see them as often-ineffectual sidekicks to a potent elf mage.
The one saving grace is that some long-running plotlines get tied up here, but overall I kind of wish I’d finished my Gotrek & Felix adventure with the Second Omnibus. I can’t in good faith recommend Giantslayer unless you’re a fan of Teclis. Gotrek & Felix deserved a better final novel from William King.