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.