Book Review: Orion Vault of Winter / Author: Darius Hinks / Publisher: Black Library / Release Date: Out Now
Wood Elves are a common mainstay of many fantasy worlds, and are quite often a strange fit; forest dwelling, bow wielding magical races may be part of the furniture, but they often seem an unnecessary garnish onto already well worked out fantasy worlds. So it’s rather refreshing that Orion Vault of Winter deals almost exclusively with these often ignored and frequently underestimated creatures.
Set in the Warhammer fantasy world, Orion Vault of Winter tells the tale of the Orion, God of the Wood Elves, cursed to obey the fall and the rise of the seasons through a cycle of death and rebirth. Alas, the blessed woods that the elves inhabit are under siege by the forces of Nurgle, lord of rot and decay, and thus the rightful inhabitants of the land must fight to protect the very thing that defines them.
What this allows Hinks to do is create a series of set pieces, some exploring the nature of the pagan beings that control the forest, and others simply being extremely bloody battle sequences. We get to read about all manner of ghastly Beastmen beating the tar out of Wood Elves, and vice versa. The problem is that the pace between these moments is rather slow, and sadly, the scenes themselves seem hampered by the setting. Black Library books tend to expand upon the worlds they are inspired by, but in this case the action is actually restricted by the existing setting material, making it predictable in places. However, if you’re a fan of the Warhammer setting, or a secret Legolas groupie, you will enjoy Orion Vault of Winter a lot, though we suspect the sequel will be better.