Review: Skarsnik / Author: Guy Haley / Publisher: Black Library / Release Date: Out Now
The Warhammer Heroes series tends to shine when the novels focus on the bad guys; demonic warrior adventure tale Valkia The Bloody was a highlight of last year’s releases, and this time round it’s the turn of Skarsnik, the cunning and brutal leader of the Crooked Moon goblins, one of the greatest threats to civilisation in the Warhammer Fantasy setting.
Telling a story from the monster’s point of view is always a tricky thing to do; go too far one way and the book become incomprehensible, go the other way and you make the monster too human. Luckily, Haley is a very adept and skilled storyteller, and Skarsnik is a rise to power story told from the perspective of an insane playwright. This device also lends some quiet horror throughout the narrative, and gives those unfamiliar with the setting enough room to get comfortable with it.
This is a Warhammer book, so there is plenty of war and a small amount of hammering, but the real charm is the utter sense of terror and horror that Haley brings to the goblin horde. It would be all too easy to make Skarsnik and chums into comedy monsters, but instead we have some nicely scary highlights and these horrible little creatures are portrayed as a wicked, nasty things that will destroy everything good in the world.
If you’re in the mood for some brilliantly written villainous fantasy, then you should add this to your reading list.