Book Review: Valkia the Bloody / Author: Sarah Cawkwell / Publisher: The Black Library / Release Date: July 5th
Valkia The Bloody is the eagerly anticipated origin story of its titular protagonist, Valkia. She’s one of the most underused villains in the Warhammer Fantasy world; the bride of the Blood God Khorne (who’s catchphrase, “Blood for the Blood God” is known to many a nerd), Valkia has the potential to be one of the most iconic characters of the entire range. Not only does she look striking and powerful, the mere idea of a demonic warrior queen is the sort of thing geeks go crazy for.
Until now, we’ve only had a few glimpses at the character; the odd mention in related sources, a handful of drawings. Sarah Cawkwell’s novel adds flesh to these bloody bones, and they’re gloriously drenched in gore. This is the tale of how a humble barbarian chieftain’s daughter unites disparate tribes to form a great nation, and how such a figure could become the demonic consort of the dark god of bloodshed.
As you might expect, this is a tightly paced action story. Don’t expect that much subtlety; though there is some, it’s tucked in between all the fight scenes and blood. Cawkwell makes the main character sympathetic and interesting, and plunges the reader into the dark and dangerous barbarian north, filling it with horrors and death. She also paints a powerful picture of Valkia’s tribe, and we really get a feel for the world. None of the main characters are particularly nice; if you’re looking for a tale of villains with a heart look elsewhere, but they are sympathetic, well drawn and interesting. This is a strong tale of tragedy, victory and most of all, blood. Fans of darker fantasy and demonic destruction will love every gore-soaked page.