Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Book of the Month - Valkia the Bloody

In order to help myself have a little bit something else to talk about - something that could inspire me to further blog posts and alleviate some 'creative pressure' thinking up a topic once in a while, I've decided I want to have a "Book of the Month". This is partly brought on by me having recently come into ownership of a Kobo Touch eReader but also due to the fact that the book I'm reading now has me literally talking to everyone about it. Now, these 'reviews' won't always be new books, quite the opposite - due to my schedule, they'll likely only be new books if they're Black Library novels... As another aside, I will do my utmost to avoid any big plot spoilers, keeping to what readers would likely know from the blurb and previous encounters.

Join me after the jump where I'll talk about "Valkia the Bloody" by Sarah Cawkwell.

Before I continue, it's likely worth a moments pause to mention that "Valkia the Bloody" is currently only available on eBook. The paperback version will be available directly from Black Library or your local Games Workshop soon.

Anyone who follows my Twitter feed will know I've been going on about this book since starting to read it on the way to Nottingham on Monday. Even the Author is fairly aware of how much I have been ranting about it. However, the reason I've not referred to these as 'reviews' is because they're all going to be about books I like.

The question is "Why do I like it?"

In the opening Chapter of "Valkia", we are introduced to the titular character and her father, the chieftain of the Schwarzvolf tribe in the bitter northern wastes. For those who know the character from her entry in "Warhammer Armies: Warriors of Chaos" this is an astounding and intimate peek into the main character. Like "Romeo & Juliette", we know the dark ending that Valkia spirals into (sort of) before we even begin, and to see her in such a state of innocence and stability forms a stark and exciting contrast to this.

From thereon out the story follows Valkia's slow descent into Chaos, and the story is rammed to breaking with metaphors that match this. Metaphors for life, growing up, becoming stronger, growing weaker and dying. We watch her tribe prosper, her father age, her strength and faith grow. We watch the decline.

All throughout, as befitting a story centred on the Consort of the God of Blood and War, the story rages on with the violence and action pounding on at a furious rate. For a book to keep such an unrelenting pace, normally quality has to be sacrificed to make way for ferocious speed, but you can almost feel the gore splatter across your face, spurting from the very ink of the book, such is the quality of the imagery.

In the past I have slated books that have felt as though they were written with the hopes of a screenplay. I believe that a book should stand alone, a book should be written as a book after all - begging for a screenwriter to adapt you smacks of someone wanting to write a film but not having the skillset.

However, "Valkia" does quite the opposite. Rather than the author begging for a screenplay with poor literature, Cawkwell has written an impressive composition bursting with cinematic imagery and ideas. Every page had the action raging across the cinema screen of my mind, following the main characters epic journey from childhood to daemonhood and beyond.

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