Sons of Ellyrion by Graham McNeill – Advanced Review [Bane of Kings]

Sons-of-Ellyrion

Bane of Kings reviews the conclusion to the High Elf duology, the long awaited Sons of Ellyrion, written by Graham McNeill and published by Black Library.

“Epic in every sense of the word. McNeill knows what he’s doing.” ~The Founding Fields

Note: This is an advanced review for Black Library Publishers. Sons of Ellyrion will not be available in stores until September 2011. Also, this review contains minimal spoilers for this novel, but due to the nature of the ending of the previous book, there may be spoilers for Defenders of Ulthuan.

After the jaw-dropping cliff-hanger of Defenders of Ulthuan, Sons of Ellyrion picks up where it left off, the conclusion of the duology focusing on the High Elves in the Warhammer World, written by New York Times Bestseller and David Gemmell award winning Graham McNeill, author of A Thousand Sons, and the popular Legend of Sigmar series for Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Fantasy respectively.

In all senses, Sons of Ellyrion is the Warhammer Fantasy version of The Chapter’s Due, the sixth instalment in the Ultramarines series also written by Graham McNeill, but outclasses its counterpart in almost every way. You find yourself emotionally attached to the characters, as you begin to understand what it’s like to suffer great damage in times of war.

Even though the war is set in a fantasy world, with sorcery, battles on land, in the sea and in the air, Sons of Ellyrion truly is an action packed good VS evil encounter, which rounds off with a thrilling conclusion that makes this book unmissable.

McNeill is again at the top of his game, seemingly having learnt the lessons from The Chapter’s Due. I found this book to be one of the best Warhammer Fantasy novels I’ve read so far. Merging the greatest heroes of the age, Princes Tyrion and Teclis, Prince Imrik of Caledor, with the two Elven brothers Caelir and Eldain both fighting to redeem themselves, after the incidents in Defenders of Ulthuan which lead directly to the events in this novel.

On the other side of the scale, we get the villains, the Dark Elves, known to the defenders as the druchii, lead by hag-witch Morathi, the twisted Issyk Kul, and the Witch King Malekith himself. Whatever the outcome, this book with have earth-shattering consequences for not only the High Elves, but their dark kin as well.

Sons of Ellyrion is very highly anticipated, particularly because if you picked up the original release of Defenders of Ulthuan, you’d be waiting four years for this novel to finally arrive. It’s defiantly worth the wait, I can tell you that – and I’ve mentioned this before, this is defiantly not to be missed. If you haven’t already read Defenders of Ulthuan, pick it up in September along with this.

Although Sons of Ellyrion primarily focuses on the battles at the places explored in the last book, like Lothern and Tor Elyr, it is as much about characters as it is about its action, as the characters really do develop from the events in Defenders of Ulthuan, and by the time you read the last page, it really does feel like a, to use an old cliché, rollercoaster ride, especially with one of the characters involved, whose name I won’t mention for spoiler reasons.

You will find yourself flowing through this book, probably even finishing in one sitting. It’s fast paced, and you find the pacing broken up early in the book by separating the battle scenes with the confrontations between Caelir and Eldain.

However, despite all its brilliance, Sons of Ellyrion does seem to be a little bit predictable for my liking, especially as, like The Chapter’s Due, Sons of Ellyrion does lack a bit of suspense though, as some heroes are simply too big to be killed off. I won’t mention which ones, but any hardcore fan of the High Elves will know whom I’m referring to.

The battles are well detailed, and although the overall outcome of the war will be a bit predictable for some, Sons of Ellyrion manages to keep you hooked on a knife’s edge to find out the outcome of individual battles, and it’s not all victory after victory for the good guys.

Rating: 4/5

 The Duology: Defenders of Ulthuan, Sons of Ellyrion  


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