Bane of Kings reviews the final novel in the Eldar Path Trilogy by Gav Thorpe, Path of the Outcast, that follows the gripping events of Aradryan’s viewpoint from the story that began with Path of the Warrior and continued with Path of the Seer.
“A thrilling conclusion to the Eldar Trilogy that will satisfy and enthrall readers.” ~The Founding Fields
What is quite interesting to note about Path of the Outcast is that it concludes what has possibly been the first major Black Library produced Eldar-focused series, and that’s quite an achievement in itself. Not many authors can write a novel from the perspective of aliens, let alone an entire trilogy. Although they may not get as much attention as the Space Marines, the Eldar are still there, and have a whole realm of undiscovered lore that’s just waiting for an author to get their hands dirty with it. Thorpe has rounded off the Eldar Trilogy with a bang, and hopefully his work will inspire future authors to give one of the most enigmatic aliens of 40k another shot in the future. But they’re going to have to pull of something special though, as Thorpe’s Eldar Path Trilogy is, although not a perfect read – there are some flaws that I will be highlighting in the rest of the review – still a good, strong one. But first, the blurb.
Aradryan has chosen to leave his sheltered life on Craftworld Alaitoc and walk the Path of the Outcast, seeking the myriad pleasures and threats the wider galaxy has to offer. Still unfulfilled as a ranger, he is lured into the life of a star pirate, bringing him into conflict with the Imperium of Man. A chain of events is set in motion that could have catastrophic consequences for Alaitoc, forcing Aradryan to take drastic action if his old home is to survive.
Path of the Outcast runs in tangent with the events of Path of the Warrior and Path of the Seer. Whilst it is not necessary to read the previous novels in order to understand what goes on in this novel, it helps to get a broader picture of the events. For example, in Path of the Warrior, we follow Korlandril as he embarks on the Path of the Warrior, Likewise, Path of the Seer follows Thirianna, the only female Eldar of the trio, who embarks on the Path of the, well… Seer. As you can guess, Aradryan walks the Path of the Outcast in Thorpe’s concluding tale of the Eldar Path, and we get to understand his viewpoint of the same events that we saw from both Thirianna and Korlandril’s perspective in Warrior and Seer. For all of you who wanted to understand Aradryan’s role in the events, then look no further than Outcast. It lives up to the quality of the first two, both of which I enjoyed, and fans will be pleased to know that this is a satisfying last hurrah for Thirianna, Korlandril and Aradryan. Not that I wouldn’t mind seeing more of them in the future though.
The pace of Path of the Outcast is action packed, although it is far from bolter porn, as Thorpe gives Aradryan time to change from the spoiled brat that he was at the start of the novel and develop over time. Whilst the breakneck pace doesn’t give us the time needed to explore into secondary characters (Thirianna and Korlandril already had their own books, but the rest of the characters I’m struggling to recall the names of and aren’t as memorable as the aforementioned ones), it allows for some breathtaking action scenes that are entirely different from the ones found in Imperial and Chaos novels. The Eldar have their own methods of making war, their own culture, their own… well, pretty much everything. Thorpe provides a great look into the Eldar species, making this whole trilogy a must for any fan of that particular type of xenos. Whilst it may not convince me to start an army of them for the tabletop, Path of the Outcast certainly does give a greater insight to what makes them tick. Aradryan is an interesting character to follow particularly as he develops throughout the whole novel, and is different than both Thirianna and Korlandril before him. We also get a chance to see his point of view of the interactions between the other two and at last the circle of narrative is complete, with no loose ends.
Path of the Outcast wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read though, as it did have a one minor issue though, I felt that the Space Marines, when they were doing battle with the Eldar, were a bit too overpowered. I know they’re good, being humanities finest and all that, but are they that good that the only thing that works against them was super-heavy weapons. This is a flaw that I think runs throughout the whole of the trilogy, not just Path of the Outcast. It was nice to see that by the end of the novel they aren’t completely unstoppable behemoths though, which was a relief.
The novel itself is still an enjoyable read despite that flaw, and as mentioned earlier, is a satisfying conclusion to The Eldar Path Trilogy and I hope that Thorpe writes more about the Eldar in the future. We also get an guest appearance from a particular band of Renegades that Thorpe has written about before in a couple of short stories, which was a welcome bonus for those of us who have seen them before. As it happens, I found Path of the Outcast the strongest novel of the Trilogy, with each book getting better as it went on. If you’re an Eldar fan or are even remotley interested in reading about them, then The Eldar Path Trilogy is for you.
The Eldar Path Trilogy: Path of the Warrior, Path of the Seer, Path of the Outcast.