Blood for the Blood God by C.L Werner – Review [Lord of the Night]
Lord of the Night reviews the tense and dark Blood for the Blood God by C.L Werner.
“A gripping and gory novel that keeps the reader engaged through copious amounts of well-written violence and the mystery of the antagonist.”
Blood for the Blood God is yet another older novel from C.L Werner, along with Palace of the Plague Lord forming his Chaos Wastes series. I do truly hope one day he will return to the Wastes and write up the books devoted to Slaanesh and Tzeentch, as his novel dedicated to Nurgle was excellent and though Blood for the Blood God does not quite reach the same level, it is still a very enjoyable novel that had me hooked from start to finish.
The Shadowlands are a land always on the razor’s edge of war. Eight tribes, each one claiming to be the true descendents of the legendary King of the Tongs Teiyogtei, he who wielded the Bloodeater, inhabit these lands and with only one thing keeping them from killing each other. The precious balance of the land. But that balance is about to be shattered forever, for an ancient evil in the legends of each tribe has returned from the past to claim his destiny. The Skulltaker, an unstoppable champion of Khorne has come to slay the champions of the Shadowlands, and only a motley party of tribesmen have a chance of stopping him. But with each tribe looking to it’s own and their own survival, can the tribes stop the Skulltaker before every last skull has been claimed for the Blood God?
The story in BftBG has a very slasher-flick feel to it, the Skulltaker of course being the killer that just won’t die hunting his targets while the other characters try to survive and, this being a Chaos book, prosper their own fortunes. Rather than one main story I felt this book was a mix of multiple stories that all formed together to create one big tale. The story of Teiyogtei Khan; the story of the Skulltaker; and the story of Dorgo Foecrusher and his father Hutga Khan. Each of these stories is just as important as each other, if not as to the front as the third one is, and once you reach the end you will understand how all three of these stories are connected to each other and how the first two lead into the third. It’s a well-written story that may have had one or two slower moments in the middle but really surprised me at the end and I particularly liked the connection between all three stories.
The characters are an interesting group. Though only two or three or at most four characters could be considered main characters, there are plenty of supporting characters and each one is very unique and feels like a character with a lot of history behind them. The main characters didn’t have that feel of history but since the supporting characters were chieftains and they were not, it made sense for them to feel younger. Dorgo Foecrusher was good in the story yet beyond the typical beliefs of his people the only real hint of his character was his father-issues. I more enjoyed the character of Sanya the Sul, the mystery behind her and her actions was very interesting and I found Dorgo’s assessment of her to be rather chilling. The Skulltaker, though barely speaking at all, was in my opinion the best character of the book through his history and his actions rather than any words, he did feel like a monster that just could not be stopped and that made his presence much more tense, and all the more so when he displayed his combat prowess.
The title of the book makes it clear there will be a lot of blood, and oh hell yes there is a lot of blood. The battle scenes are numerous yet I did not get a sense of bolter-porn, or in this case sword-porn, from the book as the driving motivation of the characters is battle, to survive or for more mysterious motives. Since most of the book is about battle it can wear on some, however I felt the book compensated for it by making the battles either very bloody in the Skulltaker’s case or by using very unique and inventive enemies or maneuvers in battle to keep the reader interested. Since each battle feels unique, each one is fun to read through and visualize, making the book’s focus on action something that can be enjoyed rather than disliked.
The pacing of the book is good although the travelling sections can feel somewhat boring if the reader is not interested in the vistas and horrors that are shown during that time. At times the book feels a little slower, mainly due to the parts where nobody is dying or betraying each other, but Werner makes these parts if not exciting then interesting by describing the horrors and weird lands of the Chaos Wastes which he does very well at. Werner gets Chaos, the ephemeral and insane nature of it and as a big Chaos fan for me some of the best moments of the book were just reading how horrific the Chaos Wastes are.
My favourite quote, I don’t even have to think about it or recheck just to make sure. It’s this one,
“No gods. No witches. Just warriors. Just warriors and steel.”
The ending is quite dark, though not as dark or depressing as Palace of the Plague Lord but it’s still pretty grim. Yet if you think about it you can kinda see that this is going to happen because ultimately this book also imparts a moral as PotPL did, only this book’s moral is that you can’t cheat the Gods. I really enjoyed the final scene though as it was ambiguous and really exemplified the nature of the Blood God and answered the mystery behind the Skulltaker once and for all. Werner wrapped up his story in the way that you’d expect for such a novel and I quite liked it, especially as it’s a stand-alone novel and he could afford to do it this way.
For a good story, really enjoyable and well-written action scenes and another great look into the Chaos Wastes I give Blood for the Blood God a score eof 7.7/10. This is a book that I would recommend again to people who enjoy reading about villains not heroes, who can enjoy a dark and cruel ending and who enjoy copious amounts of violence and blood. For those who don’t like any of those things, or who do not like books that have a focus on action, then this isn’t a book that I would recommend to you.
That’s it for this review. Not sure what will be next, so until next time,
AVE DOMINUS NOX!