Bane of Kings Reviews: Thunder and Steel – Dan Abnett – Advanced Review

Our newest staff member here at TFF has reviewed something for us. Bane of Kings gives his succinct thoughts on the new Thunder and Steel Omnibus by Dan Abnett, published by Black Library:

Thunder and Steel is an epic collection of Dan Abnett’s Warhammer Fantasy.” ~The Founding Fields

Note: This is an advanced review for Black Library and this novel is not available for purchase until February 2011. 

 Gilead’s Blood

 Now, Gilead’s Blood is different to many other stories I’ve read, not just because it’s my first focusing on the Elves. The reason for this is that we’re reading about a narrator telling the story of Gilead, if you get what I mean.

Moving on, there’s plenty of action, in case you didn’t think there’d be any. Oh yes, there’s several little fights in between, each one of Gilead’s many adventures, each told in a different chapter by the narrator, whose name doesn’t get revealed until the end of Gilead’s final adventure.

Now, there are also plenty of twists in this novel, Gilead’s Blood, which will keep you entertained and hooked, and combined with Abnett’s great storyline, you won’t want to stop reading.

The characterization of each character is done well, but I don’t know a lot about elves so I couldn’t really help you on that bit, and the novel is well-paced and not rushed.

Gilead’s Blood, if you will, seemed to read more like a collection of short stories then one large, big novel, as each chapter was a different adventure of Gilead and his companion, Fithavel.

Overall, it’s a great read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I probably would’ve enjoyed it more if I knew a bit more about the Elves of Warhammer, however.

Verdict: 3/5

Hammers of Ulric

 Similar to Gilead’s Blood, Hammers of Ulric is also a collection of what seemingly are short stories in each chapter, sometimes narrated in first person – others not, but there are several things that are different to Gilead’s Blood in this novel.

First off, it’s mainly set in one city, Middenheim, and focuses mainly on The Empire rather than on the Elves, who I’ve read more books about (Only one, Sword of Vengeance), so naturally I did understand this more.

Now, Hammers of Ulric, I personally found to be a lot better than Gilead’s Blood. For one, it combines a variety of characters and several separate storylines, looping them into one overall story arc.

Despite understanding the history of the Empire, and being better than the first book in the omnibus, I still found this book difficult to get into. Maybe it was because I was still relatively new to the whole Fantasy setting.

But regardless, there are some memorable characters, great scenes, and in my opinion, perfect if you’re a veteran of Fantasy novels and you want a new challenge.

Verdict: 3.5/5

 Riders of the Dead

 Now, Riders of the Dead is the penultimate book, unless you’re not counting The Warhammer, which is in fact a graphic novel, in Thunder and Steel, and is written in a different style to its predecessors, as it contains three mini-stories, entitled Riders of the Dead, Swords of the Empire and Shyi-zac.

Now, this book is probably my favourite out of the whole omnibus, despite its rather abrupt ending, and the plot being hard to follow, especially if you’re new to the whole Fantasy setting, but despite that, it’s enjoyable.

Whilst reading this book, I felt that it was well paced out and built up to a climatic ending, although as mentioned earlier, it ended unexpectedly.  Obviously, there’s plenty of action in this novel, which was well described.

Verdict: 3.5/5


 The Warhammer

 Now, The Warhammer is the final book in this omnibus, and is the first full graphic novel that I’ve read for Black Library, and I must say that I enjoyed it. It had a good script, and the characters were fantastic.

Although the drawing wasn’t as good as some of the modern artwork that’s been shown on the front covers of books lately, like Prospero Burns and A Thousand Sons, for example, it’s still enjoyable.

If there was one thing that let The Warhammer down, was that the graphic book wasn’t in colour and if it was in colour I’d probably be able to understand it more.

Verdict: 3/5

Finally, I apologise for the short reviews of each novel, but I’m trying this style out for writing Omnibus reviews and rather than give four long reviews of each novel and clog up the pages of the blog, I’d thought I’d combine them all into four short reviews.

Overall Omnibus Verdict: 3/5


David Ploss

I’m a bit of an awesome person. :) I’m a semi-famous 40k Intellect and the Business Manager of Chique Geek Entertainment, LLC. I’m a book reviewer and the owner of Beware my wonky-ness…


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