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View Full Version : David Guymer. Slayer - almost spoiler free review



Anakwanar
20-03-2015, 17:48
‘The End is nigh, the wheels of fate are spinning wild, and here Doom of Gotrek lies’
My feelings, as I started reading the last book in the series, were actually like the grand phrase of Gotrek - ‘I will accept no doom’.

Through the years, ‘Gotrek and Felix’ adventures has become a title by which you know you are reading BL production. A long way from the first book in the long forgotten 1999, the series has gone full circle. From a funny book of shorts with 2 heroes, human and dwarf, it has achieved the level of drama with the best of George Martin stuff.
Four different authors, with their fundamental writing styles, storytelling has created a living and breathing duo, in which you could and should invest your time.
King gave us small laughs, returning evil characters and story driven plot. Nathan Long provided a new beginning after William King had left the series. It was refreshing, with a new perspective. We got the recurring characters and essential drama with a sinister plot going through all his books till the last one. Josh Reynolds gave us the introduction to the missing years of the pair, some of their early adventures and actions in the East, especially after the cataclysmic events of the King’s last GaF book ‘Giantslayer’. And of course, our talented Queek fella David Guymer provided us with a haunting introduction to the spirit world, prophecies and death of hope in his ‘charming’ ‘City of the Damned’, debut for the series.
I was pleased to know that he had been given a green light to finish the series in the great ‘Doom of Gotrek Gurnisson’ duology, especially given the ongoing ‘End of Times’ event in the setting. At the same time I was depressed, after all – who’d love the ending of the fantastic books? If it was my choice – I would have written them, till the stars would start bleeding, or mister Emperor came back for the Godly intervention.
And here we go – ‘Slayer’, Book 2 of the Doom of Gotrek Gurnisson lies before me, finished just 15 minutes ago. And what an ending it has! I can’t be very spoiler free here, judging by the ongoing emotions, fighting in my heart. Curse you David for writing another OUTSTANDING BOOK.
And through my eyes are shedding little manly tear for one character, I want to shake your hand and buy you a keg of Bugmans. Just to remember all the stuff that was written on a long way to this point. Sad, bittersweet, a little funny, with a great commemoration for anyone to read.
The companionship and friendship between our adorning duo has gone a long way from that to an unexpected, but fair “Curse you, Gotrek Gurnisson”. Well, to be fair – Felix went through lot of suffering on his faithful travellings with Gotrek. But only near the end he really slips, and shows us how tired and hateful he has become to all the slayer stuff, oaths and debts. ‘Damn the Slayer. And damn his oath’.
‘Well tha doesnae sound tae guid, diz it?’ – as someone familiar would say.
It has every previous book by King, Long and Reynolds mentioned in one way or another. Here we have an old friend Malakai Makaisson – with the great speeches and horrible Reikspiel ‘Whit in the world are ye daien here?’ – isn’t it beautiful and gratifying.
Here goes the ‘Unstoppable’ and Skjalandir from the ‘Dragonslayer’. Here are the thoughts and curses upon the hunched and beaten ‘friend’ of the duo – Grey Seer Thanquol. Lhoigor Goldenrod and Kelmain Blackstaff made a lovely introduction to the crossroad choice. Arek Daemonclaw and Heinrich Kemmler, Krell the Wight King and The Bloodthirster of Karag Dum all had made an introduction. Friends and comrades, loved ones – everybody joined the party. Here we heard a Snorri laughter, here shines the nobility of Ulrika Magdova, and even Kirsten, the first love of Jaeger, gets the mention to her passing.
All in all – this book is even more a commemoration to the rememberers, than to Gotrek. Felix Jaeger feels the strangeness of the world firsthand here. If not for the black hair – he would be an exact copy of that character

Some spoilers for the previous books ahead. The story sets off exactly from the moment the previous book ends – the death of Snorri, escape from Praag and going back to Empire to reunite Felix with Kat. In between ‘Kinslayer’ and ‘Slayer’ where is a short story ‘Rememberers’, done by David for the ‘End Times’ subscription. It covers the months spent travelling from the ruined Kislev to the ravaged Empire. Due to continuity of the story from the ‘City of the Damned’, it is highly recommended to read that book before the ‘Doom of Gotrek Gurnisson’ duology. The plot has some great retcons with the CotD and intersect it with visions and prophecies. If you want to understand the severity and paradox of the duo situation – you should get the measurements of Morzanna and Be’lakor from before, additional Warhammer Fantasy Battles lore for aforementioned characters is preferable too. ‘I will accept no doom’ – Gotrek words mentioned.
But let’s start – shall we? Here, we will find our characters – getting themselves in a battle at the border of the Empire, to which they do not belong too. But as someone said in the lovely times of the ‘End Times’ – ‘We are doomed!’ So, it’s not a surprise, anyway
People who read ‘Kinslayer’ will be pleased (or not – it depends on your liking of mentioned characters) to know that Gustav Jaeger and Kolya the kislevite are still present and running with the famous pair, overshadowed by their glory.

‘I will accept no doom’ – Gotrek Gurnisson.
The main protagonists of the story are not even the Dark Master Be’lakor, or some cool Chaos Warlords with different gifts. The main enemies of our indomitable duo are time, fate and themselves. This unstoppable combination created an unbearable task to fulfill for both Gotrek and Felix. As Morzanna says to all who got themselves in the spinning wheels of destiny: ‘You deserved a more caring master’.
Writing style is consistent and very enjoyable. With some minor setbacks, like depiction of the dwarven engineering, or nature’s views, that are overbalanced in the chapters. Due to continuity of the story you should expect a lot of dreams and prophecy envisioned from the ‘City of the Damned’. It is refreshing at the start of the novel, but gets a little tiresome in the middle. Due to everchanging events further on, it never became an issue in the end.
And the names – they are a jewel in the book. Different nicknames and monikers are making the story go real. Just rumbling from the normal halfturned Koenigsmann High Zarr to Willow Crab or Hunchback. The book is alive with them – and that’s another positive bonus for a truly good story. I do not think that people want to hear Be’lakor, Morzanna, Archaon and other overused names for a hundred pages, right?
Humor part is quite ok – greatest jokes are coming from the maturing boy Gustav. ‘Cheering crowds lined the Konigplatz waving flags and shouting your name. Pegasus knights performed an aerial display in your honor’ – isn’t he a lovely fella? Or new propaganda how to stay cheerful and sarcastic at the End Times period: ‘That’s how to keep up Morale in the End Times’.
Or fantastic piece ‘…..Ah, we appear to have uncovered a fundamental gap in our knowledge of gyrocopter operation’.
Phrases like ‘Your doom is foretold’ mostly would have a lovely conclusion in ‘we’ll tell him it was an accident…’ But I will leave it for you, to read for yourself. You will not regret your time well spent.
Beginning and the middle of the book are much lighter and more joyful, than the rest. This is actually as it should be, all things compared. Second part of the book is much heavier to read, due to ‘End of Times’ things (deaths) happening, and events getting very serious.
The only other minor flaw is the ending. Don’t get me wrong – it is good, really good and well deserving for the series. But the last 25 pages in Karak Drengazi feels a little rushed. And the main confrontation is a little bit too quick in its resolution. Considering everything else, the book deserves a Gemmel prize, or something from that tree
I want to add only this – if Gaunt Ghosts series by Dan Abnett would ever run its course, and the last book is written while we still alive, I do hope it will have such an ending.
Ty David Guymer, and goodbye Gotrek and Felix. We will forever remember this outstanding, in my humble opinion, duo.
Deep in our souls we are all rememberers. In the end, let’s quote the last proud kislevite Kolya – ‘Doskonale’

‘If this journal is found, if the day was won, then remember this - here a Slayer lies’

soots
20-03-2015, 22:34
Thanks for the review. I also read it on another side which showed spoilers. Could you please tell me about

It was implied Grimnir closed the gate in the previous incursion. Is this true? And also why did Grimnir fight Gotrek?

Thanks

Anakwanar
21-03-2015, 19:54
soots - i forget gow to do spoilers tag, so:
No he did not - Grimnir fought all that time with daemons at the portal gates
Grimnir fought Gotrek because it's Gotrek - he does not respect his betters :) Plus it was prophesied - it doesnt matter what Gotrek want, fate will have it's due ;)

Skarsnik's New Squig
22-03-2015, 12:22
here a Slayer lies

And lies, and lies and lies...

I always suspected that Gotrek was being groomed for a higher Grimnir-related purpose. As for Felix, it would be hilarious/awful if he ended up following another Dwarf with a mighty doom in the new Warhammer world (or bubbles) - my only disappointment is that Gotrek now has both eyes back. Talk about messing up the brand.