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Commissar Ploss reviews Bloodborn. The first novel in the series Ulrika the Vampire, by Nathan Long.
http://www.thefoundingfields.com/2010/08/bloodborn-by-nathan-long-review.html (don't forget to follow TFF as well!)
Admittedly, this book was my very first venture into the world of Warhammer Fantasy Battles literature. I've been a stauch 40k reader and player since i've been able to hold a blast template, and therefore have not really attempted to sail out from that island of familiarity.
I'm not sure exactly what compelled me pick up Bloodborn. It's all the more unnatural when you consider that i am not a subscriber to the "vampire craze" that seems to be sweeping the world lately. Especially when they are all emotional basket cases, have serious attitude problems, and sparkle gallantly in the sun...
That said, i found this book both extremely enjoyable, and generally enthralling.
Bloodborn gets going right from the start. We're introduced to the novel's protagonists Ulrika Magdova, and her mentor, Countess Gabriella von Nachthafen, within the first few pages. The characterization in this novel was superb. I had no trouble imagining each character in the book, nor did their appearance change in my mind at any time. Strong characterization is something few authors can do consistently.
There is a mystery to be solved within this story. Our protagonists are whisked away to a city called Nuln, where a creature is wreaking havoc among the vampires in the area and threatening to expose their existence to the world. It is here that Mr. Long describes the hierarchy of Vampire society in a very easy to understand way. For someone who has never delved into the lore of the Old World, i found myself able to keep up with the things that were happening.
The pace was quick, but not so much that i had a hard time following. Nathan successfully conveyed the underlying sense of urgency in the book by never slowing or muddying things up with unneeded explanation, and pointless filler.
There was no "cookie-cutter" feel to the action either. And each scene was as exciting as it was unpredictable. VERY! Never knowing what was around each corner is partly what kept me reading. The vampires must discover who or what is preying on them, lest they all be destroyed. I found myself wanting them to find the culprit, i couldn't help it. Nathan makes you hope, he makes you yearn for them to win out the day. He feeds you bits of info with each passing page, yet never giving away too much of the plot until the very end and WHAM! everything falls into place.
The book wrapped up very well. It closed plot devices while opening up more for the next book. I really wanted to keep reading, but alas, with page 411 came the end of the book...
If the next novel in the series, Bloodforged, is anything like this one, it promises to be a rousing read that will be hard to put down.
Nathan Long has written a captivating, seductive, blood-sucker of a story.
My Rating: 8 / 10
Reason: I enjoyed the story thoroughly, as it clearly emphasizes the emotions that plague Ulrika, as she is only just learning to understand the situation she is in, and how to harness the new powers that she has, while discovering ones she does not yet know she possesses. The characterization was superb, action clean, and pacing steady. However, there were some editorial mistakes (most notably a few name swaps) that took away from the story, snapping me from the trance the narrative had placed me in. Therefore, i can not in good conscience give the story the 9 it deserves. Were it pristine in editorial marksmanship, i probably would have done so. I was also pleased to see the true nature of a vampire's relationship with the sun play through in sections. The charring, burning, boiling, ultimately apocalyptic nature with which the sun persecutes its unsuspecting vampiric victims. No sparkles here.
Should you buy this book? YES
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