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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Due to the fickle nature of Black Library, I received my copy of Path of the Warrior several weeks ago, a month or more before its intended release, though have only finished it, due to constraints on other fiction. But, onto my review; which I hope to be more succinct, direct and concise than that of Malekith and Helsreach :)

The ancient Eldar are a mysterious race, each devoting their life to a chosen path which will guide their actions and decide their fate. Korlandril abandons peace for the Path of the Warrior. He becomes a Striking Scorpion, a deadly fighter skilled in the art of close-quarter combat. But the further Korlandril travels down this path, the closer he gets to losing his identity and becoming an avatar of war.

Path of the Warrior is unique in the aspect of it being wholly centered around the Eldar; perspectives from Eldar characters, and portraying of their society, religious views and overall culture to more depth than any previous mention of the children of the Old Ones, in other Black Library fiction.

The setting is upon the Craftworld Alaitoc, a colossal wraithbone leviathan of a magnitude dwarfing in both size and age, of more typical Astartes Fortress Monasteries. However, serving as biosphere`s for life, far more than bloated gun platforms, Alaitoc, upon the Galactic northern rim, serves as home for our Protagonists.

Our main characters are a trio of friends, linked by intertwining paths, their friendship strong, but frayed by the travesties of the future, and tension between the former Dire Avenger, currently Poet, and to-be Warlock, Thirianna, the Ranger Aradryan, and Korlandril, the Poet, and future Striking Scorpion of the Deathly Shadow Shrine, seems to be the cause for all three`s future choices, documented in all three of Gav Thorpe`s Eldar novels.With Path of the Seer most likely devoted to Thirianna and Path of the Outcast to the misadventures of Aradryan, Path of the Warrior details Korlandril`s emotional struggles, and his journey along the Aspect Path.

Spurned by momentary hatred, emotional betrayal and jealousy of his friends, Korlandril is swooned towards the Aspect Temples, to flaunt his anger in battle, in the way of war. Following the route of the Striking Scorpion, the shadow-bound hunter, the shadow of Khaine, Korlandril embarks to master the ways of his chosen Aspect, venture down this newer, bloody Path and learn to savour his anger for war.

Trained in the hidden art by Kenainath, Exarch of the Shrine, Korlandril leaves the Path of the Poet behind, reining in his primitive bloodlust, tuning his body to become a thing of lethal beauty. History of the Shrine, the Aspect, and of The War in Heaven is aplenty, fleshing out the previously scarce-known warriors.

Korlandril`s first task is against the Orkish Xenos upon Eileniliesh, an Eldar Exodite world. Cloaked by the Webway, and spearheaded by Alaitoc`s Avatar of Khaine, the physical incarnation of the Bloody-Handed God, the Aspect Warriors strike a hammer-blow against the Orks, though to a mortal injury to our Protagonist - by the hand of an Ork Warlord.

Escorted back to Alaitoc, Korlandril is healed upon the Craftworld, though to a heated mental battle, against the never-ceasing predations of She Who Thirsts. About here, springs the idea of a ''War-mask''. More than a helmet of wraithbone and synthetics, equipped with Mandiblasters (Noted as the Scorprions ''Sting'') this is a metaphor for the film of blood and feral hatred that envelopes an Aspect Warrior in times of war.

The War-Mask is intertwined to the heightened, psychic potency of the Eldar, and their need of a Path to avoid the fall to Slaanesh. Though a stimulant in battle, the War-Mask must be allowed to only surface once blood is shed, not during times of peace. This combines the mantra of a division of Peace and War, so subtle by allegorical in Eldar society.Our Protagonist, Korlandril, however fails to keep this important division between the shedding of blood and all the surrounding emotions, and the peaceful nature of the Aspect; loosing his identity wrought from his previous Paths, and boiling down into a purest incarnation of the Striking Scorpion: An Exarch.

Abandoned from the Shrine of the Deadly Shadow, Korlandril, spurned by the message of the Autarch`s heads towards a long, abandoned Shrine of the Striking Scorpion, only to be bereft of his own body, as his soul is consumed by a far more ancient Eldar presence, manifesting, alongside its former personalities, as Morlaniath, one of the founding Exarch`s of the Aspect.
Korlandril is encompassed by Morlaniath, revealing how the Exarch`s Keninaith and Aranarha are but conglomerations of many Eldar of the history of the Craftworld forged into one archaic suite of armour. It is hard to grasp at first, but to Thorpe`s credit is understandable, and slightly tragic.

War stirs the Avatar of Khaine, the Aspect Temples unite, and Alaitoc readies for battle, as the Imperium launches a frontal assault against the Craftworld. It is battle on a scale, featuring the Eldar never seen before, unimaginable, with thousands of Guardsmen charging orbital defenses, spearheaded by the might of the Adeptus Astartes. Without spoiling the final Chapter, it is magnificent, with Phantom Titans, Super-heavy vehicles, Phoenix Lord`s, Aspect Warrior`s, Astartes and far, far more, in a single bloody conflict within one of Alaitoc`s many domes.

Positives and Negatives.(This is something I have begun to do on another site, to narrow down better and worse aspects of a book without too much complication)


- Eldar society is portrayed fantastically, to a depth the Codex, nor previous works can even dream of competing with. The system and essential need of Paths within their lives is detailed, the requirement for structure and betterment or else the fall to Slaanesh is described by Thorpe strongly throughout, by self-doubting characters, and the siren-call of Slaanesh, herself.

-The traditions of the Striking Scorpion Aspect are mentioned in relation to Korlandril`s own introduction to the Shrine and through this can we relate to the protagonist as he, himself, learns of traditions, fighting styles and histories, as we do simultaneously. The inclusion of a rival Shrine of the same Aspect, and a rivalry between Exarch`s is a well used microcosm for the fight between Arha and Kahandras, the first Phoenix Lord of the Aspect and founder of the Dark Eldar Incubi. (Lexicanum for those who are confused.)

Adding to this, there is, before every new Chapter, a small extract from the tale of The War in Heaven. Detailing Khaine`s jealousy at Kurnous, the founding of the Eldar by Isha, but also the friendship between the hero Eldanesh and his slaying by Khaine. These short fragments often mirror the chapter to come, and the actions of our protagonists, but also give more depth to the culture of the Eldar and the importance of the Aspect Warriors.

The consuming of Korlandril`s soul, and possession of his body by the ancient Exarch Morlaniath signals how the Aspect Warrior`s are truly just sacrifices for Khaine, their blood to sate his favoured champions. Korlandril is encompassed by Morlaniath, who in turn pledges his essence to maintain the spirit of the Phoenix Lord - Karandras.

-The haughty attitude of the Eldar is given more depth and variation amongst the different strands of Eldar society, and the effect of the Paths upon this attitude. Korlandril is at first an arrogant Artist, heedless of criticism, and believing in his own superiority. The Path of the Warrior changes this, showing much more than the typical snobbish demeanour, humans view the Eldar with.

Also, though not expected, the Orks are viewed with loathing, but humans, surprisingly are not viewed with outright distaste as we would expect. Korlandril expresses minor regret at having to slaughter the innocence of humans, but does so for the future of Alaitoc. Within one of his reveries he skillfully measures up how Humanity is arguably the best galactic neighbour for the Eldar race, compared to the brutish Xenos, followers of the Dark Gods and other, haughty races. The finale, a bloody slog between the Imperium and the Eldar, shows clashes between the swift, vengeance of the Eldar and the grinding, statistical warfare of the Imperium, enjoyable to witness the humans from a different perspective.


There are far fewer negatives than positives, in comparison of Path of the Warrior, although he novel is still peppered by some areas of hindrance.

-Korlandril is the main-character, the protagonist of the novel; however his unique and rich personality is devoured two-thirds of the way through, to appease the slumbering Exarch Morlaniath; though the transition is described to a well enough extent, it feels an unsuitable end for the character we have known for the last 300 pages.

-I would complain how the strikes against the Orks and foolhardy Imperium (In possession of an artifact of Slaanesh) are far too fast, and don`t really show a great deal of the mantra of Eldar war, but the last 50 pages of all-out war certainly make up for this.

-The Nightbringer! Yes, it`s barely anything of worth, though as a large Eldar fan, I was surprised the small passages detailing The War in Heaven, did not mention Khaine`s battle against the C`tan, and Vaul`s betrayal. A slight shame :(

Summary and Rating
To summarise, Path of the Warrior is a truly exquisite portrayal of the Eldar in all their highly attuned glory. The novel is highly interesting, written to a fantastic quality, different writing techniques and styles to suit varying moments of turmoil, strong dialogue, but also revealing of the Eldar`s more humorous aspects and riveted with tragedy. The final and yet to be ended conflict is worthy alone, the Emperor`s finest pitted against the children of Khaine, in war of large proportions.

To the future novels by Gav Thorpe, and I`m particularly intruiged by how Aradryan`s actions as he traverses the Path of the Outcast causes the doom of Alaitoc, whether Arhulesh expands more upon his strong adherence to the legend of Cegorach, his mockerous demeanour and perhaps his future as a Harlequin; Thirianna`s continuation along the Path of the Seer, and certainly the outcome of Karandras` duel against the Astartes Dreadnaught, in combination with the future prospects of Bechareth, the former Dark Eldar Incubi. I am certain we will be seeing several of these characters in Path of the Seer, if not Path of the Outcast.

4/5 Or 8/10

2,628 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Excellent review, to say the least. Very detailed, although it manages to cling to not giving away any major spoilers, although barely :wink: have some rep for that mate, keep the good work up!
Always appreciated:so_happy: Yes, I hope my style of language leaves some surprises for the future-reader, and of course the last Chapter of slaughter dosen`t need me to explain its greatness.
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