When it comes to the Black Library’s Warhammer novels, my expectations are generally low. All I’m asking for is a fun but grand(-ish) story, decent writing, a few jokes and puns, and perhaps a deeper glimpse in the Old World’s workings. Books like Skavenslayer managed to meet my meager expectations to the full, books like The Dead and The Damned failed horribly.
Matt Forbeck’s Blood Bowl, on the other hand, was quite a revelation.
(Apparently it also was the first Blood Bowl book I ever laid my gnomish filthy little hands upon.)
To begin with (this review I mean), Blood Bowl nicely covered all my basic prerequisites. The story felt like something an imperial scholar would bother to write about, the humor was good and not over-used, Blood Bowl’s (the game’s) fluff (sorry kitty) got expanded -even explained- and the writing was surprisingly inspired.
What impressed me the most, was that the author actually managed to create a Blood Bowl setting, that -despite its contradictory self- fits nicely in the Old World’s … er … world. For example: having an undead team fighting the Chaos All-Stars on imperial soil under the watchful eye of a Skaven bookie, just doesn’t sound as implausible as it should. Quite an accomplishment that. And the characters seemed like normal people too, devoid of most heroic-fantasy cliches and definitely sporting quite a few dimensions more than Dan Brown’s abominations.
The only problem I actually had with this book was the repetition of a specific plot pattern, but it wasn’t even that obvious, and is definitely forgiven due to the fantastic names used throughout. Dunkel Hoffnung as the main character? (Ein kleines und ganz geiles) Laestiges Weibchen as the tabloid journalist? That’s just brilliant! Congratulations Mr. Forbeck. You’ve just won yourself a link to your blog! Here.
In a nutshell: Blood Bowl is a highly recommended book and a perfect and relaxing summer read. If of course you’re into Warhammer. Or Blood Bowl. Even fantasy literature will do.
What to do? Have a look at the book’s webpage and read the first chapter for free. That will help you decide. Then, just to make sure, have fun with the free Blood Bowl (the game) rulebook or the mandatory Wikipedia entry.