Malekith by Gav Thorpe was my first foray into the Warhammer Universe, and in hindsight, I have to say it took me too long to sample this wonderful place. Sure, some will argue that the world of Malekith is yet another retreaded version of LOTR with a bit of Moorcock mixed in, but to me, even while such criticism holds a small sliver of truth, I honestly could careless because this stuff is good. Warhammer has gained another fan!
But why should anyone consider reading the novel Malekith?
The World of Warhammer itself is why, for this is world building done right. As you read, past heroes and villains rise before your eyes, bestriding civilization and clashing with steel and magic to forge the world where our flawed elven prince resides. And you realize with undeniable conviction that the Prince of Nagarythe’s story is of immense importance to the future of this world, and that all history stretching forth will, in small or large part, be influenced by Malekith’s choices. Indeed, as the pages turn, you even understand that Malekith’s own fate is influenced in part by the choices his own father, Aenarion, made centuries before, making it clear that even as mighty and flawed as Malekith is, he is but a small droplet in the vast ocean of Warhammer history. That is what this novel offers: the weight and breath of a complete history that – unlike many fantasy novels – rings true to life in so many ways, making you wish to discover all its stories.
Well, if it so wonderful, why did I only give it 3 stars you ask?
Like all things, Malekith does have it’s flaws. To me, the writing bogs down into too much detail of actually bloodletting and not enough details of the people who fight the battles. It also does too much telling me what happens instead of letting me see it unfold in a story setting. And lastly, the chapters where the author tells the story through Carathril instead of Malekith just seem out of place. Don’t get me wrong, I like Carathril, especially his neutral view of the main characters, but he appears and disappears in the story far often for my tastes.
So if you do not mind elves and dwarves in your fantasy and want to sample a fantasy world of legendary breadth, this would be a good place to see if Warhammer is to your liking.