Inside Pulse 12

Book Review: The Bride of Khaine (Warhammer: The End Times)

Bride of Khaine (Warhammer; The End Times)
Publisher: Games Workshop
Cost: $3.99 ($15.49 as part of the Quick Reads Subscription Bundle)
Page Count: 21
Release Date: 02/25/2015
Get it Here: The Black Library

Out of all the titles for Warhammer; The End Times Quick Reads Subscription, The Bride of Khaine the one I was most interested in. I really loved the novel The Curse of Khaine and the core sourcebook Khaine, but you got very little background or character development regarding Hellebron, the leader of the Witch Cult of Khaine It was perhaps one of the few weak spots in an otherwise terrific novel. I was really hoping The Birde of Khaine would be a prequel to The Curse of Khaine and fill in some blanks, even if it was to be written by a different author. I got exactly what I wanted in that you learn a lot about both Hellebron and the Witch Cult itself, but I was really disappointed that the story was only twenty-one pages long. That’s eleven less than yesterday’s Marienburg’s Stand (for the same price!) and less than half of that of With ice and Sword. At this rate, I’m expecting the next two stories to be ten pages and a paragraph long respectively. I know Games Workshop likes to overcharge/nickel and dime its fans, but this was a bit too much. At least the story was good.

The Bridge of Khaine is a direct prequel to The Curse of Khaine and/or Khaine. It is a disjointed tale with two very different narratives and narrators. Don’t take the disjointed comment as a negative one though. It merely means that the two halves of the story are so very different from each other that they compliment rather than bring things down. The first narrative is that of Hellebron herself. Her parts of the story are told in first person narrative in present tense. These portions of the story are also in italics to help differentiate them from the second narrative. This narrative focuses on Tullaris Deathbringer. This narrative is in third person past tense. Again, it’s rare that an author can make two different narratives work together at all, much less for a full story so it’s impressive that Bride of Khaine reads so well. Of course, the difficulty of shuffling the two may be why the story is so short.

Bride of Khaine‘s takes place on Death Knight, a holy night for the worshippers of Khaine. Unfortunately, it’s also a night smack dab in the middle of an onslaught by the forces of Chaos on the Dark Elves. Tullaris is having as good a time as you might expect an Executioner of Khaine to have. He’s out killers servants of Khorne and beastmen left and right. He even gets into a nice battle with a Chaos Champion at the beginning of the story. At the same time, Hellebron is at her weakest. She is old and frail and is in desperate need of rejuvenation via the Cauldron of Blood. However, she can’t get to it due to the city being immersed in a battle for its very existence. The only way to regain her power is to somehow get to the Cauldron, but that journey may be as lethal as not going to it. Decisions, decisions.

Bride of Khaine is essentially a love story between Hellebron and Tullaris Deathbringer – or as much of a love story as Dark Elves in the Cult of Khaine can have. Throughout the entire piece the two reflect on their lives and their relationship (I hesitate to say something like “feelings for each other” as that would be weakness Khaine would frown upon). Their relationship is also put to the test by a third party taking advantage of both the battle and Hellebron’s weakness. Servants of Morathi, mother of Malekith and Queen of Ghrond have come to assassinate Hellebron at her lowest point as well as tempt Tullaris to their side. Does Tullaris side with the Drakirites and claim the leadership of the Cult of Khaine for himself? Does Hellebron escape her assassins? You’ll have to read the story to find out. Of course, if you already read Khaine and/or The Curse of Khaine months ago, you already know the answers to these questions as they meet their ultimate fate in those pages, but it’s fun to see their tale in this prequel as well as some foreshadowing/blatant Khaine spoilers as well.

Again, Bride of Khaine is a well done story and worth reading, but the $3.99 price tag for such a short piece is way too much. That’s nineteen cents a page with is nearly double what it should cost. If Bride of Khaine was $1.99, I’d be wholeheartedly recommending it to Warhammer Fantasy fans, as it’s a very good read. Unfortunately, this is a case where Games Workshop’s greed got the better of them and they way overpriced this puppy. It’s a shame too, because the author did a fine job, but GW’s price tag on Bride of Khaine will drive people away and this deserves to find an audience. Hopefully the Black Library will start to get saner pricing on their short stories. I can get full novels for the price of this for my Kindle. As much as I love The End Times fiction, no twenty page story is worth four dollars. Sorry.

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