Today lets take a look at Black Library’s latest: Path of the Warrior. This novel by Gav Thorpe takes on a journey deep into the beating heart of the Eldar culture through the eyes of a Striking Scorpion.
a review by Scadugenga
If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this review, it is this:
“Don’t judge this book by its prologue.”
The prologue almost made me put down the book. But I persevered and so, hopefully, will you. If you’re a fan of the Eldar in the Warhammer 40k universe, you’ll know that the Black Library has struggled to produce a story that truly captures Eldar society, mindset and cosmology. After finishing Path of the Warrior, I think they’ve finally succeeded.
Path is a novel about an Eldar named Korlandril from Alaitoc Craftworld. Korlandril is an artist who turns away from his chosen Path to begin a journey into the Path of the Warrior. As the cover obviously gives away, our protagonist enters a Striking Scorpion shrine, with all the risks and trials that the Warrior Path entails.
But what really sets this book apart isn’t the protagonist, the setting, or the storyline. What makes Path shine is that Thorpe explores the intricacy of Eldar society and their psyche. He gets the “vibe” of the Eldar as a race, and really succeeds in showing the reader exactly how intense their range of emotions can be–and how dangerous. Extreme manic-depressive swings with a large dose of psychotic rage comes to mind as an example of what an unbalanced Eldar mind is capable of. Korlandril’s realization of his psyche’s needs and introduction onto the Scorpion Path is easily one of the best, and most dramatic parts of the novel.
Where Path hits a few speed bumps (beside the aforementioned Prologue) is primarily technical–there are a few typos (EG the plural of cannon is cannon) and Thorpe makes use of flashbacks to further the plot–but there’s no alternate formatting change, such as italics to let the reader know that you’ve just entered a flashback scene. This can and does lead to a bit of confusion. The aforementioned Prologue is very “clunky” to read, and really could have been omitted without any negative impact to the story. Thorpe also gets very “Tolkeinized” about naming his characters–be forewarned, they can be a mouthful.
Path of the Warrior is obviously the start of a series, being identified as “Book One” and the ending actually comes rather abruptly, which can leave you wanting to know “okay, what now?”
Pick up a copy. Disregard the prologue. Enjoy a writer who really draws you into the eldar experience.
4 stars (out of 5)