The Hollow. A lonely Shyishan town, obscured amongst wild moorland, inhabited by folk of vigilant routine. What remains of the once illustrious Gothghul family endures season upon season of monastic isolation in their castle on the hill. Aaric Gothghul, made callous by loss, shuts himself in his study and broods over arcane texts, while his strange and formidable daughter wanders the forests alone.
But when the town is threatened by a spate of sinister manifestations, the quiet formality of their days end. Worse still, the upheaval disturbs a terrible family secret – a chilling memory that Aaric has kept buried for twenty-five years. Now, father and daughter must set aside their differences and search for answers to an ancient curse that is somehow linked to their past. Aided by a straight-talking sharpshooter and a shrewd man of faith, they seek to fathom the forces that assail the Hollow.
It is no secret that I have been struggling to get into the Age of Sigmar side of things. I recently started a “Start Here” anthology and it has taken me more than a week and a half to get to the first 100 pages (of the same story!) Knowing that I struggle with A.o.S books I knew it was a good idea to read Gothghul with some one and as always Jenn stepped in to assist. While her review has been up for quite some time, and better articulated in so many ways, I had other things keeping me from writing reviews…
Gothgul was a pleasant surprise, I am happy to report. While I had some hang ups with certain factors I did enjoy the overall experience. I am not the kind of sexist person that goes around saying females as leads suck, but if you want to get me to care about them, don’t make them into all at once powerful beings and add know it all, as well as condescending personalities to them, or do, but write it better? Edrea was an oke female lead, but some of her antics grated on me. Yes I understand where it came from, from daddy that was over protective and apart from that utterly useless. Instead of being such a reclusive prick, why not just tell your daughter all there is to know regarding her birth and get on with your life? You were a soldier back in the day were you not? I know death of a loved one can change a person, I have gone through it too, but this guy takes the cake on being an idiot…
Now, all rants aside…
The opening scenes for this book had me hoked from the start. Gothghul Hollow is another instalment in the Warhammer Horror section, but as has been said in other WH Horror novels before, what makes this different from all the grimness and horror-worthy otherness of a standard Warhammer novel? This book was pretty atmospheric I will give it that. It started with a potential wherewolf/viscious dog followed up by ghost sightings, possible possession territory and ended with a “fuck me I did not expect that to be the main reveal!”. If you do not know the name drop that happens at the end, then it might not be as impactfull to you as it was for me. It ties into another BL author’s work in some way. I even resorted to ask Anna a question on Goodreads regarding the implications of that character making it to AoS and if she had a book in mind that would explain that reveal. Only to be answered a few moments before I sat down to write this post that the explanation will come in following books in this Gothghul series, reading from the author’s fingertips that this going to be a four book series, if Jenn will be onboard for another series read along, I think it is safe to say that I would consider checking it out too.
One thing that I kept feeling through out this novel was how it made me feel I was reading some watered down version of the game Darkest Dungeon, which I have been playing on the PS4 on and of. Anna certainly got the gothic tone just right and knew how to keep me coming back to reading further. I wanted to unravel the story there with Edrea and co. One thing I did not want to unravel was the semi love interest that also played a small annoyance part of my read, but I guess that is what you get when you lock your daughter away for so many years. The Runar character acted like the only rational guy between his three other protagonists. While daddy was being all secretive and the Uncle who was not really an uncle wanted the blister prodded and the truth in the open, while Edrea was doing her soul/ looking for a lost mother search throughout the Mansion, Runar was the guy I was rooting for. I hope we get to see more of him in the next books as well.
The fact that this novel takes place in the Age of Sigmar setting did not sugggest too much that one had to have in depth knowledge of the setting too much to understand what was going on in this novel. While little hints were dropped here and there, I appreciated the fact that this book did not look at me condescendingly for not knowing too much about it which was nice. All I know is that Edrea could use the magic of the realm they were situated in and the fact that Uncle was an ex Priest of Sigmar that did not reprimand her for that made things a little clearer for me while confusing me at the same time too. I liked that the magic use Edrea did had consequences, she did not have unlimited reserves and had to stop for fear of being very dead, but that did not stop her from pushing the threshold barriers each time she needed to be useful. I liked that I knew Shyish was the realm ascribed to Nagash that I have some knowledge of, but the fact that Edrea also needed to draw of her own blood was a neat inclusion.
I have no idea what else I was going to write down for this novel as it has been quite some time since I finished it. If you want a beter coherent review I suggest you go read what Jenn wrote, she is so much better with words. All I know is this book did not suck even though I had a few personal hang ups with it. They were not hangups enough for me to give it a low score though and I rated it a 4 out of 5 read on GR. I would recommend it to anyone that would be interested in furthering their knowledge on all things set in the Age of Sigmar side of things, but who would also like to read something self contained. I would not say that this book should be on the shelf waiting for Halloween to be read as it is not at ll tht scary. It does however open up an avenue that Jenn has already confirmed is going to be a thing in the not so distant future namely, wait for it, Warhammer Romance novles!
Oh the horror, the true horror….