Nathan Long's Ulrika the Vampire series- Bloodborn, which I reviewed back in 2010, exceeded expectations sufficiently to ensure that picking up further volumes was a no-brainer for me. Volumes 2- Bloodforged, and 3- Bloodsworn, were duly added to my Warhammer Fantasy fiction bookshelf last year. I didn't know what to expect from these books but my hopes were pretty high after the first volume. Would Nathan Long be able to sustain my interest and excitement as he further developed the tale of the tragic destiny of one of my favourite characters in my favourite fantasy world?
This is potent stuff. I mean to say: an already competent warrior now capable of preternatural feats of strength, agility and endurance thanks to her undead sinews, Ulrika is now also a truly fearsome monster: a bloodsucking shapechanger who can literally shred her foes in a berserk fury of claws and fangs, and who feasts on the blood of her foes to feed, heal and regenerate. Not the beauty who so tormented poor Felix’s inarticulate heart then. And not the easiest of protagonists to humanise if you’re actually going to do justice to her true bestiality.
Tragic danse macabre
The relentless action and numerous plot-twists of these dynamic stories means that Ulrika is most often justifying her actions, both before and after the event- this decision/action/consequence loop is a strong antidote to cheap angst; and the Warhammer Old World grounds and populates the story in a rich and diverse setting rich for intrigue and desperate adventure.
Richness of setting