Review: Auction of Blood and Dance of Skulls

I’ve taken a break from painting over the past week, but I have made some notes on two short stories related to Death in Age of Sigmar. Being quick reads, it was easy to fit them in around general busyness.

The first review will be of Auction of Blood by Josh Reynolds, while the second takes a look at David Annandale’s The Dance of  The Skulls. They each cost about £2.00 as standalone e-book purchases.

Auction of Blood

Obviously connected in some way to The Spear of Shadows (also on my reading list*), the events of this book play out in the city of Greywater Fastness. The main protoganist is Palem Bok, a peddler of rare books and devoted servant of Neferata, who is tasked with a quest of some importance.

Being a short story, there isn’t much time for character development, but Bok does his part as a skilled, and interesting minion. There is a bit of clunkiness, though, with the obviousness of things like the secret code phrases used to identify one of Neferata’s people.

What I found particularly powerful in this short piece, however, is the pace and sense of life within the city it depicts. Interesting notes include a banned symphony, mechanical horse transports (a ‘rattletrap’ driven by a retired Freeguilder), the illicit den, the nature of the canal, and a banal industrial ‘greyness’, even as it is situated in the Realm of Life.

*  I’ve heard lots of good things about this book!

The Dance of The Skulls

Billed as a prequel of sorts to the forthcoming Neferata: Mortach of Blood, this story is a classic ballroom intrigue featuring the Queen of Mysteries. Attending the court of Mortannis ruled by Queen Ahalaset who appears to be in league with Lord Nagen (both vampires), Neferata is suitably suspicious of her counterparts’ intentions. Employing her abilities, she skillfully deals with this deadly political situation.

While feeling  heavy-handed at times with respect to some of the scenes featuring skulls, blood, and Neferata’s machinations, the short story is interesting and has quite a bit of action. For those looking out for more information on mortals in the Realm of Shyish, we do see them take up some roles – though with little in the way of lines – as nobles, and as blood stock. In further texts, it’d also be great to get more development of the interesting bits of political conflict among the shifting borders of Shyish’s lands.

 

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