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Ulrika Magdova had been the daughter of a Troll Country boyar until she died two weeks ago. Back then her closest friends and companions had been Max Schreiber (a wizard), Felix Jaeger (poet, fighter, and lover), and two dwarf slayers named Gotrek Gurnisson and Snorri Nosebiter. They had traveled far to rescue Ulrika from the vampire who had abducted her, but they had been too late. The vampire, Adolphus Krieger, had already given Ulrika his poisoned kiss. Denied their goal of rescuing Ulrika, her companions decided it best to put her body to rest. However, the men had (reluctantly) teamed up with another vampire, Countess Gabriella von Nachthafen, in order to rescue Ulrika and destroy Adolphus. Gabriella convinced the men to allow her to take Ulrika under her wing. Gabriella promised to teach Ulrika to do no harm. (These events happened in Vampireslayer (Warhammer Novels).)

As this story opens, Ulrika is still struggling to control her thirst for blood. Gabriella is a firm, but fair, mistress. If Gabriella had the choice, she would have kept her new protégéé at Nachthafen castle until Ulrika had adapted to her life in darkness. But the vampire queen commands Gabriella to go to Nuln and assist her dark sisters. (They are called the Lahmian sisterhood.)

Something is preying on the vampires in the city of Nuln and threatening to expose their existence to the nation. A witchhunt has begun and the people are becoming more and more violent. When Gabriella and Ulrika first arrive they learn that the two highest ranking vampires are dead. Lady Hermione von Auerbach is now the senior Lahmian in Nuln. Problem is that Gabriella and Hermione have a history, so Gabriella cannot expect complete and/or cordial cooperation from her vampire sisters. As events escalate, Hermione's paranoia (of looking bad to the queen) gets worse. So while Ulrika and her mentor, Gabriella, are trying to find the killer, Hermione's actions keep hampering them.

While out spying for her mistress, Ulrika runs into an Imperial Witch Hunter. Templar Friedrich Holmann soon believes Ulrika to be a fellow vampire hunter. (Seeking revenge for her sister.) As long as Friedrich does not learn the truth all will be well.

**** FOUR STARS! For those who may not have read the Gotrek & Felix series, the first paragraph of my synopsis tells how Ulrika ultimately became a vampire. (The events happened in Vampireslayer (Warhammer Novels)by William King. The Gotrek & Felix series is still ongoing. Nathan Long has taken over as the author for the series.)

Though William King wrote the Gotrek & Felix stories in which Ulrika appeared, as well as the tale of her rebirth as a vampire, I feel that Nathan Long has managed to capture her warrior's spirit. Long has his own, unique, writing style and he utilizes his talent to bring Ulrika's story to vivid (un)life. Before Ulrika's transformation, the character was portrayed as a brave and honorable fighter. Nathan Long clearly shows the inner struggle the character must now deal with. Ulrika has to overcome a lifetime's worth of weaponry training and fighting in order to survive as a vampire, which demands that she retreat often and use human pawns to do much of her work for her. In short, Ulrika must become the exact opposite of what she once was. The author clearly depicts the vampire fledgling's turmoil in such a way that I bounced between feeling sorry for her and pride in her accomplishments, no matter how minor those triumphs may have been.

Warhammer stories by Nathan Long are so brilliantly done, they seem to actually leap off the pages. This is one trilogy that should not be missed! ****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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on 31 August 2010
In the Gotrek & Felix series, Ulrika Magdova was Felix's former love interest. She was a Kislevite noble, daughter to Ivan Straghov, the March Warden of the Border, fighting against the Chaos hordes in the north. Before Ulrika was turned into a vampire, she traveled with Gotrek, Felix, and Max Schreiber during an expedition to Karag Dum. After this she was kidnapped by Krieger in Sylvania, who gave her the "blood kiss." In Manslayer, she wanted to get back together with Felix, but their differences were too great.

Bloodborn takes place between her last appearance in Vampireslayer, and her return in Manslayer. Ulrika has only been a vampire for a couple of weeks, and is having a terrible time controlling her urge to feed. The story begins with her running naked in a forest, about to feed on a victim, when her mistress Countess Gabriella and her blood-swain, Rodrik, stop her. The Countess takes Ulrika back to her castle, and continues her attempts to teach Ulrika to not only controls her hunger, but to control how much blood she takes, when she is allowed to feed.

Before the Countess is able to fully train Ulrika in the Lahmian ways, the vampire queen instructs Gabriella to go help her sisters in Nuln. There were originally six sisters, but two of them were ripped apart by an unknown assailant. The corpses were left in public areas, with their claws and fangs extended, causing a panic among the human population, and attracting the wrath of the witch hunters.
Once Gabriella and Ulrika arrive in Nuln, it is obvious that internal politics between the sisters is going to impede the investigation into the deaths. Ulrika is ordered to do some spying, when it is clear that Gabriella's sisters are too paranoid to trust one another; they suspect each other of the murders. While searching for clues, Ulrika comes face to face with a witch hunter named Templar Friedrich Holmann, who does not realize that she is a vampire. They eventually agree to hunt together, which furthers complicates Ulrika's situation with her mistress and the other vampire sisters.

I think Nathan Long did a great job of writing a strong, female character as a tragic heroine. With all the clawing, sword-fighting, and ghoul attacks, these vampires were far from the fops that are usually found in vampire tales. As a matter of fact, this particular novel was more horror than fantasy. There were just enough flashbacks to tie this book into the Gotrek & Felix series, without it being necessary to have actually read the other Warhammer books. Even though this is just the first in an Ulrika series (the next one will be Bloodforged), I still thought the ending was a bit too abrupt; there was an element of this story, a mysterious voice, which was never revealed. Everything else was wrapped up into Ulrika's training with the Countess.

I love the Gotrek & Felix series, and the Thanquol & Boneripper series that branched off, but if you don't have time to catch up or backtrack the Warhammer timeline (for ex: Gotrek & Felix: The First Omnibus (Warhammer), you can learn more about the characters in Ulrika's world in the collection, Death & Dishonour, which includes vampires, witch hunters, and more.
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VINE VOICEon 29 June 2012
A spinoff from the 'Gotrek and Felix' series, the 'Ulrika the Vampire' books follow the former Kislevite noble Ulrika Magdova as she learns to live as a vampire. Set a couple of weeks after the events of 'Vampire Slayer', Ulrika is living with Countess Gabriella who is instructing her in how to live as a vampire in society. Her training is cut unfortunately short however when the Countess receives orders from the Vampire Queen Neferata to travel to the industrial city of Nuln in order to discover who is exposing and murdering the city's population of Lahmian vampires. Travelling with her mistress Ulrika must battle her own nature and deal with the politics of the vampires in order to track down the killer.

'Bloodborn' is a very entertaining book and one that I would have loved to give a full five stars to but there are some things that loose the book some marks. The main problem I have with the book is that the plot is far too obvious, I was able to guess most of the twists quite easily and the ultimate ending is somewhat obvious. As well as this there are some minor mistakes here and there such as one point where Gabriella is accidently referred to as Hermione.

Despite these problems the book is still fun to read and is quite compulsive in places. Other than the mistakes I have already mentioned, the book is generally well written and has some nice action as well as some reasonable attempts at humour. The characters may be somewhat basic in places but Ulrika herself and the Countess Gabriella are both well written (Ulrika's struggle coming to terms with the things she must do as a vampire is particularly well done in my opinion).

Overall 'Bloodborn' was a good book that could have been better but is still worth a good four stars and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, 'Bloodforged'.
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on 12 June 2011
At first I was wary about trying a Vampire Counts novel, mainly because vampires are cool but they are being done to death in recent times, and Twilight isn't exactly making them look good. But I was very gladly proven wrong as Ulrika's first adventure as a vampire has already become one of my favourite Warhammer Fantasy series. Nathan Long has created a hell of a series here, please let it go beyond a trilogy, in terms of coolness Ulrika owns both Gotrek and Felix.

Newly-undead vampire Ulrika Magdova Straghov is struggling with her new powers and gnawing hunger for blood. Before she can master her powers she and her mentor, the Countess Gabriella von Nachthafen, are called to Nuln on a matter of the highest urgency. The Lahmians of Nuln are dying, torn apart by a beast and left exposed to the world. With Nuln turning into a powderkeg of fanaticism, just waiting to explode, the Lahmian's at each other's throats and a monstrous killer stalking them at every turn, Ulrika must learn what it is to be a vampire, master her powers and discover the killer before the entire sisterhood is wiped out.

This novel has already become a favourite of mine. I have not read Gotrek and Felix but it explained the backstory very quickly and wasted no time beginning Ulrika's own story which easily matches up to the series that it came from. I particularly enjoyed the detective element as Ulrika hunted down the killer, and that she stood out amongst the Lahmians as the only one who enjoyed a good fight.

The characters here are very well written. Ulrika and Gabriella form a good pair that with level-headedness, willingness to fight and Gabriella's practicality make them a hard duo to fight against. Ulrika's turmoil over her vampire status is shown through her disgust at the way of life for a Lahmian and how they treat their victims, the latter of which truly offends her. Other characters include Templar Friedrich Holmann, who I enjoyed and agreed with Ulrika's assessment of near the end of the novel, Countess Hermione and her protege Famke who oppose Gabriella and Ulrika at nearly every turn, and the mysterious killer that hunts the Lahmians, the true identity of which I did not suspect and was quite surprised by.

The action of the series is riveting, we get to see the strengths and weaknesses of a vampire in battle. Super-strength, speed and alertness make Ulrika's fights a joy to read, and silver and sunlight make them engaging as these weaknesses are truly weaknesses. Too often a protagonist can shrug off weaknesses that cripple others, Ulrika is a much more down to earth fighter and sunlight and silver can truly hurt her. I particularly enjoyed the fight with the murderer, it was a good length and really showed the killer's abilities well.

The pacing was very good, the mystery proceeded at a good pace and kept me interested the whole way through, I was always desiring to read the next chapter and see what would happen, only putting it down through force of will.

The ending was great and saddening. Ulrika has taken her first steps towards becoming a vampire, and they are harsh ones to make, but she may make it one day. And though the immediate mystery was solved an even greater one was posed, one that to find out you'll need to pick up the sequel Bloodforged.

I give Bloodborn a 5 star score for an engaging story that left me wanting not only the sequel, but the third in the series as well, alas I must wait for that but not Bloodforged thankfully. Very glad I waited to pick this up, I don't think I could have waited the year for the sequel.

Should you buy this book? If your a fantasy fan then yes, if your curious about fantasy then yes again. This book will please long-time fantasy fans and ensnare newcomers with a great adventure.
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One of the best things about the Warhammer universe is that there's something for everyone within. If you want combat driven novels you've got them. You want historical fiction you can delve into the Time of Legends series. However one thing that's a bit unusual within the fantasy genre is the mystery novel. Whilst a bit more common over more recent years within this offering by Nathan Long is a crime against the vampires that everyone second favourite vamp (the first being Genevive) Ulrika is brought into to solve. Who's Ulrika? She's the Boyar's daughter from the Felix and Gotrek tales.

It is a cracking tale however to be honest I had a hard time getting into it from its initial opening (hence the lower than usual rating.) Partly this is due to my own personal feelings that the author didn't have a good enough grip of her originally and partly because the connection between reader and character was also missing. Yet get past this and it really opens up. Other than this its interesting, the mystery is gripping and its not an obvious conclusion as you'd perhaps expect from a great many other offerings out there. A definite change of pace for Nathan and I hope he continues to build upon the opening here.
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on 24 August 2010
Great first book to the Ulrika series!

It has good pace, action, blood and guts and some ARE THEY GOING TO MAKE IT!?!?!

Makes for a great read and great set up for the second book which i cant wait for!
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on 19 March 2013
I rate the Ulrika series highly following on from the Gotrek and Felix novels.
Bloodborn is novel 1
Bloodforged novel 2
Bloodsworn novel 3.

Although the series does get better with every book, Bloodborn is not a bad start.
It is interesting watching Ulrika Ulrika's trials and tribulations.

Definitely a good series, please release more!
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VINE VOICEon 15 June 2010
The first in another Gotrek & Felix spin-off series, "Bloodborn" had a lot riding on it. Thankfully, it was great.

The novel has the feel of some of the first Warhammer novels published; specifically, the "Genevieve the Vampire: series by Jack Yeovil. It leans a little more towards horror than fantasy, and has a darker, bloodier feel to it.

I'm not sure if I'm reading too much into the story, but Ulrika and her mistress, Gabriella have a relationship not unlike that between Louis and Lestat, in Anne Rice's classic "Vampire Chronicles". There also appears to be some well-done homage to them in the Vampire lore here, as well as the Lahmians' general strategy reminiscent of White Wolf's "Vampire the Masquerade". Hoffman and Ulrika enjoy something of a doomed Romeo & Juliet acquaintance, which leads to a touching and tragic ending.

The Lahmian vampires are clearly so wrapped up in their own schemes that they see treachery and plotting behind every action. For Ulrika, it is a sharp and difficult education, so used to the blunt northern ways of her people: Navigating the shifting loyalties and allegiances of her new vampire sorority can be treacherous and confusing, and informs a considerable amount of "Bloodborn". Lady Hermione, for example, is utterly crazy, frequently acting like a spoiled child having a tantrum. I managed to figure out what was going on pretty quickly, but it didn't ruin the story at all, and I enjoyed it right up until the last page.

As with "Shamanslayer", Nathan Long has greatly improved his writing and plotting: his writing is much better and more assured, and the plot is more a thriller/mystery than an out-and-out adventure. Not only that, the author has managed to write something that has an original voice, distinct from the series that gave us Ulrika in the first place, while at the same time retaining the feel and atmosphere of the Warhammer world setting.

The novel's pace isn't always as fast as one might hope, but when you get sucked into the story, you'll fly through the novel. The ending was surprising, but also satisfying as Long avoided cliché, which would just have diminished the very nature and credibility of his characters. With vampire novels like this available, it is beyond me why people might read Stephanie Meyer's "Twilight" series. A very satisfying read, "Bloodborn" is well worth seeking out.
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on 17 June 2010
Another great book by Nathan Long. Started reading yesterday and finished it today - couldn't put it down, although this time around there were a few times when i was thinking "get on with it", e.g. a very detailed race against time wall climbing scene, but other than that it was a thrill to read this book and i can easily recommend it to any one who loves fantasy or vampire stories - and of course if you like the Gotrek & Felix series. On a more personal level the main character, Ulrika, irritated me in some of her choices and actions/non-actions, especially in the end. Come to think of it, without spoiling anything, one of the reasons could be that i, as a male reader, found it hard to identify myself with a female vampire character i previously imagined through the eyes of the hero Felix in the Gotrek & Felix series, and therefore identified myself more with one other particular male human sidekick character in Bloodborn whom also was a very intriguing character. but overall it was, as always, a stimulating experince to read this book and it's definitely worth being in your fantasy collection! Can't wait for the next book Bloodforged and of course the upcoming Zombieslayer! Cheers;)
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on 11 June 2010
I've never read any of Nathan's long previous work but i like warhammer and i like vampires so i thought why not. I'm glad i picked this up, the story is immersive and rich and i liked all the characters and their interaction with each other. It follows the birth of a new vampire who was turned against her will and then taken in by an older and wiser vampire once her tormentor is killed. I won't say anything else but its a good read, i got it on monday and finished it friday because i couldn't put it down.

The book also seemed to lay some ground work for a possible triolgy but also provide a complete and satisfying story. Can't wait for more adventure's from Ulrika and her mistress.
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