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OK, I hate to say this but as a huge fan of Felix and Gotrek I feel more than a little cheated with this outing. Why? Well the characters have changed drastically; Gotrek isn't up to his usual dourness and with Felix feeling a little more wishy-washy than he has done before all round left me feeling more than a little chilled.

Throw into this a story where the pace seemed to just drag a lot of the time alongside supporting cast members who felt more than a little flat and all round it wasn't a story worthy of the duo. Back that up with no real camaraderie within the dialogue and all round it's a book perhaps best left for now whilst you reread and enjoy previous outings.
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on 29 October 2014
I've been putting off reading this book after the mess of the previous Gotrek and Felix book, Road of Skulls. But being a fan of the intrepid duo, I started City of the Damned. What started off as a promising tale set in an atmospheric moorland with villagers being terrorised by a evil beast soon turned into another turgid, boring and dull story. I gave up half way through. I cannot express my disappointment with how this amazing series has turned out. The William King and Nathan Long novels were brilliant. I've come to the decision that I will leave the journey here. New books chronicling the doom of Gotrek are coming out, which sound promising, but, if this is anything to go by, I think true fans like me will be left feeling let down. Sorry Black Library - it was nice knowing you.
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on 22 October 2013
Sorry to say, but even Gotrek's dry wit and sarcasm couldn't rescue this one. Overwritten, over complicated but with lumbering plot twists that could be seen a mile away, it's best avoided unless you absolutely have to read everything about our doughty pair. Mr Guymer has an unfortunate penchant for very long words, used inappropriately. Mr Editor, where were you?
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on 11 November 2013
I read pretty much all of the Slayer novels and this is a travesty. The Road of Skulls was, apart from a lack of previous knowledge of the pairs travels, pretty good in comparison to this. The descriptive text is overly long and distracts from the situation, the plot is weak and the setting of Mordheim is wasted. Save yourself the trouble and avoid future such drivel until William King or Nathan Long returns.
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on 5 November 2013
Yet another awful instalment in the Gotrek and Felix story.

Having read every book to date, I feel the quality is sadly getting worse. I just could not get into this book despite repeated attempts.

All I can hope is that William King, Gav Thorpe or Nick Kyme decide to write a decent Gotrek and Felix book.
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on 26 September 2013
This book follows on the classic stlye of the Gotrek and Fleix novels, but somehow fails to capture the engrossing and intimate style of the original novels. Gotrek comes across as bland and lacks much of his gruff and harsh manner and felix fails to display any of his wit, charm or surprising heroism. The plot involves them being dragged into yet another warhammer backstory rather than inventing anything new and there are no new insights about the two protagonists. The two heroes of course cant die (until the profits fade) and frankly the supporting cast fail to create any remorse when they inevitably get killed off one by one. Given the monsters Gotrek has faced over the years this one feels lacklustre and predictable leaving one with a vaguely unsatisfy sense that this series is never going to end.
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on 16 November 2013
I have read all of the Gotrex and Felix novels. This one is the worst by far.

Without Spoilers
The characters may have had the names Gotrex and Felix, but they are not the same characters we have come to expect.

Secondly, as these new novels are just set in the Warhammer universe and not in a chronological order, it seems to lack any depth to where this story belongs or where in the long journey of the characters this novel seems to sit.

Overall, its a poor book. I hope the next book is better.
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on 11 October 2013
I feel I must make a confession, dear reader. Despite many years of reading Warhammer fiction I've never read a Gotrek & Felix story before. The closest I've come has been to listen to David Guymer's own audio drama, Curse of the Everliving, which I thoroughly enjoyed. As City of the Damned sits outside the continuity of the main series, it seemed as good a point as any to dive in.

During their travels, Dwarf Slayer, Gotrek Gurnison and his human companion, Felix Jaeger, arrive in a village that's been terrorised by a 'beast'. Seeking his doom, as Slayers are wont to do, Gotrek decides to track the beast to its lair in the ruins of a city. It turns out he's not the only one with that idea...

The first thing I'll say is that David's descriptive language is a joy to read. There's a richness there that fleshes out all his locations and characters distinctly, and the similes are varied and very colourful. The settings capture the medieval flavour of the Warhammer Fantasy world beautifully and he's filled them with a plethora of interesting sights, sounds, smells and people. The highlight of this is his creation of the titular city itself, which oozes atmosphere through every ruined building and dark shadow. You get the feeling that there's some unknown danger around every turn and it makes for very compelling reading.

A wonderful setting is, of course, no good without some intriguing characters to populate it, and there's a fairly large and varied cast, all with their own reasons for being in the city. Gotrek and Felix find themselves in league with a group of half-mad flagellants, a band of mercenaries, and Rudi, the last survivor of a village attacked by the beast. Along with Felix, Rudi is a primary point-of-view character and feels suitably fleshed out. Other than them, only the leaders of the flagellants and mercenaries, Nikolaus Straum and Caul Schlanger, get explored in any real depth which is a little bit of a shame, especially as some of the mercenaries seem to have interesting stories to tell.

Arrayed against them are the many and varied denizens of the city, the Damned, and worse. Like the city itself, they're full of visual character, and David captures the idea of a gribbly swarm of nastiness beautifully.

As for our heroes, Felix is very much the focal point. We see the world mainly through his eyes and he definitely feels like a character resigned to getting caught up in perilous situations - only to be expected as the companion of a slayer. Of course this rational human viewpoint is a necessity alongside the fairly single-minded Gotrek, who feels a little too much like a functional character. I imagine he's quite a challenge to write as not only is he seemingly capable of defeating any foe, he's also girded in impenetrable plot armour. He is, though, the main source of comic relief and his banter with Felix frequently lifts the tone of the story.

The narrative for me was a bit of a mixed bag, though there's a lot to admire. The tension and atmosphere as we follow our protagonists through the city is excellent - as good as any I've read in a Warhammer novel. The city scenes are nicely paced and keep the pages turning quickly. The plot, too, takes what seems to be a fairly straightforward premise and layers it up with several subplots - some of which are very intriguing and elevate the complexity of the plot dramatically.

On the downside, this narrative complexity does add to the challenge of following what's going on, especially in the beast's point-of-view passages. This is something a reread might help with though as it's dealt with in an eventual reveal. There are also a lot of perspective shifts from character to character where it isn't immediately clear who's been jumped to which did jar a little..

I also had a couple of issues with the overall pacing of the story. The lead-up to them entering the city felt a little laboured, seeming to take a long time to set up the world and the motivations of the characters. The final act, however, almost felt a bit too rushed. Once everything becomes clear the various narrative threads appear to be tied up in very short order. The tension and drama of the fantastic middle act more than makes up for these though.

Gotrek & Felix: City of the Damned is a very enjoyable read. It's full of Warhammer flavour, in both big themes and small details, yet it doesn't feel forced, which suggests an author who's very comfortable with the setting. I can't compare it to any previous Gotrek & Felix novels so I don't know how well David's interpretation of the characters will sit with long-standing fans of the series, though as a standalone novel it's well worth a read.

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