Review: Sacrosanct & Other Stories

Authors: C. L. Werner, Josh Reynolds, Nick Horth, David Annandale, Guy Haley, David Guymer, Gav Thorpe
Series: Warhammer Age of Sigmar
Publisher: Black Library
Released: October 27th, 2020
Received: NetGalley

4 kitties

I received a copy of Sacrosanct & Other Stories in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Sacrosanct & Other Stories is one of the latest Warhammer short story anthology to come out of Black Library. This time the focus is on Age of Sigmar, and the tales are just as dark and mysterious as one might imagine.

This collection is absolutely perfect for anybody new (or curious) about Age of Sigmar, and really is designed to help readers get a feel for the world and general plots. So it makes for an ideal introduction, in my book.

Included in this collection: Sacrosanct by C. L. Werner (the namesake of the anthology, and thus the longest story included), A Dirge of Dust and Steel by Josh Reynolds, Callis & Toll: The Old Ways by Nick Horth, The Dance of the Skulls by David Annandale, Auction of Blood by Josh Reynolds, The Sands of Grief by Guy Haley, The Witch Takes by C.L. Werner, The Prisoner of the Black Sun by Josh Reynolds, Great Red by David Guymer, Wrathspring by Gav Thorpe, and The Volturung Road by Guy Haley. Each story will be reviewed in further detail down below.

Sacrosanct by C. L. Werner

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

As the longest story in this collection, Sacrosanct is obviously the most in-depth story, portraying the Stormcast and all their trials and glory. It’s an action-adventure tale that is perfect for people looking for those classic elements seen more commonly in the grand epics of Warhammer.

“Arnhault knew what it meant, the terrible regularity of those impacts. They were the footfalls of some horrendously immense creature.”

A Dirge of Dust and Steel by Josh Reynolds

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Set in Shyish, the Hallowed Knights are giving everything they have to the battle, while also seeking to reform alliances and better the odds of the war. In short, this is another short story that captures the epic nature of Sigmar. I’m a fan of Josh Reynolds’ writing though, so maybe I’m a bit biased for how much I enjoyed this tale?

“It was not an army. A horde, at best. A movable feast of frenzied indulgence.”

Callis & Toll: The Old Ways by Nick Horth

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Callis and Toll are agents of the Order of the Azyr, and this tale covers one of their (probably) many investigations. It was interesting, though I’ll admit that I struggled to pay attention to it all. Maybe because I didn’t fully picture their lives or careers? I’m not entirely sure.

“It was useless. He could barely see more than a few metres ahead.”

The Dance of the Skulls by David Annandale

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Okay, so I should probably be up front and mention that David Annandale is one of my favorite Warhammer authors (for the moment, I expect I’ll find more favorites as I continue to read). The Dance of the Skulls introduces Neferata, Nagash’s Mortarch of Blood, and the politics and horror that come with her world. It was truly a fascinating read.

“I do not trust the nature of this honour.”

Auction of Blood by Josh Reynolds

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

The story of Neferata continues in Auction of Blood, as one of her servants is tasked with a mission to retrieve a specific item from an auction. A task easier said than done, as this short quickly reveals. It’s dark, fascinating, and twisted. My favorite combination.

“As the evening wore on, he traversed the tangled rookery with no sign of feat, despite the hostile eyes he felt watching him from the darkened doorways and the cracks in boarded-over windows.”

The Sands of Grief by Guy Haley

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Following the tales of Neferata, now it’s time to learn a bit more about Prince Maesa. This is a prince who will go to any length to save his love, including messing with ancient and dangerous artifacts. This was another solid read from this collection, and had a much more somber tone than the rest. It was lovelorn and beautiful, in ways that I didn’t anticipate.

“Throck and Grimmson were comical opposites.”

The Witch Takes by C.L. Werner

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Witch Hunters, the Order of Azyr, Dark Gods, and Sigmar, all in one story! Despite my buildup there, this was an interesting, but mostly okay story. It was worth the read, though it didn’t leave the same impact for me as many of the others did. Perhaps that doesn’t make for a fair comparison.

“In the midst of the panic, an ugly pit yawned.”

The Prisoner of the Black Sun by Josh Reynolds

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

The Realm of Death? Okay, that sounds pretty terrifying, in a world that is already full of horrors that I would be just as happy to never meet. Thank you very much. But seriously, this was another fascinating tale. While it did creep me out at times, I would have happily read much more of it.

“The Three-Eyed King crushed the ranks of my servants.”

Great Red by David Guymer

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Great Red is set in the Sea of Bones, and following the Hallowed Knights once again. They’ve off on another journey once again with the goal of bringing in more allies for their glorious battles. It felt like a bit of the same-old, same-old again, but it did manage to drop a few surprises along the way.

“Wind-whipped totems of feathers, leaves, and bits of bone swirled around his maroon armor, partially obscuring the depictions of stars, storms, and wild beasts in gold.”

Wrathspring by Gav Thorpe

Rating: ★ ★ ★

You just know that whenever the Plague God comes into the mix, things are going to get pretty…messy. So naturally, this was a fairly dark tale, and yet it felt like it was lacking something. Impact, maybe? Which feels a bit odd to say, if I’m being completely honest.

“Lord Diraceth! The ratmen, they come at last. They come for the lamentiri!”

The Volturung Road by Guy Haley

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Prophecies have a way of changing the world, for good or for ill. They can rally, or they can incite great evil. Which will it be, in The Volturung Road? Honestly, this one may legit be my favorite from the entire anthology, which is saying something. It was epic and grand, naturally, but it also brought in so many human elements, giving me all the reason in the world to care about what happened next.

“Hideous, pallid things thrashed as Vulkite Bezerkers buried their aces in rubbery flesh.”

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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