Wednesday, August 3, 2016

REVIEW: Only The Faithful

What started in Prisoner of the Black Sun has finally come to an end in Only The Faithful, the final chapter of the Knights of Vengeance series. Does Ramus finally capture Mannfred, or will the maniacal vampire give him the slip yet again?

The finale to the series opens by throwing us right into the mix. In Great Red we left off with Mannfred revealing that he had tricked Ramus all along, luring him towards the realmgate he now held. In Only The Faithful the Hallowed Knights, Astral Templars, and Ironjawz under the Great Red's command are already battling their way through the hordes of skeleton warriors guarding Mannfred's fortress.

There are some great moments here of interaction between the orruks and the Stormcast. Ramus is wholly uncomfortable with them while Vandalus of the Astral Templars is much better at treating them as equals. He also knows how to talk to the Megaboss without insulting him. The action during these scenes is great, and a particular standout is the bone gargant they encounter. This thing sounds a whole lot bigger then the bone giants we used to be familiar with. The fight between Ramus and the creature is a fun and exciting.

Things really start to pick up once they discover that Mannfred is tricking them once again, and what they thought was the fortress was really just a glimpse through a portal that the vampire opened. Using the artifact the Fang of Kaynon that he had acquired earlier Mannfred is somehow able to manipulate the energies of the realmgate into opening many different portals. Vandalus at one point accidentally flies straight through a portal that opens before him, depositing him far ahead of the rest of the battle line. Here he runs into an Abhorrent Ghoul King and Varghulf which makes for a pretty exciting fight. The Ghoul King gets offended when Vandalus can't understand what he's saying because of course to himself he makes perfect sense.

A little before this we got a more in depth look at the Flesh-Eater Courts as they conversed with Mannfred back at his fortress. The Ghouls think they are a noble household and view themselves as such when in fact they are a degenerate group of slavering monsters. For Mannfred to be able to communicate with them he has to let his own mind slip into their delusion. It's all really interesting and out first look at the Flesh-Eater Courts in the novels so far. A particularly funny bit is an orruk zombie that the Ghouls see as being a noble knight.

Ramus and the rest of the Stormcast eventually have to travel through the portals to get to Mannfred and it's a truly trippy experience. This all culminates in the final confrontation between the vampire and the Stormcast where there are several surprise appearances, and a twist that may have dire consequences for the future. While the ending does wrap up this storyline, it also leaves it open for possibly more exploration in the future.

All of the voice acting in this was just as good as we have come to expect from the audio dramas, and this time all of the actors were easy to understand, unlike the ogor in some of the past ones. The music was very fitting, and if you haven't listened to any of the audio dramas I highly recommend it. It's not just someone reading the story, it's more just like if you were watching a movie, but just listening to it. There's sound effects and everything. If you are absolutely opposed to listening to the audio dramas then I have good news for you. The entire audio series by Josh Reynolds and David Guymer is now printed in the Realmgate Wars book nine, Mortarch of Night. So if you would just prefer to read it now you can. Whether you listen to it or read it I definitely highly recommend that you don't miss out on this story arc. Besides just being a great story, it has some pretty important moments for the Realmgate Wars series. Only the Faithful is a very fitting end to the Knight of Vengeance series, and a great sendoff to the Bullhearts warrior chamber, at least for now. The whole thing is essentially one giant battle scene, but David Guymer managed to give it a bunch of unique spins through his use of the portals, the bone gargants, his excellent portrayal of the ghouls, and an ending I honestly wasn't expecting.

Final Score - 4.5/5

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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