The Eldar factions have never grabbed me. While I find parts of them interesting, I’m left staring blankly at others. Maybe it’s just that I can’t get over space elves for some reason (although why that’s any different for space orcs is beyond me). However, I know that it is a big empty space in my knowledge of Warhammer 40,000. So with that in mind, I’ve picked up Howl of the Banshee by Gav Thorpe. Well no so much picked up as it was included in Crusade and Other Stories and I’m revisiting the whole anthology for individual reviews, but let’s not get bogged down in the details. On with the review?
Howl of the Banshee follows six Eldar, Howling Banshees, as they face a horde of Khorne Daemons. It’s got some intense action as well some introspection regarding one of the Eldar gods who appear to be related to Khorne in some way. For somebody with minimal knowledge of the Eldar, this story did a great job getting me involved and invested in the battles. However, without some of the wider context, that you can’t really get from a story this short, I was left feeling a bit dissatisfied.
That being said, considering how short the story is, Gav Thorpe did a reasonable job to introduce the fallen and corrupted Craftworld of Lanimayesh and Howling Banshees. We are introduced to their leader Clyona and start to understand the meaning of battle to these warriors. It’s nothing amazing, but within the context of their battle against the Blood God seeing them worship a similar deity lends itself a mystery and intrigue to the Elder faction that I didn’t see before.
As a stepping stone to other Eldar stories, Howl of the Banshee officially has me intrigued. The fact that they worship something close to Khorne but are fighting against it makes for an interesting story, and seeing that drawn out across a larger narrative would be compelling. In fact, the whole mythos and history of the Eldar has me incredibly curious. From the bits I’ve seen in other 40k books and those from the Horus Heresy, I’ve always been tickled by the tidbits they’ve given but now I’m going to actively seek out more. I’m also up for learning more about the Craftworlds and other sub-factions of Eldar.
There isn’t much else to say about the Howl of Banshee except that if you aren’t hot on Eldar, then you should still give it a shot. For me, it’s worked to get me interested in a faction I had always dismissed and it could do the same for you.
Thanks for reading. If you want to check out some of my other reviews Warhammer short stories, then The Lightning Tower is great place to start. Alternatively, you could catch up on my read through of The Horus Heresy with a review of Mechanicum. And don’t forget, we’ve stepped into a galaxy far, far away with Gav’s Stars Wars: Aftermath review.