CBR #118 – Loses Some Bang By The End

The Powder Mage Short Stories: Forsworn, Servant of the Crown, Murder at the Kinnen Hotel, Hope’s End, The Face in the Window, and Return to Honor by Brian McClellan

So, guess there were SIX short stories in the Powder Mage series, not just the one.  Whoops!  A quick library download later and they were mine.  They each focus more or less on one major character, giving us a nice little glimpse into their histories.  They kind of fade off as they get shorter, and closer to the actual tales.  I’ve already reviewed The Girl of Hrusch Avenue, so these will mostly focus on the other five stories.

Forsworn tells the tale of Erika, Taniel’s mother and Tamas’s wife as a child in Kez.  It’s easily my favorite of the set, in that Erika’s a badass, it’s a very violent story, and it gives us a glimpse of Duke Nikslaus.  The story itself flows like the Powder Mage series itself, really strong.

Servant of the Crown is the closest this series would come to a rom-com.  It tells of Tamas, the emergence of the powder mages, and his burgeoning relationship with Erika.  Another solid story, with excellent battle sequences and the usual sarcastic humor the rest of the series rocks at.

Murder at the Kinnen Hotel gets into Adamat as a police inspector and Ricard starting the union.  It’s not quite a murder mystery, but it does get into their relationship and Adamat’s adeptness as a detective.  This is still a terrific story, but things start to decline right about here.

Hope’s End I really didn’t care for.  Military assholishness is kind of a staple of the series, particularly when we get into the latter part of the series.  Scheming and double-crossing and selling off goods.  So this one kind of hammers the nobility and class struggle versus Tamas’ strategy.  It’s not terrible, but it’s just kind of about characters I don’t really care much for.

The Face in the Window mine as well have been called We Need to Write the Story About Taniel Meeting Ka-Poel.  Even though it’s about Taniel’s battle experiences, it kind of leaves out the brief description we get in the novels.  It’s almost like a prequel that just cuts out midway through.

Return to Honor takes place between books one and two of the Powder Mage series.  After Vlora’s betrayal, this one kind of explains how she gets her mojo back.  Mostly, it sets up Olem and Vlora getting their fuck on.  Doesn’t really feel necessary.

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