Review: The Powder Mage Novella Collection by Brian McClellan

Enter a new world or return to see old friends in four Powder Mage Universe novellas featuring Erika, Tamas, Adamat, Taniel, Ka-poel, and Ben Styke.

I will give you my opinion on each of the 4 short stories

foresworn

The first story plays about 30-40 years before the powder mage trilogy and introduces us to young Erika, heiress to a duchy in Kez and powder mage.

In Kez, powder mages are hunted down and killed and only her position in a prestigious house keeps her safe. She had to swear an oath in front of the King to never use her powers though.

She questions her decision when she crosses path with a young girl – a powder mage as well – sentenced to death and on the run from her captors. Erika makes up her mind to bring the girl to safety, which means smuggling her to Adro, where she would not be killed for what she is.

What follows is an action-packed and suspenseful story of Erika getting away from those who are trying to prevent her and the girl from reaching their destination. On the way, Erika shows bravery and determination and learns more and more about the powers that her magic will grant her.

We also get introduced to another kind of magic, that is used by the so called ‘Privileged’, Elemental mages who can pull/call sorcery into the world.

Although we don’t get any in-depth information, the story gives a good impression on the world, the magic and the class system. I liked it a lot!

 

servant

Takes place in Adro straight after ‘Forsworn’ and features captain Tamas, a powder mage and successful & ambitious officer in the Adran army. He’s such a likeable character! So are a lot of them actually. There’s something about the writing that really makes me invested in the characters. Tamas is a commoner in a world where your blood means everything and the nobility rules. He’s getting in a lot of trouble after he challenges a noble and to get out of it, he teams up with Erika whom he is also teaching the  use of her magic.

This second short story dives a little deeper into how ‘powder magic’ works and also introduces us to who wields power, who distrusts whom, who is scheming against whom… It’s great! Lots of action as well and even a little bit of romance.

 

murder

The third story is somewhat different, as it is a classic detective story. A murder has been committed and the case needs to be solved. Enter Special Detective Constable Adamat, young, motivated and new in his area. Also new to the politics in Adopest and just there to do his job as good as he can. His memory is great and he has the ability to connect and see evidence where it’s not obvious.

He soon finds himself in the middle of a big conspiracy and has important and powerful people working against him.

While his career and even his life are threatened, Adamat remains stubborn and does everything to prove he is right. Fast-paced story that was a lot of fun to read!

ghosts

Bloody amazing.

This was without a doubt one of the best stories I’ve ever read! I don’t even know where to start, everything was SO GOOD!

This time, the main character is Taniel Two-Shots, son of Tamas and powder mage himself. He’s fighting as part of the Tristan Ghost Irregulars in the Fatrastan Revolution against the Kez army. I loved the characters again, their interactions, the fighting, the tension, the feelings and especially my hero, Ben Styke, a giant freaking knight wearing magical armour, who doesn’t give a shit about authority and can kill people by literally BREAKING THEM IN HALF! He’s like the Brock Lesnar of the Powder Mage universe.

brocklesnar
Brock doing Brock things

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