Genre: Fantasy – Flintlock
Series: Powder Mage #0.1
Publisher: Self Published (January 21, 2014)
Length: 64 pages
My Rating: 3.5 stars
The Powder Mage series is one I’ve been enjoying at a leisurely pace. Having missed this flintlock fantasy initially, my first forays into this world have been the author’s numerous short stories and novellas set before Promise of Blood. Forsworn being the oldest (according to the Powder Mage timeline) prequel out there.
In this tale, Erika ja Leora is a young noblewoman. Born of the union between Adran and Kez parents, she has split her life between the two neighboring kingdoms, but her fate has always been to follow her grandfather as a Duchess in Kez. Other than her mixed parentage, however, Erika seems perfectly normal . . . until the brand decorating her left chest is revealed; the scar marking her as a powder mage. This curse (or gift, according to your viewpoint) a death sentence in Kez, where the royal mage hunters — or the Longdogs, as they are called behind their backs — ruthlessly hunt down and execute all persons with such an innate ability. Only Erika’s nobility and sworn oath to never use a musket or black powder sparing her life. The oath one which Erika publicly honors, though she has been known to take a hit of powder every now and again.
Naturally, events occur which complicate Erika’s life and bring her status as a powder mage back to the forefront of her mind. This time it is a fugitive child whom our forsworn noblewoman finds hiding in the woods and feels pity for; a small act of kindness forcing Erika to make a fateful decision, one which leads her into danger and helps to mold her future!
Brian McClellan is fast becoming one of my favorite fantasy authors. His uncluttered yet descriptive writing style a perfect fit for my reading tastes and his tendency toward fast-paced, action-packed narratives helping to hold my attention no matter the chaos surrounding me. Probably my growing fondness is also due to the Powder Mage world itself, which is a place I’m growing to love more and more; its similarities to real world historical periods so familiar yet the magical flavor of it all so intriguing. And so even short stories such as Forsworn are real reading pleasures, which offer up the perfect blend of straight ahead adventure, tidbits of lore, and character development, that are an amazing introduction (or compliment to) the Powder Mage trilogy.
Honestly, I have nothing bad to say about Forsworn. It was a great novella anyway you look at it: short, entertaining, and filled with enthralling characters. If you are a fan of the series or merely a fantasy lover looking for a delicious short story to devour, I’d highly recommend you pick this one up.