And so begins my first ever review:
Hope’s End is a short story from Brian McClellan that takes place shortly before the opening of his novel Promise of Blood. It’s a nice introduction into the flintlock fantasy world of the Powder Mage Trilogy.
You can see a sample of the first scene on his Facebook page here. Just that first little bit does a good job laying out the conflict, introducing the protagonists, and setting the general mood. I suggest checking it out, it will give you a solid feel for the rest of the story.
Basic premise: Captain Verundish is given an ultimatum from her husband: kill yourself or your daughter is sold into slavery. At the same time, she finds out that the man she loves is tasked with heading up a suicide charge against a fortress – something known in the Adran Army as a Hope’s End.
What I really appreciated about this piece is that you don’t have to have read Promise of Blood to understand what’s going on. He does a solid job of introducing enough of the setting and magic to make sense, without overloading you with useless garbage; a hard line to toe in a second world fantasy short story. As an immersion type reader, I would have liked to have felt a little more connection with the setting, and maybe even some more character building, but that’s hard to do in a couple dozen pages, so I’ll cut him some slack with that.
All in all, Hope’s End is a fun little read for when you’ve got a few extra minutes to kill and you want something with some action, some emotion, some things getting blown up, and some flintlocks.
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