The Girl of Hrusch Avenue: A Powder Mage Short Story – Review
The Girl of Hrusch Avenue is a $.99 eBook short story that gives readers a glimpse into the past of the Powder Mage world. Our titular character is Vlora, who readers of Promise of Blood will remember as a pivotal, yet minor, character that had a deep relationship with both Taniel Two-Shot and Field Marshal Tamas. Vlora was a character that received little page time in Promise yet had enough promise and mystery to spark readers’ imagination and wonder just who this person was.
This short story tells of a time long before all of that. A time when Vlora was a young orphan living in an abusive home for girls, spending the majority of her time hiding from Amory, the mistress of the home. Instead she spent her time on the rooftops of Hrusch Avenue, relishing the smell of burning gunpowder from the gunsmith below and longing to feel the recoil of a stock against her shoulder as she fired a gun.
But it’s not all wistful longing and dreams for young Vlora. Thugs lurk the streets ofAdopest as in any other major city and Vlora has to spend time hiding lest she run afoul of them. On one side there is the Bulldog Twins, street children that have claimed Hrusch Avenue as their territory and attack any child younger or weaker than they. On the other is Baron Fendamere, a man renown for his cruelty even amongst the nobility, with stories told of his abuse and murder of women and children whilst on campaign.
But this is also the story of how Vlora met Taniel and his best friend Bo, and by extension Taniel’s father, Field Marshal Tamas. The beginning of a relationship that would last a lifetime and change the life of a young orphaned girl forever.
McClellan works hard to give us a small glimpse into a character’s life that was only hinted at in Promise of Blood. The writing is crisp and descriptive enough to evoke the necessary imagery of this Napoleonic era while still being streamlined enough to justify the short-story format.
Girl of Hrusch Avenue is a perfect, and honestly cheap, way to get a taste for the Powder Mage world. If Promise of Blood was on your maybe list, spend the $.99 and get immersed in a world that is both captivating and intriguing and a marked departure from the swords and prophecy tropes much of fantasy is rife with.
Brian has already said this is merely the beginning in a series of shorts meant to explore the world and his character’s backstories. My only complaint is that I wish these were not only longer but I had more to read right now.
The world of the Powder Mages has me absolutely enamored and I can’t wait to see what Brian has in store for us next.
“Vlora is an orphan living at a boarding school as a ward of the state. Even at her young age, she already has enemies: the Bulldog Twins, Baron Fendamere, and her own headmistress. When a strange man offers to buy her, Vlora runs away and takes to the roofs above the gunsmithies of Hrusch Avenue. Here she meets a boy named Taniel and begins a friendship that will change her life forever.”