Book Review: Forsworn (Powder Mage #0.1) by Brian McClellan

Forsworn (Powder Mage #0.1) by Brian McClellan

Publisher: Brian McClellan (self-published)

Publication Date: 2014 (first published January 21, 2014)

Edition: Hardcover, 77 pages

Genre: Flintlock Fantasy, Novella

Rating: 4/5

This novella really gave me itch to get back in and finish the trilogy!


Erika ja Leora is a powder mage in northern Kez, a place where that particular sorcery is punishable by death. She is only protected by her family name and her position as heir to a duchy.

When she decides to help a young commoner—a powder mage marked for death, fugitive from the law—she puts her life and family reputation at risk and sets off to deliver her new ward to the safety of Adro while playing cat and mouse with the king’s own mage hunters and their captain, Duke Nikslaus.

This was an enjoyable novella. I don’t really have any complaints. Couple good swords fight, lots of moments of tensions and suspense. Overall, a good precursor to Promise of Blood. 

(This story takes place 35 years before the events of Promise of Blood…)

Erika ja Leora is a powder mage living in Kez. It is against the law to be a powder mage and requires death; however because of her family nobility, Erkia is allowed to keep her life as long as she swears a promise to the King to stay away from the black. This option is not available to those born of the lower class.

One day when Erika and her mistress at arms out for hunting practice (Erika using a bow, of course), she seems someone hiding deeper down in the woods and discovers that it is young girl. Turns out that girl is a powder mage too – except she is the lower class. This little girl has just escape from a Kez prison where she was going to be excited. Despite the danger involved with harboring a powder mage, Erika decides she must help.

Erika, with help of some family members, try to the girl to Adro where it is legal to be a powder mage. It was be as simple as taking a horse and boat there; The mage hunter’s, lead by Duke Nikslaus, are searching for the girl, and have their own suspicions about where she is.

Aside from being good with a bow, Erika is also a very skilled in sword play, and there are a few scenes where we get to see her in action. There is also a good amount tension and suspense right from the start when Erika is deciding to what to do with the girl, and it is upheld throughout the story. There are many conversations where I was “on the edge of me seat” wondering wether or not Duke Nikslaus actually knows what is going on and is going to call Erika out, or if when the little girl is hiding, if the mage hunters are going to find her. In general, Erika and party, face a lot of different types of obstacles and the whole you can’t help but think there is no way they are going to reach Adro.

This being a precursor to Promise of Blood, it does… not explain… but shows the origins of a few events and items from the book. Then there are couple character that show here that are seen again later in the series; like Erika, Niksalus (who I hate just a much in novella and I did the novel), and there is a little cameo at the end

To be completely honest, I have only read Promise of Blood in the Trilogy so far, and that was over year ago, so I really only (vaguely) remember the main events and characters. There may have been characters or references I missed, but I don’t think so. And if I did, I don’t think it hurt enjoyment.

This is #0.1 of the Powder Mage Trilogy, meaning it is technically the first book of the series. So, if you haven’t read Promise of Blood, book 1, yet, should you start with this? Well, I don’t think it would do any harm to read this, but I don’t think you should. I’d strongly suggest reading Promise of Blood first, and then coming back to read the short fiction leading up to it. You will probably appreciate and notice more in the story.

This novella really gave me itch to get back in and finish the trilogy!

4/5 Rating


Date Read: 6/17/15
Review Written: 6/18/15
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5 thoughts on “Book Review: Forsworn (Powder Mage #0.1) by Brian McClellan

  1. Oh yes, finish the trilogy! Admittedly I didn’t like the third book as much as books 1 and 2 but it’s totally worth completing for the ending. I really should check out more of these Powder Mage novellas, but there are just so many.


    • There are a lot, but I love that. I kind of wished more series would do it actually. Instead waiting for new novel ever year, if we got a novella or two between each, I would probably read more series when they first came out.

      I know a novella or two a year is a lot easier said than done, but I don’t know how it can do anything but good for the author’s fans and popularity.


  2. Bookwraiths says:

    I really need to get to reading this series.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. JR says:

    A little late to the game, but I just finished the novella. The girl Erika helps, Norrine, later becomes one of Tamas’ powder mages (captain I think) during the Adran Kez war during the events of the Powder Mage Trilogy. Really love this series and I would be stoked if there was an entire prequel trilogy about Tamas and Erika.


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