Prelude (Borderlands Book 0)

Author: Charles Gull

Genre: Fantasy, Bronzepunk

Type: Novella

Summary: Captain Ganse patrols the Borderlands. Where magic turns upon the wielder, they hunt Spawn with simple weapons and an ancient book. A routine sweep turns to survival and not even a family legacy can save the patrol. Can they escape death or will chaos consume the homelands?

Why I liked it: It was a tightly written novella with vivid imagery and a good flow.

And now for the chatty part!

I bought this book because my interest was captured by the imagery of the opening. I wanted to know more about the strange devices the author described and about the world this adventure took place in. But the adventure went in a different direction than I expected: this novella follows one expedition into the Borderlands and narrates the adventures of Captain Ganse and her(?) guards fighting fantastical beasts.

You will have noticed that I am unsure whether Ganse is male or female. I’m sure this is intentional on the part of the author, and I thought it was a nice trick. It made me question my own assumptions when I read books, especially those with military content, and check my implicit biases. Well done, Charles!

I generally don’t like reading about fights or battles, but this story was a clear exception. Unlike what usually happens to me in such cases, I was fully able to follow the description of the battles against the strange beasts, and this is a testament to the author’s ability to get the reader to imagine the scene vividly. It didn’t tire me, it didn’t bore me (sorry, folks, I know many of you like fight scenes, but yaaawn). On the contrary, it kept me turning pages. I marvelled at the author’s creativity in conjuring up strange phenomena and beastly magical manifestations.

This novella was a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon. Don’t look for an intricate plot, this is just an adventure–a very well-written one, that leaves your mind full of colours and sensations. I’d still like to see this world fleshed out, with high stakes and the power struggles the author hints at, and I’d also like to find out more about the devices this civilisation uses. I hope for a continuation of the series!

Grammar, syntax, style: I found very few errors. It is obvious that this book has been edited with love and care.

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