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New Product: Albrim's Curse [novella]

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A Blackwym novella by Trevis Powell. All young Albrim wanted to be was a master bowman like his father. Then a savage attack on his home cost him his family, his arm, and his humanity - all at once! Crippled and contaminated by the Curse, his beloved Gran leaves him in the care of Mute, a giant warrior dedicated to protecting humanity from the depredations of the Quarg. Albrim does what he can to assist his master and redeem himself. But can a werewolf ever really recapture his humanity?


This product is available in the Hero Games Store here.

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Re: New Product: Albrim's Curse [novella]


The Upside


Albirm's Curse is a fantasy novel billed as the first in a series called the Were-War Series. The book is a lot of set up, with not a lot of plot and only some action packed into the back half. The novella is about one hundred and fifty pages long.


For the most part he novel is pretty standard fantasy fare. You have feudal human kingdoms, one of the smaller villages on the outskirts is the setting for the first part. Dwarves and Elves, the implication is the two races take the classic stance of not getting along, though only one line references this and it could have been the feelings of the lone dwarf in the book. Quargs are the settings stand in for the faceless minions of evil, short little pig faced humanoids - an orc by any other name. Just enough space is dedicated to the Quargs to give them semblance of actual culture as a race. Which was a nice change, thought they are definitely left as the stand in for a universal evil.


And of course, there are were-wolves. Actually, the book features five of them in its entirety explicitly. Though it's hard to say if there aren't more lurking in the background.


We open in a standard small farming village called Cobble. Albrim is just becoming a man and is old enough to be in the towns militia as an archer. The local Duke comes through to gather a war band to hunt down wolves plaguing the land. Albrim is selected as one of the towns archers for the task and the novel takes off. The first part seems to drag through as we get to the heart of the matter - a werewolf suffering from 'phobee, which is some rabies like disease though it's not explained in full, is attacking the country side. It comes after Albrim's village, but the hunting party is almost too late to save anyone. The werewolf is attacking with a group of control wolves, some of them much larger than normal.


In the climax of the fight the werewolf bites of Albrim's arm. Gran, who is appropriately enough Albrim's grandmother, kills it by melting silver candlesticks and beating it to death with a pan coated in the liquid silver.


As the main character Albrim does survive, but now he's not only a werewolf, but a diseased werewolf. Enter Mute. Gran has sent Albrim off to live with Mute - a giant of man who lives deep in the forest and hunts Quargs. Mute had his throat ruined by a wolf attack many years in the past. A lot of the next part of the book - in fact too much of it - is spent with Albrim learning about his curse, getting better from the attack, dealing with his condition, and complaining a lot to a man who can't talk back. Somewhere around the halfway point of the book a plot starts to make itself known. Also in here we meet a Dwarf who helps Albrim with his curse, and fashions him a mechanical contraption to allow the boy to have a kinf of limited arm to fire a bow again with.


We flip to the wedding of a Duke, though not the same as from the first half of the novel, and his preparations for some kind of invasion. It's a very brief few pieces scattered through the middle third of the book.


The action starts to pick up as a Quarg war band has formed to hunt down Mute - who has been killing their kind of years and is apparently feared as some kind of forest demon. Mute and Albrim outsmart the war party, and slaughter the chieftain. The book almost goes back to the dry exposition of Albrim living in the forest with only a mute giant of a man for company. But it quickly moves on to Mute and Albrim finding a plot to invade the kingdom from some foreigners. The foreigners are using the Quarg as allies, and are all apparently were-wolves. Mute and Albrim spend the second half of the book evading the army, getting information, and finally setting a trap to try and kill the were-wolves leading the army. The book ends with a chase scene and a nice cliff hangar.


The second half of the book moves much faster than the first, has actual dialogue, and some good pacing. To get to the plot you have to put up with the first halves lumbering exposition.


The Downside


The book takes entirely too long to get up to speed. The first half is a long winded exposition on Albrim's life, his village, his dealing with Mute and the implied whining about his life. The dialogue is sparse, even with one character that can't talk more time could have been spent on how Albrim learned to communicate, not a continuous battering of how he hated his life.


I think a solid twenty pages could be whittled out of the first half of the book to speed up the pacing.


The Otherside


In the end, the book is pretty standard fantasy, the second book seems promise at least a fast opening if it picks up where the second stopped. Or it'll torture us by leaving the cliff hangar unresolved for a while.


Either way, a solid and decent plot started to form at the end - and it was not a typical "small band of adventurers must save the world" style plot. Which saved the entire book for me to be honest. It made the slow parts bearable, if not enjoyable. The action, when it appears, is well described, well paced and some of the better action scenes I've read in a while. It saves explanations for outside the fights, keeping them fast and furious, and ultimately on the edge.


Would I recommend the book? If you like fantasy, definitely. It's a short book and a good quick read. You could probably get through it on a cross-country airplane trip if you read fast.

(Reviewers Caveat: I am not the biggest fan of Fantasy Novels, and tend to find them moderately boring to read. Take that as you will, or the review with a grain of salt. :) )

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Re: New Product: Albrim's Curse [novella]


The funny part of the comment is the dangling participle that makes it sounds like Gran was crippled and Cursed instead of Albrim.


Some idiot must have written that blurb...


well at least you read what i wrote




:tsk: :tsk: :tsk:




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