Review: Warriorborn

Posted: January 10, 2024 by in Books We Like (4/5 single_star) Meta: Jim Butcher, Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, Short Fiction

There are relatively few authors for whom I’ll buy physical copies of novellas. By and large, they end up being too short for the money they cost. Falls into the same category as Audible books that are only 3 or 4 hours long but still cost me a full credit. Not that length, necessarily, lines up with goodness, but it absolutely lines up with potential *amount* of goodness, yeah? When it came to this one, I found myself smack dab on the top of fence. After all, it was being released at essentially the same time as the next novel in the main series, and it had been forever since the last (first) book in the main series came out. What if the novella ended up being super important to the story? What if it was a connector? Gah! I just couldn’t do it. So, I bought the thing, and here we are.

WARRIORBORN is a decently sized novella that could have been, for all intents and purposes, tacked onto the front of book 2 of the series, THE OLYMPIAN AFFAIR, and it would have felt perfectly at home. That being said, it’s a mostly standalone story that is a fun introduction to the events of the larger tale there that anyone who can’t get enough of this world will absolutely love to pieces.

Sir Benedict Sorrelin-Lancaster has had nary but the shortest bit of time to wear his new lieutenant’s badge when he’s called into the office of the Spirearch for a secret mission. The leader of Spire Albion has misplaced a bag somewhere on the far-off location of Spire Dependence, and he needs someone to fetch it. To aid him in his quest, the Spirearch has requisitioned three other warriorborn from prison, and the transportation services of none other than Captain Francis Grimm. If the party returns successful, the convicts will each be granted their freedom, and Benedict will have done his duty.

Pretty straight-forward tale, and if not for the massive wrench that gets thrown into the works when the party arrives at Spire Dependence, they might have all survived. As it is, we get some typically great characterization of the main PoV, some grand foreshadowing as to what will be coming in THE OLYMPIAN AFFAIR, and a taste of the frequency at which we’ll there be regaled with content from the bedroom.

WARRIORBORN is a relatively expensive novella that relays events just prior to THE OLYMPIAN AFFAIR and is fun, but absolutely unnecessary.

I am cheating the teensiest bit here, because I’ve also already read THE OLYMPIAN AFFAIR. So, I know what’s coming and how this piece dovetails into that one. The opening chapters of it pretty much make the need for this story obsolete, as we there get everything we need to understand what’s going on, which is as it should be. From that perspective, there’s a part of me that would have much rather found something else between these pages. This is, of course, the more rigorous side of me that most readers won’t find themselves approaching. The part of me that has fairly strong opinions about how things like preludes, and prologues, and interludes and things should be tackled. Well, there are some that might think like me if they bought the expensive physical copy like me and are wondering why that purchase now seems so frustratingly pointless.

Still, all in all, I’m ridiculously excited to see Mr. Butcher writing again. It’s been a rough go for him over these last years, and I know it can’t have been easy. Seeing this novella, and the new Cinder Spires book, and then some solid progress on the next Dresden novel as reported on his website has made me simply want to crow for joy. Here’s to great characters and grand story-telling from one of the best authors in the biz.

  • Recommended Age: 14+, mostly for violence
  • Language: This series is really pretty tame
  • Violence: A hefty dose of blood and carnage
  • Sex: Some mild sensuality and brief references

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