Matt Forney
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A Magic Broken by Vox Day

This is another of Vox Day’s Kindle-only novellas set in the same world as A Throne of Bones, and indeed actually features two of the characters from that novel. It revolves around Nicolas, a human undercover mage, and Lodi, a mercenary dwarf obsessed with freeing his people from slavery. The two collide when Lodi is tasked with freeing an elf woman from one of the local brothels, a woman whom Very Powerful People are looking to get their hands on:

She leaped from the bed and snatched the knife from his hand. Then she kneeled down in front of the Man. What she did to him next made Lodi, no stranger to death and violence, a veteran of the siege of Iron Mountain as well as the gladiator stables of Amorr, blanch and look away.

Vox is at his best when he’s describing scenes of battle or ultraviolence, both of which are understandably absent from A Magic Broken. The first half of the novella drags due to the excessive amount of dialogue and descriptions of the political situation in the book’s world. Nicolas is not as well-fleshed out as the protagonists in The Wardog’s Coin, so I have difficulty caring about what happens to him, at least until the book’s surprising ending.

The segments concentrating on Lodi are more interesting, as his character is explored more deeply. Vox has a keen eye for how different races in a fantasy world would think and act, and his characterization of the tribalistic, Machivellian Lodi is enthralling and believable:

“Look, my dwarven friends, you must understand that I know you’re there. The blood on this blade tells me you’re hiding in these trees standing in front of me. And I would much prefer for you to come out and listen to what I have to say without forcing me to set you all on fire. I don’t wish to harm anyone, least of all your elven companion, but you will leave me with little choice if you will not speak.”

If you enjoy fantasy writing or Vox Day’s writing in particular, A Magic Broken is a good little read. Otherwise, if you’re curious about either, you should check out The Wardog’s Coin before you buy this one.

Click here to buy A Magic Broken.

Read Next: The Wardog’s Coin by Vox Day