The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review via NetGalley.
The Black Fortress is the prequel short story to The Death Wizard Chronicles.
Prequel short stories that lead into a series can often be great way to discover new series without having to jump into a full length book first. However, often time I find that they do a poor job of representing the series and leave the reader not wanting to pick up anything further whereas had they dove directly into the series the might have enjoyed it. Because of this I rarely read short story prequels before reading the first book in the series. The main reason why I avoid this type of book is that I find they just lack a lot of detail that would make me enjoy them more. I realize they are meant to be short quick reads to give the reader a glimpse into the story without giving everything away, but I often think it would have been better to simply include those few pages in the first book and leave it at that.
In the case of The Black Fortress I didn’t find the first half of this short story too bad. I could see where things were leading and also where, most likely, the first book would start and of course I was introduced to a few characters that would play an important role later on in the story. However one thing I would have liked to have seen a bit more information about were the Tugars. The description of them was far too short and I kept wondering exactly what they looked like, how they acted and to be given a better break down of their ranks. This was also the case, though to a lesser extent, in regards to some of the other races mentioned in the beginning.
After finishing the story I was still left wondering exactly who and what Torg, the main character, was. Obviously a non-human race, and it was clear he had very strong magical powers but beyond that I was left with more questions that answers.
As an introduction to a series this short story was merely okay. It didn’t really draw me in, nor did it make me want to rush out and get the first book in this series. Will I read the series? Probably, though I’m in no hurry to do so. Would I recommend this short story? Unless I knew someone who would really like it and want that small glimpse before diving into the series as a whole no I would not. It’s not that the writing was bad, it was simply that the characters lacked something and the story fell a bit short.