Review: Shards by Ben Galley

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Just as pretty as The Heart of Stone. 😍

I’ve had this little gem on my kindle for a long while, but I figured while I was in the mood for some short stories in between longer books, I would slam down some golem-tacular shenanigans.

They call the Malar Dorah unbreakable. Five centuries it stood unconquered until foul trickery cracked its gates. Now, it is the final bastion of a retreating northern army, and the culmination of a long-raging war. The warlord Belerod stands at the Dorah’s doorstep with a horde at his back, set on testing the meaning of unbreakable with his golems.

Fourteen of his creations waded into the Diamond Wars, and now only eight remain. Their second-youngest, Task, has seen every blood-washed battle; every crippling defeat and valiant push. And now, at the end, the soldiers whisper of a wizard hiding behind the Dorah’s vast walls. 

For the first and last time in this war, magic will fight magic.

Deserts are parched enough without reaching closer to the sun. This is why they lie flat. Undulating with dunes, perhaps, but flat. The Diamond Mountains, on the other hand, stretched up with reckless abandon to burn that little more. Masochism in its natural form.

Oh Task. I missed you, you giant stony pile of fun!

This is a story that takes place in Task’s early life, while he is still with his creator and his brothers and sisters. They are more or less chasing an army into a fortress that is rather famous for never having been forcefully taken, but the army retreating there has a magic user to break in.

Well, the army chasing them has a bunch of golems to throw at it, so there!

This story is short enough that I read it in about an hour and a half, which is more novella-length for me, but that said, I still managed to highlight 4 passages in it, one of which was like the first line of it, reminding me that I really do love Ben Galley’s writing.

And also… I’m not going to say that I liked this one better than The Heart of Stone, because that’s not precisely true, but this one was short and sweet, didn’t spare the f-bombs (yes, I noticed! :D), and was quite immersive and hard to put down.

Seeing Task in his early life, and seeing that he was always… a bit different than other golems. Seeing how he is compared to his siblings, and just getting a look at what other golems made by Belerod are like was interesting as well.

There’s also a bit of a sequence where we go back to the timeframe in which The Heart of Stone takes place, and that was a neat little segue into the conclusion.

All told, I really, really liked it. There’s also a line that, to me, seems to indicate that The Heart of Stone and the Emaneska series take place in the same world… and that’s interesting. I did not know that. Either way, I’m definitely hoping to get on that sooner than later.

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Golem don’t give no fucks about your ooby-dooby magic, probably. 😀

This is a $2 little story that I thought was well worth my $2. 5/5 stars!~

You can see this book on goodreads here, and grab a print copy here, or audiobook here.

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