The Girl of Hrusch Avenue (The Powder Mage, #0.5) - Brian  McClellan A short story set in the world of the Powder Mage trilogy by Brian McClellan. Speaking of which, if you haven't read the first novel Promise of Blood yet you're missing out. Featuring a rich setting with interesting characters and fascinating magic systems, I thought it was excellent for a debut novel and it's one of the best fantasy books I've read in 2013 so far.

You don't have to have read Promise of Blood to enjoy The Girl of Hrusch Avenue, though being familiar with its world and characters would help. As expected from a short story, there wasn't room for much development in either, so knowing something of them before diving in would be best. It would also have greater impact for someone who knows the significance of what being a Powder Mage means, for example, as well as the complicated history between the two characters Taniel and Vlora. This story takes place in a time where both are children, and tells how the two of them first met.

Most of all, I liked how Vlora was the main focus. She had her moments in Promise of Blood, but I felt for the most part she was relegated to the role of background character. I enjoyed the opportunity here to find out more about her, even though this story featured a younger version of her, but it still gave me insight into her personality and history.