NOTE: Gran’s Secret was a free review copy provided to Luke Reviews by Black Wyrm Books.
Luke Reviews is always on the lookout for new publishers, especially those that are putting out great stuff but are small and don’t get a lot of notice. One such publisher that I found out about was Black Wyrm Books, part of Black Wyrm Games, that is putting out some solid fiction. Even better, it is short. That may sound odd, I suppose, but I’ll explain. The Science Fiction and (especially) Fantasy market today is being assaulted with HUGE tomes that meander and wander and don’t get anywhere too quickly, and become HUGE series of HUGE books, and when I am excited about a number of new books, there is no way that I’m going to go back and read thousands and thousands of pages of backstory. Along comes Black Wyrm, and they have the answer. In short novels/long novellas and short fiction collections, they are working on spreading the genre without the massive word count. I couldn’t wait to jump on board. The first book I received from Black Wyrm is Gran’s Secret, book two of the Were-War Series. While I missed the first volume of the series, it wasn’t vital to my enjoyment of Gran’s Secret.
Following a Were attack on the small town of Cobble (which occurred in the first volume of the series), Gran’s son has died, and her grandson is Cursed by a Were to become a Were himself. Gran sends him off to learn to control his Curse. However, people don’t want to leave well enough alone, and after having to commit a crime to save her grandson, Gran goes on the run to find out what the secret behind all of these attacks is, all while a neighboring kingdom is planning a surprise uprising and is about to be on the warpath.
Gran’s Secret proved to be surprisingly hard to put down. Gran was a wonderfully realized character, and really propelled the story along. As her mysteries are revealed one by one, the story deepens, and the book reaches a satisfying conclusion that leaves plenty for further volumes. Powell wastes no space in telling his story, giving us his tale without loads of unnecessary and dry extras, and keeps the pace quick.
My only displeasure with the book is that 80-90% of it follows the story of Gran, with interjections from the enemy, but at the very end Gran’s grandson become the focal character. While this may fit with the over-arching series, it was an odd change up right at the very end of the book, and I found myself missing Gran’s point-of-view.
Overall, however, Gran’s Secret was a lot of fun to read, and bodes well for both Black Wyrm and Trevis Powell. I very much look forward to more of each. Luckily, I have a couple more Black Wyrm books on my shelf to read soon.