Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
War Cry by Brian McClellan
Published by Tor on August 28, 2018
Genres: Science Fiction Fantasy
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On the high plains, war is life.
Teado has been a part of the war effort for as long as he can remember. His childhood was spent in the aircraft and ammunition factories until his power manifested. Now he is on the front lines, fighting the great war as one of the monstrous shapeshifting wizards that are all but extinct after decades of battle.
Behind enemy lines, Teado’s special operations platoon plays a deadly game of cat and mouse, sabotaging and demoralizing the enemy. But food is scarce. The enemy has pushed their main forces back further and their requests for resupply have gone unanswered. They will make one last dangerous bid for survival and, maybe, change the course of the war forever.
An extended war with the use of wizards performing a variety of magic is the basis of this tale. Teado can’t remember a time when there wasn’t a war happening around him. It has been going on for almost all of his life and now in his twenties he is considered an old man among the crew he is stationed with behind enemy lines. Their one mission is to create havoc for the enemy in any way possible. But things are bleak; they have very little in the way of supplies and no extra support seems to be coming. But if his team can get to the enemy supply, they might be okay for a few more months.
As a novella set in a new world, the thing you want when you are reading is more story, if it is good. Since this doesn’t overlap with anything else McClellan has written, there isn’t a lot of time to build a bond with Teado and his team. I enjoyed the idea of wizard warfare. Some wizards can change shape, other manipulate their surroundings with illusions and then there are those that can manipulate fire. Teado is a shape changer and very useful to his platoon and while I got a slight feel for the desperation of his team, I didn’t have enough time to really care about any of them.
This has a good pace and the actual story was interesting. I almost wish it was expanded a little more as I liked the idea. McClellen is a strong writer of battle tactics and adding magic into the mix. This felt like a WWII battle with magic added in for me and it was a good switch up to my normal fantasy reading. I definitely prefer the Powder Mage series but this was a good short story to see if you like the style and imagination of the author.
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