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Powder Mage #0.5

The Girl of Hrusch Avenue

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Vlora is an orphan living at a boarding school as a ward of the state. Even at her young age, she already has enemies: the Bulldog Twins, Baron Fendamere, and her own headmistress. When a strange man offers to buy her, Vlora runs away and takes to the roofs above the gunsmithies of Hrusch Avenue. It is there that she meets a boy named Taniel and begins a friendship that will change her life forever.

29 pages, ebook

First published June 27, 2013

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About the author

Brian McClellan

34 books7,553 followers
Brian McClellan is an American epic fantasy author from Cleveland, Ohio. He is known for his acclaimed Powder Mage Universe and essays on the life and business of being a writer.

Brian now lives on the side of a mountain in Utah with his wife, Michele, where he writes books and nurses a crippling video game addiction.

Brian's novels include the Powder Mage Trilogy (Promise of Blood, The Crimson Campaign, and The Autumn Republic), Gods of Blood and Powder (Sins of Empire, Wrath of Empire, and Blood of Empire), and Valkyrie Collections (Uncanny Collateral)

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5 stars
796 (27%)
4 stars
1,309 (45%)
3 stars
694 (23%)
2 stars
82 (2%)
1 star
14 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 136 reviews
Profile Image for Choko.
1,196 reviews2,583 followers
May 26, 2017
Taniel & Bo meet Vlora as kids. Very short but still a good addition to the series:) I enjoyed it...
Profile Image for Allen Walker.
150 reviews1,319 followers
January 17, 2022
So this one was a breeze and fun to read, but it requires ignoring these facts about literally every Powder Mage story:

1) every noble (except any protagonists) is a puppy-kicking, mustache-twirling psychopath that thinks of nothing besides how to hunt commoners for sport

2) every scene with both Tamas and a noble will require, as if by compulsion, the noble to comment on Tamas' commoner background

3) every noble is ALSO the most fearsome duelist in the entire country

4) fake swearwords will be used, not in in-world context, but as a Ctrl + F and replace for real-world swears

Despite these (which I'm coming to just accept as part of the brand) this story read effortlessly and was exciting. Probably the best of the bunch so far.
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,028 reviews2,605 followers
February 11, 2016
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.

Author 1 book358 followers
May 21, 2016
This short story is Vlora's original story.
We see how she was living as an orphan, her first encounter with Taniel & Bo, and how she find out she was a Powder Mage, 10 years before Promise of Blood.
This story though made me hate Vlora even more, seeing how Taniel risked both his honor & his physical integrity to help Vlora, and how she payed back this favor in Promise of Blood, cheating on him with a random swagger.

Ps. I do not rate short stories.
Profile Image for Audrey.
82 reviews36 followers
November 22, 2019
An interesting little story on Vlora’s past and her first meeting with Tamas and Taniel.
Profile Image for David Sven.
288 reviews446 followers
May 5, 2014
A Flintlock Fantasy set in the World of Promise of Blood

It's a short Origins story featuring Vlora (Taniel's ex-Fiance) as a street urchin. We get to see how her and Taniel meet up.

Hrusch Avenue gets mentioned a lot in the main book as where they make the famous high quality "Hrusch" guns. I wonder if Hrusch the dog (owned by Tamas) will ever get an Origins story.

As a stand alone short story it's meh - unless you're a fan of Promise of Blood. I don't think you could appreciate it as much unless you have read the main novel.

3 stars
Profile Image for Mr. Matt.
288 reviews82 followers
January 15, 2014
This is a short little book set ten or so years before the events in Promise of Blood. I picked it up immediately after finishing Promise of Blood because I just enjoyed the world and characters so much.

The Girl of Hrusch Avenue is the story of how Vlora, Taniel and Bo met. Vlora is an orphan run-away from a cruel mistress at a boarding school. She spends her time on Hrusch Avenue near the gunsmiths. For some reason she is drawn to this street - as is Taniel. The children have a variety of adventures and Vlora eventually falls into the household of Taniel's father, Tamas, who senses her latent powers.

It was a fun, quick read. I thought this book did a better job of illustrating the rot of the old order than did Promise of Blood. It was a nice counter-point and helped flesh out that world.
Profile Image for Nimrod Daniel.
143 reviews258 followers
February 14, 2014
That's the first work I read by Brian, and it was really great. Writing a short story is hard, but writing a good short story is much harder. Brian really managed to write an excellent story which make you want to know more about the world he created. Once the whole trilogy will be available then the series will be on the top of my list, and in the meanwhile it's nice to know that I have some more short stories to read in this world.

Profile Image for Blodeuedd Finland.
3,401 reviews292 followers
May 9, 2015
This is the story of how Vlora met Taniel.

I am so bad with reviewing short stories, cos they are short!

Vlora has courage, she wants more. She meets Taniel, and that meeting puts her in the right direction.

I like these shorts, even if I do not have a lot to say at the end. I also think it might even work as a stand alone. But hey do read the series.
Profile Image for Aram Brazilian.
128 reviews4 followers
October 27, 2021
The story when Vlora first meets Taniel, Bo, and Tamas - a lot of fun and as usual Tamas kicks ass - reminds me a little of that old movie The Little Princess with Shirley Temple!
Profile Image for B.J. Richardson.
Author 2 books69 followers
July 21, 2022
This very short novella takes place after Forsworn and Servant of the Crown. Captain Tamas is now Field Marshall, his love interest has left him with a son before going off and getting herself killed (off book, no spoiler), but not before the two have a child, Taniel.

This book focuses on a young orphan girl, Vlora who is right at the age where her abilities as a powder mage start revealing themselves. Her orphanage is straight out of Annie (or a Dickens novel), and she takes to the streets when some strange man decides to buy her. There she runs into Taniel and his best friend, Bo.

If I say any more than that, I am running into spoilers territory. As it is, I already feel that my review is longer than the novella itself. Fun read... now I am off to start reading the main trilogy.
Profile Image for Ryan Mueller.
Author 9 books80 followers
April 26, 2017
This was another good Powder Mage short story from McClellan. It's always interesting to see the origins of some of the main characters. I also find McClellan's writing style is very easy to read. I don't notice the words, focusing instead on the story.

Rating: 8/10
Profile Image for Phee.
571 reviews58 followers
October 6, 2017
Seriously good stuff in this one. Really enjoyed seeing Taniel and more Tamas of course, Vlora was great too.
Profile Image for Olga.
301 reviews57 followers
December 28, 2018
This one doesn't really add anything to the series but I still found it adorable.
Profile Image for Miriam Michalak.
729 reviews25 followers
August 31, 2017
Another short story companion book to the Powder Mage series. Here we get Vlora's back story - and very entertaining it was too!
Profile Image for Christopher.
1,350 reviews154 followers
January 7, 2017
The Girl of Hrusch Avenue tell the story of Vlora and where she originally came from an what set her on the path that would lead to her becoming a Powder Mage! :D

The story provides us with many insights into the early years of many of the characters seen in the Power Mage series! :D So we see a young Taniel and Vlora as well as younger versions of Bo (who along with Taniel and Vlora go on to form a gang of sorts) as well as seeing a younger version of Tamas standing up for them as well! :D

The world that Vlora finds herself in at the beginning of the story is one of impoverishment that she finds herself in thanks to being an orphan but she displays a major interest in gunpowder weaponry as well as the street smarts the we see in later works! :D It also provides a lot more detail on her character as during Promise of Blood her character is often off engaging in other duties! :D It also serves to reinforce the fact that Vlora means more to Tamas then simply being the ex finance of his son and the she is more of an actual daughter! :D

The major fight in the book also show that the character of Tamas is also more than willing to get down and dirty which is a fact that is not lost on Vlora! :D

Very clever and and fast paced excellent stuff! :D Highly Recommended! :D
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Bogdan.
888 reviews1 follower
February 6, 2017
I`ve read better in this series of novellas. Decent stuff, anyway...
Profile Image for chucklesthescot.
2,905 reviews121 followers
June 20, 2019
Vlora has become interested in watching men firing the guns and longs to have one of her own. She has decided that she wants to steal a pistol but ends up getting chased by the bullies known as the Bulldog Twins, leading to a painful encounter with the evil Baron Fendamere. On discovering that her nasty guardian is going to sell her to a strange man, Vlora decides to run away and seeks help from two brothers Taniel and Bo, whose father is Tamas.

I've enjoyed reading some of these Powder Mage prequels and it has given me a real interest in powder mages and their enemies. This world sounds interesting and I look forward to reading the first book in the actual series soon.
Profile Image for Logan.
214 reviews60 followers
October 19, 2019
Fun quick story about the backstory of a secondary character in the first trilogy. Loved seeing them as young kids.
Profile Image for ᴥ Irena ᴥ.
1,649 reviews214 followers
August 27, 2016
Vlora is a ten year old girl, an orphan who lives at a boarding school. She is a ward of the state. She wasn't sent to a usual orphanage because her parents were nobles. The world she lives in is harsh full of people like her headmistress who beats the children even after she stitches them when they are hurt, Baron Fendamere who doesn't think twice of hitting a child in the street and the Bulldog Twins, local street bullies and so on.
But it also has people like the boy Vlora would help against the bullies.

I loved Vlora. Who wouldn't like a ten-year old who is contemplating how to steal a gun because the smell of gunpowder makes her feel happy?
After she runs away from the boarding school, she meets Taniel and they form a sweet friendship. It is a very short story, but it shows more than enough of their world to make me want to read the first book in this series (Promise of Blood).
Profile Image for Darren.
204 reviews27 followers
November 1, 2013
I liked this one better than the other Powder Mage short-Hope's End: A Powder Mage Short Story-McClellan has up as a kindle single. It is quite short, and as with Hope's End, is more of a tease to continue reading than offering real resolution. Worked well enough for me to pick up the novel as well, though.
Profile Image for Adam.
37 reviews7 followers
April 21, 2017
A fun little easy read with an introduction to Vloras character as a 12 yr old child. A runaway orphan with a borderline obsession with guns, bails out when she learns of a mysterious man trying to buy her from the headmistress of her boarding school. She'll have none of that Sh!t, so she takes off, whereupon she meets Taniel and a friendship blooms.
Nothing to throw your whole library away over, though I did enjoy the small adventure story and learning where these 2 characters began.
Profile Image for Alex.
74 reviews1 follower
January 11, 2014
Good short story that fills out new info about Vlora from the powder mage trilogy. Its an interesting look at the early days of soon to be Field Marshall Tamas. I can't wait to see more Vlora in future books.
Profile Image for Lars Kongsrud.
151 reviews10 followers
August 3, 2014
I can see the potential in this short story and the first in the series "The Powder Mage”. Guns and rifles are not often seen in fantasy books and I would like to see what Brian McClellan can do with this concept.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 136 reviews

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