Book Review: Iron Kingdoms Excursions Season One: Volume Two by Larry Correia, William Shick, & Howard Tayler: 4/5 Stars

A review of Iron Kingdoms Excursions Season One: Volume Two by Larry Correia, William Shick, & Howard Tayler

I don't play Warmachine or Hordes, but based on the combination of Correia and Tayler and the $0.99 price tag I decided to give some of their fiction a go.

This collection basically consists of four parts: a 1,000 word intro to the world of the Iron Kingdoms, three short stories of about 1,000 to 1,500 words each, and a glossary of about 1,400 words. The first things I noticed about the collection as a whole is that all three of the stories feel pretty short, but for a quick read they aren't too bad.

The first story, Scrap Ante by Howard Tayler, is my favourite of the three, and left me wishing it was longer. It's the first written fiction of Tayler's that I have read, and it definitely had the feel of his webcomic (Schlock Mercenary if you don't know; I strongly recommend it), and I quite liked it, so I'll look out for more of his fiction. On the other hand it felt somewhat incomplete; it's hard to describe why though.

The second story, The Last Hunt by William Shick, was my least favourite of the stories, but that's hardly a harsh criticism considering the authors he is being compared to. At least in this case Shick's writing did not raise above "workman-like", but that isn't bad; I aspire to the lofty title of "workman-like" for my own writing.

Larry Correia's The Worthy was interesting because of the glimpse of an alien, but sympathetically portrayed, culture in it, but it again felt incomplete.

Two of the stories felt somewhat incomplete, but one thing they all did well was evoke a picture of the world in which they happened. In all the collection was very short (and the words/cost ratio was less favourable than many of the competing small presses), with around a third of it's total word count being info on the world (the intro and glossary).

Strengths:

  • Entertaining stories.
  • Evocative of the world of the Iron Kingdoms.

Weaknesses:

  • Shorter than expected (all three short stories are about the minimum to be short stories and not flash fiction).
  • Aimed at fans of Warmahordes

I had some difficulty deciding how to rate this, but eventually I decided to go for the most generous route, and judge them as what they are: game fiction for the Warmahordes games. So I give it four stars out of five, provided you're a fan of Warmahordes or the Iron Kingdoms, if not you might not enjoy them quite as much and I'd only give them three stars.

Categories: Books, Reviews
Date: 2014-04-23 00:30:17, 3 years and 272 days ago

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