Thursday, 27 November 2014

Book Review - Murder at the Kinnen Hotel by Brian McClellan

Disclaimer - I received a copy of this novella from Brian McClellan in exchange for an open and honest review. I would like to thank Brian for that opportunity. The image is the property of Brian McClellan.

I am the first to admit that I am a Brian McClellan fan. I was blown away by his debut Promise of Blood, and I adored his follow up the Crimson Campaign. I will also admit that I have only recently started to explore his novellas (becoming a father took a lot of my reading time!). My first experience of the Powder Mage novellas (Forsworn) left me a bit flat. I sadly found I couldn't relate to the characters, and a lot of the excitement and tension that McClellan usually excelled at was absent. 

Murder at the Kinnen Hotel is the exact opposite. Focusing on Adamat, this novella is a fascinating insight into his former career as a police investigator in Adra. McClellan has weaved an intriguing tale of murder, politics, and sorcery into a small space. I was hooked from the initial pages, and couldn't put it down until I had read how the story unfolded. The main protagonist, Adamat, has always been a strange character for me. At times I have loved him and his journey amidst the upheavals occurring around him, and at other times I have found his parts in the novels to be lacking. 

I am happy to report that his novella has fleshed out his character more, and I can now look forward to rereading those parts in a new light. We are gifted a greater understanding of Adamat and his motivations, and are also shown an insight into his past (and at the same time future) relationship with Ricard and others. Adamat, despite his knack, is not perfect. He can be rash, pigheaded and prone to bouts of anger. He can also be hated amongst his peers, and even resented greatly despite his obvious prowess at police work. This made him seem so much more accessible to me.  

I loved the subtle 'crime-noir' feel of this novella, and how Adamat (the 'perfect detective' with his knack) was paired with White (Adran Royal Cabal operative) to hunt down a rogue powder mage amidst a great murder mystery. The action was explosive, and the conspiracy behind the murders taking place top notch. The story was really well paced and structured, and I found the conclusion very satisfying in how it linked up with the timeline of McClellan's Powder Mage universe. 

All in all this novella deserves its five star rating. It will please all of those fans of McClellan's previous work, and will draw new fans in due to its accessibility to readers. Highly recommended!

5 out of 5 stars.

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