Brendell, Apprentice Thief, by Patrick Welch

brendell-apprentice-thief-by-patrick-welchGenre: Fantasy Anthology
Publisher: Double Dragon E-Books
Published: 2002
Reviewer Rating: threestars
Book Review by Fraser Ronald

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This is the second e-book I’ve reviewed by Patrick Welch, the first having been the Thirteenth Magician. The quality of writing I noted in that book is also present here. Mr. Welch presents the stories collected in this book with competence. The level of quality seems a little uneven, but Mr. Welch has indicated that these are stories from different points in his career. Even though he may have edited them to attempt to clean up any early errors or stylistic faults, and though none of them are poorly written, one can notice the differences.

The character of Brendell is unabashedly modeled on other fictional anti-heroes. This is not necessarily a fault, though the reader may be struck with a certain sense of familiarity. This is, however, not classic literature, but escapist fiction, at least in my estimation, and as such, that sense of familiarity allows the reader to slide more easily into the story.

The plots of these stories may not be thought-provoking, but they are enjoyable. If you are looking for ground-breaking work which is unlike anything you’ve read before, I might direct you elsewhere. If you want some fun fiction, stories that can be read over your break at work, eat your lunch, or while you are wait for those mp3 downloads, this is your product. I would say this is a lot like the majority of the Hong Kong action movies I’ve seen. If I compare them to Good Fellas, they don’t come off so well, but they are damn fun to watch.

For me, the short story collection may, in fact, be an excellent use of the e-book format. With a novel, I have to print it off and read it in away from the computer. With this short story collection, I read while taking a break from my own writing, or while waiting for downloads (I still have a dial-up, Yipe!). I might hesitate to purchase an ebook novel, just because I don’t enjoy reading on the computer (and I don’t have any of the e-book readers). The short story collection, though, seems tailor-made for the computer.

Considering the cost of e-books as compared with standard formats, this collection is quite a bargain. The writing is definitely superior to most of the fantasy fiction one might find for free on the Net, and it matches up against much of the fantasy fiction churned out by print publishers.

Why not have a look and judge for yourself?

Brendell, Apprentice Thief is available from Double Dragon eBooks.

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