Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Brother's Ruin: By Emma Newman



The year is 1850 and Great Britain is flourishing, thanks to the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts. When a new mage is discovered, Royal Society elites descend like buzzards to snatch up a new apprentice. Talented mages are bought from their families at a tremendous price, while weak mages are snapped up for a pittance. For a lower middle class family like the Gunns, the loss of a son can be disastrous, so when seemingly magical incidents begin cropping up at home, they fear for their Ben's life and their own livelihoods.

But Benjamin Gunn isn't a talented mage. His sister Charlotte is, and to prevent her brother from being imprisoned for false reporting she combines her powers with his to make him seem a better prospect.

When she discovers a nefarious plot by the sinister Doctor Ledbetter, Charlotte must use all her cunning and guile to protect her family, her secret and her city.


I know this is old news, but I am a BIG fan of’s publishing of novellas in physical formats. While I can’t speak to everyone, this has certainly increased the number of novellas that I have read in the last few years, and it has dramatically increased the number of novellas I’ve read from new authors who I hadn’t read before (usually I would read novellas by established authors I was already a fan of, when they would release a novella to tide their readers in-between books).

Emma Newman is one of the new authors that I was introduced to because of’s novella publishing plan, and I’m certainly glad that I was.

Newman’s Brother’s Ruin begins in 19th century England, where those that have magical talents are required to turn themselves into the government for training and regulation. This system is heavily based on a carrot and stick incentive program, if you report yourself, then your family will be handsomely rewarded, and if you don’t then the mages will find you and drag you to them, your family will get nothing, and your family will have shame rain down upon it from the neighboring communities. So, it is no great surprise that the main character, Charlotte, is talented and has been keeping it a secret. What makes it more interesting and what gets the ball rolling is that her brother, Ben, offers himself for conscription into the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts (the mages), when he thinks he is performing magic, when in reality it was his sister. A testing occurs and events are struck into motion that place both Charlotte and Ben into the mages sight lines.

Without giving more away, this was a fun novella that felt as if it was setting the stage for a larger series. A larger conspiracy is hinted at, a dastardly plot ruined, and the players put in place for larger roles and training in the world of magic.

As for the characters, while at times some of the minor characters such as Charlotte and Ben’s parents seemed a bit one-dimensional, many of the other characters offered great promise for future character growth, which is all one can hope for in a 192 page book.

All in all, I enjoyed Brother’s Ruin. I tried it out because of it’s awesome title and I’m certainly glad that I did. I’d be happy to pick up a future installment of this potential series.



Published: March 14, 2017

Price: $3.99

Link to Buy:

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