I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m looking at the “Chronicles of Underrealm, Volume 1!” This is a set of short stories that takes place in the ‘Underrealm’ universe that contains both the “Nightblade” and “Academy” series. If you’ve read books from either or both series, these short stories will make a lot more sense overall in terms of continuity, especially the last story in this collection. I got this book by being part of Team Legacy, where you get free copies of the books in exchange for honest reviews on Amazon (don’t worry, I’m allowed to post the reviews here as well, as I’ve done with several other books)!
Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“The world of Underrealm has become a new landmark in epic fantasy, with legions of avid readers hungering for more.
Contained within these pages are the first eleven Chronicles of Underrealm, short stories penned in this expansive world. Written by a wide array of incredible authors, these tales will reveal secrets of Underrealm that avid readers won’t find anywhere else—and introduce new arrivals to a world that’s every bit as intricate and interesting as our own.
Consider this your first step into your favorite new fantasy world.”
All the short stories were well-written, and I, for the most part, enjoyed reading the characters involved. Some stories are more attached to the main plot, such as “Tavern Crossings.” “Tavern Crossings” is a sort of crossover between “Nightblade” and “Academy” in the sense that everyone happens to be around the same area at around the same time when things happen. Loren from “Nightblade” is featured, while we have more characters from “Academy” such as Ebon, Theren, Kaleb and even Mako involved. It does reveal something rather vital—Mako is keeping a close eye on the “Nightblade” and I have a feeling that could possibly result in a main “Nightblade”/”Academy” crossover novel in the main plot (and goodness, I hope that honestly happens because imagine the shenanigans our main trio of Academy would get into with Loren and the others).
Another favourite of mine, though not as attached to the main story in the Underrealm universe, was “Night on the Seat”—starring a rather ordinary city guard named Horace, who happens to end up in a fight with a transmuter when he notices something fishy going on. This was actually one of my most favourite stories to read overall out of everything in the collection, partly because we get to see how a mostly normal (mostly in the sense that he is a guard and not just a regular civilian, but I think that’s as close as we’ll get in terms of point-of-view of regular people living their lives in this world in the story) person deals with his life and his duties within the worldbuilding of this universe.
Another favourite of mine was “The Legend of Cabrus,” which is about one of the many boys that works under Auntie named Enu, who has a chance encounter with Jordel from the “Nightblade” series while Enu and his fellow thieves are investigating rumors of a ‘Crimson Ghost’ wandering around the city. In the short time we get to know Enu (this short story was the equivalent of two chapters), he’s actually quite fun to read overall. Also, kudos to him for literally saving Jordel’s life.
Overall, 5 out of 5 stars! This is definitely not a book you *need* to pick up to understand the main plot taking place in the other series’ of the Underrealm universe, but if you want a lot more fun, supplementary material to read while waiting for more in the “Nightblade” and “Academy” series, go for it!