Hugo Novella Nominee Review- The Builders by Daniel Polansky

The Builders

The third of our Hugo nomination reviews (this time from me and a short one)


A missing eye.
A broken wing.
A stolen country.

The last job didn’t end well.

Years go by, and scars fade, but memories only fester. For the animals of the Captain’s company, survival has meant keeping a low profile, building a new life, and trying to forget the war they lost. But now the Captain’s whiskers are twitching at the idea of evening the score.


An interesting and quirky short book , set in a world of anthropomorphised animals coming together to re-start an old battle in a civil war. Two puppet kings, both toads fought a war each propped up by a general, and the loser, a surprisingly tough mouse is coming back for revenge
The book manages on the one hand to be dark and violent while still having an element of fun in how its all set up. The animals all have a bit of their expected nature, (snakes being sly, moles blind, badgers strong etc etc), about them and its interesting to see how that surfaces and is played on as the plot moves.
The story itself isn’t the most complex , a revenge story with a couple of twists but the ending makes it all worth it making both an interesting statement, and a tongue in cheek joke. It definitely feels like the author had a little bit of fun with his cheeky conclusion.
My first book by the author and interesting enough to entice me to his longer work.


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