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Book Review: Tales From Across the Domains

Table of Contents

Apostates, misfits, rebels, and sinners. What do they have in common? They all desire freedom to choose their own path in defiance of the gods who own their souls.

From an underwater domed city to perilous jungles, volcanic cabaret theaters, mushroom forests, and beyond, travel across twelve unique domains and learn of mortal life under the gods’ watchful eyes. Your journey begins in Chime, a steam-powered city that connects each domain through a magical portal that changes at the turn of the hour.

Wardens are on hand to guide you on your journey, but be careful—not all domains are safe to traverse, and not all are what they seem.

Tales From Across the Domains is a collection of fifteen short stories set within The Cruel Gods world—a gaslamp fantasy featuring magical portals, gothic cosmic deities, quaint Britishisms, and steampunk vibes. These short stories can be read at any point during the series and contain strong language and mature themes that some readers may find disturbing.

Title: Tales From Across the Domains

Series: The Cruel Gods #0.5

Author: Trudie Skies

Page Count: 127

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Date Read: December 30th, 2023

As the year winds down I didn’t want to start any larger novels and not be able to finish them before the new year. I decided to add a couple of novella’s to my list. The first up was Tales From Across the Domains by Trudie Skies. This is a collection of short stories from Trudie’s Cruel Gods series which I’ve loved the first two books with the third expected to be released in 2024 if I remember correctly.
I’m always a bit leery when it comes to collections of short stories whether they are all from an individual author or collection of authors. They typically only leave me wanting more from the stories. With that being said I’ve had some good luck recently in these types of books. Tales From Across the Domains does a really good job in introducing each of the domains that exist in this world as well as connecting several of these stories together as the read progresses.
I couldn’t help but wonder how this read would be received by someone who hadn’t read either books one or two from the series. It was easy for me to connect with these domains and the characters because I already have experiences with them. Talking to another bookish friend of mine who has read this but hasn’t gotten to the rest of the series though put that concern to rest and it seems to have only wanted her to read them even more.
As mentioned the pacing went well even with this being a collection of short stories. Each of the stories are a good isolated tale in itself but as above, some of these are connected as you continue to read. I really think readers could benefit from this exposure to the world and it’s characters leading into the series. For those already familiar it adds some nice background information on many characters. No issues with names of characters or locations. That might be different for first time readers but I don’t think there should be much trouble with this one.
The world building works well for me as again this simply added some more depth to the world and it’s characters I already know. I feel these stories helped add a bit more depth to each of the domains where the focus is on Chime as our center piece in the series and we visit the other domains. This just sheds a little more light on each of those others.
The character development also benefits from this collecting of stories. There are some very minor arcs in these tales. However, I think what this truly does is provide these characters just a bit more depth to their arcs from the series. I loved the additional information on Joe, Harmony and Vincent from this read.
I now feel that both new and veteran readers of this series can enjoy this read. If you’re looking for something short, give this ago whether your curious with the Cruel Gods or you are already familiar and just looking for some more from this world.

World Building 4/5
Pacing 4/5
Character Development 4/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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  1. Oooh, a portal fantasy short story collection? That sounds interesting! I haven’t read the books in this series yet (though I intend to eventually) but this sounds like a neat entry point perhaps.

    1. I was curious going in how it would be received by those not familiar with the series already published but my friend seemed to have liked it without reading the other two novels. So I’d certainly give it a go!

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