The Builders by Daniel Polansky – A Book Review



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.


Author: Daniel Polansky

Publisher: Tor

Release Date: 03/11/2015

Page Count: 226

My Chosen Format: Kindle

My Rating of ‘The Builders’: 5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon UKAmazon USAudible UKAudible US



Daniel Polansky is fast becoming one of my favourite authors (this is only the second book I have read by him so yea, fast!). The whole concept of this hit me as one of those things that could either be great or terrible. The fact that I had just finished the first book in Polansky’s ‘Low Town’ series made me want to try more of his work and seeing he had this novella out, I thought I’d give it a go.

And I’m so glad that I did.

Polansky has a real talent for creating brilliant characters with real flare. Even the Captain, a mouse that says very little, is brimming with character and is a very intriguing one at that. Others such as the overtly pompous French stoat (Bonsoir) or the mild-mannered badger (Barley) are a true joy to read about.

The novella is broken down into incredibly short chapters. Ever since reading Pride and Prejudice I have hated the idea of short chapters. But, in The Builders, it works stunningly well. The story is very sharp and the short chapters complement the style beautifully. A few of them are barely even a paragraph long but they just aide in building the tension up to certain points.

To think of a story about animals going to war, you’d expect teeth and claws rending furred flesh. But you’d be wrong. The war in this is very ‘human’. The animals wield swords, guns, explosives etc … and it just adds to the strangely brilliant concept. It also works really well. Far better than it has any right to.

At its core, The Builders is a dark tale of betrayal, honour, love and revenge that encompasses a goodly amount of the animal kingdom (well, the animal kingdom that can be found in most countryside areas.

As a kid you tend to read books with animal protagonists, The Builders is for those people that have grown up but still want a bit of that animal protagonist in their lives. If anyone remembers Redwall, it’s like that …if Redwall was dark, sadistic and ultra-violent. Almost like if Redwall and The Expendables had a lovechild.


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