Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan – Book Review

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Book Title: Promise of Blood

Author: Brian McClellan

Genre: Flintlock Fantasy

Publisher: Orbit

Year of Publication: 2013

Promise of Blood is the first book in the Powder Mage trilogy. Inspired by the French Revolution, Promise of Blood is a novel full of violence. The combination of guns and political intrigue makes Promise of Blood an engaging read.

Tamas, a Powder Mage and Field Mashall of Adro’s army, has declared a coup on the King and the nobility. The King and most of the royalists are executed by guillotine. The real challenge for Tamas and conspirators is to prevent the revolution from descending into chaos.

The other main characters include Adamat (a detective), Taniel (a Powder Mage and Tamas’s son), and Nila (a laundress).

If I could choose one word to describe this book, it would be awesome. Promise of Blood is full of action, political intrigue and magic. I am a fan of unique magic systems, but snorting or inhaling gunpowder is new. Powder Mages can go into a powder trance, which, in my opinion, is like being drugged. The effects of a powder trance include heighted senses, a higher pain threshold and the ability to set off gunpowder charges.

The other main magic users are called the Privledged. The Privledged perform magic with their hands. They wear special gloves to protect their hands while they are casting spells.

To raise the stakes further, Brian McClellan brings religion and gods into the fray. The Powder Mage trilogy is shaping up to be a more fantastical version of the French Revolution.

I enjoy the characters in Promise of Blood. My favourite character being Tamas. Tamas is a far from perfect person. He is easily angered, but he does love his son Taniel though he does not show it. Tamas is the central character, as he is the one who is essentially in charge until a new democratic counicil is appointed.

The setting is another plus for this novel. I do enjoy medieval-inspired fantasy, but it does make a nice change to see a fantasy novel inspired by late eighteenth-century France. The author does have an interest in history, so I would not be surprised if he did some research into revolutionnary France.

I also like the writing style, because it keeps the story flowing at a good pace. Brian McClellan has focused on crafting an engaging story, rather the focusing on the use of beautiful sentences.

I did not like the fact that Nila’s story lacked the depth that the other main characters had. I hope that her character is explored more in book two and three.

Overall, Promise of Blood is an awesome fantasy book that has a good story and interesting characters.

Rating 4.5/5 Stars

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