Title / Promise of Blood, The Crimson Campaign and The Autumn Republic
Author / Brian McClellan
Publication Date / 2014, 2015, 2015
Overall Star Rating / ★★★★
Today I have a review of the Powder Mage trilogy by Brian McClellan and I thought that I would do this review a little differently – so I’m trying out a bullet point style review so we shall see how this goes. Onto the review. This one is a epic/flintlock fantasy trilogy mainly set in the fictional nation of Adro. If you are unaware flintlock fantasy is basically fantasy with guns. In book one we see Field Marshal Tamas leading a brutal coup against the Adro monarchy but Tamas is soon stretched to the limit. This is a rich, distinctive world that mixes magic with technology.
Multiple POV’s – mainly following Tamas, Taniel and Adamat. As with most multiple POV’s I did have my preferred chapters/perspective, but overall the shift between characters is done really well and each perspectives is interesting as well as enjoyable. I personally enjoyed Taniel and Tamas chapters the most but I did enjoy the multiple POVs – I sometimes struggle with the switching perspectives but not with this trilogy.
Both the main characters (Tamas, Taniel, Adamat) and the secondary characters (Ka-poel, Olem etc) are well-written, interesting and really enjoyable to read about. Great cast of characters! However I will say that Vlora was perhaps a little flat – I would have liked more depth for her character, especially because she had a lot of potential to be a great, strong female character.
Amazing use of tension and intrigue – I love abit of intrigue and in this trilogy it is very well done. McClellan is great at slowly building tension and creating a world where you question everything.
Unique magic system – featuring Powder Mages, Privileged, Knacked and Bone-eyes. Really interesting system and I really enjoyed this. I will say that it maybe needed abit more depth to the system, or just more explanation at certain points.
Engaging plot and characters throughout – even when the pacing was abit slow it never dragged and I really enjoyed the use of military tactics/strategy that is woven into the story. However I do think the pacing may be an issue for some.
You can see improvements throughout the three books, in terms of writing, characters etc – the first book was a debut book so you can really see the writing develop through the trilogy.
I know that some say that McClellan could have done a better job with female characters and while I agree (see my comment on Vlora), I also really enjoyed the female characters (I love Ka-poel) while reading and it was only until I saw the comments that I really noticed it.
There are eight novellas – I have read none of them yet but hope to get to them soon.
I picked up Promise of Blood on abit of a whim and I am very glad I did. Overall this is great fantasy trilogy, not without some flaws, but really enjoyable to read. I highly recommend this trilogy, especially if you are a fan of flintlock or epic fantasy and are a fan of multiple POVs. I believe McClellan is signed up for another trilogy set in Adro so I will definitely be picking those up when they are released.