Title / Sins of Empire
Author / Brian McClellan
Publication Date / 2017
Overall Star Rating / ★★★★
Goodreads synopsis: The young nation of Fatrasta is a turbulent place – a frontier destination for criminals, fortune-hunters, brave settlers, and sorcerers seeking relics of the past. Only the iron will of the lady chancellor and her secret police holds the capital city of Landfall together against the unrest of a suppressed population and the machinations of powerful empires. The insurrection that threatens Landfall must be purged with wile and force, a task which falls on the shoulders of a spy named Michel Bravis, convicted war hero Ben Styke, and Lady Vlora Flint, a mercenary general with a past as turbulent as Landfall’s present. As loyalties are tested, revealed, and destroyed, a grim specter as old as time has been unearthed in this wild land, and the people of Landfall will soon discover that rebellion is the least of their worries.
I have no idea how it passed me by, but I didn’t realise until I started reading that this is related to his other trilogy, the Powder Mage trilogy. Again I don’t know why but I thought this was a whole new world, characters etc. So it was a nice surprise when I came across some familiar characters. I really don’t know how I missed that, but I did. This is set in the same world but on a different continent and about 10 years after the first trilogy. You could probably read this without reading the Powder Mage trilogy, but it will definitely add a deeper understanding of this if you have read it. Personally I would recommend reading it first. Anyway I thought this was fantastic. I think it was a great start to this new series – I’m not sure whether it’s a trilogy or a longer series. In my opinion it really show McClellan’s growth as a writer. It was easy to get into and I was hooked early on – I find McClellan’s books so easy to read and relatively fast reads too. You get completely immersed in the world. The world building is good, although maybe it helped that I have already read the Powder Mage trilogy and so already know it to some degree. I think if you love a lot of focus on world building than you may be disappointed, as I think McClellan focuses more on the characters and plot. The action scenes, intrigue and plot development are all fantastic. I personally love political fantasy and military fantasy – this book has both to varying degrees and I love that about it. This book is told from three main angles, so if you are not a huge fan of multiple perspective then it’s something to be aware of. I enjoyed each narrative equally, which isn’t an easy thing to achieve. As with the other books, a detective element is woven into this book and I personally really enjoy that. The twists and turns are also so well done.
The characters are great. As I’ve already briefly mentioned, it was great to be back with some familiar characters. I loved the characters from the Powder Mage trilogy, so it was great to be able to continue their story in this new trilogy. There is a great cast of characters in this book. The character development throughout this book was very well done. Both the old and new characters were a pleasure to read about them and I look forward to seeing where they go next. This book definitely has some of my favourite characters. Another strength of this world is the magic system – you basically have four types (Knacked, Privileged, Powder Mage or Marked and Bone eyes). Knacked is the most common and it basically means you are skilled in only one area, for example Olem, one of the main characters, can go without sleep for long periods of time and Adamat for the Powder Mage trilogy has a eidetic memory. Most Knacked can come across as humans who are simply good at certain things. Privileged is the dominant power force and relies solely on their hands. Privileged draw power from the Else and can then use it in whatever destructive force they want e.g. fireballs, lightning. Powder Mages use gun powder as the source of their power, which is why this is a flintlock fantasy, as it involves guns. Not much is known about Bone-eyes, other than that it seems similar voodoo in some ways. I think all these types of magic are so interesting and this magic system is definitely a favourite of mine.
Overall this was fantastic. I can’t say enough good things about this book and the previous trilogy as well. This was one of those books I didn’t realise how much I loved it until a while after I finished it :). I will probably have reread it before the end of the year. I had high hopes for this book and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. This book made me so excited for the continuation of this series. I don’t know when the next book is planned to be released but I hope I don’t have to wait for too long. Have you guys read this book yet? What did you think? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.