Title / Wrath of Empire
Author / Brian McClellan
Publication Date / 2018
Series or standalone / book 2 of 3
Page no. / 639
Overall Rating / ★★★★★
This is the second instalment of the Gods of Blood and Powder series and follows the events of the first book, Sins of Empire, with the same three perspectives. This trilogy is set in the same world as his original Powder Mage trilogy. I would categorise this book, and his other books, as an epic military flintlock fantasy. This is a review of a sequel so there may be minor spoilers ahead, but I will not be discussing the plot in detail. It is one of my most anticipated book releases of 2018.
Once again, McClellan manages to combine action, intrigue and magic to create a fantastic fantasy book. I loved the first book, so I had high hopes for this sequel and I think this book surpassed it. Firstly, I think the perspectives were more evenly distributed between the characters – it was great to see more from Taniel and Ka-poel. The use of multiple perspectives allows the reader to see more of the world and a better understanding of the events unfolding. Each perspective is distinctive and compelling. A lot of the time with multiple perspective I find one more compelling than the others but that was not the case with this book. In terms of the plot, I enjoyed every minute of reading this book. McClellan does a fantastic job at weaving all of the threads of the plot together and keeping you guessing throughout the book. There were a few moments I thought I knew where things were headed but then new things come to light and you find out it’s going in a completely different direction. There are so many twists and turns in this sequel. The plot is intricately woven, but it never felt confusing and it never dragged for me. The build-up of tension is also really well done. One aspect of the plot that I personally love is the strategy/tactics. I find it fascinating and McClellan continues to deliver it so well. There are also some fantastic action and battle scenes. The overall pacing of this book was so well done. I found with the first book that the pacing was quite slow at times because we were being introduced to this new series. In this sequel, however, it is more fast paced. There is a lot going on and that keeps the pace moving at a good speed. Even with the faster pacing, McClellan still manages to develop the complex plot and characters without sacrificing anything. The writing continues to be great. Once I started reading, I didn’t want to put it down.
The world building and magic system are another strength of this trilogy. In this sequel we continue to learn more about this world, mainly due to the fact that the characters are now on the move, so we get to explore more of the world. The magic system is once again fantastic. To put it briefly, there are four types of magic in this world; Knacked, Privileged, Powder Mages (Marked) and Bone eyes. The first two draw power from the Else, while a Powder Mage draws power from gun powder. Little is known of Bone eye magic, but it seems to be similar to voodoo in some ways and draws on blood magic. Obviously, these are only very brief explanations of the magic system. I think these unique systems are one of the main strengths of these books and I’m excited to see how some characters powers are developed in the next book. I can’t help but feel that a few of the characters we are only scratching the surface of their power, such as Ka-poel. Speaking of the characters, I thought their development in this sequel was fantastic. There are so many wonderful characters in this book and the trilogy as a whole so far. We get to see familiar characters as well as some new ones. Each character is complex with well thought out back stories and I am so excited to see their development in the next book. I thought McClellan also did a great job at developing their relationships with each other. It was such a pleasure to see both old and new relationships develop throughout the 600 pages.
Overall, this is an excellent continuation from book 1 and I cannot wait for the third and final book, Blood of Empire, to be released. I cannot rate this trilogy so far highly enough, although I would definitely suggest reading the Powder Mage trilogy before starting this one. If you enjoyed the first book, then I think you will love this sequel too. If you haven’t read these books yet, then I highly recommend checking them out. At this moment, the third book has no release date or cover, but I believe it is hopefully being released some time next year (2019). Have you read this book? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.