25 June 2013

Review: Promise of Blood

Promise of Blood
Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Closer to a 4.5, I really enjoyed this barring one pretty significant flaw.

Consider a nation in peril where the king falls victim of a coup of "The Privileged," the gods are intervening in their own way, and you have a group of mages, Powder Mages who can effectively channel the power of gunpowder by consuming it and becoming expert tacticians in the process?

Yeah, I'm in.

This is the best book I've seen ape Brandon Sanderson since Sanderson became a top name in fantasy. It's a relatively unique premise on a whole, with a historically-recognizable setting and a fun concept. If you haven't read Sanderson, the idea of consuming something to get extra powers such as the premise of Mistborn sounds new and different, and McClellan does a great job of differentiating the two concepts enough to not seem like a copycat.

The one major flaw? It is very hard, in my opinion, to tell the good guys apart. Tomas fails to set himself apart until the last third of the book in particular, and many of the other Mages (even some of the Privileged themselves) tend to blend with each other. Not the biggest problem, but one that keeps it from being up there with the modern classics, for sure.

I'm very excited for the next installment. As a history and fantasy nerd, the book absolutely hits upon a lot of my common interests, and it's definitely a worthy new entry.

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