The Age of Kings is dead...and I have killed it.
It's a bloody business overthrowing a king....
It's up to a few....
Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail. But when gods are involved....
Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should....
The Powder Mage Trilogy, Book 1.
©2013 Brian McClellan (P)2013 Hachette Audio
A review of A Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan
I enjoyed Brian McClellan's A Promise of Blood. It was a fun read from start to finish. It also perfectly meets the need I've been feeling for a while now. I love epic fantasy, but I feel the swords and sorcery trope is a bit tired. Don't get me wrong, there's still plenty of room for awesome in medieval-based fantasy, but we've been stuck in the dark ages for quite some time. I want to see how wizards deal with the industrial revolution, which is exactly what McClellan does in this book.
What's great about A Promise of Blood, is that most of the bread and butter fantasy tropes are still there, they just have to deal with the upstart middle-class powder mages who have decided that the oligarchic sorcerers have had their turn. In fact if you took, say, the Wheel of Time, and revisited fifty or a hundred years after the events in A Memory of Light, you'd basically have A Promise of Blood. It basically has the same back story - way back when the sorcerers did stuff that makes today's elite look like children; the sorcerers can manipulate the classical elements; the sorcerers and kings have all the power and most of the wealth. There's even the threat of gods returning to wreak havoc on mere mortals' best laid plans.
But the times, they are a changing, thanks to Field Marshal Tamas and his cabal of powder mages, who ingest gunpowder and can manipulate bullets, whether that be bouncing them around corners or sniping someone from several miles away. And McClellan definitely delivers on his promise. Overthrowing the King and all the nobility can be a messy affair, and you can bet that the neighboring monarchs aren't thrilled that Tamas killed god's chosen king. Their own subjects might get ideas, after all.
I thought McClellan did a good job choosing his viewpoint characters. The story is told through the eyes of the General and interim dictator, his son, the common soldier, a middle-class investigator, and a laundress of one of the erstwhile noble families. I'm not giving names because I listened to the Audiobook and don't know how to spell anyone's name. I felt that giving us these different viewpoints lets us really feel the impact of all these social changes. Plus, the legion of secondary characters are also well-rounded and add to the depth.
As a note on the Audiobook, Christian Rodska does an excellent job narrating. He really gets into almost acting out the dialog instead of merely reading it.
5 stars is i love and i will read agani and again. 1 is i hate and i never want to hear about it ever again. YES = :))) - NO= :'(
At first when I started this book, I was thinking its going to be awesome because it was a recommendation from the great author Brandon Sanderson, as Brian McClellan was a student of his. But after a chapter or two, it had a bit of confusion in it. I have assumed that the detective is the lead character at first, then I got a bit lost with the names of some of the characters.
That was the down side, the plus side was is plenty: story was good, specially towards the end of the book. A great ending which lets you think what the hell is going to happen in the next book. some funny twists here and there. Narration was good Christian did a good job with the characters, although it could have been better.
What I recommend is after you listen to it the first time, to give it another listen so you would understand everything that is going on, specially the beginning.
Waiting for the next book to come, don't be late.
Commodities broker, father, husband, and avid scifi/fantasy/self help fan.
Here in New Orleans, one of the most passionate pursuits of its citizens is cuisine, and that's no surprise. In this wonderful city of diverse cultures and rich history, that's a given. Some of the very best dining in the world is served up right here, day in and day out. From the very first glass of wine, to the final napkin to the lips, the meal's presentation and it combination of flavors and aromas ARE the event, and set the evening's pace for conversation, enjoyment and celebration. And all of this begins with the preparation of the ingredients. Whether it's a fried shrimp po-boy with a col-drink down in da "Ninet Ward", to a five-star evening of fine dining at Commander's Palace, it's all the same: Preparation and presentation.
You know where I'm headed with this, don't you?
A great story, like any good meal, takes detailed preparation and solid presentation for a memorable experience. The table must be set, and the greater the destination, the bigger the table, the better prepared. Otherwise, the evening is ruined.
And in "Promise of Blood,", McClellan has all the makings of a experienced chef. Think alternate colonial historical fantasy - Sort of a musket, pike and magical story that might have been. One that can be a bit overwhelming at first. You'll need to listen very closely to this audiobook, because you're thrust into the story immediately - A royal coup by the military, right in the first few minutes. Done. Over. And the military is mopping up. So you don't have a lot of time to acclimate.
And it's a well-thought, rich world, full of deeply defined characters, diverse story lines worth your pursuit, a magic system both smart and sensical, and a helping of political/historical machiavellian mayhem that sweetens the meal. The dialogue is believable and doesn't meander. McClellan also does a fabulous job of suspending disbelief, which is so essential for an author to accomplish within the journey, In such an ambitious undertaking, all these positives come together for a very, very good listen.
The narrator is solid, but I want more from Rodska in the second novel, to step up his game, if you will. He can add much more to an already good effort, and I'm expecting improvement the next time around.
If you read my reviews, you'll note that I do NOT give spoilers or plot lines - There are countless other reviewers that will do that for you. This is a fantastic meal that doesn't need anyone to throw leftovers at you to get your attention.
This meal has been well-prepared and the presentation is excellent.
Please step up - Your meal is prepared. Your table awaits.
An immersive world with engaging characters. Interesting conflict and told from compelling character perspectives.
I enjoyed it and will look for the next book.
Narrator was fabulous - female voices were not annoying at all and every character was easily differentiated. Almost like listening to a full-cast audio!
Promise of Blood starts out with a bang and the action continues to ratchet up right to the end. Characters are well developed and the story grabs you right from the start.Brian McClellan writes epic fantasy in a setting not usually experienced - magic mixed with guns! The story is complex and contains lots of human drama mixed with magic, monsters and political intrigue.
Highly recommended and really looking forward to Book 2.
" I have my mind... & a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." -T.L.
I LOVE the new fantasy world McCellan created, the diff mages, diff style, focuses a lot on magic & a dark ages world... It reminds me of Joe Ambercrombie's 'the first law' immediately, but I loved his trilogy, one of the top Fantasy books
Looking fwd to the next 2 books
If u liked the Ambercrombie world with a LOT more magic & in-depth concepts of the magical essence
Do not miss out on this book! It is a fantasy book about believable people, idealism warring with necessities. The magical system is fresh and inventive. And to top it off you get to laugh out loud now and then. One of the best books (if not the best) I have listened to.
Christian Rodska is awesome as a narrator. He is one of the best!
Without a doubt. Strong characters, awesome magic system, and just plain awesome.
If you're a fan of Sanderson's work, you'll like this book. The magic system is new and fresh but it still has those element slinging loons in it too. Great characters as well. Guns & Magic = WIN.
Near the top.
It is unique. I don't normally like stories that bring guns into a fantasy world but the was he incorporated them works wonderfully.
While the actual plot of the book didn't really seem to mesh that well with the blurb, I'm impressed with McClellan's first novel. As a student of Brandon Sanderson, you'd expect some sort of in-depth, multi-step magic system. While McClellan doesn't go into the same level of detail as Sanderson might, there's still some measure of depth to what's going on with that, and it doesn't feel like a useless addition just for the sake of having one. The setup for powder magery seems really interesting and innovative in particular.
Generally the characters in Promise of Blood are interesting, and each have their particular quirks. They are people with faults, addictions, and real life problems, though these are only really played up or investigated for a couple, which definitely leaves some missed opportunity on the table. This is a book that does a great job of developing some characters, and only an OK job with others.
While there are a few places where I feel like characters act in ridiculous ways, and there are a few things that are a bit fishy in terms of McClellan having things that come out of nowhere simply to advance the plot in a specific direction, the book still seems reasonably well crafted. The novel does not necessarily stand alone, as it's very clear that the story is unfinished in a number of ways, and the ending comes more abruptly than I'd normally expect even from the first book in a series.
On the whole, the novel is worth a listen or read, sets up an a unique and interesting setting, but does feel like it could have benefited more from additional detail and development of both the world and some of the characters. This may come further with additional books in the series, and I'm certainly looking forward to the drop of The Crimson Campaign in May.
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