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I read a number of Brian McClellan's short stories before I committed to his main work. I really enjoyed them and had good expectations for this book. I was not let down.
The book is a mix of Napoleonic era war with fantasy magic. The mix worked fairly well, but there was always that nagging feeling if some of these magic users were that powerful, why hadn't they dominated.
The story itself has a little bit of historical warfare, investigation and betrayal, and epic magic battles. There are three main point of view characters, and while these are interesting characters - some of the better ones were the supporting ones (reading the shorts expands on these a little).
One of the short stories focused on Vlora, and I was expecting a lot more of her in this book - she hardly appeared. I felt that this part of the story was weak, and hopefully it will be expanded in the next book.
Sometime I felt a little lost as the book would sometimes jump a little to get to the next portion of the story. Nothing major, just took a couple of chapters for me to work this out.
I listened to the Audiobook. The production was excellent, as I would expect from new releases now. I did feel that some of the characters seemed a little out of place - but that could just be me.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
A great debut from Brandon Sanderson’s pupil, but it still has some areas for improvement.
Story – 4/5
As far as debuts go, this is excellent. The entire story is told smoothly, and there is never any confusion as to what is happening. Considering the story is action packed and full of plot and intrigue, this is quite an achievement.
As Brandon Sanderson’s pupil, it is easy to see some minor influences, especially around the magic system. It is still excellent and unique, but you can tell that BM followed the same set of rules.
The story appears to have been influenced by the French Revolution (late 18th/early 19th centuries), with single shot, gunpowder weaponry, a coup to overthrow the monarchy due to corruption and poverty, and public guillotine executions. It is a shame that this was only really prominent in the opening sequence though.
The largest area for improvement In BM’s writing is in the characterisation. Although the well told epic action more than made up for this element; death, sadness and fear just didn’t have the same devastating impact as it could have.
Performance – 4/5
Christian Rodska is an excellent narrator. His ability to convey the mood of the scenes and voice acting are flawless. Each character had a distinctly recognisable voice, and the female voice acting wasn’t overdone at all.
There were occasions in the production where the chapters and paragraphs didn’t run smoothly into each other. It was only occasionally, and didn’t detract too much, but towards the end when the scenes were switching back and forth, it meant I needed to concentrate a little more.
Overall – 4/5
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
I've tended to avoid epic fantasy lately - typically, the investment of time and dreariness of the storylines can be daunting. But the unique set up, interesting world building, grounded and realistic characters, and intricate plot line had me completely hooked with Promise of Blood. The story is exceedingly well written and had me enthralled from the first scene.
Story: Adamat is a veteran police detective who finds himself on the doorstep of a coup - an overthrow of the monarchy. Field Marshall Tamas has led a revolution with his powerful powder mages but now must stabilize the situation in the City - especially with neighboring countries circling like vultures. His son, Taniel, resents his powerful but distant father but finds himself embroiled in the coup. And Nila, the laundress, will use all her wiles to protect a little boy, her noble employer's son, from execution. Together, they will find that Tamas' coup will have set far more into motion than either could ever have realized.
First off, this really is epic fantasy. I love that the feeling of a revolutionary era France was taken and woven into an intricate story featuring magic and Gods, guns and carriages. It could have really gone wrong but instead was a perfect complement of technology (guns), magic systems (from powder mages to "knacked"), and very intricate politics. The story starts very small, converges for a short time, and then explodes across the country as we follow the four main characters in their individual quests.
The characters were extremely well done. The interactions between Taniel and Poel, Adamat and SouSmith, Tamas and his generals/bodyguards were grounded, realistic, and fascinating. As well, the incredibly intricate plot that slowly builds and expands - starting with a coup but ending up being so much more, kept me intrigued. This isn't a simple story on any level - not the world building, characters, politics, diverse magic system, or plot. I am greatly looking forward to the next book in the series.
I listened to the audible version and the narrator did an excellent job with all the different characters.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Very well read, good choice of voices for the characters. On par with Joe Abercrombie.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful