Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by suciul, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. suciul

    suciul Read interesting books

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    "The Age of Kings is dead . . . and I have killed it.

    It's a bloody business overthrowing a king...
    Field Marshal Tamas' coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and the greedy to scramble for money and power by Tamas's supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces.
    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.."



    Promise of Blood is an excellent debut that mixes and matches stuff - magic and technology, intrigue and action, individual fights and battles, worker unions and ancient nobility, gods, sorcerers, magicians, well sketched world building with promise of expansion, memorable characters - most notable Tamas who is the main driver of the action - but the rest too, all in a fast moving, occasionally over the top package that one cannot put down.

    While not quite yet at Brent Weeks level of "compelling" the novel has some similarities in "feel", but it has much more magic overall.

    Starting with the actual coup of Tamas against the king and nobility, the action continues fast and furious on a few fronts. Tamas has to consolidate his and his 6 very disparate but powerful allies rule, while dealing with an unexpected royalist counter-attack, grasping neighbors that covet Adro's wealth and potential as well as with powerful magicians with varied interests; not to speak of a famous curse/prophecy that has the god Kresimir who created the Nine Kingdoms some 1400 yeas ago return and smite anyone who would overthrow one of the kings.

    As the people of Adro actually did that (overthrowing the king) since most follow Tamas as they show in the famous "elections" day - what the "elections" mean I will let you discover - this means that the angry Kresimir - if he exists of course - will destroy the whole country. Of course it then helps to have a god of your own, even though he may be quite mad.

    In the other two main strands, Inspector Adamat investigates stuff for Tamas, this essentially being a vehicle to show life in Adro and its capital as well as the various factions and power players, from another "street" angle as well as delve into the world building from a historical point of view, while Taniel "Two Shot", Tamas' son and second most powerful "powder mage" after the marshal himself, has to contend with the sorcerous threats to his father's rule, while dealing with personal problems, un-trustful allies and the like.

    A great ending at a good stopping point though of course the story just gets started.

    Overall a winning debut who will make my top 25 and a series I expect will get only better as it progresses
     
  2. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    I'm glad you liked it - and thought you would. I thought it an interesting concept well executed - I think it will do well.
     
  3. Obtuse

    Obtuse ‪Ominous, I'm In Us

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    I'm glad to hear good stuff about this one. It's been on my radar for a while, but I don't usually like to mix my fantasy with gunpowder (or tech in general). This one is compelling me to make an exception though.
     
  4. Brian McClellan

    Brian McClellan New Member

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    I'm happy to hear you enjoyed it!
     
  5. DurzoBlint

    DurzoBlint http://tinyurl.com/363ogv

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    I would love a copy for review, but have so much on my plate right now. Not sure how soon I could get to it. Sounds really good though as we tend to have similar tastes.


    Just received a review copy. Hoping to get to this one soon. Want to read Grim Company too. Decisions, decisions.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
  6. Symbolic

    Symbolic Registered User

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    A mixed review by Stefan Raets @ Far Beyond Reality and TOR.com -

    http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/04/gunpowder-and-grit-a-review-of-promise-of-blood-by-brian-mcclellan

    I have lowered my expectations after this review :p
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2013
  7. Symbolic

    Symbolic Registered User

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  8. Bastard

    Bastard Jack Bauer

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    Finished it last night, and really enjoyed it.
     
  9. Hobbit

    Hobbit Administrator Staff Member

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  10. pat5150

    pat5150 Staff

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    I have about 60 pages to go.

    And after a strong start filled with lots of potential, as the story progresses the plot loses a lot of its initial appeal and I'm not sure what I think of this book as we speak. Hopefully the finale will raise the bar to what it was at the beginning of Promise of Blood. . .

    Patrick
     
  11. Bastard

    Bastard Jack Bauer

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    Yep, I agree with that sentiment. But I'm overlooking a lot of those issues at the moment, I feel it's a great start nonetheless, and love the characters and the magic.
     
  12. Symbolic

    Symbolic Registered User

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    :rolleyes::p Yes,this reviewer is actually being serious when he says this.

    http://speculativebookreview.blogspot.in/2013/04/review-promise-of-blood-by-brian.html


    Anyway,i finished this today.Overall,it was a flawed debut.Could not really connect with any of the main characters except Taniel and Ka-poel.The rest of the cast needed to be fleshed out more.

    The single female POV was unmemorable and a bit unnecessary,so much so that for the life of me i can't even recall her name right now.I felt her story arc added nothing to the book.

    I also found the magic system to be not as complex as some others.

    Overall,i'm not very eager to read the 2nd book,though if i do read it,it shall be only because i want to find out about the fates of Taniel and Ka-poel.

    I give this 6.5/10
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  13. DurzoBlint

    DurzoBlint http://tinyurl.com/363ogv

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  14. pat5150

    pat5150 Staff

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    Have to agree with your assessment. . . :/

    Patrick
     
  15. Bastard

    Bastard Jack Bauer

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    Well, personally I loved the novel. Most of the complaints described above are very minor to me and easy to overcome. I really loved all the characters, except Nila who just about everyone agrees was a bit of a waste. But overall I found it to be a very strong debut, with a cool magic system, some cool action, great pace and some very good dialogue.

    And come on, Olem was awesome too.
     
  16. StoneBurner

    StoneBurner Registered User

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    While I enjoyed the book, it seems like it was written for the ADD generation. The book is diametrically opposed to the Jordan/Martin philosophy of "let's move as slowly as possible." Characters move from one scene (usually filled with action) to the next scene/location (filled with more action). It's almost a little jarring to NOT have filler material inbetween action sequences.

    I think this will be an excellent series to fill the time between the Tier 1 releases.
     
  17. Bastard

    Bastard Jack Bauer

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    Yep, I mentioned a bit of that in my review but in other words. The author was attempting to keep the readers engage on the "good stuff", and skip portions that may be of little interest... which I think it's a good idea, but needs a bit better execution on that regard. I thought the pace was good, but some of the jumps needed a bit better transition. But in all, another minor thing as far as I'm concerned, if I wasn't a reviewer, might have not even given it a second thought.
     
  18. StoneBurner

    StoneBurner Registered User

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    I am not a reviewer and I noticed it. This book made me realize that the transitions between locations help fill in an author's world. It's like how fast-traveling ruined the Elder Scrolls games :)
     
  19. Bastard

    Bastard Jack Bauer

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    Oh certainly, just saying that personally since I became one the way I perceived what I read has been altered.
     
  20. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    A French Revolution fantasy! Those can go any which way. Lovely cover you got, Mr. McClellan.

    Am I right in understanding that a powder mage magics gunpowder?

    Would anyone say that it's rather like Erickson's work in structure?