Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan – Review

Genre: Adult, Fantasy
Publication Date: April 16th 2013
Series: Powder Mage
Pages: 608
My Rating: 4/5

Synopsis (1)

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 greedy scrambling for money and power by Tamas’s supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces. 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.

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 story is not your usual medieval set fantasy story and this is what picked my interest from the beginning. The story is set in a, I think I’ve seen it described as Napoleonian settings, where guns and gun-powder add a new twist to your typical fantasy story.

Things I liked

  • The story is fast-paced and action-packed throughout the book.
  • The plot is not straight forward. It has so many aspect and branches that even after the first book you can tell that there is still so much to uncover.
  • I really enjoy having a mix of magic and guns. It was something that personally I haven’t read before, and it was refreshing.
  • We have the hint of a battle coming between two (or maybe more) Gods that sound really epic and makes you want to read the next book straight away.
  • You have three main magic systems very different between them but yet they intertwine in a unique and interesting way.
  • You have many characters with different relationships between them, and I’m really hoping that those will be explored in-depth as the story progress.
  • I loved Taniel and Ka-Poel dynamic. Also, Ka-Poel was one of the best characters. There is so much mystery surrounding her and so much more to learn about her.

Things I didn’t like

  • At the end of the book,  although it had a lot going on, I felt like this book was more like a set up for the next two books. Fair enough it is a trilogy you need to have the build-up but… I don’t know, sometimes it felt like some events were there just to get to a 600page count and could be cut out.
  • In some occasions, some characters made decisions that felt out of character, just to move the plot forward or to create more mystery.
  • The book was very plot-driven and sometimes I felt like we didn’t really explore the relationship between characters. We know the basics Tamas and Taniel don’t have a very nice father-son relationship, Taniel wants his father’s approval and deep down Tamas loves his son but doesn’t show it. But I never really felt it, if that makes sense. I wanted maybe some more small moments that are there to emphasis the feeling and not just a line or two.
  • Same with Vlora. She is a powerful Powder Mage, Taniel’s ex-fiance and Tamas sees her as a daughter and treat her better than his own son. Throughout the book, you have this feeling that she is supposed to be an important character, but we only see her for a couple of chapters and that just Tamas giving her orders. Again I wanted to see more. Maybe that will come in the next book, but I was left hungry for more and not in a good way.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book I do believe that we have a great setting for an epic story. I already ordered book two and hope to get to it soon!

What about you guys? Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?

Published by Natacha

Hello and Wellcome! My name is Natacha. I'm a book and travel blogger.

4 thoughts on “Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan – Review

      1. It’s set several years after the end of this first trilogy and is set in the land of Fatrasta, where unrest and a powerful enemy threaten the status quo. Vlora is at the head of a huge mercenary company and… well, I will let you discover what happens by yourself 😉


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