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Promise of Blood

(Powder Mage #1)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  50,543 ratings  ·  3,579 reviews
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 heavil ...more
Paperback, 608 pages
Published April 8th 2014 by Orbit (first published April 16th 2013)
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Ben Stahl I found all the females to actually come off as really sexist and felt like they didn't really exist for a reason beyond being a back drop to make the…moreI found all the females to actually come off as really sexist and felt like they didn't really exist for a reason beyond being a back drop to make the males feel more "complicated" or to solve problems with deus ex machina abilities.

I would guess that Vlora has *maybe* 200 lines of dialogue across entire 3 book series and doesn't really amount to much as a person other than "Taniel's ex fiance". (She does have a few moments where her dialogue hints at being an actual interesting character with a spine of her own, but that never really develops into anything.)

Ka Poel isn't bad at first, but she can't talk and she doesn't really do much in the book other than act as a god machine whenever the author needs to do something he didn't want to figure out how to explain (pretty convenient that she's a mute, yea?)

Then Fell, despite being a badass, is very literally owned by a male character.

I found Nila to be a hand wringing mary sue who was more obnoxious than anything else.

Adamat's wife, Faye, isn't present enough to really exist as anything other than the mother of a main characters children. (less)
Matthew Martin I would say that it depends upon your definition of "much" and "sexual content". There is no "explicit" content. But there is clear mention of rape, h…moreI would say that it depends upon your definition of "much" and "sexual content". There is no "explicit" content. But there is clear mention of rape, harems, exploitation, sex slaves, and prostitution scattered throughout. There are at least two characters who travel with a number of concubines. The use of sex slaves was probably the most alarming content, directly referencing the use of the slaves as currency for blackmail and bribes. There is at least one attempted gang rape that's immediately stopped. In each reference, the perspective the book makes it clear that the practices are immoral and outdated. The book does present a number of examples of "healthy" relationships to contrast.(less)

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Average rating 4.13  · 
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Mark Lawrence
Dec 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robin Hobb
Jul 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
First, the caveat: Brian McClellan is a friend. I do not think that affects my review of this book. And as always, I will strive to avoid all spoilers.

On my Kindle, this book is 545 pages long and the first book in a trilogy. Although there is obviously more story to come, this volume is a satisfying read as a stand alone. You will wonder what happens next, but not in a 'cliff hanger' way. (I'm going to start including this information in reviews. Some readers are daunted at the prospect of a 9
Apr 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Buddy read with these Powder Mages: Sarah, Mary & Haifa lurking

Promise of Blood, the first book in The Powder Mage trilogy and the debut work of Brian McClellan, Brandon Sanderson’s apprentice is indeed imbued with great promises and it didn’t disappoint.

It’s not uncommon for a high fantasy book to start their story with the dead of a king, it’s been done a lot of times already and Promise of Blood used the same plot device but there is a little bit of a twist. The main protagonist, Field Marsha
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Just as good as the first time around, but I tell ya.... I probably should have waited for the re-read because I still don't know when I'm going to get to the second and third one!

Re-reading with my wonderful friend ORIENT ❤️

*Read with some wonderful friends over at BB&B*

When I first started the book things were just thrown at me left and right. My poor little brain couldn't keep up with all of the people and what was going on, but my peeps in the book group said it gets better. And guess what?
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A manly story of maleness and men doing stuff. There's so much sausage in this, it's practically a BBQ. Women are around to be low-impact stupid, with the sole exception of Ka-poel who is a super handy, super magic user and, once Taniel realises she's actually an age appropriate 'savage' instead of the child he thought she was, a possible love interest. And yes, they call her that repeatedly. To her face. Well kinda, because for most of the book they talk about her like she's not even there. Unt ...more
Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
There wasn’t a single thing I didn’t like about Promise of Blood.

The best components were the characters. It struck me as profound in several places of the book how damn good McClellan was as creating deep connections between his characters to the point where it felt like reading about real people (making it all the more poignant when something happened to one of them). Most authors tell you there’s a connection, McClellan makes you feel it. The character profiles were nuanced and detailed, and
Luna. ✨

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



I haven't had the FEELS like this while reading a book in a such a long time. I swear, I had the feeling I had when I first read mistborn.. wait okay, maybe not that amount of feels but it was close. I love when you find a book you can't put down! Every chance I got to read this book I would drop all my other priorities. Even eating! This is my favourite read of 2017 so far.

"He had to do it the old fashioned
Daniel B.
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did not think I would enjoy Promise of Blood so much but WOW this was solid. Not revolutionary, or deeper than most, but a ROCK solid fantasy entry. I could see where people would have problems, but damn, I just had fun with this one.
Petros Triantafyllou
Promise of Blood is one of those books you pick up with low expectations and they proceed to blow your mind. The storytelling was great, as was the pace. Interesting circumstances kept occuring, and the tension was building slowly but steadily. Brian McClellan is unique on codifying the inherent over-specificity of juxtapositions.

"The world is changing. People do not exist to serve their governments or their kings.

Governments exist to serve the people, so the people should have a say in those go
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating: 4.5 stars.

First time I’ve heard about flintlock fantasy I imagined a bunch of military men in trenches wielding muskets and fighting for a small piece of territory day after day and having long and dreadful conversations about tactics, armory and shortage of supplies and personnel whilst drawing plans of attack on a huge map.

For that reason alone, I avoided this kind of fantasy and this book in particular because I didn’t want to go through that kind of experience. But this book
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
*** 4 ***

A buddy read with the Fantasy fans @ BB&B! Because we love Fantasy in every shape and form:-)

Well, this was a pleasant surprise! Flint Lock Fantasy is nothing new for me, but this is the debut book for this author and you never know how it would go, despite the many good reviews. I am very pleased to say that it was not disappointing ☺

Field Marshall Thamas and his cabal of Powder Mages have staged a coup in the tradition of the French and Russian Revolutions. Now they have to figure out
May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2013
In the aftermath of a bloody coup against the monarchy, Field Marshal Tamas struggles to hold the country together while trying to figure out who among his trusted allies is a traitor. Meanwhile, his estranged son goes into the mountains to kill a friend and stumbles upon a plot to summon a god...

As I've said in other reviews, there are certain times when a reader stumbles upon a book that hits all the sweet spots. For me, one of those special books was Promise of Blood.

I've read a fair amount o
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, fantasy, favorites
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

When this debut novel by Brian McClellan first hit shelves several years ago, it had loads of hype. Everyone seemed to be raving about how creative it was, how amazing the powder mages were, and how cool the whole flintlock fantasy setting was. And because of all that great word-of-mouth, I . . .stayed away from Promise of Blood like the plague.

Might sound strange, I know, but I did have a good reason: I never seem to like hyped books. Not sure why, but we do n
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
MacHaloistic Buddy Read (MHBR™) with Little One and alicat ♡➹♡ and Loriidae and stuff ☢

Pre-review rating: 2.5 stars.
Post-review rating: 1.8899 stars. Because I'm ruthless like that.

Okay, so this book could have been pretty greatly great. Only that it wasn't. There was potential there. Lots of potentially awesome potential. Only that it went poof after the first few chapters in less time than it takes to say "get off my back and go skewer some puny humans, murderous children mine!" I mean, the
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a buddy read with my fellow fantasy fanatics at FBR.

Promise of Blood drops you right into the action from the first chapter. With a unique magic system and a diverse cast of characters this is a fast paced story that kept me turning the pages deep into the night.

Field Marshall Tamas is doing what he thinks is right for his country by overthrowing the king and nobility of Adro, but the consequences may be more than he and his co-conspirators are ready to handle. Events have been set
Drcong O '
I got my copy earlier!! So now it's time for some sexy grandpa! ;)

also BR with my favorite sexy grandpa loving toto ❤️ AND Maggiepoo ❤️
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, series, library, fantasy
Holy pit! This book was pretty good! (Not a typo - the most common exclamation in this universe is "pit)

Black powder artillery magic in a fantasy world? Yes, please!

Lot's of action, intrigue, deceit, and magic. Oddly enough, even with all this it was a little slow in a few places. Also, I swear there were a few big plot holes. There is one scene where I there was a character not there and in the middle of a one on one battle, the writing changed to include another character out of nowhere. (Rea
I've been hearing a lot of good things about this book and while I was somewhat skeptical at first, I am quite pleased to announce that it was delightful. :)

Delightful as in lots of blood and guts, gun-mages, sorcerers, revolution, plain war, resurrected gods, a very sneaky Chef and a fantastic investigation that's all gumshoe mystery in a fully-realized fantasy realm.

What makes this stand out, though?

I think it's mostly the characters, the bright pacing, and the magic system.

A lot of these epic
Apr 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Actual rating : 3.75 stars

Buddy read with the Fantasy lovers at BB&B !

You can find this review and more at Novel Notions.

Alright, this was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017 !!

And I should have learned by now to keep my expectations reasonable ! Don't get me wrong ! This was a pretty good book and a debut, at that !! But despite bringing together amazing Fantasy elements and magic systems, Promise of Blood didn't blow my mind and there were some
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Extended review on my blog and I am looking forward to reading your thoughts about it!

- -
First and foremost, this book reminded me that I am a book addict. I was not able to stop thinking about it when I was not reading it. Sleep was secondary to reading.
So I need to find a AA meeting for book readers.

Now, let's talk about the book though because this is what this media is dedicated to. 4.5 stars well deserved!

The story is told with majestic skill. It s
Robin (Bridge Four)
Sale Alert: Kindle Daily Deal 27Jul20 $2.99

If you have read my bio or a few of my reviews then you know that Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors ever. So it was a no brainer to pick up this book not just because Sanderson recommended it but also because Brian McClellan was once a student of his. I see some of the influence that Sanderson might have on his writing but Brian McClellan is definitely finding his own voice and put together an intricate world and a very gripping story.

Will M.
May 08, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2014, war
When you've read a few novels of the same genre simultaneously, odds are you'll eventually start rating the latter ones lower than it should receive. I've been in a Fantasy marathon, and some were really great, but some were terrible. Promise of Blood falls under neutral, it wasn't boring or bad, but it didn't blow my mind. I picked this up because the premise seemed really interesting, and gunpowder sounded really cool to me. I didn't get what I wanted though, but I almost did.

Promise of Blood
May 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Promise of Blood was an intense, action packed opening to a series that I'm really excited to continue. It had a complex, brilliantly executed magic system, great characters and a good plot that was interesting up until the very end. I'm definitely going to read the sequel soon.

The magic system in this book was incredible. I've heard it compared to Sanderson's Mistborn series but having never read it I can't really comment. What I can say is that this was one of the most complex and intriguing
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷 Support me

Actual Rating: 3.75 Stars

“The world is changing. People do not exist to serve their governments or their kings. Governments exist to serve the people, so the people should have a say in those governments.”

There are a bunch of authors that I wanted to read for a long time and hesitated to start their series. Some of these authors are Jen Williams, Brent Weeks, Michael Sullivan and finally Brian McClellan. I actually read the auth
Feb 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
2.5 stars rounded up to 3 stars because I know this book is better than I think it is! This was my third attempt to read this book and I finally made it through. I don't really know why it didn't gel with me- maybe something in the writing style? I didn't really bond with any of the characters. The magic system itself was quite different but even that didn't really inspire me. Meh..... ...more
TS Chan
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came to know about Brian McClellan as an up-and-coming author who has attended Brandon Sanderson’s writing classes at BYU. Now those of who you know me or have followed my reviews are well aware of how I pretty much worship all things Sanderson. Did this in any way influence how I view this book? Not in the least.

Given that this is a debut, Promise of Blood is really darn good. While the magic system (powder mages specifically) seemed to be inspired by Sanderson’s Allomancy, McClellan made it
William Gwynne
I now have a YouTube channel that I run with my brother, called 'The Brothers Gwynne'. Check it out - The Brothers Gwynne

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

Promise of Blood is a flintlock fantasy novel, inspired by the French Revolution. The city of Adapest is in turmoil, with the imminent executions of every noble at the edge of the guillotine.

There are three very different PoV characters. I loved all of them.

Field Marshal Tamas is the leader of the coup, and the most pow
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars. Sorry I'm only just getting this up now, I had a very busy weekend =].

I'll say this right at the beginning: everybody should pay careful attention to Brian McClellan. I have a feeling that this trilogy is just the start for him. If the quality of his writing is any indicator, we can expect great things from him. I had my few issues with the book, but seriously, this guy knows how to write.

This was a great book. Truly interesting world, as well as excellent characters with multiple PO
Deborah Obida
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, adult
This book is the second of its kind that I've read so far, the first is The Thousand Names and I much prefer this to that . Both books have shotguns and bayonets with magic in it. I love the way everything works. The fight scenes were awesome, the depiction of the magic system superb, the characters awesome even though I'd love to hit some of them upside the head sometimes.

“The problem with logic,” Prime said, “is that sometimes you are forced to believe your own hypothesis, even if you don’t
“What must be done will be done.”

Actual rating: 3.5 stars

I tried hard to convince myself to give Promise of Blood the complete 4 stars I wanted to give it. I have no negative feelings toward this book and I’m actually extremely fond of it, but after thinking about it and weighing all the pros and cons, I just couldn’t. I feel sort of bad about this because I really did enjoy the book, but like Sabon said, you do what you gotta do. I’m still a little upset with myself though ☹

Alright, so this bo
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SciFi and Fantasy...: "Promise of Blood" - Finished *Spoilers* 12 201 Jul 22, 2021 02:14AM  
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Brian McClellan is an American epic fantasy author from Cleveland, Ohio. He is known for his acclaimed Powder Mage Universe and essays on the life and business of being a writer.

Brian now lives on the side of a mountain in Utah with his wife, Michele, where he writes books and nurses a crippling video game addiction.

Brian's novels include the Powder Mage Trilogy (Promise of Blood, The Crimson Camp

Other books in the series

Powder Mage (3 books)
  • The Crimson Campaign (Powder Mage, #2)
  • The Autumn Republic (Powder Mage, #3)

Articles featuring this book

The magic of powder mages meets 18th-century technology in the first novel of an epic fantasy trilogy, Promise of Blood, which begins with a savage...
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“You’ve one mark on your record,” Tamas said. “You once punched a na-baron in the face. Broke his jaw. Tell me about that.”
Olem grimaced. “Officially, sir, I was pushing him out of the way of a runaway carriage. Saved his life. Half my company saw it.”
“With your fist?”
“And unofficially?”
“The man was a git. He shot my dog because it startled his horse.”
“And if I ever have cause to shoot your dog?”
“I’ll punch you in the face.”
“Fair enough. You have the job.”
“Doctor, what could you prescribe for Charlemund?”
The doctor looked down his nose at the unconscious form of the arch-diocel.
“Now, really. Something to give him a quality headache and a great deal of memory loss.”
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