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As the final battle approaches a sellsword, a spy, and a general must find unlikely and dangerous allies in order to turn the tides of war in this epic fantasy tale of magic and gunpowder by acclaimed author Brian McClellan.

The Dynize have unlocked the Landfall Godstone, and Michel Bravis is tasked with returning to Greenfire Depths to do whatever he can to prevent them from using its power; from sewing dissension among the enemy ranks to rallying the Palo population.

Ben Styke's invasion of Dynize is curtailed when a storm scatters his fleet. Coming ashore with just twenty lancers, he is forced to rely on brains rather than brawn - gaining new allies in a strange land on the cusp of its own internal violence.

Bereft of her sorcery and physically and emotionally broken, Lady Vlora Flint now marches on Landfall at the head of an Adran army seeking vengeance against those who have conspired against her. While allied politicians seek to undo her from within, she faces insurmountable odds and Dynize's greatest general.

592 pages

First published December 3, 2019

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About the author

Brian McClellan

34 books7,570 followers
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 Campaign, and The Autumn Republic), Gods of Blood and Powder (Sins of Empire, Wrath of Empire, and Blood of Empire), and Valkyrie Collections (Uncanny Collateral)

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 542 reviews
Profile Image for Petrik.
675 reviews43k followers
February 4, 2020
ARC provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review.

3.5/5 stars

Six years after the first publication of Promise of Blood, it’s time to say goodbye to the Powder Mage universe.

Blood of Empire is the third and last book in the Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy. McClellan has also said that this will be the final novel in the Powder Mage universe, and there’s a chance there won’t be any new full-novel in this universe, at least not for years because McClellan has a new series—Glass Immortals—coming in 2022. So overall, was this a satisfying conclusion to the saga? I’ll say yes. I have a few issues with it that prevent me from giving it a full 5-stars rating, but overall I’m satisfied. There aren’t many things that I can say regarding the details of the plotline without going into spoiler territory, and I don’t want to do that, so I’ll get into what worked for me and a few things that in my opinion would’ve made this final book more awesome.

“Styke was willing to put up with all sorts of creeping things for the sake of an ambush. He would not, however, allow a man to piss on him.”

Every time I talk to readers and fans of McClellan’s work, the majority have agreed that McClellan is very well-known for his fast-paced and action-packed oriented storyline. Contrary to The Powder Mage trilogy, every installment in Gods of Blood and Powder adapts a slow-burn story that escalates towards a big explosive conclusion. Both Sins of Empire and Wrath of Empire uses the same method, and the situation is even more apparent in Blood of Empire where the big action sequences happened only at the final 15% of the novel. McClellan has spent a lot of time building the setup towards reaching the final confrontation set piece. In fact, out of all six novels in the Powder Mage universe, it felt like this is the one where action scenes happened the least. It’s different from the first trilogy but it’s not a bad thing per se. It may be slower relatively, but McClellan was still able to tell a compelling story without neglecting the high focus on characterizations, relationship developments, and politics. Cultural differences, greed, faith, responsibilities, loyalty, love, and learning from mistakes were some of the patent themes used effectively to enrich the narrative in Blood of Empire.

“I’m an officer. A shitty one, most of the time. But I’ve always protected my men from the injustice of tyrants. It’s one of my few good qualities, and I’ve reached the age that I’m just not going to let that go.”

The main characters in this series, especially Ben Styke, Celine, and Michel Bravis, are some of the best characters McClellan has ever written in his career so far. As I’ve mentioned in my previous review, Ben Styke is up there with Taniel Two-Shot and Ka-poel for being my favorite characters in the saga. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that, once again, I enjoyed reading the character’s development of these characters. I loved reading the interaction between Styke and Celine and Ka-poel; I loved reading Michel’s subterfuge and spycraft. What surprised me, however, was how much I enjoyed reading Vlora’s storyline here. I’ve never been a fan of Vlora, but I think in Blood of Empire McClellan successfully characterize and leads her towards a development that made me care for her. Vlora is a flawed character and seeing her learning from her mistakes to do better while she struggles with the dilemmas of living up to her father was engrossing. All of these characters have come a long way since their first entrance into the story, and I found the closure for each character’s arcs to be incredibly satisfying; I feel that Blood of Empire has given these characters an apt ending.

“It’s more than something. It’s my promise. A word is worth a lot, Vlora. Don’t forget it in your grief and anger.”

Although I did mention that I’m satisfied with the closure of each character’s story, the climax sequences are also where Blood of Empire gets trickier to rate and review. Seriously, the quality of the action sequences itself in the last 15% of the book showcases McClellan’s fast-paced actions at his best. The way he ended his chapters with cliffhanger continuously will make you want to continue reading non-stop; I loved the sense of danger I felt in the relentless battle and unpredictability with no respite. I mean, I finished reading the second half—more than three hundred pages long—in a single day. That should say enough how captivated I am by the second half of the novel.

“But your arrogant prick of a Great Ka still hasn’t learned his lesson.”
“What lesson is that?”
“That I’m Mad Ben Styke.”

Unfortunately, despite how much I enjoyed reading Blood of Empire, I have to admit that several elements in it stopped me from giving it a full 5-stars rating. The first reason being Ben Styke’s storyline that pushes him to rely on brain and subterfuge. One of the greatest things about this trilogy, for me, was Ben Styke’s contrast in his brutality and his love towards Celine and the Mad Lancers. Seeing him sitting in the sideline observing events from a bystander’s perspective and relying on other characters was not exciting. The strong and distinctive strengths of the series also felt underused in this concluding installment. We’ve heard about the power of the enchanted armor worn by the Mad Lancers for almost three books long now, the end of Wrath of Empire gave huge hints that led me to believe that we’re going to see its usage in its full glory here, but that didn’t happen; the armor blocked a few bullets but that’s it, nothing too special shown. Unlike the previous books in the saga, we also don’t get to see the Powder Mages unleashing their power here. We do get to see the Privileged and bone-eye in actions, but they’re not as memorable as it was in the first trilogy or Sins of Empire. Finally, the final confrontation with the villains—emperor of Dynize and Ka-Sedial—ended up being super short and anti-climactic, not to mention that it required a bit of Deus ex Machina element to resolve too. It is very odd for me to say that this almost 700 pages long novel felt rushed, but the climax sequences, at least, felt that way to me.

The execution of the climax sequences and the underused potential of the series did fell a bit short to me, but honestly speaking, I still had a great time reading the novel. I was captivated by my investment for the characters, and I wanted their story to end in the most fitting fashion; McClellan has achieved this, and I’m satisfied with the conclusion of the series. McClellan has been writing stories in this world for six years now. I’m sure the things he learned from writing Powder Mage and Gods of Blood and Powder will be put to good use for his future writing endeavors; the premise of the new series sounds awesome already, and I’m looking forward to reading it. Overall, Blood of Empire is a great final installment that satisfyingly closed the main stories in Powder Mage universe. Thanks for the stories, McClellan, it certainly has been a blast!

Series Review:

Sins of Empire: 5/5 stars
Wrath of Empire: 4/5 stars
Blood of Empire: 3.5/5 stars

Gods of Blood and Powder: 12.5/15 stars

You can order the book from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository (Free shipping)

The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,469 reviews9,634 followers
August 25, 2020
4.5 Stars

I’m sad it’s over. I think I’m one of the few that loved this trilogy better than the first one. I actually traded my physical copies of the first trilogy and kept it on kindle. But this trilogy.. I absolutely loved it! Ben and Vlora and Ka-poel and of course, Celine and Taniel. I mean I loved Michel and Ichtracia too but they weren’t my favs like the others.

For the love of God, I rambled on there a bit.

ANYWAY, I loved the book. I feel good with the ending. I’m going to miss the characters. Rereads, rereads, rereads. Thank you and good night 😘

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
725 reviews1,204 followers
May 13, 2020
Mini Review: [4.5/5 stars] You know those fantasy authors who are so good, you can relax into their writing and just enjoy? That’s McClellan. I’ve been a book reviewer for almost a decade, and it’s difficult sometimes to turn off my critical eye. But every once in a while, a series comes along where I can just sit back and appreciate the journey without all the constant evaluation. These are the kinds of stories that give me fire as a reviewer – the ones that end up on my favorites lists to be recommended for years. There wasn’t a single thing I didn’t love about this continuation trilogy. The quality of every element was so on-point, but by far my favorite component was the characters and the amazing relationships cultivated between them. I go into much greater detail in other reviews for this series, so I’ll save you the repetition, but suffice to say it’s superb. Evaluating all the books I’ve read from him so far, I think Promise of Blood is still my favorite, but only because it was the funniest. The ending of Blood of Empire was great, and I hope it’s not the last we see from this world. He has a new unrelated series starting next year, and I plan to be first in line for it!

Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.NikiHawkes.com

Other books you might like:
The Waking Fire (The Draconis Memoria, #1) by Anthony Ryan The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1) by Joe Abercrombie The Emperor's Blades (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, #1) by Brian Staveley The Dragon's Path (The Dagger and the Coin, #1) by Daniel Abraham The Shadow of What Was Lost (The Licanius Trilogy, #1) by James Islington
Profile Image for Jody .
201 reviews134 followers
January 8, 2020
"One of the greatest dangers a soldier could face was the feeling of his own invincibility."

Blood of Empire is Brian McClellan's third and final novel in the Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy. Let me begin by saying I really enjoyed the characters in this series. The three main POV's; Vlora Flint, Mad Ben Styke, and Michel Brevis were some of the best written characters I have come across in some time. Ben Styke was the highlight of these books for me. His personality, commanding page presence, and history won me over from the beginning. Even side characters like Ichtracia, Ka-poel, and Bo were given enough page time for me to develop a good grasp of their personalities. Brian McClellan is a master at characterization and it clearly shows in the characters he developed for this series.

Unfortunately, the story itself fell a bit flat for me. With this being the final book in the trilogy, I was expecting a lot of action, magical battles, suspense, and maybe a twist or two. OK! Maybe there was a little suspense, but nowhere near what I anticipated. The story just felt rushed to me, especially the ending. When I was 100 pages from being finished, I thought to myself "There is no way this can all be wrapped up in 100 more pages.". Yep! It sure enough was. I loved the first book in this series. The second book had a little fall off, but it was still easily a 4 star read. I gave all 3 books in The Powder Mage trilogy 5 stars. So what the hell happened here???

So, we have amazing characters, but a story that didn't manage to pull off the great ending I was hoping for. It happens! It won't dissuade me from reading any of Brian's future books. We won't always like everything an author publishes, but that doesn't mean I am any less of a fan. I still urge fantasy fans to go out and give this series a try. The first book is phenomenal, and the second book is very good as well. Hopefully, you will enjoy this one more than I did.

Actual Rating: 3 stars ***
Profile Image for P. Clark.
Author 46 books4,297 followers
November 27, 2021
This is an "overall" review of the trilogy rather than just this one book. I was sucked into the Powder Mage Trilogy at the first read. Didn't know what to expect from the new trilogy. My overall verdict is, they weren't as enjoyable as their predecessors. But they didn't disappoint either. It was nice to see familiar characters take a more central role--like Lady Vlora Flint and Ka-poel. And new ones like Michael Bravis added a nice touch. And then of course, there's "Mad Ben Styke!" Definitely in my Top 10 Fantasy Characters who I'd like to have my back in a brawl! If you conceive both trilogies as one long story (a hexology if you will) there is a sense of finality you get with Blood of Empire, and that's appreciated.
Profile Image for Audrey.
84 reviews35 followers
February 4, 2020
Blood of empire isn’t only the end of the god of blood and powder trilogy but it puts an end of an era. It’s supposed to be the last book related to the powdermages world and I have to say more than anything it’s really hard to say farewell to my beloved saga.
With the second trilogy we can’t help to notice than Brian McClellan had increase for the better his writing and managed to improve with this second round.
Vlora Flint , for better or for worse, I found it was a good idea to bring back a character we knew from the first trilogy and mostly someone directly connected to the field Marshall Tamas. I know that she’s not a popular character but I found that she’s grew up in this trilogy despite all her mistakes. At the end I can say she’s truly the daughter of Tamas.
Mad Ben Styke, he was quite a new character.First introduced in the ghost of Tristan Basin and the mad lancers , we learned more about him. I can tell that Mad Ben is a complex character but sometimes he revealed more sane than anyone. Ben Styke was an adult who learned to grow up in a violence world and in fact became what circumstances asked for him during the Fastrata revolution. When the revolution was over they got rid of him like an unwanted toy. Ben learned from his mistakes and because too of a clever little girl that violence doesn’t resolve everything.
Michel Bravis was the brand new addiction to the powdermages saga and it doesn’t took me long to grow fond of him. Beyond the spy we learned to know a person who will stoop to anything to save his city his people. I can safely say that without him the fight would had been lost since the beginning.
Finally I must say it was good to see again some characters from the first trilogy even in the background. My only issue in this book was the slow pace of the story of Ben but overall I really liked this book and this trilogy of course.
Profile Image for Terence.
1,114 reviews345 followers
December 18, 2019
Ka-Sedial and the Dynize Empire are on the cusp of creating a new god. Vlora, Ben Styke, Michel Bravis, and many others go to extremes to prevent that from happening.

Blood of Empire was largely what I expected from the conclusion of the Gods of Blood and Power series. Lots of intrigue and battles. I was hoping to see if Brian McClellan had something more or truly unexpected in store for this book, but he unfortunately didn't. Blood of Empire is the first book in the Powder Mage universe that I got from the library rather than buying since Promise of Blood and I did end up buying Promise of Blood later on.

My challenge with this series compared to the novellas and the Powder Mage trilogy is I haven't found someone to truly route for. I've somewhat enjoyed Ben Styke, but he doesn't fill my desire for a lead character. I'm more indifferent to Vlora and Michel although I have to admit, they really came alive for me in this final installment. Ben, Vlora, and Michel all face significant personal trials in this book. They grow from them in a truly organic sense becoming more human by the page. This was a huge shift for me when it came to Vlora and Michel because they were largely forgettable in the prior two books.

In a lot of ways the entire Gods of Blood and Power series felt like a sequel to the Powder Mage trilogy. Unfortunately not in a good way. A lot of the aspects felt copied from the original series despite being in a new location and having some different abilities. I did enjoy it, but just not as much as the first series.

As far as Blood of Empire specifically goes, it's pretty even with it's predecessors in this series. It's a good book, but not one I imagine finding myself desiring to revisit. On top of lacking a truly compelling lead, the book lacks a compelling villain. The story describes Ka-Sedial being incredibly evil, but he's seen so rarely that he's more of a looming danger than an active villain.

Blood of Empire was a solid conclusion to the Gods of Blood and Power trilogy.

3.5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Silvana.
1,151 reviews1,118 followers
December 14, 2019
Whew, what a ride.

Brian McClellan is one of my favorite military flintlock fantasy writers. His Powder Mage trilogy has one of the best magic systems I ever read while his characters were compelling and memorable.

Three years ago I was pleasantly surprised when he announced a new trilogy set in the same world, featuring one of the characters that I felt was underused, misunderstood and even marginalized in the first trilogy, Vlora Flint. There are of course two other main POV characters, a soldier and a spy. Both were sympathetic characters as well, but I gotta admit that I care about Vlora the most.

It was a roller coaster journey since book 1, Sins of Empire. I was amazed with the tight plotting, the world building and so on. In fact, I think I gave the first two books five stars, with the hope that the last book continued that trend.

It did not. I think the ending could be better, more epic, with more stakes. It felt a bit rushed. Morever, I think some characters (lucky it's not Vlora) are underutilized or confined by plot prison. Ben Styke spent most of his time watching other people actually doing stuff, for instance. And where's all the magic? We did get some cool Privileged stuff but the others, like the magical armor of the renowned Mad Lancers? Where was it? The Powder Mage magic - which is the best part of this universe - was also very unnoticeable, it's almost MIA.

Having said those, the book still kept me awake for three nights in a row because it was entertaining. Gods of Blood and Powder is therefore still one of the best fantasy trilogies I ever read and I am sad I have to say good bye to the fantastic world of powder mages, Privileges, bone eyes, dragon men, and the great and most illustrious Adran army.
Profile Image for Maja Ingrid.
449 reviews130 followers
December 27, 2019
Should maybe have reread Sins ans Wrath because I thought I remembered more than I actually did, and spent some time being confused while reading this one. But the books are bit long and I was also too impatient for rereads.

Apart from that, I didn't enjoy this one as much as I did McClellans previous works. Not sure if I liked the ending. It felt rushed and I don't know how I feel about certain outcomes from it.

Would still recommend this series, and of course the Powder Mage trilogy. Since it was a couple of years since I read Powder mage, and was able to binge that one, whereas with this trilogy I had to read it as it was released, I can't say which of the trilogies are the strongest. But Powder mage felt stronger from beginning to end. Taniel also has his own PoV in Powder mage. This trilogy could have used a litte more Taniel and Ka-poel. (nope not salty at all they was mostly in the background. It was a blessing though we got Ka-poel through Ben's chapters in this book)

Okay so as you might be able to tell, Taniel and Ka-poel were my favourite character from the previous trilogy, and I had quite some grievance that they were background characters in this trilogy. I did, however, like the characters in this trilogy. While I never hated Vlora in Powder mage, which seems to be the popular opinion, I never quite liked her either. I was indifferent towards her. So I had no issues getting into her chapters in Sins. And while I did take a liking to Ben (and his relationship with Celine which was the purest thing ever) my heart went out to Michel Bravis. My little spymaster, who just happened to be introduced in Sins as drinking at fuck-this-hour in the morning, and the words "Mornings, summer, and people being late. A perfect trifecta to put him in a foul mood." A girl relates.

Looking forward for future books from McClellan!
Profile Image for Andy.
421 reviews67 followers
January 20, 2020
The final part of the trilogy & been looking forward to getting to this one for a while.

We’re quickly around the POV’s in the first few chapters acquainting this reader with the main characters & the thread of the story (recapped) as we pick up from where the last book ended which is as well for it’s been nearly a year since I read the prior in the trilogy & I would have struggled to recollect it all.

All are alive & well OR at least recovering from their battles as we follow the paths of Taniel/Michael/Ichtracia, General Vlora/Borbador & Colonel Styke/Ka-Poel which we all know will join together for the big finale as this is the last in the trilogy…… IT IS Epic fantasy after all!!

I enjoy all his characterisations which is why he’s one of my favourite fantasy writers, not for one POV do I go….. OH NO it’s xxxx this time….. even General Vlora has grown on me over the trilogy.
We learn more about the Dynize & their culture along with the Palo in this chapter which does make it a longer read & goes deeper into the political but it fitted perfectly for me.

If you enjoy Battles (the occasional), magic, political skulduggery, tales of revenge or high adventure then this is a trilogy for you.

Clear 5* for me & will likely be one of the favs of the year for sure if not THE favourite.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,976 followers
November 18, 2022
I have to say this was quite satisfying. It has everything I've come to expect from McClellan's epic fantasies. Truly excellent and engaging characters -- I'm looking at you, Ben -- lots of great war action, amazing stakes, and the same kinds of feels we got at the end of the first trilogy. Godlike action to top the craziness.

So why only give it four stars? It delivers on what it promises, but no more than that. I had fun, but I won't be screaming from the mountaintops. It was solid.
Profile Image for Wick Welker.
Author 5 books341 followers
June 8, 2020
A perfectly paced and fun conclusion to the Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy.

McClellan can really do no wrong. I have read both of his flintlock fantasy series and this guy really knows how to spin a story. His greatest strength is pacing. There is something that comes so effortless about reading his books, even more so with his polished second series. The world building is really excellent. The nations, their history and lore, along their differing cultures really flesh out this fantasy world. It's very easy to imagine your on the streets of Landfall or back in Adopest. There is harmony and consistency within this world and it makes for a seamless read from one book to the next.

The characters are all really fun. Vlora, Ben Style, Michel, Kai-Poel, Taniel--they are all great characters with excellent POVs. As you jump from one character to the next, going through the pages is like butter. You barely notice you're reading a thick book. How the characters interact with one another and how it weaves together with the overall plot is very well done. McClellan has his books down to a science.

There are two minor issues. Yes the characters are really fun and compelling but... they don't really develop. Of course there is some minor stuff (Styke grows up a little, Vlora is a little less intense), but there wasn't a lot of drama with how they develop over the three books(or even six books for some of these characters). Someone like Taniel should've developed a lot more. It's a missed opportunity. The other issue is that I'm afraid McClellan has figured out how to write his books a little too well. His works are becoming a little too formulaic like a comic book.

McClellan has done an excellent job with his two flintlock series. They are very fun and the pacing is perfect. If you're a fan of Brandon Sanderson, you're almost guaranteed to like anything McClellan does. I have one word of advice for Brian McClellan: move on. Go develop a whole new world and a even a new way of telling your stories. His books might start to get a little tired if he continues this pattern.

Overall this is a 5 star series. I rated this 4 stars because it just didn't quite get me to LOVE it. But I do love both of his series.
Profile Image for Ned Ludd.
708 reviews16 followers
December 1, 2019
And yet, another great series that ends horrifically. Disappointed is a gross understatement.
Profile Image for Aram Brazilian.
129 reviews4 followers
December 3, 2021
As a book, Blood of Empire is extremely exciting.

As a series, I could not ask for anything more.

There's a ton of action, and these are some of my favorite characters of all time. For me it's all about the characters. And yet the world building and magic systems here are so well done - as are the plots - so much to enjoy and appreciate.

Hopefully for your sake you have read everything up to this point. In my opinion you really need to read the first series and all of the novellas too.

The writing is effortless to read - never a dull moment and I never once got confused - never had to look up names to remind myself who they are - didn't have to re-read sentences over and over again until they made sense...

For me, this is what reading is all about. I could not wait to jump back into the story at the end of the day when I finished my work.

From the very beginning of these stories, I knew Ka-poel was special - by the time I finished the first series I was praying that I would get more of her - and Mclellan did not let me down.

And there are so many other characters that became as interesting as Ka-poel - such as Michel the spymaster and his partner Ichtracia the Privileged... Styke is amazing - did not expect his character to become so developed... I could list a bunch of names but will stop here.

My advice? Read them all.
Profile Image for Bea.
440 reviews69 followers
June 13, 2021
Solid 3.
Just like the Powder Mage Trilogy, I felt like the ending was rushed.
I still liked the character development though.
Ka-Poel is definitely a favorite.
Profile Image for Travis.
716 reviews7 followers
June 25, 2021
And so we come to the end of the Powder mage universe...well for now at least. I know Brian McClellan says he wants to dive into new worlds and I am totally on board with that. The world of the Powder Mage has been absolutely amazing from beginning to end. I will say though that Blood of Empire didn't hit all the marks for me as the first two books. I thought the ending was satisfying but rushed all at the same time.

Brian McClellan has done an excellent job slow burning these stories into one grand finale. Except for in this one we were slow burning for most of the book but then I realized we were getting close to the end and I didn't have a lot of pages left. So what I was hoping was going to be this huge climatic ending sequence actually felt a little anticlimactic. Which is not a bad things by any means, just not what I expected going into this finale.

Blood of Empire did one thing very very well I might say and that is the brilliant character arc of Vlora. Finally, finally she gets an arc worthy of her character. Vlora I have really enjoyed, but she definitely gets overshadowed quite a bit by Ben and Michel. Not in BoE, no Vlora said it is my turn and I am keeping this spotlight and that she did. It was beautifully executed and handled right from her first chapter, which was so deserving after what she was forced to endure at the end of Wrath of Empire. Well done for sure. Ben and Michel were Ben and Michel I have loved them since book one and I loved them here as well.

The Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy has been an excellent adventure with brilliant characters and riveting story. Brian McClellan truly is a force of nature when it comes to his craft as a writer and I cannot wait for more books by him.

Sins of Empire - 5/5

Wrath of Empire - 4.5/5

Blood of Empire -4/5

Gods of Blood and Powder - 13.5/15
Profile Image for Andreas.
207 reviews
May 8, 2020
For the majority of this book it didn't feel like the last book of the trilogy. There was so much happening that needed to be addressed and I couldn't see how it would be possible to do that in just one book. And as a result when the ending came it felt a bit rushed. With that being said I still enjoyed the book. And I obviously still love the whole Powder Mage universe. I hope there will be more Powder Mage stories at some point. I'm going to miss this world.

4.5/5 stars
Profile Image for Andrew Jaden.
91 reviews
December 6, 2019
Alas, I think this will go down for me as another series that started off strong, then ended limply. Where it all went wrong, I think, was plot and characterization. The premise of each viewpoint character's arcs, in and of itself were great -- Ben Styke and his Mad Lancers are forced to use guile and subterfuge, instead of brute force, Michel Bravis is for once fighting for the side he holds an actual allegiance to, and Vlora is now powder-blind and nowhere near peak physical condition, due to her heroics in *Wrath of Empire*. Brian McClellan tossed all the characters into unfamiliar situations, and that can make for an excellent narrative. The problem is it didn't really seem to go anywhere, and at points I thought it even felt rushed (despite being over 500 pages)!

For starters, Ben Styke's subterfuge doesn't really work and his arc essentially consists of 'stand around watching people politicking until someone needs to get violently murdered'. This was essentially, Michel Bravis's arc in the previous book, and there it works since Michel is actually a character whose strengths lie in subterfuge and politicking. Ben is *not*, and will never be that kind of character, so this makes him a glorified observer, for the most part. While we do get a look at Dynize culture again, it's not as interesting as when Michel does it; simply put, Michel was participating in said culture, Ben was looking from the sidelines.

As for Michel himself, his chapters and arc felt like your typical 'freedom fighter encourages the oppressed to rise up' narrative. It was very bland, there wasn't a lot of interesting stuff to ponder in it, beyond the mob he helps create getting beyond his control. It feels like McClellan was trying to talk about something deeper with that, but it never goes anywhere.

Vlora's arc however, is probably the one I am most disappointed in. Being a depowered powder mage was a really interesting angle, and that coupled with her injuries, I thought, could create a narrative where she shows why she's the true heir to Tamas, and a worthy field marshal in her own right. Instead, we kinda get a brooding asshole Vlora who kills Dynize officers out of spite, is sad about not having Olem and being a magical cokehead (this will never stop amusing me about powder mages), commits a massacre of enemy troops that's kinda sorta hinted to be a war crime but never actually leads anywhere, and kinda sorta stops being an asshole when he comes back. Oh, and her conflict with General Etepali never actually happens.

Etepali's non-show actually ties into a bigger problem I have with the book: There's an implication of things happening (either from the end of the previous book, or insinuated in this one) that don't actually happen, such as (off the top of my head):

- Ka-Sedial seemingly takes a crippling injury via sorcerous means from Ka-Poel, but beyond a stabbing pain in his head never seems affected. He's built up as an enemy, but doesn't show any good reason to be feared (his master plan of the Great Household Purge gets exposed by a maid).

- The Dynize emperor is implied to be a puppet, but all we see is some buff tattooed asshole fighting at the end, with no indication of why he's helping Ka-Sedial attain godhood beyond earlier implications (in that case, how?).

- The Mad Lancers' armor is supposedly magical, but isn't really shown as being unique beyond some Styke sniffing and bullet protection.

- Lindet is mentioned throughout the entire novel as well as her army, but doesn't actually come into play.

All these things, I think, and probably others I've failed to mention, contribute towards a somewhat unappealing ending to a mostly-impressive trilogy for me. I was not a fan of the original Powder Mage trilogy, but the Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy really turned it around... until this final entry to the series. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed reading it all, but it is a shame that it couldn't 'stick the landing', so to speak
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Pavle.
415 reviews142 followers
January 13, 2020
Na kraju, razočaranje. Posebno uzevši u obzir da prva knjiga daje veoma interesantne temelje za dalje nastavke, što je drugi deo donekle nadoknadio prostom količinom tzv kul momenata TM. Ovaj, zaključni, nažalost to ne uspeva; šta više, sam početak romana postavlja figure za nešto do čega uopšte na kraju ne dodje. Završnica prodje u pedeset stranica i sve bude kao epilog nekog treši rpg-a. I nekako zbog toga cela druga trilogija bledi u poredjenju sa prvom, ma koliko imala “momenata”. Šteta, greota, no život ide dalje, EVO RECIMO VEĆ SA –

Profile Image for Emily .
729 reviews74 followers
March 22, 2021
I really enjoyed this series. McClellan is definitely a favorite for me. I've liked everything of his that I've read. This was a good strong ending to the series.
Profile Image for Mark Harrison.
703 reviews20 followers
April 14, 2020
Marvellous end to a superb series as the God War begins and ends with tragedy, huge set piece battles, spectacular magic, strange lands and a dash of savagery. Breakneck pacing, wonderful characters and just damned sorry I am now leaving the Powder Mages behind.
Profile Image for Yuri.
115 reviews72 followers
January 7, 2020
In 2020 I’m going to be a bit more critical with 5 star ratings. I pick most of the books I read very carefully though, so there’s still bound to be a lot of 5 star ratings.

I really liked this book, but it just was a bit too tame for a Powder Mage book.
Profile Image for Mark.
486 reviews83 followers
June 29, 2020
Excellent ending, riveting right till the end, highly recommended to everyone on Goodreads who love fantasy.
Profile Image for Hank.
795 reviews73 followers
September 23, 2020
Simply amazing trilogy to go along with the original trilogy. This wasn't as epic an ending as the Autumn Republic but very satisfying and as with most good books, left you happy but wanting a little more.

These books started with the stories of Michel, Vlora and Ben and ended the same way and I won't tell you if any or all three survived. There was the familiar world with its Powder Mages, Privileged and Bone Eyes stuffed into many battles along with a few surprises. Characters appeared here and there from the original series but the cameos were all well done.

I would have liked to see more of the "friendship" between Styke and the Dragon Man but perhaps that is for a future book. All I can say is that if McClellan writes another one, I am almost sure to read it.
Profile Image for Ivan.
365 reviews56 followers
December 18, 2019
Blood of Empire je više nego pristojna završnica Meklelanove druge trilogije smeštene u isti svet kao prethodna, koja mu je bila prvenac. Gods of Blood and Powder proširuje Meklelanov svet i uvodi neke nove vrste magije, odnosno pojašanjava neke stare i mada čitalac uvek želi da toga bude još, pisac je tome posvetio sasvim dovoljno pažnje i prostora, ne preterujući kako to recimo Sanderson ume da uradi.

Meklelan je zanatski odličan pisac i pripovedač. Tek na nekoliko mesta potka popušta i nije zategnuta koliko bi mogla da bude, što je i razlog zašto ova knjiga dobija samo 4*. Ipak, kvalitativni skok u odnosu na prethodnu trilogiju je više nego očit i ovaj pisac je postao jedan od onih čije knjige želim da čitam svake godine. Iskreno se nadam da će i na našem tržištu ostvariti uspeh i da će Vulkan objaviti svih 6 romana iz ovog serijala.
Profile Image for Flying Monkey.
339 reviews76 followers
April 21, 2020
4 Stars!!!

A solid finish to the Gods of Blood and Powder Series. I'm going to miss all the characters I've grown to love. Looking forward to Brian McClellan's upcoming Glass Immortals series.
Profile Image for Linda.
233 reviews
January 16, 2020
Great book. Characters pick up where we left them. Flora the general a worthy heir to Tamas. Michel the spy a great character. I could not put it down and was refreshed to be in the company of the mad Lancer Ben Styke. Many interesting journeys (ie Taniel's, Delia's, Linnet's, Ibana's, General E---) were not wholly recorded in the book. Concludes in a satisfying way. I pray for a battle with the Nine.
Profile Image for Gregory.
815 reviews3 followers
March 12, 2021
Blood of Empire is the third and last book in the Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy and I am very sad that it has come to an end, as I will miss many of the characters as they have become old friends. Vlora Flint, Mad Ben Styke, and Michel Brevis were some of the best developed and written characters I have come across. In addition, Brian McClellan's ability to develop the supporting cast and invest the reader in his characters is noteworthy. Blood of Empire was hard to put down and it ended all too fast. The conclusion to this trilogy was exciting and full of adventure and intrigue, with a touch of humor and sarcasm. I have read that the author is not going to return to the Powder Mage universe, and that saddens me, but I look forward to reading whatever Brian chooses to write next.

For the most part, I listen to audiobooks and this series was no exception. Up until this point, Christian Rodska, one of my favorite narrators had provided the voice for all of Brian McCellan’s books. When I noted that the author had switched narrators, I did some research, only to find out that Mr. Rodska was having some health issues. There is almost nothing more frustrating to the audience of audiobooks than when the author has to switch narrators. Sometimes the reasons for the switch are hard to understand, but not this time. Most of the time, regardless of the reason for the change, the switch is unnerving, and it can get really bad when the new narrator chooses to not listen to the previous works and pronounces names and places differently, resulting in a narration that detracts from the story. What I also discovered was that even while sick, Mr. Rodska worked with and helped with the selection of John Telfer. I also have no doubt that Mr. Telfer listened to the narration of the first two books by Mr. Rodska before tackling the final book. While I missed Christian Rodska’s voice, that effort paid off, and John Telfer's narration was outstanding and he achieved the transition as seamlessly as I have ever seen. Congratulations and my hopes and prayers are that Christian will be back narrating other books in the future.
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