seak's Reviews > Promise of Blood

Promise of Blood by Brian  McClellan
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2013, arc-review

Guns, Germs, and Steel... well, minus germs...and probably not so much economics... oh and plus magic.

Okay that was not even remotely applicable. Why would anyone think that even made any sense?

Pretty early in my reading of Promise of Blood, I said, "An investigator looking into a mystery, an assassin-type chasing a mage, and then Tamas, just Tamas. I look forward to every POV, how is that even possible?"

I can't say this really changed throughout the entire book. There's one small POV that's in addition to the above that adds a little bit of suspense, but mostly seems like a set up for the next installments in the series, but it doesn't deviate from the above sentiment.

The cover of the book says, "The age of Kings is dead ... and I have killed it." Promise of Blood begins when the coup has already occurred. Field Marshall Tamas has displaced the king just in time to save the country from a ruinous contract with a neighboring state. The next step is the hard part, gathering up the nobles and establishing the new government. The cover quote comes quickly and doesn't even sound lame, which I was very impressed with. That was a very cool introduction to Tamas.

So already, we know there's political intrigue, but you can't get too far without noticing the magic systems involved in this series. There's a magic centered around gun powder, which is definitely one of the unique draws, but there are also other types of magics that are more traditional and I liked that it's not all explained right away. It's all very natural as it fits into the world.

There's an interesting relationship between the different magical cabals involved and of course they don't all get along very well. The powder mages really take center stage as they are some of the main point of views and they're just really cool. They can not only manipulate bullets so they can round corners (Wanted), but the powder itself has a magical effect on the user that is also much like a drug, enhancing senses and increasing abilities.

The magic fits seamlessly in a napoleonic fantasy world with the same types of technologies of the time such as the printing press and well...guns. In addition, through the limited point of view characters, we begin to see that there's much more than a coup and it's inherent difficulties (riots, hangings, etc.), the king's cabal of mages has hinted at a much greater problem and hence the investigator mentioned above.

McClellan can't seem to be mentioned without his former teacher, Brandon Sanderson, but it's hard not to. Brian McClellan is like a grittier Brandon Sanderson, great story with interesting characters and a unique magic system. The writing is also on par with his mentor, it's perfect for the story told. I think there's something to be said about writing that's not flashy, almost as if it emphasizes the story much like why you should only use "said" for dialogue. (Here's another discussion and this gets my meaning too.)

It's amazing that Promise of Blood is a debut because McClellan already seems like a seasoned author. There's no doubt in my mind he has a long career ahead of him with or without mention of his writing teacher.

4 out of 5 Stars (highly recommended)
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Reading Progress

October 17, 2012 – Shelved
April 8, 2013 – Started Reading
April 8, 2013 –
page 50
9.17% "I'm getting kind of a Whiskeyjack feeling from Tamas. This is good."
April 12, 2013 –
page 112
20.55% "An investigator looking into a mystery, an assassin-type chasing a mage, and then Tamas, just Tamas. I look forward to every POV, how is that even possible?"
April 16, 2013 –
page 185
33.94% "On what to say to clear out a university that's about to get pulverized: "Free lunch!" he yelled. "Free lunch, outside the north gate!""
April 22, 2013 –
page 300
55.05%
April 24, 2013 –
page 450
82.57%
April 28, 2013 –
page 500
91.74%
April 29, 2013 – Shelved as: 2013
April 29, 2013 – Shelved as: arc-review
April 29, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-19 of 19 (19 new)

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Chris McGrath you want to pass this along when youre done? :)


seak Really, the only thing holding me back is this is an eBook. Looking forward to really diving into it tonight.


Bastard Just started it fool.


message 4: by Brian (new)

Brian McClellan Ha! Whiskeyjack is one of my favorite characters.


seak Bastard wrote: "Just started it fool."

So now it's a race? Whoever wins gets to pick the other's next read?


seak Brian wrote: "Ha! Whiskeyjack is one of my favorite characters."

Me too! I can already tell I'm not crossing Tamas for no one.


Chris McGrath I found a new thing to hate about ebooks: lending now becomes piracy by default.


Bastard Seak (Bryce L.) wrote: "Bastard wrote: "Just started it fool."

So now it's a race? Whoever wins gets to pick the other's next read?"


Some people have jobs you know, not some easy life being a stay home dad, and watch tv and read all they want all day.


seak Gunner wrote: "I found a new thing to hate about ebooks: lending now becomes piracy by default."

I've found I have to change my view of ebooks in order to appreciate their function, I guess it's the economics degree that brings this out. I look at them as paying for the convenience and ease of use that ebooks bring to the table. If I want to be able to lend it out, then I'll have to buy in paper.


message 10: by seak (new) - rated it 4 stars

seak Bastard wrote: "Seak (Bryce L.) wrote: "Bastard wrote: "Just started it fool."

So now it's a race? Whoever wins gets to pick the other's next read?"

Some people have jobs you know, not some easy life being a sta..."


Yup, especially since two babies are way easier than one. They don't ever both want to be fed, stand up, wiggle, burp up, poop, cry, etc. etc. at the same time. I just read and relax ALL day! :D


Bastard Have you finished it yet Bryce?


message 12: by seak (new) - rated it 4 stars

seak Bastard wrote: "Have you finished it yet Bryce?"

Nope, may get to halfway today. Reading's been very slow the last couple weeks. You?


Bastard Seak (Bryce L.) wrote: "Bastard wrote: "Have you finished it yet Bryce?"

Nope, may get to halfway today. Reading's been very slow the last couple weeks. You?"


Yes finished, was just confirming that I won the race, so I'll be picking your next read.


message 14: by Rob (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob Great review. Now I just have to find time to fit it in..


David Sven Nice review. I think I'm going to add this to my audible queue. Right after all the Sanderson books I need to get too.


Michael Fierce Great review, as usual, Seak!


message 17: by seak (new) - rated it 4 stars

seak Gary wrote: "I had to wait until after I read the book to enjoy your review! I loved this book and know I will love the second - your detailed account helps me to appreciate the story more! This is an amazing a..."

I've had Crimson Campaign for a little while now and it's taken all my power to not ditch everything I'm currently reading. Thanks a ton, Gary!


message 18: by Rob (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob Give in and read it. It's even better than this one IMHO.


message 19: by seak (new) - rated it 4 stars

seak Rob wrote: "Give in and read it. It's even better than this one IMHO."

Hoping to finish Heir to the Empire today and then I'm ready!


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